When Disaster Strikes, Businesses Rise to Help

Oct 24, 2016 - 9:00am

President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


A Louisiana National Guardsman guides a Humvee through floodwaters off of I-12 outside of Denham Springs, LA.
A Louisiana National Guardsman guides a Humvee through floodwaters outside Denham Springs, LA.

U.S. businesses have played a crucial role in recovery efforts following several recent natural disasters, including Hurricane Matthew and historic flooding in southern Louisiana. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center (CCC) is proud to help marshal business resources and coordinate these efforts.

When disaster strikes, CCC activates its disaster assistance resources, including the Disaster Help Desk, which is sponsored by the Office Depot Foundation. Any business can call the Help Desk at 1-888-MY-BIZ-HELP for support in navigating the recovery process. CCC also promotes coordination between emergency management officials and companies involved in the response.

Many companies not directly affected by the disaster spring into action by donating money, time, and resources. For example, following Hurricane Matthew, Anheuser-Busch donated 450,000 cans of water, Walmart gave $2 million worth of cash and products, and dozens of others made similar donations, which you can check out with the corporate aid trackers on uschamberfoundation.org.

While short-term disaster response is critical, the business community continues to help long after the storms have fallen out of headlines. Communities often remain deep in the recovery process for months or even years. This is why CCC is leading a corporate delegation trip to Baton Rouge next week to introduce business leaders to nonprofits, chambers, disaster assistance centers, and other community organizations leading the long-term recovery following the August flooding.

These efforts are essential to rebuilding lives, businesses, and communities. If businesses don’t recover, communities don’t recover—and sadly, an estimated 25% of companies permanently shutter after a major disaster. This means lost jobs and opportunities for individuals who may already be facing great personal hardship in the aftermath of the storms. The goal of the U.S. Chamber is to ensure that every impacted business not only survives but continues to grow, hire, and drive their local economies.

It is often in the face of adversity that the very best of business is on display. Hundreds of companies have answered the call to help those affected by the devastation of these recent storms. Hundreds of others have rolled up their sleeves and begun the hard work of getting back to business. But that’s what businesses do every day all across the country. They serve their communities, create opportunities, lead with solutions, respond to problems, and stand up and help in times of need.

About the Author

About the Author

Thomas J. Donahue
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thomas J. Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.