After striking Cuba as a Category 3 storm on September 27th, Hurricane Ian made two additional landfalls in Florida and South Carolina. Southwest Florida saw a powerful and slow-moving storm leave a trail of major destruction to human and natural habitats. Storms like Ian are feeding off warmer oceans exacerbated by climate change. However, while the ocean can take people’s homes away during a storm, the ocean conservation community stands to support those scientists, teachers, and conservationists working on the front lines to protect coastal and marine habitats.

Western Cuba was particularly affected by Hurricane Ian. It is also a place where TOF has maintained collaborations since 1999, one of the only US organizations working there. The entire island of Cuba lost power immediately after the storm. Once power was resumed, TOF staff learned immediately that the damage to research facilities and partners’ livelihoods was considerable. While few organizations have the reach and expertise to help in this particular region, TOF has developed a fund to help Cuban marine science institutions and practitioners rebuild their capacity to continue serving this highly isolated and marginalized community.

We are asking for donations of $25, $50, $100, $250, or whatever you’re able to provide to help rebuild homes and structures. Your donation is tax-deductible. If you are interested in learning more about TOF’s natural disaster prevention platform, please read below:

As a community foundation dedicated to ensuring that our community can do its best for our ocean, we are aware of the extraordinary challenges faced by our partners and others in coastal communities around the world. In September 2022 alone, more than 50 nations have found themselves experiencing unprecedented weather events, toxic spills, and other ocean-harming disasters.

TOF is NOT a disaster response organization in the sense that we can jump in to feed people, house people, and rebuild their homes. Other organizations are much more specialized and capable. Our strength is not in rapid response with humanitarian aid. Instead, as human disruption of the climate grows, and more people are exposed to storms, etc. we are appropriately focused on restoration and conservation to prepare, maintain, or rebuild natural defenses. At the same time, we have been able to support our community with various forms of humanitarian aid when we are the best organization to meet a need. In some highly isolated areas affected by a catastrophe, we do serve as that entity but usually, others are better-equipped organizations that can come to the rescue.

Because TOF is lean and agile, we can ensure funds go toward the affected communities in need with minimal red tape and overhead. What we know for sure and cannot ignore is that every person at TOF and in the broader TOF community will be adversely affected by a disaster at some point in the next decade. After all, we work in ocean conservation and by default, the people we work with are the first to be affected by climate-related disasters. Being flexible and nimble is part of our embodiment as an organization. We cannot be all things to all people—but we can do what we can to help.

Media Contact: Fernando Bretos
Media Contact Email: [email protected]