Responding Post Sandy: Philanthropic Relief & Recovery

Beginning immediately after Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey, The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers has been working intensively to share information, resources, best practice strategies, and news relating to New Jersey’s relief and recovery efforts. They have been working closely with their philanthropic members in New Jersey and their philanthropic colleagues from around the nation who have experience in disaster philanthropy, as well as working cooperatively with the Governor’s Office on Recovery, FEMA, NJ State Police Office of Emergency Management, NJ Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, NJ’s Long Term Recovery Group Leaders, and NJ’s leading nonprofit organizations.

These dedicated pages on our website detail a wealth of information relating to NJ’s Relief and Recovery effort along with NJ’s philanthropic response, best practice guides, nonprofits on the ground, latest news articles and announcements, and the audio recordings from Series I and II of our 25 Post-Sandy Funder Briefings.

Now, more than one year after the storm, we continue our Post-Sandy work. Current efforts include:

  • Playbook for Philanthropic Response When Disaster Hits: While there does exist several guides for philanthropies active in disasters, there is no comprehensive repository of the innovative strategies and critical work funders have accomplished in response to disasters both nationwide and globally. A partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, in association with the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers, the Playbook aims to bring together a meaningful compilation of early stage ideas, tested models and innovative strategies employed by funders throughout the world. Designed as a multimedia, interactive online magazine, the Playbook will be an “evergreen” resource designed for continued updates and knowledge-building. Community planning, civic rebuilding, legal services, housing, vulnerable populations, working with local, state and federal government, mitigation and preparedness are some of the common issues faced by communities post disaster that will be covered in detail in the Playbook.

  • Superstorm Sandy Philanthropic Investments Scan: Philanthropic investments on behalf of communities in the region following Sandy have been massive. However, a comprehensive accounting of all foundation support to New Jersey’s nonprofits does not exist. In partnership with the Foundation Center, Philanthropy New York and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, CNJG will scan and report on these investments. This study will detail data in a variety of ways, utilizing the latest info-graphics and visual charts alongside narrative to tell the story of how philanthropic leaders responded to Sandy throughout the NY/NJ Region. This study will help funders, policymakers and other stakeholders examine investments made by specific grantmakers and the organizations and communities they served. Following Hurricane Katrina, one of the most important resources for national funders wanting to invest in the local recovery was a scan of this type. Based on this resource, national grantmakers had a road map to follow as they made decisions to support those “on-the-ground” organizations that were lifting people and neighborhoods back to fully functioning, autonomous communities, capable of self-governance and sustainability.

  • Summaries of the Post-Sandy Funder Briefings: Beginning one week after Sandy struck New Jersey the Council launched a weekly conference call series for grantmakers to hear from policymakers, disaster relief/recovery experts and colleagues who have been through similar catastrophes. Series I ran from November 2012 -- March 2013, and Series II ran from September 9 -- November 4, 2013. Nearly 70 guest speakers were featured on 25 calls and the audio recordings are available here. In order to increase the effectiveness of and access to the learning and valuable information contained within these recordings, CNJG is working towards transcribing all 25 recordings into concise written summaries.

  • Post-Sandy Listserve: Specifically for funders wanting to share information, news related to their own initiatives and/or NJ’s recovery and rebuilding process. If you are a funder (either in NJ or out-of-state) and are interested in joining this listserve, please send a request to Elizabeth Murphy at
The Council’s response to Superstorm Sandy also included:
  • Coastal Communities Site Visit Tours: CNJG offered its members a rare opportunity to tour several of the disaster-affected communities in Monmouth and Ocean Counties and to hear from those on-the-ground working on relief, recovery and rebuilding. The specific sites included communities in Northern Ocean County and Southern Monmouth County. Throughout the day, twelve guest speakers representing all areas of the effort, including individuals from FEMA, local and state government, Long Term Recovery Group leaders, city and state planners, environmental professionals, social services personnel, and faith-based leaders, among others spoke to a group of 60 philanthropic leaders.

    Building upon the first successful Coastal Communities Site Visit Tour, the Council offered a similar program focusing on communities in northern New Jersey – specifically the hard hit areas in Essex, Hudson and Bergen Counties. This was an opportunity to hear directly from those on-the-ground working on relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts. In addition to hearing from a wide range of local officials, Long Term Recovery Group Leaders, urban planners, and environmental experts, the site visit included a tour of a PSEG sub-power station which was flooded.

  • Statewide Conference: Bringing together an incredible community of funders, providers and practitioners for a day of exploration, shared learning and purposeful discussion at the Spring 2013 Conference for the Social Sector - Our Shared Road Ahead: Sandy and Beyond on June 10. The Conference provided participants with an important opportunity to hear about the lessons learned by social sector colleagues and experts around the country who have grappled with how to create effective long-term philanthropic responses to catastrophic events in the absence of a readily available guide.
More information on resources, guides, and news are listed below.


  • Asbury Park Press Op Ed: Philanthropy's Role
    This opinion piece is from Nina Stack, President of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers
  • Hurricane Sandy: Housing Needs One Year Later
    This research brief summarizes early findings from a survey commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. to measure the ongoing impact of Hurricane Sandy, one year after the storm made landfall. Based on a representative sample of households in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, this survey provides crucial insight into the long-term needs of those affected by the storm.
  • Report: Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy
    President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Task Force released this rebuilding strategy to serve as a model for communities across the nation facing greater risks from extreme weather and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild. The Rebuilding Strategy contains 69 policy recommendations, many of which have already been adopted, that will help homeowners stay in and repair their homes, strengthen small businesses and revitalize local economies and ensure entire communities are better able to withstand and recover from future storms. Also available is a copy of the Progress to Date Fact Sheet.
  • Rebuilding, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program Guide
    From the State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs
    A Spanish version of the guide may be found here.
  • Overview of the Impact of Super Storm Sandy on Ocean County
    Presentation from post Super Storm Sandy site visit to Ocean County.

Latest News

  • The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey (Rutgers)
    This report estimates the macroeconomic and fiscal impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the economy of New Jersey using the R/ECON™ forecasting model of the state’s economy. The model consists of more than 250 quarterly time-series equations and 30 employment sectors.
  • Webinar Highlights: Five Months Since Landfall: What Are We Learning from Hurricane Sandy?
    Five months after the storm, needs in various areas are still emerging. Gaps have become evident, but so have opportunities for real and lasting impact. As a result, a distinguished panel of representatives from the nonprofit and grantmaking arenas gathered for an April 18, 2013, webinar to take stock of progress and consider next steps.
  • Ortley Beach A&P reopening marks milestone of normalcy for Sandy-ravaged area
    Jerry Gioglio was picking up eggs and bread, basic stuff, just enough to fill a hand basket. Pat Donovan was just running in to grab two boxes of assorted donuts for her grandchildren. They met in front of a snack food display, and made the kind of small talk neighbors make in local grocery stores. Except when people at the Ortley Beach A&P ask "how are you?" or "how’s it going?" the answer these days are more detailed than just "same old."
  • Six Months Later
    It seems much longer than six months ago that Hurricane Sandy turned into Superstorm Sandy and devastated parts of New York and New Jersey. In the aftermath of the storm, philanthropy responded with millions of dollars for relief, recovery, and rebuilding. Not surprisingly, funders based in New Jersey and New York have invested heavily in these efforts.
  • Rebuilding Belmar boardwalk may cost $1.4 million more than expected, report says
    If Belmar approves changing the design of the borough's boardwalk, the project will cost more than $1 million than originally thought, according to a report.