iOS app Android app

Lori J. Bertman
Lori J. Bertman, widely recognized as a noted expert and innovative thinker in the field of disaster philanthropy, serves as the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s inaugural board chair and on the board of Good360, an organization that is revolutionizing in-kind giving. Not only was she honored by City Year Louisiana in 2011 as a Visionary Leader for her work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but she also was given a National Leadership Award for Advocate of the Year by Share Our Strength, and recognized among the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2000.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Lori organized local and national philanthropic resources to raise more than $40 million in funds for recovery. She was not new to the field: Lori founded Bertman + Associates, a philanthropy and fund development consulting firm in 2001 and, prior to that, she created the first donor services department for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, where she managed more than 150 donor-advised funds. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree from Louisiana State University.

With Bertman + Associates, Lori was instrumental in providing a cohesive vision for deepening the role of philanthropy in disaster management. She fostered partnerships between private and public entities; offered insight on post-disaster planning for long-term recovery; and presented at regional and national conferences.

More recently, Lori became president and CEO of the Baton Rouge-based Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, Louisiana’s largest private family foundation. She currently advises the Pennington Disaster Resilience Fund at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and serves as an adjunct instructor for the LSU School of Social Work, where she teaches a course on philanthropy and community leadership.

Lori co-founded the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, coming full circle in her past work with nonprofit organizations, foundations, corporations, and individual donors in fund development and strategic giving.

Entries by Lori J. Bertman

Reevaluating the Leadership Gap: When Measuring Women's Success, Are We Holding the Ruler Incorrectly?

(1) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 4:55 PM

Have you ever been at a dinner party, and met a couple in which the man is a successful businessperson and the woman has chosen to be a stay-at-home mother? You begin to converse with them and realize quickly that the wife is far more interesting than her husband. She...

Read Post

This Isn't Just Another Katrina Article

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2015 | 2:28 PM

As we approached the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the requests for commemorative articles and reflections began to fill my inbox. Despite my experience as a grant-maker and fundraiser who has been working on Katrina relief, recovery, and rebuilding since the storm hit on August 29, 2005, I struggled to...

Read Post

Why the Women's Movement May Fail (Again)

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 1:18 PM

Countless women's affinity groups have existed from the inception of the Women's Suffrage Movement, and we are now inundated with a plethora of organizations, from more traditional ones, such as the Junior League, to more recent groups, such as Women Who Code. Okay -- so women attend networking events. Good...

Read Post

My Lunchtime Indulgence: The Business I Wish I Started

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 2:00 PM

With the onset of the recession in 2007, the market was primed for a new kind of store, one that I wish I had thought of myself: the high-end consignment store. SWAP is one such store here in the South where I live and work as the CEO of a...

Read Post

If Fundraisers Are Known As the Best Givers, Then Should Grantmakers Be Better Fundraisers?

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2015 | 6:56 PM

As a social worker who wanted to change the world, I became a fundraiser by necessity and a grantmaker by luck. I have been raising money for and granting money to organizations for twenty years. As a CEO of a large foundation who receives grant requests of all types year-round,...

Read Post

Ten Years Schooled in Disasters: Philanthropy Emerges Top of the Class

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 1:54 PM

In light of reaching the ninth year since Hurricane Katrina, the tenth year since the Indian Ocean tsunami, and the upcoming second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it was time to write the requisite anniversary article. The good news is that disaster philanthropy has evolved over the past ten years. We...

Read Post

Who Pastors the Pastor in Times of Crisis?

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 1:44 PM

In 2006, a year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, I was awarded the title of National Advocate of the Year by my mentor for the work I had accomplished over the past year in response to the two storms. I beat out President Bill Clinton's former...

Read Post

Taking Back Bossy

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 11:46 AM

Are Companies Tackling Gender Disparity in the Workplace, Or Are We Just Paying Lipstick Service?

Whoever said "It's lonely at the top" must have been a female executive. Have you ever wondered why the national pay gap is the same now as it was 10 years ago? In...

Read Post

Disaster Barbie vs. The Snowpocalypse

(1) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 1:11 PM

The dilemma: no heat. It is starting to snow. Your fireplace does not work. You own no space heaters, and the roads are starting to close. Even if you could get to Walmart, they tell you that they are out of space heaters and electric blankets. You placed a call...

Read Post

To Lisa: The Real Mattel Superhero

(1) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 1:33 PM

I got off the plane at Baltimore Washington International Airport, and something came over me. I suddenly found myself screaming at my colleague on the phone and running in circles. I could not find my car, I was crying, I could not even articulate my own name. I wasn't myself:...

Read Post

Turning Lemons Into Sweet Tea

(1) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 10:50 AM

Two weeks ago I attended the press conference announcing the creation of the Water Institute, an innovative new campus dedicated to studying water, both as an asset and as a problem to coastal communities, to be located right here on the Baton Rouge waterfront. The Water Institute is the vision...

Read Post

Caution! You Don't Want to End Up in the Disaster Giving Hall of Shame

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 2:12 PM

In philanthropy, strategic giving of time, talent, and treasure can increase impact. However, in disaster philanthropy, effective and efficient giving can make the difference between life and death. Remember the next time you watch coverage of the effects of Typhoon Haiyan that empathy is about giving people what they need...

Read Post

Sandy Hook Sage: With Pain Comes Wisdom

(1) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 1:42 PM

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from a wonderful organization in Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Promise. This organization is dedicated to providing immediate and long-term assistance to those impacted by the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as advocating mental health, family, school, and...

Read Post

It's Time for a Serious Discussion About Syria: The People

(2) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 4:28 PM

I have some great news, folks! You don't have to wait for a congressional vote to do something to help Syrian refugees and displaced families. You can act right now.

With the media inundating the airwaves with news of chemical gas attacks, potential airstrikes, and political jockeying, it's understandable that...

Read Post

Pedicure Therapy: The 8 Best Nail Polish Shades to Get Through 8 Years of Disaster Recovery

(2) Comments | Posted August 26, 2013 | 6:27 PM

Six months after Katrina, I found myself sitting on the front steps that belonged to a house that was no longer there. I was in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, and there were cars up in the trees and complete destruction. It was an unbelievable sight. I had been asked...

Read Post

The First Anniversary Is Paper: A Card for Hurricane Sandy Survivors and Donors

(9) Comments | Posted August 16, 2013 | 4:42 PM

As we draw closer to the eight-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, I have been reflecting on my eight years since Katrina. I realized that most anniversaries are truly cathartic for people who have been through disasters. However, I am more interested...

Read Post

All Are Invited to a Celebration of Giving: Cash Gifts Only, Please

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 11:46 AM

In the Jewish American culture, our young men and women come of age at thirteen. We celebrate this passage to adulthood with a ritual called a Bar Mitzvah (or in the case of daughters, a Bat Mitzvah). When my son and daughter had their Bar and Bat Mitzvah festivities, I...

Read Post

Facing a Disaster With a Sprained Ankle

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2013 | 2:13 PM

Growing up in Miami, I was an all-star skater. During the speed skating races, they would put me several yards behind everyone else as a handicap; I still always came in first place. However, one day I sprained my ankle. The race prize was a Ted Nugent album (don't judge...

Read Post