January 7, 2005
As we embark on this New Year, we give thanks for your generous
support of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund. Estimated damage
from Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne now exceeds more
than $42 billion. We are making significant restoration progress
through federal, state and local assistance, as well as through
the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, which was established by Governor
Jeb Bush to help Floridians with unmet needs.
As of today, we have received just over $18.7 million to the Fund,
with an additional $1.8 million pledged.
The outpouring of support from our fellow Americans, as well as
individuals across the world, has been financially significant
and emotionally uplifting. Children have donated their allowance,
folks have gone door-to-door to collect for the Fund, grassroots
groups have conducted fundraisers to help with the cause, and corporations
have donated millions of dollars. We have received contributions
from Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany and
Singapore, as well as from every state in our nation. Every contribution
counts and every penny helps restore Florida.
Allocations from this Fund are serving many purposes, such as
relocation assistance. Many displaced Floridians are finding rent
is more than their previous mortgages. Floridians also are receiving
assistance with insurance deductibles, with many facing two and
three deductibles because of multiple hits. Our Fund has made a
major effort to address child care. Child care facilities have
been damaged, making it difficult for parents to get to work. The
Fund is making additional efforts in housing repair and rebuilding,
as well as assistance specifically for the elderly.
Allocations from the Fund are being distributed in phases to counties,
many hit multiple times this hurricane season, to give them the
opportunity to accurately assess needs on an ongoing basis as restoration
progresses. In total, $12 million has been assigned for communities
in need through Phases I and II. Each eligible county, as established
by FEMA filings, has developed an “unmet needs” committee
composed of other relief organizations working within those counties.
The committees have developed unmet needs plans specific to their
communities. This careful effort is ensuring dollars for unmet
needs stretch to maximum effectiveness. Also crucial to Florida’s
recovery is the many nonprofits that are working relentlessly in
Florida’s recovery efforts, and also are receiving allocations
from this Fund.
A public accounting of this report will be conducted at our six-month
mark in mid-February, and will be conducted every six months until
the Fund is closed. All information about the Fund is posted on
our website as soon as it is finalized, at www.FLAHurricaneFund.org.
If you have not yet sent in your check, please do so. Checks should
be made payable to the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund and mailed
to the Fund’s designated nonprofit manager, Volunteer Florida
Foundation, at 401 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL, 32301. Your
donation is tax-deductible. Thank you once again for your support.
May you have a prosperous New Year, secure in knowing that your
generous contribution is helping Florida rise and rebuild.
Florida Hurricane Relief Fund
|Following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Charley, Frances,
Ivan and Jeanne thousands of Floridians are in need.
Governor Jeb Bush has established the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund
to assist communities in rebuilding. This fund will be used for needs
unmet by other disaster relief organizations also working to help
rebuild lives and communities. Communities will decide how their allocations
from this fund should be spent, and the most heavily impacted communities
will receive the greatest percentage of these funds. (For more information
on allocation, go the the Allocation Procedures for Distribution button
from the home page of this website.)
Please give. Your donation is tax deductible.
your time, or make in-kind donations, call 1-800-FL-HELP-1, or click
here for information from Volunteer Florida.
To donate via the Internet, click here.
For questions about this fund, or to donate by phone, call
|10 Questions about the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund
1. Why has the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund been set up when there
are other nonprofit agencies assisting in the relief efforts?
Thousands of Floridians were impacted by Hurricanes Charley, Frances,
Ivan and Jeanne. Federal, state and local assistance cannot cover
all the resources needed to rebuild. Governor Jeb Bush established
this Fund to help cover needs that cannot be met by other organizations.
2. Who will provide the leadership in this effort?
Heading the Fund’s voluntary steering committee is former
U.S. Senator Connie Mack. Serving as vice-chairs are Joe Lacher,
President of Florida-BellSouth Telecommunications, and Clarence
Otis, CEO-designee of Darden Restaurants. Tallahassee-based attorney
Steve Uhlfelder has been appointed by Gov. Bush as the voluntary
CEO of this committee. Susan Story, President and CEO of Gulf Power,
and Tony Carvajal, President of Carvajal Consulting and Management
have joined to help raise needed funds. Governor Bush has designated
nonprofit Volunteer Florida Foundation to manage the Fund. VFF
President Liza McFadden is overseeing administration.
3. How can an organization or individual apply for assistance
from this fund?
Through county committees. The Florida Hurricane Relief Fund is
requesting affected counties eligible for funding form a committee
THAT MUST INCLUDE relief organizations, including Red Cross and
Salvation Army, working in that county. Each committee will determine
where federal, state and local funds can’t cover restoration,
and make decisions about where the Fund should be used. Additionally,
allocations for this fund will be weighted according to FEMA data
on destruction and need - the counties hardest hit will receive
the larger percentage of the Fund.
4. Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to benefit from the fund?
No. Each county will decide where Fund assistance is most needed,
and that can include help for those who are not citizens.
5. How much of the money donated goes into the field?
The only funds taken from donations will be for staff costs directly
targeted to the fund, including accounting, bookkeeping, reporting
and clerical work, not to exceed 3%. No committee member will
be paid – all are serving on a voluntary basis.
6. How can donors be sure the money really goes where it is needed?
Through constant oversight and reports to the public. An official
report on donations accepted and funds distributed will be issued
in six months, and every six months thereafter until this fund
is no longer needed.
7. Where is the money coming from?
Donations and pledges are coming from across the globe, including
Belgium, Canada and Singapore. So far, individuals in 46 states
across America have pledged. Corporations also are answering
the call. The Fund has received donations ranging from $9 from
an anonymous donor to $50,000 from an individual. Corporate pledges
are ranging from thousands of dollars up to $2 million each.
8. How can I give, and is my donation tax-deductible?
All donations are tax-deductible. You can donate by visiting www.FLAHurricaneFund.org,
or by calling 1-800-FL-HELP-1.
Each donor to this fund will receive an acknowledgement. State
registration number is CH8536.
9. Would it be better to donate to Florida Hurricane Relief Fund
rather than another relief organization?
Donors should follow their hearts and give to the organizations
of their choice. Every donation makes a tremendous difference.
Many donors are giving to several organizations to assist in immediate
and longer-term needs. The important message: Give. Together we
can rise and rebuild.
10. Can you give me examples of how my funds may be used? Large
gifts may be given with restrictions (for example: Cingular Wireless
donated $100,000 which will be used to buy supplies for the eight
schools damaged in Charlotte County; Merck Foundation donated $100,000
to help rebuild family health centers; and Home Depot is donating
$1,000,000 in funds and supplies to rebuild damaged nonprofit organizations).
Unmet needs committees may use funds to assist individuals, such
as migrant workers, to help small businesses rebuild or to fund
nonprofits in their local communities.