Since the launch of our Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund immediately following the 2017 storm that took the lives of at least 68 people and altered life for millions more in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, you have made a difference.
In response to one of the costliest storms in United States history, you and 31,000 people and companies joined together to prove the power of generosity and our ability to make a positive impact in the world. Tragically, Hurricane Harvey was just one on a long list of devastating hurricanes to strike the U.S. recently as the climate crisis drives more extreme, more frequent weather events. But after more than three years, we have collectively raised $5.3 million to fuel immediate relief, long-term recovery, and resilience in Texas.
Thank you for making that possible and supporting our close partnerships with community leaders and trusted nonprofit partners based in Texas. More than 35 local, vetted nonprofit organizations have received grants from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to continue serving families grappling with the impacts of Hurricane Harvey that remain to this day.
As we now close our Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, I’d like to share five incredible highlights that are a direct result of your generosity:
Though we are closing this fund, our nonprofit partners in Texas remain hard at work. They need your support to continue the long journey to full recovery, especially given the compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are able, please consider supporting a local organization in Houston like the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, Urban Harvest, or Target Hunger.
From everyone at GlobalGiving, thank you for supporting our partners’ important efforts for the past three years. Your generosity has been critical to community-led disaster recovery in Texas.
With immense gratitude,
Chase + the GlobalGiving Team
More than three years have passed since Hurricane Harvey devastated the greater Houston area and other parts of Texas. For many impacted communities, the journey to full recovery remains impossibly slow—and nowhere near its end.
One of GlobalGiving’s key partners in Houston, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), remains committed to serving communities in the arts and culture sectors that were first impacted by the hurricane and now suffer additional loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. HAA is deeply committed to helping artists and local arts-focused nonprofits be bold, productive, and strong. As 2020 comes to a close, we took a moment to speak with Quang Vu, HAA’s Manager of External Affairs, and Disaster Services Program Manager Lauren Hainley to share a firsthand perspective of the organization’s impact, insight, and hope with you and the more than 30,000 others who have donated to GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund since 2017.
How has Houston Arts Alliance been in a position to serve creative communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey and now COVID-19?
When Hurricane Harvey devastated the artistic community of Houston, HAA and our partner service organizations came together to provide much-needed aid and relief funding to the community. In the years since Harvey, HAA conducted critical work to learn from that disaster and developed the preliminary vision for a new Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD) plan, which integrates into the emergency management systems of Houston and the surrounding arts and cultural communities. This plan has allowed HAA to respond to the needs of artists and arts organizations and continues to be reshaped with each disaster that threatens to undo the rich arts and cultural ecosystems of our city. During COVID, the HAA team responded to the needs of the community in two forms.
First, HAA expanded upon the initial partnership network of arts and cultural organizations that was developed during the response efforts of Hurricane Harvey, and convened nearly 20 small and large organizations within the Greater Houston Area to collectively respond. This group amplified and streamlined communication efforts into the community for faster, more effective resource dissemination while also operating as a strategy think-tank for the art’s pandemic response. The other side of this collective effort that made the group’s work impactful was the ability to listen to the needs of the community while being the voice for our shared constituents.
In April, we were able to put together the Greater Houston Area Arts Relief Fund for Artists and Arts Workers, which raised a total of $331,560 that went directly toward supporting the immediate financial needs of the growing number of unemployed creative workers in the arts. In June, after collecting data and listening to our community for the first three months of the pandemic, we created our needs assessment report for the arts in the Greater Houston Area. This document became the backbone on which we developed and prototyped new disaster programs for building community resilience and recovery.
The second front of our VOAD plan was to create important relationships outside of the artistic community. The HAA Disaster Services department joined the Harris County Long-Term Recovery Group that has been consistently meeting since Hurricane Harvey. HAA’s partnership with this group, along with other local response and recovery organizations, has given the team frontline access to services and information outside of the arts.
In Houston Arts Alliance's view, how can people best support the arts and creative communities during this time of such need?
In Houston alone, the artistic community has suffered nearly $100 million in economic damage. A recent Brookings Institution report shows America’s arts and creative industries lost $150 billion in sales and 2.7 million jobs through July. What artists and arts organizations need the most during this time is your support. There are many ways you can do this: buy next season’s season tickets at your local theater or a membership to your favorite museum; look to see if your community is holding an outdoor art market to support local makers and creatives; or commission a portrait of your family for the holidays. Artists and arts organizations continue to create and innovate for the community and are given less resources and support to do so, while creativity is needed now more than ever.
However, HAA encourages you to go beyond just your dollar contribution to the arts. True change happens when we are able to change the systems and structures to enhance artistic and cultural vibrancy within our cities. This starts at the local level, where elected officials must be made aware of the important place of the arts within all of our communities.
What is giving the Houston Arts Alliance team hope as we all head into 2021?
The COVID-19 vaccine has begun to be administered across the country. As this vaccine becomes more widespread, the arts community will be able to begin reopening their doors to the community. There is hope that our community will be back to some normalcy by the end of 2021. However, artists and arts organizations have already adapted to the new world of Zoom entertainment and social distancing. Dance shows are performed at outdoor pavilions and online art sales are beginning to gain traction. Artists and arts organizations are resilient, innovative, and ever-changing. To HAA, that continues to be the pillar of hope for us as we charge into the new year with our team.
