Virtual Community Learning Series Event to Highlight Equity in Disaster Recovery

Published: August 9, 2021 | By: Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation | Category:

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation will host a virtual Community Learning Series event on Tuesday, August 31, from 12 – 1 p.m. via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public.

This event will explore the link between disaster recovery and equity issues. National and local experts will share how the impact and recovery from disasters is historically inequitable and creates an uneven playing field in recovery. The dual disasters of 2020 were difficult for most in our community, but it was more difficult for those without access to resources due to pre-existing disaster conditions and situations such as poverty, employment status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, dis/ability, language access, homeownership, family composition, age and citizenship.

“Our Community Learning Series events are an effort by the Community Foundation to elevate awareness, generate conversation and encourage action around important issues facing our community,” says Karla Twedt-Ball, Senior Vice President, Programs and Community Investment at the Community Foundation. “At this event, we will convene community members to learn and understand the challenges that many in our community continue to face during their recovery of the pandemic and derecho, and to discover how we can improve these challenges in the future.”

Attendees will learn about a Cedar Rapids homeowner who has faced numerous challenges in recovering from the derecho and the pandemic. The Director of the Midwest Early Recovery Fund at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Cari Cullen, MA, will share regional and national data and information about equity in disasters. Two local leaders, Ashley Balius, MSURP, Community Outreach & Assistant Director at Linn County Community Services and J’Nae Peterman, Director of Housing Services at Waypoint will share local information and challenges they have observed regarding long-term recovery for many in our community. Attendees will also learn what our community can do to address these challenges.

The event will be facilitated by three Community Foundation staff members with extensive experience in disaster preparedness and recovery including Karla Twedt-Ball, MPP – Senior Vice President, Programs and Community Investment; Carrie Walker, Nonprofit Network Manager; and Elizabeth Cwik, Senior Program Officer.

Since 2014, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has participated the in the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP), a cohort of Midwest grantmakers who work together to build disaster preparedness and response skills. PPREP is led by The Funders Network with curricular support from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which works to embed an equity lens into the cohort’s learning.

“Our community has met the challenges of the first year of recovery, but we know this is a long process,” said Elizabeth Cwik. “The role of nonprofits is critical to get help where it is needed and to ensure everyone has access to the resources and support they need to build back their homes and lives. Post-disaster is a critical time to focus on equity and bringing everyone along on the road to recovery.”



WHAT:            Community Learning Series: Equity in Disaster Recovery

WHO:              Open to the public

WHEN:             Tuesday, August 31, 2021   |   12 – 1 p.m.  

WHERE:           Zoom

WHY:               To elevate awareness, generate discussion and encourage action around equity in disaster recovery.

COST:              Free

REGISTER:       To register, click here.


This event will be recorded and posted at

To learn more about the event, click here.

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