The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Emergency Response Fund
UUSC’s Emergency Response Fund provides vital assistance to people impacted by natural or human-made disasters yet whose access to aid is most limited.
By contributing to this restricted fund, you can help UUSC and our grassroots partners equitably and effectively respond to a crisis as soon as it occurs—and over the long-term.
Our approach when using these funds is based off of a Disaster Justice framework, which UUSC developed in collaboration with our partners and allies. Like mainstream humanitarian aid agencies, we respond to immediate needs in the wake of a crisis; yet, unlike those organizations, UUSC also focuses on removing barriers that prevent equal access to resources. A disaster justice approach also requires acknowledging that disaster impacts are not evenly distributed; following the lead and expertise of directly affected communities; transforming unjust policies; and enacting proactive disaster plans.
Currently, UUSC is using resources from our Emergency Response Fund to support people facing extreme violence and threats to their safety in Haiti and Ukraine, following intense political and humanitarian crises happening in those countries. UUSC is building upon partner relationships we have established in both regions. Our response evolves to meet essential needs on the ground as they change, including access to clean water, food, shelter, and other aid, as well as strengthening protections for women and girls at risk for gender-based violence and combating the displacement of Black, People of Color, and LGBTQI+ migrants and refugees.
Here are some other examples of how support of the Emergency Response Fund has helped:
In Ukraine, following the 2022 full-scale invasion by Russia, UUSC immediately mobilized resources to support those impacted by providing grants to a partner in Hungary and a trusted allied organization in Poland. UUSC is still firmly committed to supporting communities who have been displaced by the war, especially those who are facing ongoing oppression and marginalization — Roma, women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, people living with disabilities, and those residing in rural areas. The Emergency Response Fund is being used to support our 10 grassroots partners in Poland and Ukraine. Through these partnerships, we are working to meet immediate needs like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and mental health support while bolstering our partners’ long-term justice work.
In Haiti, where a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in August 2021 has led to more than 2,000 deaths and widespread destruction, UUSC continues to partner with civil society organizations on the ground despite dwindling international media attention. Through the Emergency Response Fund, we are able to pursue advocacy and grantmaking initiatives to not only provide immediate assistance, but also to advance Haiti’s political autonomy, bolster grassroots movements, and center racial justice and decolonization initiatives in their long-term efforts to rebuild the nation.
In Louisiana, UUSC responded to a partner request for support before Hurricane Ida made landfall in September 2021. When our community-based partner, Lowlander Center, preemptively approached us as hurricane season approached, many in their community were still struggling to recover from the prior year’s Category 4 storm, Hurricane Laura. Within a month, Hurricane Ida struck the region. With the tarps, generators, tents, water, and other basic food items that Lowlander Center was able to purchase ahead of time with our funding, recovery efforts were quickly and effectively put into action for those most impacted.
While some disasters receive extensive media coverage and widespread support and generosity, others go largely unnoticed by the national and international community. Our Emergency Response Fund allows UUSC to quickly to respond when our partners are impacted by a crisis and to launch new partnerships with community-led organizations in the wake of disasters.
Make a gift to the Emergency Response Fund today to defend communities facing some of the most pressing injustices of our time!