Helping Hurricane Recovery in Puerto Rico and Florida - The Westchester Community Foundation
October 4, 2022   |   By The Westchester Community Foundation
Helping Hurricane Recovery in Puerto Rico and Florida

As it has for the last several years, 2022’s hurricane season has been devastating across the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Hurricanes Fiona and Ian have caused severe infrastructure damage in Puerto Rico and Florida. Our neighbors are reeling from the mudslides, power outages, and floods unleashed by these storms. Access to potable water and medical care in areas most affected by the storms remains precarious; many people’s homes are destroyed or uninhabitable.

Many incredible relief organizations are on the ground in Puerto Rico and Florida helping with recovery efforts. While the list below is not exhaustive, we are highlighting local efforts, particularly through our community foundation colleagues, which may not be on your radar. You can help by making a donation to these organizations, which are leading local relief efforts.


The Community Foundation of Puerto Rico(opens in a new tab) leverages philanthropic support for the island’s environmental resilience, renewable energy, economic development, housing, and education goals. Its Puerto Rico Community Recovery Fund supports the work of local organizations responding to Hurricane Fiona’s aftermath.

The Hispanic Federation’s Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Fund(opens in a new tab) is mobilizing community-based organizations to deliver emergency supplies, health care, and other resources.

Organizing Resilience’s Fiona Community Response Fund(opens in a new tab) was launched by local social justice organizations on Puerto Rico to deliver critical aid and supplies to communities that need it most, and regrant to grassroots groups.


The Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund(opens in a new tab) is supporting organizations serving Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, and Manatee counties with recovery efforts. One-to-one matching up to $750,000 is being made available by the Patterson Foundation.

Manatee Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund(opens in a new tab) is supporting Hurricane Ian response efforts in Manatee County; there is a one-to-one match up to $75,000 available from the Bishop Parker Foundation.

Charlotte Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund(opens in a new tab) is providing relief to Charlotte County residents.

Collier Community Foundation’s Collier Comes Together Disaster Relief Fund(opens in a new tab) is an ongoing disaster relief fund that has been reactivated to provide immediate support to the nonprofits serving people affected by Hurricane Ian in Collier county.

The Miami Foundation’s Disaster Resilience Fund(opens in a new tab) is a permanent fund through which the Miami Foundation activates regional partnerships, and turns to local and grassroots organizations to respond to emergencies like Hurricane Ian, distribute funds, and support on-the-ground recovery efforts.


With requests for help coming from many organizations, consider the following tips to help ensure your donations have the maximum effect:

  • Cash is Good: In times of disaster, cash grants are usually more helpful than donations of items and goods. Organizations on the ground can assess what supplies and resources are most needed, ensure they are culturally appropriate, and direct your grant where it can help the most.
  • Think Local: While large international non-governmental organizations are important levers of the disaster relief system, grassroots groups often have deep knowledge about the community, are trusted service deliverers, and can quickly identify local needs. Look for opportunities to give to local aid groups, community foundations, and grassroots coalitions, which can help make sure that people in need do not fall through the cracks.
  • Prepare for the Long-Term: In an emergency, we often feel the need to respond immediately, which is necessary. But different needs may emerge after the initial phase of the crisis has receded. Crises can have a long-term effect on communities. As they heal and repair, think about how your continued philanthropic support can contribute to long-term resilience needs and for preparation for the next crisis. Center for Disaster Philanthropy(opens in a new tab) is one such organization that typically focuses on medium- and long-term recovery needs such as rebuilding homes and livelihoods, supporting mental health services, and supporting the unique needs of vulnerable communities as they arise. Consider a donation to their Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund(opens in a new tab) to help communities recover from this year’s hurricane season.


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Laura Rossi
Executive Director

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