Press Release: October 12, 2017
United Way Relief Fund Grows to $44 Million
United Way Relief Fund Grows to $44 Million with $5 Million Gift from
Lilly Endowment to Help Those Devastated by Hurricane Harvey
HOUSTON (October 12, 2017) – Seven weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf Coast and inundated the Houston area with flooding, the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund has grown to $44 million thanks to generous companies, organizations and individuals who continue to answer the call for help for those most affected by the storm. Among the largest contributors is Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic foundation that recently made a $5 million grant to support the fund.
“We are inspired by and so grateful for the generosity of Lilly Endowment,” said Anna M. Babin, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston. “Their incredible gift, combined with the outpouring of support from individuals and businesses across the country and the world, will allow us to help so many of our neighbors recover and rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.”
The relief fund was established by United Way of Greater Houston in response to the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. All of the money raised by United Way’s Relief Fund will be used to help individuals and families with both immediate, basic needs and long-term recovery services such as case management, minor home repair and, as the recovery progresses, a wide range of unmet needs for which no other help is available.
“Lilly Endowment has supported United Ways in the wake of disasters because they work effectively within the local communities they know so well,” said Ace Yakey, Lilly Endowment’s vice president of community development. “United Way of Greater Houston understands the needs of the people affected by Hurricane Harvey and has the capacity with its affiliate agencies and other partners to help the communities in the region rebuild.”
Additional major gifts previously announced to the relief fund include $3 million from the McNair family and The Houston Texans, $2.5 million from ConocoPhillips; and $1 million each from Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Baltimore Ravens, Kinder Foundation, Lennar Foundation, Macy’s, NFL Foundation, Phillips 66 and TechnipFMC. Gifts of $500,000 each were received from Amegy Bank, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Encap Investments L.P., ExxonMobil, The Friedkin Group, 21st Century Fox and Williams.
Featuring a celebrity-packed line up, additional Harvey assistance came from the nationally broadcast “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” telethon, which contributed $2.5 million to United Way of Greater Houston.
Babin noted that, in times of disaster like Harvey, 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 the weeks after the storm hit, the United Way Harvey Task Force approved $5.7 million in investments from the relief fund to support immediate basic needs 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 coordinating disaster case management, are receiving the initial investment. The Harvey Task Force also approved an additional $2,050,000 to establish the Unmet Needs Fund for impacted households to be administered by BakerRipley, Inc.
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 HELPLINE specialists access a comprehensive database of disaster resources that is continuously updated. To date, the 2-1-1 network has answered 260,000 calls for disaster assistance. 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.
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.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family -- J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli -- through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana.