Resources for community-led disaster response and resilience initiatives

The Response Resources.jpg

News coverage routinely underplays the central drama of disasters. More often than not, it’s the people living in the affected communities that, despite all the obstacles, rise to the occasion to save lives, reduce suffering, and form a community of care. It’s what the author Rebecca Solnit describes as disaster collectivism, “the sense of immersion in the moment and solidarity with others caused by the rupture in everyday life, an emotion graver than happiness but deeply positive.”

With this in mind, we have begun curating this short but growing list of resources for those who have been inspired by The Response to take preventive action and build community resilience and for those currently affected by disaster. Please suggest additional resources for community-led disaster response and resilience initiatives in the form below.

Download a free pdf of our new guide: The Resilience We Want: A guide to making your community space into a hub for local resilience & mutual aid

The Resilience We Want

This 12-page guide introduces the vision and model of a resilience hub, a place where neighbors can deepen a sense of belonging, learn new skills together, provide for basic needs, prepare for disasters, and build a more inclusive and joyful community.


  • Shareable How To Guides: A growing collection of over 100 guides to building resilient communities through sharing.

  • Think Resilience: Self-directed course that explores the interrelated crises of the twenty-first century, and what we as citizens, students, and community leaders can do to respond to them.

  • Ready Together: A Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Handbook

  • Norcal Resilience Network: promoting a Just Transition to an equitable and regenerative future by supporting and activating community-based and ecologically-grounded solutions in Northern California.

  • RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future

  • NERT and CERT programs: Neighborhood and Community Emergency Response Team trainings through local fire departments.

  • Building Trauma-Informed Human Resilience: Program to learn neuroscience-based preventative resilience skills to adopt positive and principled behaviors to constructively cope with and use climate-enhanced adversities as catalysts to learn, grow, and enhance personal, collective, and ecological well being.

Disaster Response:

  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action.

  • Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (Community Training Facilitation Guide): Interactive, popular education-style workshop that challenged community members to join us in difficult conversations while also inviting participation and welcoming all experience levels through fun games and fast-paced exercises.

  • Grassroots Aid Partnership: A non-profit that provides healthy food and aid to vulnerable communities in crisis.

  • The Centros de Apoyo Mutuo: A network of mutual aid centers actively serving their communities across Puerto Rico.
  • Recovers: A website for each community to manage donations, organize volunteers, and meet the needs of residents during and after a disaster.

  • Undocufund: Launched by a coalition of immigrant service providers and advocates, the UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County provides direct assistance to undocumented victims of the Northern California fires. The Fund’s mission is to support undocumented children, families, and communities affected by the fires in Sonoma County to recover and rebuild.

  • EmerGENcies: Program with the aim of rebuilding sustainable communities after human-made and natural disasters, bringing regenerative solutions to moments of crisis and suffering.

  • SoKind Gift Registry: This nonprofit alternative registry has been used to support those recovering from disasters and encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand
    goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more.

Just Recovery:

Special Resources from NewStories:

  • Spiral of Co-Creating: The New Stories Spiral of Co-Creating is a new framework for how collective impact happens when we listen to each other and work with emergence and rigor.  In these times of so much unpredictable change, we need new ways to work together to create the lives and communities we really want.

  • Methods for Dialog and Conversation: How do we design and host conversations that matter?  This PDF shares the approaches Bob Stilger used in Japan for five years after the Triple Disasters of March 11, 2011.  It is a simple guide to core processes for group dialog that can lead to action and to creating the lives and communities we want.  You can explore more about the approaches used through the stories from Japan in AfterNow:  When We Cannot See the Future, Where Do We Begin?

  • FutureSessions: Surrounding conversations that matter are a whole eco-system of steps and considerations.  In NewStories work in Japan, we call this eco-system FutureSessions.  When we work on designing this whole eco-system, we convene conversations which explore possibilities, strategize new action, deepen learning and just help people step with enough confidence and clarity into what is important now.

  • Preparing for the Possible: In the past many of us thought of community building — creating the lives and communities we know are possible — was different that work for disaster preparedness and recovery.  It’s time to step beyond that distinction.  We become resilient, prepared and recovered by creating connected community.  NewStories is working with many partners to launch a Preparing for the Possible network in the Northwest.  The idea here applies in many contexts.