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Natural disasters impact hundreds of millions of people every year and claim the lives of nearly 100,000 people annually around the world. This creates a huge toll on families, livelihoods and communities. This year, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve witnessed unprecedented bushfires in Australia, extremely destructive wildfires in California and other parts of the western U.S, and an unprecedented hurricane season in the Atlantic. While it’s important to do our best to prepare for these types of disasters to lessen risks, providing immediate relief and assistance after a disaster is crucial.

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, October 13, was established in 1989 as a day to promote a global culture of disaster risk reduction. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health. The theme for 2020 is ‘disaster risk governance’ to convey the message that many disasters can be avoided or prevented if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place at local and national levels.

Learn more at https://www.undrr.org/.

The Vertex Foundation seeks to make a positive impact in the communities where Vertex is located and help employees engage in community support. In the wake of a disaster, the Foundation is in close contact with nonprofit partners to determine if and how we can make a meaningful impact. To ensure our donations get to where they are most needed, the Foundation works with vetted, on-the-ground nonprofit organizations in countries where Vertex employees are located. We’ve established partnerships with Americares and Direct Relief, who are leaders in health care relief efforts following disasters. In disasters where safe shelter is an immediate need, the Foundation supports the American Red Cross.

The Foundation screens all requests for disaster relief funding against the same set of criteria, which includes being defined by the country as a ‘major disaster, an on-the-ground assessment of need, and an opportunity for employees to donate through our Matching Gift program.

Each year for the past three years, the Foundation has worked with both Americares and Direct Relief to help the communities impacted by wildfires and hurricanes. Last December, we also donated $50,000 AUD to the Australian Red Cross to support their on-the-ground efforts providing assistance and psychological first aid to those displaced by bushfires. And this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation committed $5 million to global relief efforts. Read more about the organizations we supported here.

Photo courtesy of Direct Relief


Photo courtesy of Direct Relief

In addition to direct donations from the Vertex Foundation, employees contribute to disaster relief efforts through the Foundation’s Matching Gift program. This program matches employees’ donations to eligible nonprofit organizations dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 per year. In response to COVID-19, the Foundation ran a double matching campaign resulting in more than half a million dollars contributed to 34 organizations globally.I am always impressed by Vertexians’ willingness to donate both their time and money to support important and worthwhile causes.

The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years. While I like to imagine a world where this is not the case, it’s important for individuals, communities and nations to prepare (in line with the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction) and provide disaster relief support where able.