In the wake of the twin tragedies of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, here at Cumberland we are doing what we can to assist and support those organizations that are efficiently deploying resources to help vulnerable households regroup and get back on their feet. We have all heard the stories and statistics about the suffering, loss of personal property, and disruption of gainful employment caused by these natural disasters.
At Cumberland, we underscore the importance of your knowing how monetary contributions can do the most good. It is a basic tenet of our business to support efficient, accountable, responsible nonprofit organizations that charge low fees and invest wisely to ensure a maximum return on charitable dollars, thus generating more funds for good causes.
In addition to the relief efforts underwritten by FEMA, regional and national nonprofits are working around the clock to bring relief to areas impacted by the storms. Locally, those organizations include Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation, both of which have established programs to help those in need. Similar programs have been established throughout Florida and Texas.
To ensure that financial contributions have the maximum positive impact, we urge donors to give smartly and strategically. Here are some questions and ideas to consider:
- Is the independent nonprofit or community foundation roping off your donation exclusively for hurricane relief efforts, or is it bundled into the organization’s general operating account?
- What is the organization’s timeline for distributing your contribution to those in need?
- How efficiently is the organization deploying donors’ gifts? Please visit http://www.guidestar.org/Home.
aspx to review national charities and thegivingpartner.guidestar. org/ for a portal to regional charities.
- If the charity has a larger footprint, it will likely have donor monies invested in a perpetual fund. We encourage our readers to perform due diligence on recipient organizations’ governance standards as they relate to the investment of donor capital, transparency in selecting service providers, cost controls, and conflict of interest policies. For a comprehensive checklist, please see here: cumber.com/an-evaluative-
- Visit the website of the organization to which you are planning to contribute. They may have a “wish list” already posted, which might include such items as the cost of air conditioner repair, roof repair or replacement, or flood mitigation.
- Contact a local community foundation in one of the affected regions, which can recommend where your help is needed most. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County have activated their disaster funds to aid victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (gulfcoastcf.org/, cfsarasota.org).
- In the coming weeks, volunteer your time at a local charity.
Natural disasters like Harvey and Irma are unfortunately unavoidable. But, with your help, subsequent relief efforts can be delivered efficiently and effectively.
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