By: Amy Bretherton
We’ve all see the images of devasting floods and the damage left behind by Hurricane Florence. As CSR professionals we can be proud of the rapid response by corporate donors. More than $15 million has been pledged in aid from companies large and small. The amount is expected to rise as more company contributions are reported.
Research shows consumers and employees expect companies to actively participate in disaster recovery. Companies are doing more than pledging cash donations. Many employ an integrated approach to disaster relief which includes donating products, lending technical expertise and enlisting the support of employees and customers. Some companies have been involved with disaster recovery for many years. Others have recently added disaster philanthropy to their corporate social responsibility programs.
Here are 10 companies who are helping with hurricane relief by drawing on their organization’s strengths and responding in an authentic way that reflects their company culture:
- 7-Eleven in its first activation since joining the American Red Cross Disaster Responder program, is raising money to support the relief agency’s efforts. As Hurricane Florence zeroed in on the Carolina coast, the convenience store retailer invited customers to add $1 to their purchase at participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide or to donate online
- Anheuser-Busch has sent emergency canned water to disaster areas for more than two decades, and 300,000 cans of water was on the way to the region expected to be hit by the storm targeting the Carolina coasts.
- Charter Communications pledged $350K to nonprofit Rebuilding Together to support relief efforts and assist with repairs and renovations in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence. The company also offered an additional $1 million in public service announcements to air at no cost to assist organizations with fundraising and awareness for disaster relief efforts. Charter opened 5,100 Spectrum WiFi hotspots across North and South Carolina to support the preparation and recovery efforts and will keep them open to all users until further notice. Additionally, Charter worked to provide WiFi access to a number of shelters in impacted areas within its service area.
- Delta Airlines donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to assist with ongoing relief efforts. Delta’s customers also can make cash donations or donate their travel miles to the American Red Cross to provide free travel to those assisting in relief efforts.
- Home Depot more than 700 associates in the Store Support Center in Atlanta joined together to package 2,500 hurricane relief kits for communities impacted by natural disasters. In partnership with Convoy of Hope and Hero Box, volunteers packed Homer Buckets full of supplies – including cleaning products, paper towels, trash bags and more to be sent out across the country for those impacted by Hurricane Florence and in preparation for future disasters. Additionally, more than 300,000 truckloads of products have been shipped to stores in the Carolinas. The Home Depot Foundation also increased its disaster response commitment to $3 million.
- Lowe’s has committed $2 million to support relief efforts, with the Lowe’s Emergency Command Center expediting more than 2,800 truckloads of needed supplies, including generators, bottled water, sand, plywood, chainsaws, trash bags, gas cans and tarps.
Lowe’s also activated its American Red Cross Disaster Relief customer donation program on its website. Additionally, more than 400 associates, who have volunteered to be a part of Lowe’s Employee Relief Teams, will deploy to areas hit hardest by the hurricane.
- Proctor & Gamble’s Tide’s Loads of Hope mobile laundry unit has been deployed to support relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Residents can bring clothes to be washed, dried and folded free of charge. P&G also distributed free personal care and cleaning kits. Tide Loads of Hope was first launched in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina.
- Nissan as part of Nissan’s new purpose-driven truck campaign “Calling all Titans” a donation page was created asking consumers to joinin helping people affected by Hurricane Florence. Nissan also hosted a Facebook Live with the American Red Cross to discuss how the public can most effectively assist today and in the days and weeks to come.
- UPS is collaborating with FEMA and its nonprofit relief partners on multiple fronts to ensure help reaches those who urgently need it. Through its charitable arm, the UPS Foundation, the company has sent skilled volunteers to provide technical expertise and to help with the transportation of supplies. UPS has committed more than $1 million to meet the short and long-term needs of affected communities.
- Walmart Beginning September 15, registers and websites collected donations that were matched $2for every $1 by Walmart. Through the generosity of Walmart and Sam’s Club customers, the Walmart 2018 Hurricane Relief Fund administered by Foundation For The Carolinas contributed $4 million to the Red Cross. Walmart coordinates with the Red Cross to quickly source life sustaining supplies such as water, snacks, formula and diapers.
These companies and many others were able to mobilize quickly when Hurricane Florence made landfall on September 14 because their disaster philanthropy plan was already in place. Unfortunately, only 40% of companies report having a disaster response plan. A well-crafted plan is vital so that companies can respond efficiently and effectively in the event of a disaster. For information on how to create a corporate disaster response plan, read Mollye’s blog: Why Your Company Should Take a New Approach to Disaster Philanthropy.
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