On Wednesday, Zurich Insurance Group announced that its Z Zurich Foundation is giving a $3 million grant to St. Bernard Project (SBP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping disaster-impacted communities recover.
The grant is a three-year commitment to create a Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab that will share lessons learned in New Orleans after Katrina to help others be better prepared for future disasters.
The Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab is not intended to be a physical structure but rather a model for increasing the resilience of individuals, families and businesses that potentially face or are recovering from natural disasters.
Before a disaster, SBP will work with community leaders, homeowners and small- to mid-sized businesses to mitigate risk and increase resilience.
After a disaster, the charitable organization will be on-site to share its standardized recovery model, which incorporates skills-based volunteering to capitalize on each person’s professional skills and specialized talents.
The Z Zurich Foundation, the community investment arm of Zurich Insurance Group, has a mission to build resilience by helping people understand and protect themselves from risk.
In a statement, Mike Foley, CEO North America Commercial and regional chairman of North America for Zurich Insurance Group, said Zurich’s relationship with SBP began five years ago in New Orleans at the Zurich Classic golf tournament.
Zurich made the announcement at the 2014 Zurich Classic.
“Our enhanced relationship combines SBP’s proven recovery model with Zurich’s risk management expertise. It gives us great pride to play a key role in such meaningful efforts,” Foley said.
In the past five years, more than 1,000 Zurich employees, customers, brokers and distributors have teamed up with SBP to rebuild homes in New Orleans, Staten Island and Joplin, where major storms have had devastating impacts.
Best practices learned in New Orleans—where SBP was launched in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina—have been used in rebuilding other communities.
SBP was launched in 2006 by Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney, in response to the significant needs in the New Orleans area following Katrina.
In the years since, SBP has rebuilt homes for nearly 700 families in greater New Orleans, Rockaway and Staten Island in New York, and Joplin, Mo., with the help of 60,000 volunteers.
In March SBP opened an office in Sea Bright, N.J., where 200 families still struggle to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
Sources: Zurich Insurance Group, St. Bernard Project