About Us

Our vision is for a sustainable future where resilient communities thrive in the face of crisis and change.

MV DAWN crew members gathered on the bridge. By Nicole Canegata, N.C. Photography, LLC.

Discover our story and passion for communities we serve

Since our founding in 2015, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with communities across Latin America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific to build resilience and preparedness before disaster strikes.

GSD is focused on working with local, national, and regional communities to prepare before disaster strikes, support their immediate needs through rapid response, and engage with communities on climate adaptation to reduce the impact of disasters and the climate crisis.

Our History

GSD is a humanitarian organization founded as an informal organization in 2015 after an impromptu response to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. We formalized our status as a nonprofit, non-governmental organization in 2019. That first response defined the core of GSD’s DNA as an organization: to work with communities, led by their needs, filling the gaps they have identified, while leveraging unique approaches and capabilities with an innovation mindset.

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Cyclone Pam | Vanuatu









How we work

In our work, we commit to: being locally led, ensuring good stewardship of resources, and upholding our core values of humility, integrity, and accountability. These are foundational tenets of GSD as an organization, underpinning how we behave and what partners can expect from us.


Locally Led: GSD believes that the most effective action is locally led with external support.

We recognize the importance of the local perspective in decision-making and prioritize the goals of our partners and the structures and systems they have developed. We work to create sustainable change within communities.


Good Stewardship: GSD believes that good stewardship of our resources including people, assets, and relationships is essential.

We carefully and responsibly manage the resources we have access to in support of the work we do.


Core Values: GSD believes that our values are the essence of our identity and articulate our fundamental beliefs.

Humility: Mission first, team second, self third.
Integrity: We do the right thing, not the easy thing.
Accountability: We hold ourselves responsible — individually and collectively — to reach our goals.

A crew member wearing a helmet holds a rope over the side of MV DAWN. By Nicole Canegata, N.C. Photography, LLC.

Our opportunity

There are four key areas in which we believe we can make the most meaningful contribution to the humanitarian sector:

  1. Ambidextrous Approach: We work across traditional and non-traditional sectors and embrace best practices and learnings from each.
  2. Innovation for System Transformation: We have the resources to pursue innovative approaches and share our learnings with the field.
  3. Locally Led: We follow the lead of those closest to crisis, changing the way local, national, and regional actors participate in the system.
  4. Embrace Non-traditional and Underutilized Partners: We engage non-traditional partners in disaster response, preparedness, and climate adaptation with a focus on the maritime domain.

Come make a positive impact with us

GSD has intentionally built a team with a variety of backgrounds and experiences including humanitarian, emergency responders, disaster response, military, development, and private sector. We believe diversity in lived and professional experiences promotes creative problem solving throughout the organization.

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Our maritime program, to include both professional mariners and support staff, is comprised of not only the most technically competent crew I’ve ever worked with, but the most technically competent crew I’ve ever heard of. That level of expertise in the maritime domain allows us to consider options and mitigate risk in ways that aren’t available to any other humanitarian or maritime organizations I’m familiar with, to the benefit of our humanitarian and maritime partners and the local communities we serve before, during, and after disasters.

Brad Milliken
Director of Humanitarian Vessel Operations