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On behalf of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for your contribution in 2017 supporting individuals and families whose lives were uprooted in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Your gift – when combined with hundreds of other gifts – enabled CFT to make significant and lasting investments to help thousands of individuals and families stabilize and rebuild after the storm. We are happy to share with you in this letter all that was invested in over the past year that your gift made possible.

CFT’s approach to using funds that come in for natural disasters is to provide support for the entire timeline of any disaster management effort – from immediate relief and recovery to reconstruction and rebuilding. Most disaster dollars are frontloaded to assist during the emergency humanitarian relief phase (with a focus on emergency food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health care). While this relief is critical, there is always a huge gap that remains to address rebuilding/repair needs and provide long-term support for affected families once the spotlight of news agencies have turned to other topics.

Post-Harvey, CFT has worked closely with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to identify nonprofit organizations that have:

  • experience: relevant, pre-existing presence in the affected location and strong understanding of the affected community
  • a comprehensive plan: aimed at providing both immediate and long-term support
  • sustained impact: a proven record of success helping families achieve sustained stability, and
  • effective and proven partnerships: with local, regional, national, and international aid organizations to maximize the effectiveness of investment.

After a thorough review of many quality organizations, CFT invested your dollars in 11 high performing efforts that collectively provide long-term, life-changing support for the many families affected by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, CFT helped coordinate two funds that provide support to thousands of Harvey-affected children. The organizations and funds supported include:

  • Attack Poverty and All Hands and Hearts - providing repair and rebuilding services for nearly 350 homes and schools with significant internal damage - including those that required cleanouts, sanitizations, repairs, and elevations.
  • Catholic Charities Dallas - providing long-term case management and support for nearly 200 families now residing locally who were displaced because of Hurricane Harvey and who continue to need financial assistance, counseling, and/or help finding housing in North Texas.
  • Combined Community Action - providing emergency funding to stabilize families by ensuring they can pay for key building supplies, appliances, and utility deposits.
  • Good360 - providing critically needed products and building supplies - including shingles, mattresses, and mixed rebuild materials.
  • Harvey HELP Fund - providing over $1 million to colleges and universities across the state to provide emergency aid to students impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
  • Harvey KIDS Fund - providing over 76,000 students with mental health services, transportation assistance, instructional supports/programs, case management, and critical repairs and equipment upgrades at affected schools.
  • Help! I’m Hurting! - providing long term recovery assistance and rebuilding services to uninsured and underinsured families affected in the Port Arthur area. La Grange Area Family Recovery Team - helping low-income families in Fayette County (west of Houston) relocate to less flood-prone areas of the region.
  • Just Do It Now - supporting the repair and rebuilding of the Dawson Community Center, which provides essential community programs to vulnerable individuals and families in Wharton County (southwest of Houston).
  • The Disaster Leadership Team - utilizing funding to create an online searchable database of long-term recovery forms and documents for others across the region to use as they ramp up for the longer-term recovery process.

Additional details on the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, including a wider list of nonprofit organizations, impact stories, and additional ways to continue to be involved can be found at http://disasterphilanthropy.org/cdp-fund/cdp-hurricane-harvey-recovery-fund/.

Once again, I want to express sincere gratitude for your gift and the concern for others it represents, as well as for your trust in CFT to diligently identify and wisely invest in the nonprofit organizations that are making the most significant impact within communities continuing to face post-Harvey adversity.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you, thank you for being a part of the response community through your gift and your thoughts.

Sarah Cotton Nelson
Chief Philanthropy Officer

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