The Disaster Assistance and Recovery program is a mechanism for sharing the latest ideas on disaster assistance, practicing recovery plans, highlighting the good work of corporate citizens, and helping to rebuild the livelihoods of people affected by extreme events. Meet the network of companies working to improve disaster assistance and recovery in the U.S. and around the world.


Hurricane Sandy Update

Business-Nonprofit Disaster Portal



  • Business donations for emergency response efforts
  • Business expertise and innovations that improve the disaster management system
  • Skills based volunteering and in-kind donations
  • Business partnerships with NGOs and government agencies
  • Disaster response and recovery best practices
  • Preparedness and resilience initiatives
  • Case management of ongoing disaster recovery
  • Communication, coordination, and information-sharing mechanisms among public and private sector responders



  • Led a corporate delegation trip to Joplin, MO in January 2012 in partnership with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.  The trip brought companies from around the country to Joplin, MO to get a firsthand look at the tornado recovery, and find out ways to donate and invest in the community.  
  • Hosted a successful forum: Thinking About Earthquake Power Outage Challenges and Business Resumption, in San Diego, CA in March 2012.  The forum featured topics like coordination with government, energy challenges to business restoration after disasters, business continuity/risk management, how to pay for losses, etc.  More than 150 attendees from business, government, military, and academia actively participated.  
  • Brought together thirty businesses, government officials, and nonprofit organizations for a discussion forum entitled, Japan One Year Later, in April 2012.  Speakers from the U.S. Japan Council and Fluor Corporation led a discussion on Japan’s ongoing recovery and lessons learned from the terrible tragedy.  
  • Hosted a two day forum in Manila, Philippines in May 2012 in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Network for Disaster Response. The first day brought together 200 businesses from around the Philippines to learn business continuity concepts from established experts from around the world.  The second day was a groundbreaking facilitated discussion between the business community and the Philippines government on the topic of disaster resilience.
  • In May 2012, BCLC partnered with InterAction to host a discussion forum with businesses and NGOs on the topic of international disasters.  The discussion focused on how the two sectors can work together better in order to build better partnerships and improve the overall delivery of aid to people in disaster stricken areas around the world.  
  • As a follow up to BCLC’s forum with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) in October 2011, BCLC created a new portal for domestic disasters.  The portal is a resource for finding out which national-level nonprofit is working in which phase and function after a disaster in the U.S.  The portal was made possible by Toyota.
  • Launched a new report entitled, The Role of Business in Disaster Response, in May 2012.  The report is a collection of 19 articles that detail how companies are using their expertise, innovations, and product developments to improve the way disasters are handled in the U.S. and around the world.  The report finds that there are many unique ways that companies are helping with disasters that far exceed traditional philanthropy.  It shows that companies are being a part of the solution simply by doing what they do best.
  • BCLC partnered with Good360 to host a webinar in June 2012 entitled, Best Practices for Donating Product for Disaster Recovery Efforts. The webinar highlighted how in-kind donations can play a major role in getting communities back on their feet, and how companies can determine what products are needed, when, so that donations meet critical needs at each stage.  
  • In partnership with the International Economic Development Council, BCLC hosted a workshop on improving disaster recovery in the United States.  The workshop brought together a very select group of economic recovery expters and representatives to identify best practices and lessons learned on preparedness and recovery efforts in disasters occurring since 2005.
  • In September 2012, BCLC brought together 25 public, private, and NGO leaders to discuss strategies for regional disaster and environmental resilience around the United States.
  • BCLC mobilized its disaster response mechanisms as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  We helped coordinate the business response to the disaster by taking the following steps:
    • Activated the corporate donations tracker, totaling over $113 million in corporate aid
    • Held multiple conference calls to help coordinate the business, nonprofit, and government responses.  Speakers on the calls included FEMA, SBA, EDA, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Target Corporation, etc.
    • Received and processed thousands of requests through the BCLC Help Desk supported by Office Depot Foundation.  BCLC staff coordinated donations between companies and NGOs all over the world. 
    • BCLC was published in news articles and interviews regarding Hurricane Sandy.  This included an interview on MSNBC’s Your Business, and media coverage in Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Fox Business, Bloomberg, Reuters, Huffington Post, etc.



