Press Release: April 21, 2020

GHCRF Expands to $8.7 Million as Economic Crisis Creates Growing Demand for Basic Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Hannah Savage | Carbonara Group  | OFFICE: 713-524-8170  |  CELL: 713-819-1320  | EMAIL: hannah@carbonaragroup.com

Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund Expands to $8.7 Million as Economic Crisis Creates Growing Demand for Basic Needs  

$1 million gifts from Phillips 66, and The Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation and Westlake Chemical Corporation, help fulfill Houston Endowment matching grant

HOUSTON, TX (April 21, 2020) – As mile-long car lines wait to access community food pantries and nonprofit partners report growing lists of families in need of assistance, area corporations, foundations and individuals continue to answer the urgent call for donations to the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund, which has grown to $8.7 million. The generous response comes as the community’s most vulnerable families and individuals continue to struggle with the sudden loss of a job or wages needed to afford the basic necessities.  

Along with a $1 million gift from Phillips 66, and a combined $1 million gift from The Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation and Westlake Chemical Corporation, other recent contributions include: The Powell Foundation ($500,000); BHP ($250,000); Mike and Vanessa Manners, The Manners/Coole Foundation ($250,000); Reliant and NRG ($150,000); HCA Houston Healthcare ($110,000); Bank of America Charitable Foundation ($100,000); CenterPoint Energy Foundation ($100,000); Freeport LNG Development, L.P. ($100,000); Richard and Patti Everett ($100,000); Truist Charitable Fund ($100,000); Bob and Annie Graham ($100,000); and Hawkins Family Foundation ($100,000). 

With its latest gifts, the fund reached a key milestone – the fulfillment of the $1 million challenge gift from the Houston Endowment that matched $1 for every $4 raised. In addition to the challenge gift, the fund launched in late March with a lead gift of $1 million from Houston Endowment

As the pandemic continues to limit access to work and wages, the needs of the most vulnerable in our community will continue to grow. More information on how to make a gift and how funds are used in the local community is available at GreaterHoustonRecovery.org.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented need in our community, and with no current end in sight, it is crucial that we continue raising funds to help stabilize those in greatest need,” said Anna M. Babin, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “The response and generosity from these donors allow us to help families in our community who may have no one else to turn to and we are very grateful for their generosity and leadership at this critical time.”  

The Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund is a joint effort by United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation to help those facing the most severe hardships. Last week, the fund invested $1.5 million in 30 trusted nonprofit partners and grassroots organizations that serve communities where residents need urgent access to food and emergency financial assistance. The initial round of funding focused on rapidly deploying help for low-income families and individuals who have urgent basic needs and may not be receiving support from any other source, such as government stimulus. As the pandemic evolves and pledged funds are received, the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund Task Force will continue to assess the data on emerging needs in determining subsequent investments. 

“We continue to see extraordinary collaboration and meaningful response to support those most in need in our city,” said Stephen Maislin, president and CEO of Greater Houston Community Foundation. “Together, our donors and nonprofit partners are providing families the resources, and in many cases the lifeline, they need to survive right now. But as needs across our community continue to grow by the day, we must continue to mobilize and act in bold ways as a caring community to help those in greatest need.” 

Endorsed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Fort Bend County Judge KP George, the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund is focused on helping families and individuals based on potential criteria such as unemployment, loss of income, senior or veteran status, and others as the fund adapts to address community needs. Funds will continue to be invested in services provided by trusted nonprofit partners that have proven experience and systems in place to serve the community in times of disaster. 

Recovery fund investments are overseen by a volunteer task force of community leaders drawn from the boards of directors of United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. The fund serves the four-county Greater Houston area of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Waller counties and is co-chaired by Jamey Rootes, board member, United Way of Greater Houston and president of the Houston Texans, and by Tony Chase, board member, Greater Houston Community Foundation, member, Houston Endowment Board of Directors, and chairman and CEO of ChaseSource, LP. 

Those who need assistance are encouraged to call the 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE, the community’s key 24/7 information source during times of disaster. United Way’s 211 provides callers with the most updated information on assistance with utilities, housing or rental assistance, crisis counseling, access to senior services, information on food pantries in the community and more. Assistance through 211 can also be accessed through the following methods in the event of long wait times due to periods of heavy call volume: 

  • Visit 211texas.org to search resources online or chat online with a specialist 
  • Email help@unitedwayhouston.org for assistance 

To give to the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund visit www.GreaterHoustonRecovery.org or Text “WEHELP” to 41444.

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About United Way of Greater Houston
For nearly 100 years, United Way of Greater Houston has brought together diverse partners and approaches to address the complex challenges holding people back. We are a driving force for good that connects our neighbors with opportunities to thrive. We help our neighbors achieve financial stability.  We provide services that support the physical and behavioral health of families and youth along with educational services that expand their skills and horizons.  We provide a safety net that catches the most vulnerable. We manage every donation with care to make the greatest impact across the four-county region of Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery and Waller counties. We connect neighbors with help 24/7 through our 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE. For more information, please visit, www.unitedwayhouston.org.

About Greater Houston Community Foundation 
Greater Houston Community Foundation, one of Houston’s largest grant makers and leaders in philanthropic impact, has served the greater Houston community for 25 years. The organization supports high profile community and donor initiatives with the most comprehensive philanthropic resources, expertise, and innovative platforms. Greater Houston Community Foundation is widely considered the go-to partner for high-profile philanthropic partnerships in the Greater Houston area, including major disaster relief initiatives, such as the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund as well as Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.  Greater Houston Community Foundation leads collaborations that support the wellbeing and vitality of Houston, including Understanding Houston, in partnership with Rice Kinder Institute. The Foundation provides individuals, families, corporations, foundations, and advisors with the ability to expand their philanthropic impact. For more information, please visit, www.ghcf.org