Fondly called the Bill Anderson Fund (BAF), the William Averette Anderson Fund was founded in 2014 in honor of Bill, who for 50 years was a pioneering hazard and disaster mitigation scholar, researcher and policy developer.
In 2017, BAF announced it would designate the University of Delaware as the Fund's Flagship site. UD and BAF representatives signed documents on Oct. 19, 2018 formalizing the connection. Anderson, who died in 2013, had longstanding ties to UD's Disaster Research Center (DRC) and was one of the Center's first doctoral students when it was founded in 1963 at Ohio State University. The DRC moved to the University of Delaware in the 1980s.
The goal of the BAF Flagship is to increase the number of historically underrepresented groups in professional hazard and disaster science and practice careers. We do this by providing workshops and mentorships that facilitate a successful graduate school experience. Racial and ethnic minority representation in hazard and disaster research and practice is very important. Significant research has shown that racial and ethnic minorities have increased difficulty evacuating prior to a crisis, are more likely to experience disproportionate physical and financial loss during disasters, and have more difficulty recovering from these events. By diversifying the field of researchers and practitioners, the Flagship hopes to diversity the perspectives and questions asked when addressing these disparities.