Posted on October 26, 2017
On August 27, 2017, I set out with a goal of raising $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In the three weeks that followed - thanks to the unprecedented support and generosity of over 200,000 donors from across the country and around the world - we raised over $37 million. With such incredible support like this comes tremendous responsibility. I have spent the greater part of the last month and a half doing my due diligence and meeting with and speaking to as many resources as possible. While I understand the total recovery from Hurricane Harvey could require upwards of $200 billion, and this $37 million will not be able to help every single person as I so badly wish it could, I have made it my mission to ensure this money makes as large of an impact as possible.
Throughout this decision-making process, what mattered to me most was ensuring that the entirety of the funds would be utilized here in Houston and the surrounding areas for those who were affected most by Hurricane Harvey. With that in mind, I went to work with nonprofit organizations who have boots on the ground here in Houston and the surrounding affected areas to put the best plan in place and I am very excited to share that with you today.
$30.15 million of the funds will be distributed amongst four strategic partners – Americares, Feeding America, SBP and Save the Children – to be deployed over the course of the next 18-24 months. These funds will be used to rebuild homes, restore child-care centers, provide food and address health needs of those affected most by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the surrounding areas. The remaining $7 million will be set aside for distribution in 2018 as we continue to assess and analyze the evolving relief efforts.
I have said it many times over the course of the past few months, but it bears repeating again: the most difficult times seem to bring out the best in humanity. I cannot thank everyone enough for their support and donations from across the country and around the world. You have truly shown what is possible when everyone bands together for one common cause. While we are going to do some truly incredible things with this $37 million to make it stretch as far as possible, it is only one small step in the massive recovery effort that lies ahead. I encourage you to please continue to find organizations to donate to, whether they be some of the ones listed below or others. Houston will bounce back from this and we will rise up stronger than ever.
Purpose:Address the physical and mental health needs of disaster survivors and restore health services to the most vulnerable in Houston and the surrounding areas. Americares has long-standing relationships with 26 community clinics in and around Houston, with which they work to provide medicine, supplies and other assistance. The funds provided to Americares will be used for medicines, mental health services, mobile medical services and medical supplies.
Donna Porstner, [email protected]mericares.org
Vicky Markham, [email protected]
Purpose:Direct support for Feeding America member food banks serving Southeast Texas – the Houston Food Bank, Coastal Bend Food Bank (Corpus Christi), Food Bank of the Golden Crescent (Victoria) and Southeast Texas Food Bank (Beaumont). Combined, these food banks serve people in need in 48 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey. In addition to the direct support for these four highly-affected food banks, the funds will provide mobile food pantries to help increase food distribution to people in need and help rebuild food distribution programs and agencies across the region. With the fund’s support, the Feeding America network will be there every step of the way to provide food and hope to those who have lost so much.
Zuani Villarreal, [email protected]
Purpose:Returning homeowners to their homes following a disaster. The funds donated to SBP will go directly towards the rebuilding of hundreds of homes in Houston and the surrounding areas. SBP is the national leader in long-term disaster recovery serving low-to-moderate income residents with a particular focus on the most vulnerable members of the community, including families with small children, the elderly, physically-challenged persons, veterans and under or uninsured individuals. SBP will also help train and support other organizations in the area, such as Team Rubicon, to implement SBP’s model for effective and efficient rebuilding.
SAVE THE CHILDREN
Purpose:Support child-care, early-education and after-school program service restoration. Early results from assessments on the 4,500 child-care programs in the affected areas show that an estimated 1,400 child-care and early-learning sites have been damaged or destroyed. Save the Children will use the donated funds to directly restore, rebuild and provide support for these child-care centers and other services that families depend on across Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and the many other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Eileen Burke, [email protected]
Sara Neumann, [email protected]