Press Releases: June 07, 2021

Two Nonprofits Join Forces to Strengthen Community’s Disaster Recovery Resources

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Two Major Houston Nonprofits Join Forces to Strengthen Community’s Disaster Recovery Resources

HOUSTON, TX (June 7, 2021) – When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, it brought financial disaster for many Houston families. To respond to urgent needs in the community, Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston teamed up to quickly raise and distribute $18.4 million to help families and individuals access basic needs such as food, shelter and other human necessities. The impact of the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund was significant during a time of great uncertainty and need, setting a strong foundation for the two organizations to strengthen their partnership. Months later, when a historic winter freeze struck the region with devastating impact, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo turned to these two nonprofits to lead the philanthropic response. Through this public-private collaboration, a volunteer advisory board chaired by Dave Lesar was quickly engaged to raise $16.7 million to help the region’s most vulnerable neighbors with winter storm relief and repair, with the final round of grants disbursed in June.

Based on their combined expertise and resources —as well as the likelihood of another hurricane or other disaster impacting our community in the future -- Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston announce they have officially formed a partnership to coordinate recovery fundraising and response to future disasters.

The two nonprofits have many shared strengths and are experienced leaders in establishing and administering disaster-related funds. Using a strategic, data-driven approach, both organizations are well positioned to identify needs and invest in a validated network of agency partners from throughout the four-county Greater Houston region. The new partnership will benefit from the deep-rooted relationships forged by each organization within the philanthropic community, including corporations, foundations and individuals who recognize the importance of a collaborative disaster recovery approach.  

“We know that in the aftermath of a disaster such as Hurricane Harvey or the COVID-19 pandemic, it takes a collaborative approach to support those who are restoring and rebuilding their lives,” said Stephen Maislin, president and CEO of Greater Houston Community Foundation. “This strategic partnership will allow us to draw on the many strengths of both organizations in fundraising, disaster response analysis, and grant making to support as many vulnerable neighbors as possible.”

The partnership defines a disaster as a sudden natural catastrophe or human-caused event that results in severe property damage, deaths or injuries. In the aftermath of a disaster when a swift response is necessary, this partnership will utilize established systems and processes to activate and fundraise quickly. A grants committee comprised of volunteer leaders from each nonprofit will jointly make decisions on the distribution of funds that best support restoration, recovery and rebuilding efforts in the four-county region of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Waller counties. Leaders from both organizations have expressed their commitment to prepare for future disasters by working together to strengthen the coalition of leaders that support relief, recovery and resiliency efforts across the region.

“With every disaster, we see that those families and individuals who were already struggling to afford the basic necessities are disproportionately impacted when crisis strikes,” said Amanda McMillian, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “A collaborative approach to fundraising and the investment of those funds allows us to not only address the existing need in difficult times, but also accelerate and strengthen response and recovery efforts for the community.”  

For more information on the partnership, visit www.greaterhoustonrecovery.org, and to learn more about each organization visit the websites for Greater Houston Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Houston.

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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 to be 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, a regional indicator initiative with strategic research partner 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.