Category: Disaster Response

United Way & Partners Award $781,000 To Six Local Organizations

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall nearly a year ago, nonprofits and businesses across Texas stepped up. In order to meet the needs of Central Texans who fell victim to the turbulent storm, United Way for Greater Austin partnered with MFI Foundation, Capital Factory, Entrepreneurs Foundation and Austin Community Foundation to coordinate efforts in the philanthropic community. On July 2, 2018 the collaborative announced grants to six community organizations totaling $781,000.

Read More

A Different Kind Of First Responder: 2-1-1 Navigation Center Specialists

It has been two months since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Coast, but recovery efforts are far from over. Since the storm touched down on August 25, 2017, United Way for Greater Austin’s (UWATX) 2-1-1 Navigation Center has fielded more than 300,000 calls. In just two months, 2-1-1 took 98 percent of its 2016 call volume and the calls are still coming in. From evacuation information to FEMA assistance and volunteer aid, approximately 10 to 20 percent of 2-1-1 calls remain related to Hurricane Harvey disaster response.   The 2-1-1 Navigation Center is a principal part of a statewide support network that participates actively with emergency and disaster support. During Hurricane Harvey, 2-1-1 remained open and responsive 24/7 for nearly three weeks to help the network handle an overwhelming number of calls for rescue, support and recovery resources. In addition to dramatically extending overtime hours, the Navigation Center welcomed support from more than 60 volunteers UWATX staff, Board members and other community volunteers.   Harvey taught us that anyone can end up needing help in times of disaster   Picture this: you and your family are in a strong and stable place financially, you live in a nice two story house and you’ve never had to worry about where to get your next meal. Then, Hurricane Harvey hits. The entire first floor of the home you’ve worked so hard for is destroyed. The carpet is rotting and the sheetrock, drywall and insulation are mold-ridden. The damages to your home could be tens […]

Read More

October 30th Flood and Tornado Relief

We are taking donations for those affected by the October 30th floods and tornadoes. Please donate at uwatx.org/floods to make a gift specifically for disaster relief. Additional important info for those affected by the floods and tornadoes: · The Red Cross is opening a shelter at Seguin Coliseum in Guadalupe County to support residents impacted by tornado in that area. · The Civic Center in Wimberly is opening as an evacuation shelter from flooding on Cypress Creek, evacuations taking place on Flight Acres Rd. and Fulton Ranch Rd. · Evacuation Shelter being set up at Lulling High School for potential flood impacts in Caldwell County. · Residents of South Austin & Onion Creek are urged to go to the Dittmar Recreation Center, located at 1009 W Dittmar Rd, Austin, TX 78745. Major flood wave is expected to flow down Onion Creek. *Info via Red Cross and KXAN* Stay safe, everyone!

Read More

Flood Relief Funds to Be Distributed

It’s been two months since the devastating Memorial Day floods swept through Central Texas—including Hays, Blanco, Bastrop, Caldwell, Travis and Williamson counties—and the outpouring of help from local community members has been nothing short of incredible. According to an Austin American-Statesman article released last week, more than 400 homes were destroyed in Central Texas and 3,491 residents have registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. Many local efforts were organized immediately the Tuesday morning following the floods. Volunteer groups appeared ready with cleaning supplies, and individuals and companies were knocking at UWATX’s door with open checkbooks. In addition to the Disaster Recovery Fund we created, UWATX was the recipient of several benefits held around town to raise funds for flood victims, including ones held by Jonathan Adler Austin, ACL Live, the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals Association and Indian Roller. To date, local community members and businesses have contributed an incredible $85,500 and counting to our flood relief and recovery efforts! This week, those funds will be distributed to 10 local organizations to support long-term recovery (LTR) efforts. By focusing on LTR, we will ensure these donated dollars help the people who need it most and that the funds are used most effectively. These local organizations include: 1. Austin Disaster Relief Network: Rebuilding efforts 2. Bastrop Long Term Recovery: Rebuilding efforts 3. Blanco Regional River Recovery Group: Case management for flood victims 4. Catholic Charities: Temporary housing for flood victims 5. Community Action (Hays County Head Start): Storage rentals […]

