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Celebrating 10 years of DisasterReady

Cornerstone Editors

This year, the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation is celebrating DisasterReady’s 10th anniversary!

Over the past decade, DisasterReady has provided free learning and training resources to humanitarian and development professionals around the globe. After launching in 2013 with just 10 online courses, it has grown into the largest free online learning site for humanitarian aid and international development workers in the world.

We’re humbled to be able to do what we can to ensure that the people committing their lives to help others have the training they need to do the most good for the most people.

A foundation built from a cornerstone

The Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation grew out of a crisis and the desire to help nonprofit organizations invest in employee and volunteer development.

Back in 2010, devastating floods in Pakistan left thousands dead and millions without clean water or electricity. It was one of the worst humanitarian disasters the world had ever seen. With so many children affected, Save the Children needed to quickly train aid workers and deploy them to the region. They reached out to Cornerstone and within a few days, we launched an online portal for their aid workers so they could take critical online training before arriving in Pakistan.

From this experience, we realized that numerous humanitarian aid organizations had the same need for free, high-quality, accessible training for their employees and volunteers. Humanitarians work in the most dangerous settings imaginable. Every aid organization, whether responding to a flood in Pakistan or the recent destructive earthquakes in Afghanistan and war in Israel, must ensure their people have the skills to keep themselves safe while effectively serving those in need.

To solve this issue, we developed DisasterReady in collaboration with NGOs, U.N. agencies, humanitarian experts and professional providers to provide humanitarian and development professionals with free online training on topics essential to their work.

Critical compliance in just a few clicks

Cornerstone established the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation with the mission to use our products to better prepare humanitarian and development professionals for the critical work they do. The foundation provides high-quality, relevant online learning resources at no cost.

With free access to Cornerstone’s learning management system and over 1,500 learning resources, nonprofit organizations can train employees and volunteers in disaster response and emergency management in four languages from anywhere in the world. Humanitarian professionals can continue to develop their skills, stay up-to-date with best practices and better support the communities.

With courses in staff care and safeguarding as well as safety and security, employees and volunteers can ensure that they’re prepared to provide humanitarian aid around the world and continue to improve their skills while also taking proper care of themselves.

One of the highlights of DisasterReady over the past 10 years has been the Investing in Syrian Humanitarian Action (ISHA) program funded by the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). DisasterReady teamed up with Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in 2018 to implement the program.

The ISHA online learning program provides free online learning in Arabic and English, tailor-made for the humanitarian workforce aiding in Syria and the surrounding countries. Since its conception, ISHA has trained over 100,000 humanitarian professionals in Syria and the surrounding area.

We’ve also partnered with FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness to host content on relevant COVID-19 training, such as “COVID-19 Training for Health Workers: Preparedness and Response” and “Managing the Message: Communication and Media Management in a Security Crisis” to strengthen emergency response across the country.

Celebrating 10 impactful years

When we first started in 2013, only 3,000 people signed up, but now in 2023, we’ve had more than a million people sign up from 195 different countries. Throughout our 10-year journey, DisasterReady committed to three core themes: equity, skill development and preparedness. Each of those themes is a cornerstone of the world’s largest free online learning library for humanitarian and development professionals at every stage of their careers.

By making all our courses and certificate programs free, online and on-demand, individuals from all backgrounds and circumstances can access the information and resources to better protect themselves and their families. With relevant and up-to-date training, humanitarian workers can stay current on best practices and better support crisis-affected communities.

If you’d like to partner with DisasterReady or Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, please contact us at to learn more.

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