Democratic Philanthropy in Action

Southern Partners Fund’s core value of democratic philanthropy is incorporated in its response to natural or man-made disasters, including COVID-19. SPF’s grantmaking committee consists entirely of people of color rural grassroots community leaders from the states eligible to receive disaster funds. These folks continue to have a profoundly deep understanding of communities experiencing the greatest needs and which community organizations have the capacity to meet those needs.

Justice Fund for Disaster Relief & Renewal 

The Justice Fund for Disaster Relief and Renewal (JFDRR, or the ‘disaster fund’) was formed to heal the devastation following hurricanes Katrina and Rita and has continued funding similar relief efforts with each subsequent calamity. The COVID-19 Pandemic, in addition to the increasing barrage of hurricanes, twisters, and mass-flooding events, further demonstrates the importance of being able to provide rapid disaster relief to affected grantees and other grassroots organizations that meet SPF’s funding criteria. However, in the case of disaster grants (unlike the rest of SPF’s grantmaking), organizations can be rural or urban based.

SPF’s disaster fund grantees already make up a vital part of emergency management systems in SPF’s 12-state region. They have compiled community profile data that includes names and ages of each household member, their doctors, medicines, medical conditions, nearest relatives, important phone numbers, transportation needs, and other pertinent information that will help facilitate wholeness after a disaster.

SPF grantees are also connecting government agencies at local, state, and national levels to vulnerable populations. They are helping rural small town and county governments to ask state health departments and FEMA the right questions, and to demand services be provided in their towns and counties. They are forming partnerships with local rural hospitals, helping them identify state and federal funds they need in order to stay open so they can serve grantee communities.

Disaster Relief Grantee Spotlights