Read More

My volunteer experience: finding a sense of community in a city of thousands

Being from a small town in west Texas, the only flooding I’ve experienced was a hot summer day when the neighbor’s above ground pool ripped open and all the water gushed out into the yard.  I couldn’t even fathom the impact of a real flood that could damage your home or soak everything you owned in water, but I saw it first hand last week. I was standing in a community that will forever define time as “before the flood” and “after the flood.” Gathered around under a small tent at the edge of an Onion Creek neighborhood, I joined other Hands On Central Texas volunteers as we headed to our first location of the shift – we were volunteering to clean up homes affected by the Halloween flooding. Walking down the streets of the neighborhood, I was just shocked by what water can do:  vehicles looked like they had been an accident with an 18-wheeler and huge trees were bent over and on top of homes. I was standing in a community that will forever define time as “before the flood” and “after the flood.” I noticed a woman carring single items out of her house and watched her go back in to get more repeatedly, so I asked if she could use our help. She agreed to have a few people help – but nothing could prepare me for what I was about see. As we walked down hallway, you could see the line on the wall where […]

Read More

United Way Capital Area Announces Wildfire Relief Fund Recipients

Yesterday, UWCA awarded $118,000 from its Central Texas Wildfire Relief Fund to three organizations that continue to support and rebuild devastated communities after last fall’s massive wildfires. In all, the UWCA Wildfire Relief Fund raised $122,000, of which $4,000 was used in October 2011 to provide Wells Fargo and H-E-B gift cards to help people displaced get what they needed to get back to work, feed their families and buy clothing. “At United Way Capital Area we unite philanthropists at all levels to ensure our community continues to thrive,” said Debbie Bresette, President of UWCA. “When the wildfires devastated Central Texas last fall, we brought together our resources and networks to increase our collective impact in providing for both immediate needs and long-term recovery efforts. Today’s announcement is just another strategic investment by United Way Capital Area in the future of our community.” Funds were distributed to the following organizations: Adopt A Family was awarded a $75,000 grant for its “Volunteer Action Network” program. The grant is specifically meant to provide recruitment and assignment for volunteers to help with disaster clean up and adopting families. Society of St. Vincent de Paul-South Central Region was awarded $20,000 to go toward the recruitment and training of volunteers to provide Bastrop families affected by the wildfires with case management services. Spicewood Long-Term Recovery Committee, which received $23,000, will the money will go toward rebuilding 16 new homes for families that lost their own residences in the fires. The funds raised for the Central […]

Read More

UWCA raises over $100K for Wildfire Relief

It’s hard to believe it has been over a month since wildfires broke out across Central Texas. For UWCA, this time of year is always busy with workplace giving campaigns, but the wildfire relief efforts brought an added sense of urgency to the work we do. Within hours of hearing about the fires, our 2-1-1 (the United Way Helpline) team went to work verifying information on resources, services and safety. Social media is now a huge part of every disaster recovery effort so 2-1-1 staff members scoured social channels for up-to-the-minute news, verified its validity and then served as a hub of verified information for all callers. UWCA also initiated a text-to-give campaign, so anyone can text “Wildfire,” to 85944 and donate $10. The money donated to the Wildfire Relief Fund has already provided gift cards so those affected by the fires could buy groceries, gas, lodging, replacement tools, clothes and other necessities. To date, we have collected more than $117,000. Recently, Samsung announced a one-time gift of $50,000 for our wildfire recovery fund, the largest contribution to date. This donation allows United Way to work with communities to determine both immediate and long-term recovery needs. Together, we can help those most in need and those who are no longer covered by insurance regain a productive life. Samsung’s gift exemplifies what it means to be a true corporate partner and citizen. Their gift toward wildfire recovery is in addition to the ongoing corporate giving campaign, so those who relied on […]

Read More