HOUSTON, TX (May 31, 2023) – Two nonprofits widely recognized for leading a range of disaster recovery efforts, from natural disasters to health emergencies, are expanding their partnership with the launch of the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance (Disaster Alliance). Powered by Greater Houston Community Foundation (Foundation) and United Way of Greater Houston (UWGH), the new alliance is working to strengthen year-round overall disaster preparedness to ensure that the greater Houston region has the social service network and systems in place to respond rapidly, equitably and effectively in times of disaster. The launch of the Disaster Alliance is made possible by a combined $1.5 million investment from Enbridge and Phillips 66.
The Disaster Alliance marks the next phase in a partnership formalized two years ago between Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston to coordinate philanthropic response to disaster recovery in Greater Houston and enhance our region’s resiliency. Previously, the two organizations collaborated with City and County leadership, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo, to address urgent community needs prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Winter Storm Uri that struck the region with devastating impact. Working together, and with the support of hundreds of individuals, local foundations, and businesses, they raised and deployed a total of $34.7 million in philanthropic support in the local community in response to these two historic events.
The funding and formation of the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance will allow the Foundation and UWGH to develop faster and more effective ways to raise and deploy funds in the aftermath of a disaster; enhancing systems that support equitable access to recovery resources for vulnerable populations; and building a lasting coalition of public and private leaders to strengthen region-wide disaster resiliency in advance of disasters.
“When it comes to disasters, it’s only a matter of time before the Houston region will be impacted again and the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance gives us the opportunity to take a more proactive and effective approach to disaster recovery and resiliency,” said Stephen Maislin, president and CEO, Greater Houston Community Foundation. “Having the generous support of Enbridge and Phillips 66 is extremely meaningful and we are grateful to them for prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our community.”
Fueled by the initial investment from Enbridge and Phillips 66, the Disaster Alliance is focused on maintaining and strengthening year-round disaster preparedness and recovery. This collaborative work, with dedicated staff, will include:
Establishing a disaster-ready infrastructure that strengthens the Disaster Alliance’s ability to lead a community-wide philanthropic response in the aftermath of a disaster and to administer disaster funds raised.
Pursuing disaster recovery and resiliency partnerships with nonprofit organizations to accelerate disaster relief and address potential service gaps.
Promoting continuous learning and preparedness among disaster recovery partners.
Developing policies and practices to accelerate early response grantmaking.
Establishing a council of public-private leaders to align disaster resiliency and recovery strategies.
Pursuing funding for resources that accelerate disaster fundraising and provide seed funding for ongoing innovation.
“With every disaster, we see that families and individuals who were already struggling to afford the basic necessities are disproportionately impacted when crisis strikes,” said Amanda McMillian, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Houston. “Recognizing the economic peril that many in our community face when disaster strikes, compels us to develop the most effective and equitable social service response that we can now. That is why the work of the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance is so important.”
In addition to dedicated staff, the Disaster Alliance will be led by a Disaster Council made up of community and business leaders with experience in disaster recovery, and the CEOs of the Foundation and UWGH, to provide strategic oversight of joint funds that are stood up to respond to a specific disaster/crisis in Houston. In the event of a large-scale disaster, a separate Fund Leadership Council will be formed to support fundraising as quickly and effectively as possible to meet community needs equitably.
Enbridge and Phillips 66 are each donating $250,000 a year for three years to fund the Disaster Alliance. Both companies have longstanding commitments to safety and well-being among their employees and the communities they serve, making it a natural fit for them to invest in building infrastructure that enhances the resiliency of the greater Houston community in times of disaster.
"Enbridge is keen about safety and being prepared for events that may occur is a critical part of that. The Disaster Alliance gives hard-working Houstonians the tools and resources to navigate future natural disasters and their long-term impact,” said Greg Ebel, Enbridge president and CEO. “The partnership builds relationships and systems to improve resiliency, response, and recovery in our region. This is vitally important work that we are proud to support.”
“Phillips 66 is committed to building a stronger, safer, more resilient community,” said Mark Lashier, Phillips 66 president and CEO. “The Disaster Alliance works toward that goal by inspiring action, identifying solutions and improving lives. It’s a purposeful partnership that will make Houston more secure economically, socially and environmentally.”
Building on the initial investment from Enbridge and Phillips 66, the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance will seek additional funding and partnership opportunities to strengthen its longevity.
For more information on the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance, visit www.disasteralliance.org, and to learn more about each organization visit the websites for Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston.