Per the Foundation’s policy, the Foundation does not provide disaster relief. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created an unprecedented scenario that caused the Foundation to make an exception and to put aside its usual grant‐making process and provide expedited support to help rebuild affordable housing and assist community development efforts in the affected region. The Foundation supported a total of 8 organizations, making one-time grants and Program-Related Investments (PRIs) that totaled $4,875,000 and providing $1,708,500 in interest and principal forgiveness for existing PRIs.

In 2012, the Foundation commissioned an evaluation of this 2005 hurricane-related funding. Our charge to the evaluation team was twofold: 

  • Assess the outcomes and impact of our grants and PRIs
  • Identify any important lessons from this one-time response for any future occasions when the Foundation might make an exception to its policy and provide disaster-related support.

In brief, the Foundation’s 2005 Gulf Coast funding had a meaningful impact. While the Foundation cannot know with certainty whether its response to 2005 Gulf Coast disaster was ideal or if alternatives would have yielded more or better results, this evaluation did find that the Foundation’s investments had a meaningful impact through a generally successful mix of activities, especially when considered relative to the modest scope of the effort and the limited funding and staff time deployed. Collectively, the Foundation helped 8 funding recipients leverage more than approximately $201.7 million in the form of additional funds, loans, and commitments for the development and financing of affordable housing and other community development activities in the Gulf Coast region. With one exception, all of the funding recipients achieved or exceeded the basic goals set forth in 2005, and all are recognized as key players in the overall, ongoing recovery efforts that have been underway since that time.

Additional findings and learnings from this evaluation are outlined in the full report.