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Florida Hurricane Relief Fund Announces $1 Million In-Kind Donation
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Volunteer Florida Foundation Announces New Donations To Hurricane Charley Fund

Florida Hurricane Relief Fund Announces New Funding Initiative Bank of America, The Home Depot Donations Directed for Nonprofits
Press Release For Immediate Release January 14, 2005

Contact: Fonda Anderson

Punta Gorda, Fla. – In Charlotte County today, ground zero for the 2004 Florida hurricane season, former U.S. Senator Connie Mack announced major donations from Bank of America and The Home Depot. The funds, totaling $2 million, will be directed for nonprofits working to rebuild Florida after this season’s devastating four hurricanes. Mack serves as voluntary chairman of the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund for unmet needs. The fund was established by Governor Jeb Bush and is managed by nonprofit Volunteer Florida Foundation. Deadline for applications is February 15, 2005.

“As we gather exactly five months and one day from Hurricane Charley’s landfall here in Charlotte County, we can visually see that recovery is a long process,” said Mack, as participants gazed up and down the city street at mounds of rubble and homes still vacated due to extensive damage. “Nonprofit organizations increasingly are shouldering the responsibility of providing needed recovery services to Floridians. With the tremendous donations of Bank of America and The Home Depot, we are offering crucial assistance to nonprofits statewide to help in this effort and assuring Floridians they are not forgotten.”

Katie Scanlan, Senior Vice President for Bank of America, presented a $1 million check to the Fund, which will be used for grants to nonprofits engaged in rebuilding housing for low- and moderate-income people. Bank of America previously announced its $1 million commitment at a hurricane benefit concert Jimmy Buffett held last November to raise additional funds for hurricane victims.

“Nonprofits have been on the frontlines of disaster relief, and are now transitioning to the long-term recovery efforts as emergency disaster relief organizations are phasing out their services,” said Tim Laney, Bank of America Florida President. “Bank of America is proud to be able to support this transition and their hard work with this $1 million grant.”

Don Jones, District Manager for The Home Depot, also presented a $1 million check to the Fund. Of that donation, $500,000 will be used to provide debit cards to qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations to purchase building materials and labor assistance from Home Depot stores to rebuild their own facilities damaged by the storms. Another $500,000 will be used as direct grants for rebuilding.

"Communities throughout Florida went through an unimaginable series of events, and the rebuilding process is going to be an extensive effort," said Kevin Martinez, director of community affairs for The Home Depot. "The Volunteer Florida Foundation has developed an incredible program for nonprofits to receive funding that supports their rebuilding efforts. It is an honor for The Home Depot to support this funding initiative."

Nonprofits statewide can apply for the grants. Applications will be reviewed using an extensive, multi-stage process. Review teams will be composed of representatives from nonprofit, business and community organizations. Application information is posted at www.FLAHurricaneFund.org.

Also joining Mack were Tom Moore, Vice-Chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners, and Tom Rice, who chairs the county’s unmet needs committee. Together they accepted a check from the Fund in the amount of $211,750, the county’s Phase II allotment, which is designated for a variety of social services, including continuing child care recovery, senior services, medical assistance and housing assistance. Phase I funding from this county, in the amount of $198,652, was used to help child care centers get back into operation and help parents get back to work.

The announcement took place at the Busy Bee Early Learning Center, one of several child care facilities in Charlotte County that received assistance from the Fund during the initial funding period. Sheryl Jones, director of Busy Bee, hosted the group and took them on a tour of the facility, which is in the final stages of recovery. Fund allocations are being made in phases to give counties, many hit multiple times this hurricane season, the opportunity to accurately assess needs on an ongoing basis as restoration progresses. Phase I funding encumbered $5 million, and an additional $7 million has been encumbered for Phase II. Allocations are based on the extent of destruction and the Fund uses the number of FEMA filings as a base, with the hardest hit counties receiving the greatest amount of funds. Each designated county has formed an unmet needs committee to develop a plan for their allocation that addresses needs not met by insurance, federal and state agencies. Funding is being conducted in phases to help communities determine the most critical unmet needs as restoration progresses.

To date, the Fund has received nearly $19 million in contributions. Allocations will be made in phases until the Fund is depleted. All donations to the Fund are tax-deductible. For more information, visit www.FLAHurricaneFund.org, or call 1-800-825-3786. Checks, made payable to the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, can be mailed to Volunteer Florida Foundation, 401 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

Across Florida thousands of lives have been devastated this hurricane season.

Floridians in crisis need your help. Please donate to Florida Hurricane Relief Fund to help the thousands whose lives have been devastated.

Volunteer Florida Foundation
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