Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant aids hurricane recovery & increases disaster preparedness

The Community Foundation Tampa Bay has received a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. This grant will help Tampa Bay nonprofits with ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Idalia and increase the resilience of local nonprofits in handling hurricanes, tropical storms and other emergencies.

These resiliency and preparedness efforts are needed because Tampa was rated as the planet’s seventh-most vulnerable city to major storms, according to a recent World Bank study. Tampa Bay could sustain $175 billion in damage if a major storm makes a direct hit on Tampa.

The threat is very real. Forecasters are predicting that the 2024 hurricane season (June 1- November 30, 2024) will be a record year for the North Atlantic. Predictions show the storm basin is expected to produce 30-33 named storms, which have been increasingly stronger and wetter over the past few years.

The grant funds will help the Tampa Bay region prepare for the expected active hurricane season. It will also help our region be more resilient after a hurricane, tropical storm or disaster strikes.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s grant could not have come at a better time,” says Marlene Spalten, President and CEO of the Community Foundation Tampa Bay.

The Community Foundation has already awarded $124,000 through four grants. The four initial grants were provided through two of the Community Foundation’s many funding vehicles: Critical Needs List and Competitive Grants.

Recovery from Hurricane Idalia

Two grants were provided to organizations that had lasting effects from Hurricane Idalia:

  • Community Food Bank of Citrus County feeds more than 70,000 people monthly and received $45,000 to replenish supplies after the Community Food Bank fully stocked more than sixty food pantries, ministries, shelters, and soup kitchens across the Nature Coast’s Hernando, Sumter, and Citrus counties in the wake of Hurricane Idalia.
  • Pasco Kids First is a children’s advocacy center that prevents, intervenes and heals child abuse and neglect. One of Pasco Kids First’s buildings was flooded by Hurricane Idalia, halting services to expectant parents and families with young kids. A $30,000 grant was used to replenish operational funds that were significantly impacted by the unexpected damages and ensure services would continue.

Community preparedness and resiliency

In addition, the Community Foundation Tampa Bay awarded two grants to nonprofits that are working on increasing community preparedness and resiliency efforts to prepare for the next hurricane or disaster:

  • Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay is an organization focused on repairing homes of Floridians on fixed incomes. They were awarded a $25,000 grant to educate residents about hurricane preparedness steps and assist homeowners with repairs in the wake of natural disasters. In addition, the grant funds will support Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay’s Hurricane Response Distribution Center, which provides short- and long-term recovery support to low-income homeowners in hurricane-impacted areas of Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.
  • Sol Relief is an alliance of local and international organizations, government agencies, educational partners, and community leaders with a common goal of effectively responding, strengthening, and serving communities affected by disasters. To support Sol Relief’s Hurricane Preparedness Workshops, they were awarded a $24,000 grant. This will help engage the Tampa Bay community in disaster planning and preparation and in building resilience before the next major disaster.

The Community Foundation will distribute the remaining funds from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to local nonprofits that help Tampa Bay’s most vulnerable residents survive, recover and thrive after a disaster. These recovery and resilience efforts could include restoration, mitigation, disaster simulation exercises, continuity of operations planning, and distribution of preparedness supplies.

Join the Community Foundation Tampa Bay and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in increasing our community’s resilience. Donate to the Tampa Bay Rapid Response Fund, which provides quick-response grants to nonprofits that are responding to local residents’ needs when a disaster or crisis in our region.

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