Giving to Regional Relief Efforts — Colorado Floods

Floods have swept across an almost 200 mile swath of Colorado, creating widespread devastation. Colorado's Emergency Management Department has reported numerous fatalities, at least 1200 missing, and more than 11,700 residents who have been evacuated from their homes. 1500 buildings have been destroyed from the flooding, and over 17,000 have been damaged.1

Due to the breadth of the flooding's impact, it may be days or weeks before the full scale of the destruction can be assessed.

Important Considerations When Giving to Flood Relief Efforts

Floods typically inflict the greatest property damage among natural disasters, as flood waters impact property and infrastructure to varying degrees over a large geographic footprint. During floods, the initial focus is on providing victims with aid and ensuring that their immediate food and temporary housing needs are met. Later phases concentrate on rebuilding infrastructure, supporting lost jobs, and creating disaster preparedness plans to reduce future risks.

After a natural disaster, many donors are inclined to quickly respond to urgent requests for assistance, and provide immediate relief to the affected community. While immediate aid is critical to emergency relief efforts, it is also important to consider the needs throughout the four phases of a disaster, some of which may extend several years after a tragic event occurs.

Learn more about the four phases of a disaster in Giving Toward Disaster Relief.

Supporting Disaster Relief Efforts

Donors have many ways to support communities affected by disaster. Immediately after a flood, national aid organizations are typically on the front lines, as they have specialized training in disaster response.

Fidelity Charitable has confirmed that the American National Red Cross is actively providing aid and resources for the Colorado floods. If donors would like to support the Red Cross' efforts, it has asked donors to give to its Disaster Relief Fund at the address below.

Organization Address Tax ID Number

American National Red Cross

PO BOX 37243
Washington, DC 20013
530196605

Please note that this does not represent a full list of organizations raising money for the relief efforts needed as a result of floods. Fidelity Charitable does not endorse this organization, and provides this information for reference purposes only. All grant recommendations are subject to review and approval by the Fidelity Charitable Trustees.

Local support considerations

Supporting a local charity directly can have a significant impact on an affected region, as these organizations typically have expertise in both the geographic area and a specific issue area. HelpColoradoNow.org, a collaborative effort of the Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Department of Homeland Security, is a resource developed on behalf of communities affected by natural disasters and describes ways in which the public can help Colorado recover.

When giving locally, donors should review an organization's operational track record in disaster relief and its relevant service capabilities, as well as confirm it can handle a large volume of donations. If donors are thinking of supporting the impacted community, it can be helpful to visit the websites of local grantmakers to determine where they are making grants. Examples of such organizations would be an established foundation with local grantmaking staff or a local community foundation, such as the Community Foundation serving Boulder County. Donors may also want to visit the website of a local United Way chapter, such as the Foothills United Way.

If a charity has established a fund to support the flood victims you should seek to understand the following:

  • How will grants be allocated and overseen, and what type of reporting will be provided to donors?
  • Does the sponsoring organization have a track-record of successfully administering funds and grant making programs in the relevant service areas?

Faith-based support considerations

Faith-based charitable organizations are often at the forefront of a local response. Local houses of worship or religious relief agencies may be supporting the effort. For additional information about faith-based giving, contact your particular house of worship or its relief agency to learn more about its role in disaster relief before recommending a grant for this purpose.

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Read more about Disaster Relief

American National Red Cross

In times of a domestic disaster, the American National Red Cross plays a particularly central role in coordinating and responding to the needs of those affected. In fact, while the Red Cross is independent from the government, it has been chartered by Congress since 1905 to have the power to respond to domestic and international disasters as well as the duty to the nation and disaster victims to do so.