When disaster strikes, locally or nationally, the first question for many, especially in Pittsburgh where philanthropy is so embedded in the community, is “How can I help?” Sending emergency supplies is usually not the most effective way to give, particularly in communities where disasters may have weakened the infrastructure. This is especially true in the event of floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Where to Give
The best practice is to give money to charities that know the affected community well and are positioned to provide immediate and longer-term response. Here are a few that we recommend:
- Give to emergency first responders. Organizations such as the Red Cross have teams and systems in place to act quickly and effectively. Donate to the Red Cross. Pittsburgh-based Brother’s Brother Foundation works hand in hand with first responders and relief agencies in disaster-affected areas.
- Give to the community foundation closest to the crisis. Community foundations know which organizations are well-run, reputable and effective. Find the U.S.-based community foundation closest to the crisis. See a list of international community foundations.
- Global Giving also offers options for giving to international crises.
- Give from your Pittsburgh Foundation donor-advised fund: If you have a fund with us, you may use it to make disaster-related donations. We’ll work with you to ensure that your gift fulfills your philanthropic goals and provides lasting financial support for those who need it most. Log in to your online account to recommend a grant or contact your donor services representative.
If you want to learn more, this additional information about best practices in giving in times of disaster should be helpful:
- Giving to Disaster Relief and Recovery (Guidestar)
- Tips for Giving in Times of Crisis (Charity Navigator)
- Basic Tips for Disaster Giving (Center for Disaster Philanthropy)