Thank you for your generosity and support of community-led disaster recovery.
Chase + the GlobalGiving Team
Last month marked the third anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented devastation across the greater Houston area and southeast Texas. For many communities, the lasting impacts from this storm are still a daily reality. Amid so many current challenges, GlobalGiving remains committed to serving our community-led nonprofit partners in Houston that continue to drive long-term recovery.
Here are recent updates from three of our partners who are delivering on long-term recovery because of your generosity:
All of this vital work has been made possible by your donation. Thank you for joining with more than 30,000 people to fuel critical relief and long-term recovery efforts in response to the long-lasting impacts of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. We will be back in your inbox in the months ahead to keep you updated on our partners’ progress and your role in building stronger communities.
Chase + the GlobalGiving Team
At GlobalGiving, we are working around the clock during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis to best serve our nonprofit community across 170 countries. We have launched a Coronavirus Relief Fund, piloted a Hardship Microgrant Initiative, and doubled down on trusting our partners to know what is best for their communities during this emergency.
The COVID-19 crisis is not only upending our own lives and the lives of our loved ones, but it is also disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable among us and in communities around the world. This reality is especially true for communities that have already been severely affected by recent disasters, like Hurricane Harvey, and now find themselves on an even more complex and daunting journey to recovery. Nearly three years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the communities in and around the Houston area continue to grapple with the lasting impacts of the storm and the slow support from local, state, and federal sources.
GlobalGiving remains committed to serving our nonprofit partners on the frontline of continued Hurricane Harvey recovery work. At the beginning of May, GlobalGiving made a round of rapid response donations from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to provide immediate flexibility to our nonprofit partners in Texas as they now also respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in Hurricane Harvey-impacted communities.
I want to share how three of our partners are doubling down on their critical work during the pandemic, thanks to your donation.
From our nonprofit partners and everyone at GlobalGiving, thank you for your incredible generosity. Joining together with 30,000 other people, your choice to support community-led recovery efforts in Texas makes all the difference during this difficult time.
Stay safe and well.
Chase + the GlobalGiving team
Recovering from a disaster is a long process. It takes years for a community to heal, to address the needs of the vulnerable and to move forward together. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey two years ago, donors like you contributed more than $5 million in donations to support affected communities on their rebuilding journey.
In GlobalGiving’s latest round of grants from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, local nonprofits strengthened their capacity to provide continued rebuilding assistance, improved food security, and resilience training. Here’s a closer look at how you’ve supported Texans recovering at the local level:
Connecting Communities to Fresh, Healthy Food
In Northeast Houston, extreme flooding exacerbated many of the issues faced by low-income neighborhoods, such as food deserts and limited access to fresh, healthy produce. Today, Urban Harvest fights food insecurity through community gardens and gardening classes, SNAP/Double Up markets and farm stands. This community-based approach increases resilience to future disaster events through building strong community ties that improve access to healthy, local food.
Finding Nature-Based Solutions to Prevent Future Flooding
For cities built on top of low-lying floodplains such as Houston, coastal prairies are proving to be an effective natural barrier to minimize the impact of future storms. The Katie Prairie Conservancy is pioneering nature-based solutions through a data-driven, collaborative approach to conservation and restoration initiatives. Local community members are engaged in flood risk reduction efforts through regular volunteer days, local ecology lessons, and school programs.
Exploring Ways to Mitigate Future Storm Surges
The interest in building nature-based resilience is especially critical for counties hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey, including Galveston, Harris, San Jacinto, and Brazoria. With new funding in 2020, the Bayou City Waterkeepers will conduct wetland analysis in 10 counties vulnerable to flooding, and engage city, county, and federal decision-makers in the push for natural solutions to storm surge.
Building Back Stronger
Having developed an innovative rebuilding model in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, SBP arrived in Houston within days of the hurricane to assist with immediate relief efforts before sharing their long-term recovery approach with other local nonprofits. SBP works with community leaders to identify the greatest unmet rebuilding needs of the community, and it will use the additional funds to bring disaster-weary residents back home.
Serving Traumatized Children
For children who have experienced the trauma of a disaster, restoring a sense of normalcy and calming anxiety is especially difficult for those in communities vulnerable to future flooding events. Can’d Aid provides an outlet to kids affected by displacement and PTSD through gifting bikes and skateboards to more than 300 children, new instruments to two under-resourced grade school music programs, and environmental clean-up projects.
As the new year gets underway, your generous support will continue to sustain initiatives that carry communities step-by-step toward holistic recovery. We’re looking forward to hitting the road again soon, and bringing back stories that show how communities are building back #TexasStrong.
Andrea + The GlobalGiving Team
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When a disaster strikes, recovery efforts led by people who live and work in affected communities are often overlooked and underfunded. GlobalGiving is changing this reality. Since 2004, we've been shifting decision-making power to crises-affected communities through trust-based grantmaking and support.
We make it easy, quick, and safe to support people on the ground who understand needs in their communities better than anyone else.
They were there long before the news cameras arrived, and they’ll be there long after the cameras leave. They know how to make their communities more resilient to future disasters, and they’re already hard at work. GlobalGiving puts donations and grants directly into their hands. Because the status quo—which gives the vast majority of funding to a few large organizations—doesn’t make sense.
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