Take This Opportunity to Understand Disaster and Resilience through a Gender Lens

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Take This Opportunity to Understand Disaster and Resilience through a Gender Lens

By Ana Oliveira, President and CEO, The New York Women’s Foundation

In Fall 2012, The New York Women’s Foundation launched our Hurricane Sandy Response & Recovery Fund in an effort to support marginalized populations in low-income communities most devastated by the storm. We recognized that many groups, including low-income women, homeless LGBTQ youth, and undocumented immigrants, were likely to fall through the cracks of recovery efforts and that the conditions of poverty already in existence in their communities would be exacerbated. From our 25 years of working across NYC, we had a very good sense of who the community leaders and organizations were. We also knew they would need additional support to lead their communities not only to recovery, but resiliency.

Three years later, together with our grantee partners, we have developed a greater understanding about the importance of investing in low-income communities through a gender lens in the wake of a natural disaster.  Some of our learnings can be found in the article “A New Lens for Disaster Recovery: Nine Investment Principles for Supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery Among Under-Resourced Women and Families” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

To continue to move this work forward, we are convening a public education forum in partnership with NYU Wagner to discuss the experiences of low-income women in the wake of natural disasters, how community members and organizations must be at the forefront of recovery and resiliency efforts, and the role that philanthropy can play as a strategic funder and partner. We invite you to join us for a discussion titled “Hurricane Sandy: Community Recovery & Resilience” taking place Monday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. with the following panel of experts:

  • Karen Bassuk, Director of Rockaway Wellness Partnership, Visiting Nurse Service of New York
  • Erin McDonald, PhD. Director of Strategic Learning, The New York Women’s Foundation
  • Luna Ranjit, Executive Director, Adhikaar
  • Damaris Reyes, Executive Director, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)
  • Carl Siciliano, Executive Director, The Ali Forney Center
  • Michelle DePass (moderator), Dean, Professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy
  • Keynote remarks from Rae Zimmerman, Professor of Planning & Public Administration, NYU.

To learn more about this program and RSVP, click this link:


As we said in our SSIR piece, leaders from within these unstable communities step forward with passion, dedication, and a fierce will to co-create recovery alongside external partners. But despite having weathered the storm, and actively sought recovery for themselves and others, their voices are often absent from conversations about how best to move forward. Insights from these communities are essential to successful efforts to rebuild; they advance collective knowledge about how marginalized groups experience disaster and uniquely define recovery

We invite funders committed to community resilience in all dimensions to join us.

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