Edited by Jonathan Rochkind with help from Radical Reference.
Last Updated: 20 October 05
This page is meant to aid people in their research to discover socially responsible venues of Hurricane Katrina relief. We are attempting to help you find relief efforts that meet one or more of these conditions:
- Have direct grassroots connections to local communities and organizations (especially of poor people and people of color)
- Are organized in such a way to empower local communities, directed by or accountable to local communities and fostering democratic decision making by local communities (especially poor people and people of color)
- Have a strong social justice agenda, building local capacity to resist oppression and build grassroots democracy, rather than simply providing charity or immediate services.
- Are less well known than some of the bigger national organizations, where a relatively small donation can make a big difference.
This page is a research aid, not a recommendation from us. The organizations and efforts listed here are not personally known or recommended by the editor or Radical Reference. Where available, we will hilight attributed recommendations by other recognized progressive and radical entities. Suggestions for additional information can be sent to info [at] radicalreference.org.
A list of grassroots organizations that provide immediate disaster relief to poor people and people of color.
Generally, efforts included in the above extensive directory from Spark Foundation/Mayday are not duplicated here in this Radical Reference list.
A national network of [progressive] faith-based community organizations working to create innovative solutions to problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities.
To donate money or other resources please call Alia Zaki, PICO Operations Manager, who is coordinating this effort. Her phone number: 619-501-1804 azaki [at] piconetwork.org
"The Tides community has a history of supporting victims of natural and civil disasters across the globe, and many of you have already contacted us about this terrible event. As always, Tides staff will work closely with groups to identify how money can best be distributed. The Rapid Response Fund pools donors' resources to increase the impact of their giving, and our staff quickly researches and distributes the funds. Tides works to ensure the money is received by effective grassroots and advocacy organizations working for short-term relief as well as for long-term economic and structural change."
Via Campesina is an international farmers/peasants movement. They sent out a press release identifying relief efforts targetted at family farmers and rural areas which are supported/reccommended by their US member, the National Family Farm Coalition. These include:
"Cafe Mawonaj has been organizing to provide aid to people in Algiers (current population 5000), and Ward 7, 8, and 9 of New Orleans since the week after Katrina hit.
"Cafe Mawonaj has made three trips from DC to New Orleans in the last few weeks, bringing in much needed supplies (medical, food, and clothing). They are working with MayDay DC, Common Dreams, and Food Not Bombs to provide daily feedings and an extremely important 'First Aid Center.'"
Our friend Kate from the Iron Rail Bookstore and Library in New Orleans (which thankfully has not yet been flooded/burned down) says that if you want to support local, class-and race-conscious organizers working with displaced New Orleans residents, the following are worthy candidates:
Community Labor United Critical Resistance
If ever there is a moment to call for examination and correcting of social justice related issues, it is now. Following are the websites of several groups from the South that have joined in the recovery efforts and are
raising the flag for social justice:
- The Praxis Project has
a page on what can be done to help Katrina victims that includes legislative action, strategy tips, and links to groups.
- The Southern Empowerment Project has links to many Southern justice groups that are responding to Katrina.
We will keep you informed as new projects and movements emerge.
Compiled by hip-hop artist Kevin Powell.
List of organizations reccommended by Alternet, a progressive/alternative media site.
The NYCoRE provides a curriculur resource for educators: An Unnatural Disaster: A Critical Guide for Addressing the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Classroom. The guide includes as an appendix a nice list of "grassroots organizations offering charitable giving alternatives to the massive NGOs utilizing most of the contributions flooding their accounts for administrative costs," compiled with some of the same goals we have here.
"Get Your Act On! is a non-partisan network of concerned groups and individuals that support dignity, respect and fundamental human rights for all. Our mission is to foster a solid social and political network throughout New Orleans focusing on finding areas of agreement while setting aside differences, creating a broad range of peoples working together to effect real and necessary change."
The group has worked on voter registration drives and, post-Katrina, is planning to run a soup kitchen out of a house in New Orleans in the aftermath.
The National Congress of American Indians has set up a relief fund to assist tribes and their members in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Six federally recognized tribes are located in the three states, which were hit by wind, rain and flooding.
To donate to the NCAI Hurricane Relief Fund, send donations to:
National Congress of American Indians
1301 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Put Hurricane Relief in subject line of check. All donations will go to the tribes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Also, relief information from Infoshop News about mutual aid efforts.
A project in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, set up in cooperation with local residents and supported by Infoshop News, Mayday DC, and members of Asheville APOC, "organized on a cooperative, non-hierarchical basis, which stresses the importance of solidarity instead of charity." For more information see also this article on Infoshop News.
The Neighborhood story Project "will spend the next 4 months working with evacuee high school students to document the stories of people living in the Astrodome. They are in the process of reprinting the original Neighborhood Story Project Books at a printshop in Houston. The original books, each written by a high school student about their neighborhood in New Orleans, were the best-selling books in New Orleans over the summer, behind Harry Potter 6. All remaining copies were destroyed in the flooding."
"The Neighborhood Story Project books are a great way for young people whose families have lost everything in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to make money as authors, and to tell the stories of their communities and culture in New Orleans. Book sales will also support efforts by the NSP to help young people document the stories and experiences of evacuees living in the Astrodome."
"Anyone who wants to help get their local independent bookstore to take a box of these incredible books to sell as a way to raise money for relief and recovery, and as a way to get out the amazing stories of the people and neighborhoods of New Orleans, please contact jamieschweser [at] yahoo.com."
A nonprofit community development financial institution started ten years ago by an African-American church congregation. They also sponsor the HOPE Community Credit Union.
Baton Rouge Catholic Worker
1275 Laurel St
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Publication: Baton Rouge Catholic Worker
"The People’s Institute was created to develop more analytical, culturally-rooted and effective community organizers....Today, The People’s Institute is recognized as one of the foremost anti-racism training and organizing institutions in the nation." They are currently trying to rebuild their offices.
The NOMC is a grassroots organization that provides free medical care to musicians in New Orleans. They have relocated to Lafayette to re-establish themselves and start helping displaced musicians.
Emergence Broadcast System is a New York-based anarchist project that is "bringing wireless communications to people in and around New Orleans, setting up mobile info-points where they can access internet, e-mail and make phone calls to friends and family." They can accept monetary donations.
"The Geaux Library Project will attempt to meet the information needs at hurricane evacuee shelters around Louisiana and beyond. Using computers and networking equipment donated to the Red Cross and others by large commercial and local IT companies, we will be setting up small computer labs at Red Cross shelters and staffing them with librarians and other trained volunteers."
You can help this project by donating office supplies (or gift certificates for supplies). They cannot accept monetary donations. If you can get to Louisiana and have appropriate training, you can be a volunteer.
Mostly mainstream organizations are highlighted on the "donate" list, but this site is a good way to find all kinds of volunteer opportunities.