Press Releases: September 11, 2017

United Way Relief Fund Grows to $26 Million to Help Those Devastated by Hurricane Harvey 

United Way Relief Fund Grows to $26 Million

United Way Relief Fund Grows to $26 Million to Help Those Devastated by Hurricane Harvey 

$5.7 million released for immediate disaster assistance

HOUSTON (Sept. 11, 2017) – As the massive Hurricane Harvey clean-up and recovery effort progresses in the Greater Houston area, generous companies and individuals continue to donate to the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund, raising the fund total to $26 million to date. Houston Texans owner Bob McNair matched a $500,000 contribution from Texans season-ticket holders who donated the value of their ticket to the cancelled Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys pre-season game to the United Way Relief Fund. Since the United Way fund was launched, McNair and the Texans are the largest contributors with gifts totaling $3 million. 

United Way of Greater Houston established the fund to respond to the widespread devastation caused by storm-related flooding. One-hundred percent (100%) of monies raised by United Way’s Relief Fund will be used to help individuals and families with immediate, basic needs as well as long-term recovery needs and services.

Responding to the increased demand for immediate relief due to unprecedented flooding, the United Way Harvey Task Force approved $5.7 million in investments from the relief fund to support immediate basic needs assistance and disaster case management. A select group of assistance ministries and agencies from Harris, Fort Bend, Waller and Montgomery counties, all with experience in meeting basic needs and providing disaster case management, are receiving this initial investment. 

“The outpouring of support from generous companies and individuals is deeply appreciated, as the needs are great and the recovery will take years for some families,” said Anna M. Babin, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “While United Way leads the long-term recovery effort, we also believe it is crucial to get much-needed resources on the ground in the Houston area as quickly as possible to address those immediate, basic needs. As we move into the long-term recovery phase, the relief fund will also be used to provide case managers to guide families in navigating the daunting recovery process and to help with basic unmet needs, minor home repair, mental health services and other critical support services.” 

Additional major gifts previously announced to the relief fund include $2.5 million from ConocoPhillips; and $1 million each from Anadarko, Kinder Foundation, Lennar Foundation, Macy’s, NFL Foundation, Phillips 66 and Technip FMC. A gift of $500,000 each was received from Amegy Bank, Chevron Phillips Chemical, ExxonMobil, The Friedkin Group and Williams

More support for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey will come from tomorrow’s nationally broadcast telethon, “Hand In Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief,” that airs live Tues., Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. EST on six networks including ABC, Bravo, CBS, CMT, E!, FOX, HBO, MTV, NBC and Oxygen. An impressive list of stars will appear during the broadcast including Beyonce, Drake, Faith Hill, George Strait, Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon. Funds raised from the Hand in Hand Telethon will be distributed to charities assisting those displaced by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. United Way of Greater Houston is one of the non-profit organizations chosen to receive funds from the telethon. 

“The response has been so inspiring as donations of all sizes keep arriving from individuals and businesses from around the county,” said Babin. “On behalf of a grateful community and all those most impacted by Harvey, we thank you --- every dollar counts and will be put to work helping those most impacted by this storm.”  

Babin added that, in times of disaster, United Way serves as the convening organization to bring together non-profit and community partners, as well as civic and government stakeholders from across the Greater Houston area, to coordinate recovery efforts, both assessing the needs and providing support where it is needed most. 

In addition, United Way operates the 2-1-1 Texas / United Way HELPLINE, which is the community’s key information source before, during and after a storm.  2-1-1 is answered 24/7 and call specialists access a comprehensive database of disaster resources that is continuously updated. To date, the 2-1-1 network has answered 197,139 calls for disaster assistance, with over 1,400 calls received yesterday. Babin anticipates that a significant volume of 2-1-1 calls for Harvey-related help will continue as the community moves forward in the recovery process. 

“Those impacted by the storm should know that 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is your first call when you don’t know who to call,” said Babin. 

To give to the United Way Flood Relief Fund, visit unitedwayhouston.org/flood or text UWFLOOD to 41444.  

About United Way of Greater Houston
For more than 95 years, United Way of Greater Houston has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives, tackling key community social issues, and making a lasting difference. Last year, United Way of Greater Houston touched the lives of nearly 2 million of our neighbors in the Bay Area and in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Waller counties. United Way focuses on strengthening our community by developing children and youth to their full potential, creating strong families and safe neighborhoods, sustaining senior independence and rebuilding people’s lives in times of crisis. United Way of Greater Houston is the best way to make the biggest difference in our community. For more information, please visit, http://www.unitedwayhouston.org.

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