LAP-AID Inclusion Cohort

After the derecho that hit Linn County, Iowa in August 2020, the Linn County and City of Cedar Rapids action reports, along with Linn Area Partners Active In Disaster (LAP-AID) participants, identified a disconnect with some populations across our community – particularly those with cultural or historical differences, language barriers, and special needs – regarding their awareness of the assistance and resources available to them in disasters. The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s participation in the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency, and Emergency Partnership (PPREP) group, a project of The Funders Network, provided an opportunity to receive grant funding to address this identified need.

The goal of the LAP-AID Inclusion Team and Cohort project was to convene community organizers from traditionally excluded communities through a cohort model to create an environment of collective learning and connection to community and resources. With stronger connections between community groups, future disaster response and recovery will be more equitable and inclusive.

Ten people were invited to participate, each one being a point of connection for a specific group within Linn County. Participants were people with lived experience, existing relationships, and deep trust within their respective communities. Cohort participants were compensated for their time and continue to serve as liaisons to LAP-AID.

The LAP-AID Inclusion Cohort ran from July to October 2023, and programming included meetings with first responders, disaster scenarios, a visit to Linn County Emergency Management, and opportunities for connection and learning.

2023 Inclusion Cohort Participants

Paly Afridi, Islamic Center
Lori Ampey, Tanager LGBTQ+ Youth Center/Boys & Girls Club (South Unit)
Minouche Bandubuila, Hoover Community School
Robin Switzer Brunner, Ecumenical Community Center Foundation
Stephanie Carter, Wellington Heights Community Church
Kathy Franzenburg, Retired clergy
Mugisha Gloire, United We March Forward
Corey Jacobson, CR Pride
Nafissatou Lamidi, RIVA Iowa
Melissa Perkins, Never Dream Less Foundations
Monica Vallejo, Latinos Unidos for Community Inclusion (LUCI)

Questions? Contact Us!

Photo of Carrie Walker

Carrie Walker

Director of Learning


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