Joplin area nonprofits will soon have access to customized disaster preparation and training programs designed to help them create or supplement existing plans.
The Resilient Community training is being paid for from a $248,000 national grant awarded to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, based in Springfield. As many as 15 agencies can apply, and it will include several training sessions starting in January, as well as help developing customized plans.
The program is designed for “next responders” or “second responders” — agencies that don’t provide immediate disaster response as a main function of their work, but which would offer services needed during a recovery phase.
“If disasters are already their business, then this is not right for them,” said foundation spokeswoman Louise Knauer. “This is for agencies who would potentially be called in during a communitywide disaster situation.”
She cited churches, food distribution agencies, a library system, a YMCA, child care and animal welfare supporters as examples.
At the end of the program, participants will have the chance to apply for grants of up to $5,000 each to implement some aspect of their plan, including purchasing a generator to keep an office running during a power outage, or to purchase hardware to back up files.
“There are a lot of different disaster seminars out there, but what happens with a lot of them, they get training and they get back to work and it’s business as usual and they don’t get around to implementing what they learned,” Knauer said. “We designed this so they would come out of it with either a plan or an updated plan if they already had the start of something in place.
“Then, we’ll do one-on-one consulting with them to help them with their specific needs.”
The money also provided for similar training in Springfield, where nonprofits completed their session last spring.
“We gave Joplin a little more time to get further along from tornado recovery and learn a little bit from Springfield,” Knauer said. “Joplin, having been through a lot of the principles we’re teaching, we wanted to make sure we got it right with this because if we didn’t, they’d be the first ones to spot it.”
CCFA Partners, Inc., a community resilience consulting firm, will facilitate the program as well as engage topic experts on specific aspects of disaster resiliency to participate in the training.
The grant was funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, based in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Community Foundation of the Ozarks President Brian Fogle said the granting organization is an important partner and resource for CFO, considering the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters over and above the types of situations that can strike individual nonprofits or communities anywhere. It previously supported the CFO’s recovery efforts for the May 2011 Joplin tornado and the February 2012 Branson tornado.
“We share a common philosophy that building resilience is one of the best practices to ensure a more successful recovery process,” Fogle said.
The application is available at www.formstack.com/forms/CFO-resilientcommunity. The deadline to apply is Jan. 10.
Up to three representatives from an organization must be available to participate in the program’s four quarterly workshops. The sessions will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 28, Feb. 25, April 1 and May 13. Sessions will take place at Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center in Joplin.
One size fits all
Louise Knauer, spokeswoman for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, said disaster plans can help area agencies beyond a large-scale disaster. “Once it’s in place, it’s there for you whether you’ve got a situation that only affects your own agency, like a fire or a staff emergency, or a communitywide disaster — basically any contingency.”