Ben Smilowitz witnessed the bungled Hurricane Katrina response while managing a high-volume Red Cross Client Service Center in Gulfport, MS. Soon after, Ben launched Disaster Accountability Project, an independent watchdog, to confront the root causes of the failed Katrina response and maximize the impact of billions of dollars of disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
Disaster Accountability Project has successfully advocated for the release of millions of dollars of disaster relief and recovery funds after Superstorm Sandy, investigated deficiencies in emergency planning surrounding 19 commercial U.S. nuclear power plants, and improved the transparency of nearly 2 billion dollars of disaster relief donations after disasters in the U.S., Haiti and Nepal.
Under Ben’s leadership, DAP’s reports, advocacy, and op-eds have been covered by global news media including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and CNN. Many of DAP’s successes over its thirteen years are attributable to the hundreds of volunteers from around the world that Ben has recruited and managed.
Prior to starting DAP, Ben had a background in youth civic engagement and issue advocacy. He wrote successful legislation in Connecticut and created a Youth Cabinet in Missouri. Ben studied Political Science and Nonprofit Management and holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Ben is now a member of the Maryland bar and an Echoing Green Fellow.