By Los Angeles Region Grants Specialist, Sabrina Skacan

Recently, the W. M. Keck Foundation stepped-up in support of emergency preparedness with a generous $300,000 grant to the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region’s campaign to make LA better prepared for, safer during and more resilient after emergencies and disasters. The Red Cross considers a resilient community to possess the physical, psychological, social, and economic capacity to survive during and recover after an emergency or disaster. With the PrepareLA Campaign, the goal is to increase resiliency through improving region-wide preparedness levels among individuals, households and communities.

In addressing risk, PrepareLA targets specific neighborhoods, using a whole community approach focused on preparedness education and outreach, volunteer recruitment and participation in community coalitions. In this capacity, the W. M. Keck Foundation’s support will specifically benefit the communities of South L.A. and Wilmington.

Studies show having the resources and plans in place to withstand an emergency or disaster are key components to mitigating disaster risk and resuming normal lives more quickly. Facts also show that families already struggling financially can sometimes be pushed into destitution after an emergency or disaster. That’s why creating community coalitions and partnerships among residents, elected officials, government agencies, organizations and businesses is essential to facilitate more effective prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery.

As part of the PrepareLA Campaign, the Red Cross works to build action teams within local communities. With these community action teams (CAT) a greater integration of resources from across the community as well as increased inter-agency and multi-sector cooperation will form to generate self-sufficiency and community resilience in the face of emergencies and disasters. Plus, a successful coalition will determine, ahead of a disaster, what needs, assets and capabilities the community requires, for example, pin-pointing possible shelter locations.

South L.A. and Wilmington will have a strong foundation to build upon, thanks to the generosity of the W. M. Keck Foundation and their commitment to helping create a better prepared, safer and more resilient Los Angeles. 

Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering. The Foundation also supports undergraduate education and established a Southern California Program that seeks to promote the education and healthy development of children and youth, strengthen families and enhance the lives of people in the greater Los Angeles area.


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