Corporate Responsibility

Providing trauma support on the heels of disaster.

New York Life | June 4, 2018

New York Life and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities are teaming up to create the “Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster” program which will offer grants totaling $750,000 to nonprofit organizations helping those who are experiencing trauma or grief resulting from natural disaster or a tragedy in their community. While the company has a history of providing much-needed disaster relief and recovery aid, this is the first time New York Life will be engaging in trauma support. Providing long-term disaster support to impacted regions is part of a growing trend by corporations and nonprofit organizations, including IBM, the Linux Foundation the United Nations, and others.

“Unfortunately, a rising number of communities across America are confronting upheaval and grief in the aftermath of tragedy – whether natural or man-made,” said Heather Nesle, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, New York Life. “Understandably, typical disaster response efforts focus on meeting immediate needs of affected individuals. But as a result, they may neglect the deeply felt losses that follow from the disaster or trauma – the ‘secondary losses’ – which are so important to address in order to restore long-term social-emotional health,” said Nesle.

“Research has shown that traumatic events, such as hurricanes, floods, or mass gun violence, can harm children’s physical and mental health, as well as their sense of safety and security,” noted Susan N. Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance. “Building resilience in the face of these disasters using the latest advances in neurosiences and trauma-informed practices, will help promote the overall health and well-being of children, families, and communities.”

In 2017, the U.S. experienced 16 weather-related disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, at a cumulative cost of $306.2 billion, the largest on record. Overall, these events resulted in 362 deaths and significant economic loss in the communities impacted, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. In addition, four of the 10 deadliest shootings in U.S. history occurred in the last two years.

We will work in partnership with the Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities to administer the new grant program for community-based nonprofits. The program, Building Resilience in the Face of Disaster, will fund and administer efforts among nonprofit community-based organizations providing long-term trauma and grief support to those in geographic areas impacted by major weather-related disasters in 2017 as well as some of the deadliest mass shootings that have occurred in the last year and a half.

To receive a grant, organizations such as community centers, affordable housing programs, early education and care programs and others must demonstrate the capacity to successfully implement the program by leveraging experience with trauma-informed care and/or grief services and supports.

The grant program will be led by Jennifer Jones, director of the Change in Mind Institute, which was launched at the end of 2017.

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