Regional Disaster Readiness Group Convenes in Oklahoma City

Participants at the National Weather Center.

Community foundations from across the Midwest gathered in Oklahoma City Nov. 7-9 to learn about creating resilient communities equipped to more effectively respond to natural disasters. Hosted by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the meeting brought together community foundations and grantmakers from a 10-state region who participate in the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP).

“Located in the epicenter of Tornado Alley, Oklahoma City has considerable experience in disaster recovery,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation President. “By participating in the PPREP partnership, we hope to use our shared experiences to identify best practices and lessons learned to help our community be more resilient and better prepared when natural disaster strikes.”

Facilitated by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, PPREP serves as a learning cohort to provide community foundations with the knowledge, skills, tools and capacity to improve how their communities prepare for and respond to natural disasters and strengthen overall community resilience.

“Community foundations have a unique capacity to pool and efficiently distribute funds following a disaster to ensure that the most effective organizations can deliver resources in a timely and efficient manner,” said Regine A. Webster, vice president of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, an organization aimed at transforming giving toward domestic and international disasters. “In addition, community foundations are positioned to provide leadership and support to communities throughout the long process of disaster recovery, after the media attention is gone.”

During the three-day meeting, the group explored the impact of public policy on the health and resiliency of communities and considered the role that community foundations can play in disaster readiness and recovery. On Nov. 8, the group toured the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma to experience firsthand how researchers observe and predict severe weather to improve forecasts and provide life-saving warnings.