United Way Suncoast intensifies Hurricane Ian relief with 'Make It A Million' campaign
Herald-Tribune, The (Sarasota, FL)
United Way Suncoast has initiated a new $500,000 mid- and long-term recovery effort for those most impacted by Hurricane Ian and has launched a "Make It A Million" matching campaign aimed at strengthening all its programs.
The aid will engage more than 20 regional agencies and focus on five areas: funding navigators; filling economic gaps for individuals and families; assisting quality childcare centers with storm recovery; supporting mental health agencies; and granting funds to nonprofits.
United Way Suncoast determined the needs by relying on information from strategic community partners and observations from its own team members who have helped deliver emergency relief in hard-hit areas such as DeSoto County and Myakka City. Both communities sustained historic inland flooding and wind-related property damage.
"Leading community efforts in times of crisis is critical to long-term recovery," United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff said. "In the immediate aftermath of Ian, we supported emergency relief efforts in our region and in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. However, we continued to plan on mid- and long-term recovery, and we now have the strategic approach to move forward with those plans."
Working with partners such as All Faith Food Bank, Catholic Charities and the Women's Resource Center, navigators have guided community members through complex applications for emergency rental assistance. Now the navigators will expand their scope and assist those seeking Federal Emergency Management Administration hurricane relief while sustaining a focus on housing needs.
United Way Suncoast will provide support to families and individuals who need assistance with insurance deductibles and other financial gaps impeding their efforts to recover and rebuild. The nonprofit will work with FEMA, the Small Business Administration, insurance companies and other foundations to ensure a maximum impact. It will also partner with Habitat for Humanity of DeSoto to assist with home repairs.
Grant support will come from the emergency relief fund that United Way Suncoast launched immediately after Ian struck. The fund already has collected more than $150,000. United Way Suncoast is asking donors to match the $500,000 investment that began on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29) and continues through the holidays. The "Make It A Million" Campaign will allow United Way Suncoast to bolster Ian relief and strengthen its existing efforts.