Honoring Organizations and Leaders Serving Communities in Crisis

August 19 is World Humanitarian Day (WHD). This year, the WHD campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is celebrating the importance, effectiveness, and positive impact of humanitarian work on those living in crises all over the world.


Providence St. Joseph Health and St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund (Fund) have a history of responding to humanitarian disasters. Response to the needs of those most vulnerable is at the core of the mission of the Fund. Our disaster response strategy is to support community through the three phases of disaster response – relief, recovery, and resilience, and engage collaboratives of community-based organizations with an equity lens to ensure communities are prepared for events such as wildfires, floods, pandemics, or other crises.


The Fund’s disaster response included:

  • Relief grants to Catholic Relief Services in the aftermath of the earthquake in Grand Sud, Haiti
  • Relief grants in the wake of Hurricane Ida
  • Recovery grants to World Relief and Catholic Charities USA for Afghan refugee resettlement
  • COVID-19 support providing vaccines and supplies to communities in Hyderabad, India, that were hit very hard by a new wave of the virus


One of the Fund’s major disaster response efforts was a fundraising effort to support vulnerable families in Ukraine. In the spring of 2022, through donations from Providence caregivers and the Fund’s match, we were able to provide urgent funds to our longstanding partner Catholic Relief Services to provide on-the-ground food, safe shelter, and hygiene supplies to those who have been forced to flee their homes.


In an article by Fund’s CEO Gabriela Robles, she shares two reasons why disaster relief is more critical today than ever. First, we are facing disasters such as strong hurricanes, wildfires, and others, more frequently. “In 2021, the U.S. experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, putting 2021 in second place for the most disasters in a calendar year, behind the record 22 separate billion-dollar events in 2020.” (Climate.gov).  Second, communities of color and under-resourced are impacted disproportionately.


Beyond World Humanitarian Day


Globally and in the US, it is critical that we support our communities, especially those most vulnerable, to prepare for and respond to disasters and humanitarian crises. The impact of response organizations is incredible. In 2021, the United Nations and partner organizations assisted 107 million people through 38 country plans and seven regional plans. On World Humanitarian Day, we celebrate and honor humanitarian organizations and aid workers for their unyielding work to lessen suffering around the world and in our communities.


Please feel free to share this article to spread the importance of humanitarian efforts. And, if you’re not already, follow the Fund to stay informed of disaster response, relief, and recovery efforts!