Actions Have Consequences

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Actions have consequences. Sometimes the consequences are unintended. At worst, they are not even considered.

Here at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) we have been spending time and energy thinking through what we do – and how we do it – in order to evaluate whether our actions result in the consequences we intend for them.

One of our intended actions as an organization is to “help vulnerable populations.” This has been one of our commitments from our inception and has been a major focus of our grantmaking. It is set out in our vision: “A world where donors strategically plan for and respond to disasters in order to minimize their impact on vulnerable populations and communities.”

Who is considered part of a “vulnerable population?” And what is the best way to help them?

Consider this example. An NPR investigation found that “across the country, white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth. Studies by sociologists, as well as climate scientists, urban planners and economists, suggest that disasters, and the federal aid that follows, disproportionately benefit wealthier Americans. The same is also true along racial lines, with white communities benefiting disproportionately.”


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