Community Member

Bill Anderson Fund

Randallstown, Maryland

The mission of the Bill Anderson Fund (BAF) is to expand the number of historically underrepresented professionals in the hazard and disaster research fields. The organization is named after William Averette Anderson, one of the nation’s first black disaster sociologists. Throughout his career, Anderson worked tirelessly to ensure that people of color are recruited into all hazard mitigation roles. A year after his untimely death in 2013, his wife, Norma, founded BAF to carry on his legacy. BAF delivers robust professional development support to minority graduate students in careers related to hazards and disasters. The organization has also added research collaborations with universities, nonprofits and community-based organizations to its programming. These partnerships provide BAF Fellows with opportunities to gain experience with applied and community-engaged research, policy analysis and technical assistance that builds on their academic training and subject-matter expertise. 

Norma Anderson (photo courtesy of Norma Anderson)

When Bill Anderson would return home from either being a keynote speaker, panelist or moderator at a disaster-related event, he and his wife, Norma, had a routine: When he walked through the door, he would hold up his fingers to indicate how many people of color, including Anderson, were in attendance. The number was often only one – Anderson himself. BAF was founded to change those numbers and ensure that more people of color are in the room representing those most impacted by disaster events due to climate change. BAF’s flagship Fellows Program brings together a diverse group of doctoral students representing dozens of academic disciplines in hazards and disaster studies at over 30 institutions across the United States. Through training, mentoring and peer support, the BAF Fellows Program positions them to become tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of hazard and disaster mitigation, research, policy and practice. Since its establishment in 2014, BAF has enrolled more than 100 students.

BAF Fellows (Photo courtesy of Norma Anderson)

For more information:

Community disaster relief combats federal failures, Axios, March 2023

ASU Bill Anderson Fund Partnership

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry is a journalist by profession, having worked as a daily newspaper reporter on both coasts and a contributing writer for several national magazines. She is a former Congressional press secretary and has worked as a communications manager and consultant for corporations and nonprofits.


Nnenia Campbell, Executive Director


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