Brushy Fork Annual Institute

Emergency Preparedness for Nonprofit Organizations

Track Leader: Dr. John Cooper 

There are a range of unexpected events – from a simple technology failure (i.e., lost internet connection) to the sudden loss of an executive director, or an environmental disaster – that could influence a nonprofit’s ability to function well or even survive.  In addition, nonprofits are increasingly called on to support efforts to help the people and places they support recover from the environmental and technological disasters (e.g., hurricane, tornado, plant explosion, etc.) that destroy the assets and opportunities nonprofits have worked countless hours to create. As a result, nonprofits have a vested interest in identifying the full range of potential threats to daily operations and strategies to mitigate those threats.

The extent to which a nonprofit is prepared to respond when things go awry determines whether the organization can survive and recover. This workshop track takes participants through the process of becoming more informed about threat risk and readiness.  Participants will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with peers about the unique challenges, promising strategies and opportunities nonprofits face with regard to dealing with unexpected events.

Track Limit: 20


Who should attend?

  • Nonprofit staff and board members
  • Emergency managers interested in partnering with non-profits

What can I expect to learn?

  • An understanding of the range of events that could affect the daily operations of non-profits
  • An understanding of community “social vulnerability” and its consequences
  • An understanding of strategic roles of CDCs before and after disasters
  • An opportunity to practice disaster planning skills

Physical tools and takeaways from this session:

  • Outline of an Organizational Disaster Plan
  • List of technical support resources


Dr. John Cooper is an associate professor of practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning at Texas A&M University and serves a dual appointment as the associate director of Outreach and Community Partnerships for the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center. In his previous position at MDC as a program director, John managed the FEMA Emergency Preparedness Demonstration Program, a $2.5 million effort to understand barriers to increased disaster awareness and preparedness in marginalized communities.John has provided consultation to community development advocates on issues of planning and civic engagement, and has been a visiting lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC). He is a past member of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s Advisory Panel and currently serves on a number of boards including the Board of Visitors for the UNC Institute for the Environment, and the Advisory Board for the DHS Center of Excellence – Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management (DIEM) at UNC.John has an educational background in economics, urban planning, and city and regional planning from Texas A & M University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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