St. Croix Foundation Releases Data Reports on Post-Hurricane Conditions

CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) DJAMES@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 29, 2018

St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation for Community Development is pleased to announce to the community the release of two reports that summarize the data collected in two surveys conducted post Hurricanes Irma and Maria: the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment.

The first report, A Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Survey, was launched on the island of St. Croix three weeks after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in order to determine the immediate needs of local nonprofits. Because the Foundation had full internet connectivity and electricity the organization quickly became a hub for over 25 displaced nonprofit organizations and relief agencies for the next 100 days. Senior Program Officer, Lilli Cox commented that “Our work with St. Croix’s nonprofits has taught us that our civic sector plays a critical role in our community. After the storm, the Foundation witnessed countless nonprofit organizations mobilize to serve children and families, the elderly, and residents who had medical needs and who were unable to receive help from government agencies. We knew we needed data about the sector’s capacity to fulfill the increased demands for their services in order support them and get them fully functioning.”

The survey was conducted within the first 60 days and during that time, the Foundation polled 28 nonprofits; although responses were limited due to communication interruptions, the organization was able to direct resources to 60% of nonprofits that responded to the survey. Armed with data, the Foundation provided referrals to DEMA (the Danish Emergency Management Agency) for repairs and mitigation work to stabilize facilities, such as a blue roof for the Caribbean Center for Boys and Girls and flood mitigation work for the St. Croix Landmarks Society. The Foundation also secured grant funding, provided free office space, and made vital connections for nonprofits based on the first survey.

As efforts shifted from immediate relief to longer term recovery, the St. Croix Foundation launched a follow-up nonprofit survey asking in-depth questions to further understand the damages, losses, operational statuses, current needs, and more of local nonprofits. A total of 57 nonprofit organizations submitted surveys. The St. Croix Foundation is urging nonprofits to use this information as a tool to further capacity building and grant efforts, ultimately building a more resilient community. Cox stated, “This data has been invaluable in assisting the Foundation in knowing how to best support our nonprofits, how to be strategic with our grantmaking, how to advocate nationally for further support, and determining what technical or administrative assistance will have the most impact. It’s incredibly important to see the story, the people, behind the data.” The report provides data indicating that, 4.5 to 5.5 months after the storm, 73% of organizations polled were still operating on a limited basis or not at all yet almost 70% of organizations had seen an increase in demand for their services or programs.

Also released today is St. Croix Foundation’s second report summarizing results from the Foundation’s Individual and Household Needs Assessment Survey. In an effort to fill the void of data collection regarding highly impacted neighborhoods and individuals and to streamline the supply chain of hurricane relief supplies, the St. Croix Foundation developed a survey to inform immediate relief strategies.

To conduct the surveys, Foundation team members developed questions with input from community partners and then recruited and trained 50 volunteers to administer the survey with an emphasis placed on compassion, useful techniques, consistency in approach, and setting realistic expectations for residents about how the information being gathered would be used. Data was gathered using convenience sampling. Early on in the data collection phase of the project, volunteer surveyors were dispatched to community events where large groups of hurricane survivors would be gathered such as at free hurricane relief supply distribution events. Residents were typically approached for their voluntary participation in the survey while they were waiting in line. As data collection progressed, by early November shifts in recovery began to occur including an increase in power restoration, more residents returning to work, and fewer relief distribution events being held. At that time, SCF’s Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Coordinator reviewed the estates (neighborhoods) represented in the existing sample and strategically dispatched volunteers to locations to capture the needs of residents in areas that the Foundation knew to be hard hit but had been under-sampled or not sampled at all. In few instances volunteers were dispatched in teams for door-to-door outreach in targeted neighborhoods or housing complexes. An emphasis was placed on reaching low to moderate income residents to ensure their needs and perspectives would be represented in future conversations about recovery.

Responses were collected from over 1,000 individuals. Executive Director Deanna James stated that “The data from this report helped the Foundation to make over 350 referrals that resulted in residents receiving targeted public assistance. This information was vital and quickly helped the Foundation steer agencies in the right direction in terms of long term planning.”

St. Croix Foundation expresses deep gratitude to the partnering agencies that made both surveys possible. The vision could not have come to life without the support of volunteers and the community at large.

The Foundation’s two surveys and accompanying reports were funded through the St. Croix Foundation’s CARE Fund, which is supporting holistic recovery through a community-based approach to future development. In the early days after the hurricanes, the Foundation’s CARE Fund facilitated the shipment and distribution of hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, water, clothing, baby supplies and medical supplies and sponsored the shipment and security of over 117,847 pounds of critical relief supplies. Today, the Foundation is supporting St. Croix nonprofits through grantmaking, technical skill development, and advocacy as well as serving as the fiscal sponsor for hurricane recovery projects such as the St. Croix Long Term Recovery Group.

The CARE Fund which funded the data collection is made possible by countless local and national individuals, corporations, grassroots movements, and foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, AARP Foundation, Limetree Bay Terminals and Crucian Gold among many other generous philanthropic partners who support the Foundation’s operations to ensure the sound development and administration of its own programs.

For more information on the St. Croix Foundation visit the Foundation’s website at www.stxfoundation.org or contact the St. Croix Foundation directly at 340-773-9898. Read the Nonprofit Disaster Recovery and Capacity Assessment Summary and the Individual and Household Needs Assessment Summary here.

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