Category Archive: Recovery

Hurricane Harvey Relief Funds

Posted on August 28, 2017

Note: There are fraudsters who are known to take advantage of the tendency to generously respond to disasters.The FBI’s New York Field Office reminds the public to apply a critical eye before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of Harvey victims. In the past, tragedies and natural disasters have inspired individuals with criminal intent to solicit contribution while falsely representing a charitable organization or good cause.

Therefore, before making a donation of any kind, the public should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust.
  • Designate the disaster to ensure your funds go toward disaster relief.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited e-mail.
  • Don’t assume that charity messages posted on social media are legitimate. Research the organization.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any e-mail solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
  • Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services. Most legitimate charity websites end in .org rather than .com.
  • Make contributions directly, rather than relying on others to make a contribution on your behalf.

“As we continue to keep those affected by Hurricane Harvey in our thoughts, we must also remember how tragedies like this often serve as a breeding ground for those who want to take advantage of people’s generosity. It’s heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from people across the country who are eager to donate to the relief cause, but we urge everyone to be smart and exercise their due diligence in researching the organizations they intend to donate to. As always, it’s essential that every penny donated goes into the pockets of those who are most in need,” said Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr.

See Potential  Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams published by DHS’ Com.

The following organizations in our network are responding to Hurricane Harvey (this is a partial list which will be updated as we receive more information):

As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas (see the JTA article and here) , the Jewish Federations of North America (UJA-Federation is a member)  opened an emergency relief fund to support communities and individuals in Houston, San Antonio, Galveston, Corpus Christi and other areas that have been hammered by Hurricane Harvey.  With record breaking volumes of rain having fallen through the weekend and expected to continue through tomorrow, extensive damage is continuing to mount.

Lee Wunsch, CEO of the Houston Federation, reports that the amount of rain and resulting flooding has surpassed that of the massive storm two years ago.  Bayous and tributaries are flooding beyond their banks and roads are impassable.  People whose homes are flooding are being advised to go up to their roofs so they can be evacuated; emergency workers were evacuating stranded residents through the night.

We know that several Jewish communal institutions that flooded two years ago have flooded again, but communities in the affected areas won’t be able to start assessing the scope of damage to institutions and members of their communities until the rain stops and roads become passable.

Note: There are fraudsters who are known to take advantage of the tendency to generously respond to disasters. See Potential  Hurricane Harvey Phishing Scams published by DHS’ Com.  The following organizations in our network are responding to Hurricane Harvey (this is a partial list which will be updated as we receive more information):

Posted in Recovery

Resources to prepare your organization’s technology for a disaster

Posted on July 23, 2014

Tech Soup is a respected and valuable technology resource for nonprofits (If you don’t know about their deeply-discounted software, you should). They recently published an excellent disaster planning guide:  The Resilient Organization. Find their links to the new guide and related webinars below.

Disaster preparedness isn’t just about being ready for a fire or earthquake; it’s a nimble, flexible approach to your organization’s day-to-day programs and operations. A natural disaster may never hit your office, but by adopting certain technologies and strategies, you can deepen your nonprofit’s impact and make your work faster and more efficient. The resources in this toolkit will not only prepare you for a crisis, but also deepen the impact of your nonprofit or charity in times of health.

The Resilient Organization is a holistic guide to disaster planning and recovery. This book is intended both for organizations striving to be better prepared for an emergency and for organizations striving to rebuild and maintain operations after a disaster. Download The Resilient Organization and browse other disaster planning and recovery resources below. The book comes in four formats:

FAQ’s re nonprofit disaster assistance: grants vs. loans

Posted in FEMA, Recovery, Sandy

Loan program for nonprofits impacted by #Sandy


Loan Program will provide at least $26 Million of Interest-Free Loans to Help Nonprofits Rebuild

Pro-Bono Lawyers Will Provide Legal Service to Impacted Nonprofits

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced several efforts to support New York City’s nonprofit organizations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Building on a strong commitment to support and strengthen the nonprofit sector, the initiatives include the NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program, a $26 million bridge loan program, pro-bono legal assistance dedicated to nonprofits, briefings regarding federal reimbursements and filing procedures, updated nonprofit assistance information on and support for nonprofits at the NYC Restoration Centers. The NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program is supported by funders including the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Ford Foundation, Capital One Bank, the Robin Hood Foundation and The New York Community Trust. It will be administered by the Fund for the City of New York. The program will provide interest-free loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to New York City nonprofits impacted by Hurricane Sandy and will cover losses associated with the disruption of operations and property damage. Priority will be given to organizations that have suffered the most severe losses and/or are operating in the worst affected areas, and will be made against expected claims to be filed with the nonprofit’s own insurance company and with FEMA, as well as against committed government, foundation and corporate contracts and grants. Continue Reading

Guidance for Synagogues Impacted By #Sandy for Preserving Possibility for Financial Aid from FEMA

Thanks to Nathan Diament of the OU IPA and Jarrod Bernstein of the White House for their work with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA on the following (adapted from the OU IPA):

In the context of Sandy related damage, FEMA provides supplemental funding (after insurance payments are exhausted) for the repair and restoration of infrastructure and facilities to pre-disaster condition.

Nonprofit entities that can qualify for such financial aid include hospitals, nursing homes, community centers, day care centers, libraries, museums and senior centers located in Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties.

(Several years ago, in the wake of a natural disaster that damaged the Jewish day school in Seattle, the Orthodox Union worked successfully with the Bush Administration and allies in Congress to amend the laws and regulations which govern FEMA to clearly include non-public — including parochial — schools in the class of entities eligible for FEMA reconstruction funds.)

Immediately in the wake of the storm, the OU’s Washington Office initiated discussions with senior officials at the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (under which FEMA operates) to establish the eligibility of houses of worship — including synagogues — damaged by Sandy for FEMA reconstruction funds. We are making progress, but the discussions are ongoing.

In order for synagogues to preserve their ability to potentially receive reconstruction aid, applicants must complete a Request for Public Assistance within 30 days of the declared event (it has been amended to December 13, 2012).

Therefore, if your shul has sustained damage due to Hurricane Sandy, we urge you to file the forms included in the Request for Public Assistance package.

The disaster number is: FEMA-4085-DR-NY.

In the lower section of the Request for Public Assistance form: you should:

    1. Check the box “Yes” that your synagogue is a private non-profit organization, and
    2. Describe your organization on the next line as “community center and library” as well as any other descriptors listed in the lower section of the form if you provide such services in your synagogue (i.e., day care center, homeless shelter, senior citizens center).
    3. Only describe your synagogue as a “school” if your school is an accredited elementary or secondary school (K-12).

The forms and the supporting documents listed at the bottom of the form should be sent to:

New York State Office of Emergency Management
1220 Washington Avenue
Building 22, Suite 101
Albany, NY 12226-2251
(Fax: 518-322-4984)