Stabilizing And Rebuilding In Irma’s Wake
Planned Giving – By Rachel Calderon
The reminders of Hurricane Irma were stark and hard to miss in Central Florida, from the sparse shelves of restocking supermarkets to the toppled trees and piles of debris that line our streets.
We are slowly coming back from the worst hurricane to hit Central Florida since Charley in 2004. Irma and her associated tornadoes were responsible for nearly three dozen deaths and economic losses estimated at between $35 billion and $75 billion throughout the state. At one point, more than 1 million homes were without power in Metro Orlando.
The urge to help in our community is as strong as the winds that Irma packed. And we are ready to contribute, too, at Central Florida Foundation, the region’s community foundation, which connects philanthropy and strategy to community issues in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard, Volusia and Polk counties.
The Foundation activated the Hurricane Irma Relief Fund as the storm made its way to our region to support stabilization and rebuilding efforts. In short, we are here to assist in just about any way we can.
Donations to the Fund will gird local nonprofits that were damaged by Irma and are struggling to get back to providing the critical services and programs they offered before the storm, especially to those hurting the most, such as low-income families and seniors and the homeless.
The struggles facing Central Florida don’t end when we all dry out and FEMA leaves town. It takes long-term focus to stabilize the community and fill in the gaps in federal, state, and insurance benefits to help nonprofits continue to help those they help.
The Foundation has assessed the needs of more than 1,000 nonprofits in the seven-county region. From that we are able to identify gaps and the most pressing shortfalls for the nonprofits to address during the difficult days ahead. In essence, we are providing a road map for the best tactics to help nonprofits get back to business as usual.
We appreciate the natural impulse of such a caring local and global community to lend a hand as quickly as possible and we encourage people to do the right thing – but they should do so carefully and strategically. Give your time and money where it can do the most good, both now and in days and months ahead.
Rachel Calderon is the marketing and communications manager at Central Florida Foundation, which serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds.