THRIVE THROUGH CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY : Firms Urged to Back Fund for Instant Disaster Aid

Article excerpt

The New Orleans hurricane tragedy has prompted the Birmingham Foundation to call for firms to rethink the way they support the charity.

Harvey Mansfield from the Birmingham Foundation believes business leaders can help its endowment fund to grow and be capable of delivering immediate financial aid to offer relief to people after similar tragedies - such as the tornado that blew through the city just months ago.

The call for action comes as a report received by the foundation from its namesake in Alabama, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, shows how it was able to offer immediate financial support to help foundations closer to the disaster area.

Emily Jones Rushing, from Birmingham Alabama, reports: "You can see on our website the kind of funds we have set up. We are charging no administrative fee, but simply putting the money together to pass on to our sister community foundations that are closer to the affected areas.

"Hundreds of people have come to Birmingham, either to stay with friends and family, in hotels, or in our main civic centre, where they are currently being served with basic necessities.

"As a community foundation, we are meeting with other nonprofits to talk about how to handle long term needs. Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc. are doing the immediate work, plus churches and many volunteers, but we know that we may end up with many people who move here permanently or at least for many months and will need a way to be rehoused.

"In fact, Jewish Family Services, which helped many Russian Jews to move to this area some years ago, is providing a lot of the advice on how best to do this.

"About ten years ago, a tornado in the western part of our county devastated many lives in a similar way, so we have a pattern of response to follow - wait to see what the real needs are, let the experts do what they know how to do and then, as foundations, process donations and work to supply funds for long term effort The email has ensured the Birmingham Foundation review its approach. …