Report: Role of Business in Disaster Response

The Role of Business in Disaster Response examines how businesses are utilizing their expertise to help improve community resilience, response and recovery in times of disaster. This report is the first in BCLC's year-long report series "The Role of Business." Read the report here, or watch the video here.



Webinar: Best Practices for Donating Product for Disaster Recovery Efforts

Listen to the webinar recording and download the PowerPoint presentation.







BCLC disaster LEAD

Gerald McSwiggan (email) works with companies to sharpen and clarify their role in disasters and help them be effective in their disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery giving and investing. During non disaster times, he leads forums, workshops, webinars, and publishes reports and whitepapers to improve the overall system.  In crisis time, he leads coordination conference calls, corporate delegation trips to disaster areas, tracks corporate donation information, and coordinates effective partnerships between the sectors. 



  • UPS: Ed Martinez, President, UPS Foundation
  • Office Depot Foundation: Mary Wong, President, Office Depot Foundation


Disaster Program Headlines:

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint


For many years, the business community has advocated for an improved disaster recovery system in the United States.  Traditionally, after disasters happen, the majority of attention from stakeholders (Federal Government, nonprofits, donors, and media) has been on the initial response.

Disaster Preparedness Exercises: Learning Lessons and Changing Behavior


Last week I attended the first National Lessons Learned Conference, hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It was attended by federal, state, and local officials as well as some representatives from the private sector.

Its focus was what has been learned from the various disaster preparedness exercises in which the government and some businesses engage. The conference even had a surprise appearance by the new Medal of Honor winner U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer.

Have You Evaluated Your Insurance Coverage Lately?


By Jan C. Opper, Senior Advisor, Business Civic Leadership Center

As many on the east coast live through the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, and wait to see whether another hurricane will grace the shores of the United States, we again turn our attention to the devastating flooding, especially inland flooding, that can occur.  Flooding can be as destructive, or more so, than wind.  Flood waters have run rampant through the southern half of Vermont, upstate New York, and New Jersey, while taking their toll in other states, as well. 

FEMA Private Sector Update on Hurricane Irene


In today's private sector update about Hurricane Irene, Ebony Turner from the FEMA Private Sector Division writes:

Private Sector Partners,
Continued thanks to those who have been providing updates to the National Response Coordination Center desk. Your updates are shared with Senior Leadership during our daily briefings. Please find below the most recent news releases from FEMA.

Here is the full text of the email:


News Release

August 27, 2011

No.: HQ-11-149

Why East Coast Businesses Should Prepare for Hurricane Irene


As Hurricane Irene bears down on the East Coast, weather predictions show landfall near the Outer Banks, North Carolina, this weekend and New England at the start of next week. But the time is now for businesses and individuals along the entire Eastern seaboard to prepare for the potential damaging effects of the storm.

Ahupua’as and Other Thoughts on Disaster Risk Reduction


If there is one theme unifying the work of the Chamber BCLC, it is that the diversity of the interests of the American business community is an enormous strength of the U.S. economic system.  You name the issue, and there is some company working on it. 

One of the challenges that the BCLC has taken on is to attempt to map and understand and share these business innovations, wherever they come from, in order to accelerate the diffusion of effective practices and lessons learned. 

Which brings us to this week’s commentary on Hawaii.

ITT Announces Six New Water Projects for Disaster Risk Reduction


By Michael C. Fields, Director of Philanthropy, ITT Corporation

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of participating in BCLC’s Pacific Rim Disaster Risk Reduction and Resiliency Workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii. The workshop clearly emphasized the importance of cross-sector collaboration before disaster strikes and, at ITT, we couldn’t agree more.

Crisis in the Horn of Africa


More than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa today are in need of live-saving assistance due to the severe drought and resulting famine in the region. It's the worst drought in that region in 60 years, most severely affecting areas of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. 

85 Experts Convene in Hawaii to Address Pacific Rim Disaster Risk


This week 85 disaster experts met in Hawaii to discuss how they could work together to promote community resilience throughout the Pacific Rim, a region continually weighed down by earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, typhoons, mudslides, and other devastating events.

The Gulf Coast: An Aerospace-Defense Corridor Positioned for Growth


By Chris Laborde, Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic and Environmental Resilience


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