Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. announced that its Z Zurich Foundation will award a $3 million grant to the St. Bernard Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping recovery efforts in communities affected by natural disasters.
The grant is a three-year commitment by Zurich to create a disaster resilience and recovery lab that will share lessons learned in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help other communities be better prepared in case of disaster, the Switzerland-based insurer announced in a statement Thursday.
The lab is a model for increasing the resilience of individuals, families and businesses that are recovering from natural disasters or at a high risk of facing them in the future, according to the statement.
“Disasters are occurring more frequently, and storms are getting stronger,” Zack Rosenburg, the New Orleans-based St. Bernard Project's co-founder and CEO, said in the statement. “This investment will enable us to share what we've learned since Hurricane Katrina in a way that will help at-risk communities across America better prepare for natural disasters.”
The St. Bernard Project, which was founded in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation, works with community leaders, homeowners and small and midsize businesses to mitigate risk and increase resilience before a potential disaster hits, the insurer said.
After a disaster, the group goes on-site to share its standardized recovery model, which incorporates skills-based volunteering to use each person's professional skills and specialized talents, according to the statement.
More than 1,000 Zurich employees, customers, brokers and distributors have worked with the St. Bernard Project to rebuild homes in areas devastated by storms including New Orleans, the New York borough of Staten Island, and Joplin, Mo., according to the statement. In March, it opened an office in Sea Bright, N.J., to help families still struggling to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
“Our enhanced relationship combines SBP's proven recovery model with Zurich's risk management expertise,” Mike Foley, CEO of North America commercial and regional chairman of North America for Zurich, said in the statement. “It gives us great pride to play a key role in such meaningful efforts.”