Humanist Disaster Recovery Year in Review


HDR logo FINALS B horizontal general 2This year, Foundation Beyond Belief revamped and grew its very successful Crisis Response program. Following four major disaster drives last year, Foundation Beyond Belief took time to reflect on our disaster programming. We asked ourselves two questions: 1) How can we be more effective? and 2) How can we help more survivors? The answers to these questions came in the form of overhauling our existing Crisis Response program, the addition of two new disaster programs, and growing our disaster staff.
HDR logo FINALS B driveOur first step was to fine tune and mature our Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive program (formally Humanist Crisis Response). Since the program was founded in 2012, more than $100,000 has been raised for secular organizations working on the ground after disasters around the world. This year we refocused our goals of the program, promoting sustainable, locally driven, community recovery. The Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive provides financial support to secular organizations on the ground working to meet the needs of survivors after disaster. This year the Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive raised funds for two secular organization working to assist refugee children from Central America through the United States legal system. With so many disasters occurring around the world each year, there are times when organizations like ours need to make difficult decisions about whether or not we can effectively help by getting involved, a process we think of as “Responsible Giving in Disasters.”

HDR logo FINALS B teamsSecond, we launched Humanist Disaster Recovery Teams under the direction of Rebecca Vitsmun. HDR Teams’ mission is to provide the nontheistic community an avenue through which to volunteer when disaster strikes. Team members will be thoroughly trained and deployed to help survivors with recovery efforts post-disaster. This program is breaking boundaries not only because it is the first secular-humanist disaster recovery program in the United States but also for being completely evidence-based. Learn more about the program here.

HDR logo FINALS B networkFinally, FBB has laid the groundwork for the Humanist Disaster Recovery Network. HDR Network's mission is to connect and coordinate the secular community in times of disaster and to raise awareness of FBB's recovery efforts to maximize our contribution to those in need. If you’re interested in signing up to hear about the work the Humanist Disaster Recovery programs are doing and to be alerted when a Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive is launched, please e-mail As part of our efforts to communicate with the broader humanist community, we also launched the Science of Disasters blog series. This monthly series seeks to communicate the science behind disaster management, which underlies all of our evidence-based programing.

HDR logo FINALS B general 2In sum, this year has been about building the Foundation’s capacity to be able to best meet the varied needs of disaster survivors around the world. These three programs, HDR Drive, HDR Teams, and HDR Network, ensure FBB's humanist disaster recovery efforts contribute to a timely, appropriate, and effective recovery for local, regional, and national disasters throughout the world. We now have five core staff and volunteers working on our Humanist Disaster Recovery programs weekly, with more staff joining us when a Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive is launched.

If you would like more information about any of the Humanist Disaster Recovery programs, please e-mail Samantha Montano at