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John McMillin: United Way establishes fund to help hurricane victims

John McMillin • Updated Sep 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Although this release was delivered last week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we at United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland want to pass this information along with the knowledge that recovery will take a very long time.  There are many organizations trying to help in the wake of this disaster and we offer this information to simply aid as many as we can. 

United Way Worldwide announced it has established the United Way Harvey Recovery Fund, a national fund which will distribute 100 percent of donations for recovery in the affected areas, community by community, in the months and years ahead. The fund will facilitate the donation process for United Way donors and partners who want to offer financial support to storm victims in Texas, Louisiana and the affected areas. 

The inaugural donation to this newly established fund was from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which made a $1 million contribution to directly support victims who have been impacted across the region. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Leonardo DiCaprio and his foundation,” said United Way Worldwide president and CEO Brian Gallagher. “Responding to Hurricane Harvey requires the best of all of us – and that’s what this gift represents. United Way’s Harvey Recovery Fund will provide much-needed help for the communities along the Gulf Coast where lives have been changed forever.”

Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 24 near Corpus Christi, Texas and is on track to be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history. The unprecedented storm has wreaked havoc on homes and communities across Southeastern Texas and Southwestern Louisiana – producing up to 50 inches of rain in some areas. United Ways in the region are helping residents facing devastating losses from the historic flooding focusing on mid- and long-term recovery.

“United Way and other organizations are doing so much to help the victims of this tragedy. LDF has been committed to climate-related issues and environmental projects since 1998. We support efforts to build climate resilient communities and protect vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems across the planet, and have supported disaster relief and victim funds in the past. We hope others will step up and support the United Way and other organizations,” said LDF CEO Terry Tamminen.

The United Way network of more than 1,800 United Ways includes 23 directly in path of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction. Local United Ways in the affected areas include:

• Aransas County United Way in Rockport, Texas.

• Matagorda County United Way in Bay City, Texas.

• United Way Galveston County Mainland in Texas City, Texas.

• United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County in Beaumont, Texas.

• United Way of Brazoria County in Angleton, Texas.

• United Way of Calhoun County in Port Lavaca, Texas.

• United Way of Comal County in New Braunfels, Texas.

• United Way of Greater Baytown Area & Chambers County in Baytown, Texas.

• United Way of Greater Houston in Houston.

• United Way of Jackson County, Inc. in Edna, Texas.

• United Way of Mid & South Jefferson County in Port Arthur, Texas.

• United Way of Orange County in Orange, Texas.

• United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County in San Antonio.

• Victoria County United Way in Victoria, Texas.

• United Way of Southwest Louisiana, Inc. in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

• United Way of the Coastal Bend in Corpus Christi, Texas.

• United Way of Galveston in Galveston, Texas.

• United Way Greater Austin in Austin, Texas.

• United Way Williamson County in Round Rock, Texas.

• United Way of Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

• United Way of Metropolitan Dallas in Dallas.

• United Way of Central Texas in Temple, Texas.

• United Way of Southeast Louisiana in New Orleans.

United Way has a history of serving as the cornerstone for long-term recovery after natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and flooding in Tamil Nadu, India. United Way is laying the groundwork for mid- and long-term recovery in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to take several years. The United Way Harvey Recovery Fund is just one way the organization will continue the fight for every person in every community.

To donate or volunteer, visit unitedway.org. For disaster help, call 211 or visit 211.org.

John McMillin is president of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland. Email him at john@givetouwwc.org.

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