Client: United Way of the Bay Area


After a research report revealed some gaps in Bay Area disaster planning, United Way of the Bay Area wanted an executive summary that would, in plain language, make clear the concerns the report raised.


In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina took nearly 2,000 lives and displaced staggering numbers of people on its way to becoming the costliest natural disaster in US history: over $80 billion and counting. Katrina came on the heels of 9/11 and the Asian tsunami that killed over 230,000 people; it was followed by the Pakistani earthquake that displaced 3.2 million people, as well as by the threat of a deadly pandemic flu. Together these events make clear that a disaster or combination of disasters that pack the impact of a Katrina can occur again. The Bay Area - with its seismic instability, coastal exposure, and dense, urban population - is one of the most likely locations. Ready or not, Bay Area nonprofits will be called upon to serve the community during a catastrophic disaster.

At the request and with the support of the Northern California Grantmakers, PG&E, Levi Strauss, Walter and Elise Haas Foundation, the Fritz Institute, and the San Francisco Foundation - United Way of the Bay Area worked with many Bay Area organizations to research whether the necessary collaborations are in place to ensure the nonprofit sector can respond as needed during disaster. This report reveals the results of that research.

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