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About Us

San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (SF CARD) is a 501(c)3 organization. SF CARD connects nonprofit, faith-based, and private organizations with the network and knowledge they need to continue providing critical services after a disaster. 


SF CARD helps organizations prepare for emergencies as small as a one-alarm fire and as large as a massive disaster wreaking havoc across the region. SF CARD’s function is threefold: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.

To ensure that nonprofit and faith-based organizations serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area’s vulnerable populations are prepared for a disaster, to play a central role in coordinating these organizations in their disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.

To review our latest 990, please click on this link.

If you would like to make a donation, please click this link.


The idea for SF CARD sprang from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Local nonprofit and faith-based organizations’ immediate response and leadership in the recovery phase of the disaster made their importance evident to local response agencies.

In 1994, SF CARD formally began its coordination initiatives to support local agencies and the vulnerable populations they serve. For more than 25 years, SF CARD has been a leader in providing emergency management programs and services to the nonprofit sector and the faith-based community. In recent years, SF CARD has expanded its services beyond San Francisco to several Bay Area counties.

Today, SF CARD is one of the most respected and well-established intermediary agencies dedicated to organizational disaster resilience, and an essential link between those agencies and public sector first responders. The San Francisco Foundation hired SF CARD to provide technical assistance and training services to 45 agencies in five Bay Area counties: San Francisco,  Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo.

SF CARD is also keeping an eye on the future. With climate change, for instance, communities need to be concerned about the impact of rising temperatures on vulnerable populations. The Walter and Elise Haas Fund has enlisted SF CARD over the years to help local congregations prepare heat wave response plans for their senior parishioners.


It is a privilege to receive recognition from the following organizations.


Honored with the Business Recovery Managers Association (BRMA) Award for Excellence for Community Disaster Preparedness in 2011 for coordinating a multi-sector response and recovery network.


Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI)

DRI International AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE WINNER in 2017.  The category: Program Leader of the Year (Non-Profit Sector.)


CDC Foundation

One of only seven organizations in the United States awarded a CDC Foundation Grant in 2013.

Staff & Board of Directors

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Heather Lee
Program Director & Faith-Based Specialist

Heather previously worked as a minister in the Episcopal Church and PTA volunteer extraordinaire; she caught the disaster bug and worked with the Red Cross for six years before joining SF CARD. Heather has a passion for volunteer management and an affinity for operations.


Heather acts as Program Director and oversees all aspects of programming for the general public; locating grant funding and developing day-to-day administration and delivery protocols that maximize collaboration, cooperation, communication, and coordination with partners around the Bay Area and Northern California.  She is passionate about building Voluntary and Community Organizations Active in Disaster in the counties around the Bay Area and has supported VOAD or COAD formation or development in counties as far North as Mendocino and as far south as Santa Cruz.


Heather wears many hats; grants management, program design and delivery, grant writer, trainer and facilitator, and certified business continuity professional.

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Brian E Whitlow
Executive Director & Senior Consultant

Brian Whitlow has had the privilege of serving as Executive Director at San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (SF CARD) since 2013. Brian has worked as a disaster planner and trainer since 2006. In addition to his preparedness experience and expertise, Brian has responded to local and national disasters. The most notable disasters include Hurricane Gustav (2008), the San Bruno Pipeline Explosion (2010), Hurricane Sandy (2012), and Camp Fire (2018).


In 2008, Brian received his MPA from the University of San Francisco and holds the following professional certifications:

  • Leading, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) (from Northwestern University)

  • Associate Cyber Resilience Professional (from DRI International)

  • Associate Business Continuity Professional (from DRI International)


Specifically, Brian holds expertise and knowledge in the following disaster areas:

  • Active Shooter

  • Personal Preparedness

  • Training & Facilitation

  • Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, & Recovery

  • Community-Based Disaster Preparedness

  • Organizational Disaster Preparedness, including Continuity of Operations, Emergency Response Planning, and Hazard and Risk Assessment.


When not working, Brian likes to volunteer for various causes and organizations, including the American Red Cross, Northern California VOAD, and Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), and currently volunteers with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at his kids’ school as the Disaster Preparedness Chair.

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James Jackson
Board Chair

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June Gin

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Michael Braude

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Amy Ramirez, CEM
Board Member

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Tessa Burns
Board Member

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Greg Murphy
Board Member, Former Chair

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Harold Brooks
Board Member

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Edie Schaffer, JD, CEM
Board Member

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