US-Nepal Fund: Support Beyond the Immediate Response
When a natural disaster strikes, there is an urgent and immediate need for search and rescue, emergency medical attention, and basic humanitarian relief including access to safe water, food, and shelter. Long-term assistance, however, is just as critical for rebuilding communities and supporting their capacity to thrive post-catastrophe. Education, employment, and support to vulnerable populations, particularly children and marginalized communities, must quickly follow or be combined with immediate basic needs to ensure a society gets back on its feet. These are the US Nepal Fund’s grantmaking focus areas.
In Nepal, where twenty-five percent of the population was already living in poverty, the 2015 series of earthquakes made people’s lives even more unstable. In the days after the earthquakes, the Boston Foundation set up the US-Nepal Fund, intended to disburse funds for the medium-term response. Often, emergency funds flow in immediately after a disaster, but once the media’s focus has passed there are few resources available to continue the inevitably-needed support. With a generous matching grant from the Ansara Family Fund at the Boston Foundation, the US-Nepal Fund raised over $175,000 to support organizations responding to the earthquakes.
Building on the model of The Boston Foundation’s Haiti Fund, the Grants Committee of the US-Nepal Fund is comprised primarily of Nepali-Americans. They drew on their expertise on the country, and on their local connections to recruit quality organizational applicants and to make informed decisions about impact. The Fund aimed to provide support mainly to local grassroots organizations, as they are often overlooked in emergency response, yet are among the first responders after a disaster, and are committed to be there for the long-term.
TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy spent the past year facilitating the Grants Committee, assisting them with identifying shared values and grant criteria, reviewing Expressions of Interest, and finally, reviewing grant proposals. TPI staff and the Grants Committee recently came together to make final recommendations for disbursal of the funds. All the recipient organizations now also have 501(c)3 equivalency determinations, making them equivalent to US public charities, and opening the door for them to receive additional philanthropic gifts from US-based donors.
We are pleased to share the details of the six grant recipients:
- Daayitwa Community Farming Project: Increases livelihood opportunities and stimulates the local economy using a community farming approach in five villages in the Ramechhap District.
- Her Turn: Provides workshops on education, empowerment, health, and safety to girls ages 12 to 16 who live in rural communities and have dropped out of school, and pilots similar workshops with boys in that age group, including education on harmful gender norms.
- Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association: Creates economic opportunities for women through beekeeping training, and provides hives, cook stoves, and solar lights to earthquake-affected households, and provides scholarships for children to attend school.
- Kathmandu University Business Incubation Center: Provides youth skills development in masonry and construction and training in business creation to enable youth in the earthquake-affected areas to establish micro-enterprises.
- Nepal Rises & All Hands Volunteers: Supports continued construction of a primary school, and international organization All Hands Volunteers provides capacity building and mentorship to Nepal Rises, ensuring a strong, local organization is prepared for emergency responses in the future.
- Survivors Nepal: Plays a key role in increasing access to government-funded reconstruction in Sindhupalchowk District, through raising awareness and knowledge of how to access funds, assisting in preparation of the required documents, coordinating among actors, and advocating to the National Reconstruction Authority for models that have been effective for hard-to-reach populations.
With a grant from the US-Nepal Fund, each of these organizations will be able to extend their reach in local community, while building capacity to ensure long-term stability should disaster strike again.