Expanding Inclusive Hazard Disaster Planning for Communities of Color

Photo: BAF Founding Fellows, now, Drs. Marccus Hendricks, Santina Contreras, Benika Dixon, Hans Louis-Charles and Nnenia Campbell

about The BAF 501 (c) (3)

African-American and other minority representation in hazard and disaster mitigation is very important. Research has shown that racial and ethnic minorities often have increased difficulty evacuating prior to a crisis and are more likely to experience disproportionate physical and financial loss during disasters. 

From Bill’s Talk at the 1996 Aspen Global Change Workshop: 
“The poor and people of color, especially minority women, are underserved when it comes to society’s ability to make resources available for mitigating, preparing for and recovering from hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Members of these groups are generally at greater risk to disasters and have fewer resources with which to respond to and recover from them… 

…A number of actions could help empower the underserved and link them to the natural disaster reduction subculture. A first step is to bring the underserved into the research professions relevant to natural disaster mitigation—including engineering, the physical sciences and the social sciences. Minorities currently represent a relatively untapped resource in these fields.” 

Founded in 2014 by Norma Doneghy Anderson, the William Averette Anderson Fund (BAF) has developed a mission dedicated to the work done by and the legacy of William (Bill) Averette Anderson who passed away in 2013.

The Flagship now carries forward the mission and vision of the BAF: to expand the number of historically underrepresented professionals in the field of disaster and hazard research and practice so that the diversity of the hazard and disaster field be reflective of American society.


The BAF 501(c)(3) now begins a new chapter with the following charges: 

  • To support the BAF Flagship in the continued development of its original mission. 
  • To maintain responsibility of the annual BAF Disaster Dash 5K in support of the BAF Flagship programs and Fellows. 
  • To continue the advocacy that has been central to the BAF mission since its inception through speaking engagements, communications, networking and related activities. 
  • To develop an award for BAF Fellows Alumni who have made a significant contribution to the issues expressed in the BAF mission and/or through the Collaborative Communities Initiative. 


william averette anderson

William (Bill) Averette Anderson was born on May 28, 1937 in Akron, Ohio. His mother’s maiden name was Ruby Browner, and his father was William Warren Anderson.

“For many years I thought I was a “Jr.” I recall giving my name as “William Anderson, Jr.” when I was introduced. I thought that was a cool-sounding name. But I’m not a “Jr.,” because my middle name is different than my father’s. In fact it’s quite different—I think it’s something my father concocted. It’s Averette.”

We were fortunate enough to have Bill’s full life story captured in Connections, The 2011 The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Oral History Series, William A. Anderson.  Robert Reitherman was the interviewer. 

Click here to read the full oral interview.