Replacing furnaces, tearing out moldy walls of homes and rebuilding livelihoods – the work continues in central and eastern North Carolina counties hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
To help with relief efforts in those regions, Duke staff and faculty visited the State Capitol in Raleigh Monday and delivered a $51,000 check to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, which supports long-term recovery efforts to repair and rebuild damaged homes.
The $51,000 was raised by Duke employees as part of the 2016 Doing Good in the Neighborhood employee giving campaign kickoff. Last fall, 10 percent of donations to the campaign’s Duke Community Giving categories (Health, Neighborhoods, Community Care Fund, Schools, Youth Empowerment) was earmarked for Hurricane Matthew relief.
“Duke employees are supporting families going through the long, painful steps of recovery after Hurricane Matthew,” said Phail Wynn Jr., Duke’s vice president for Durham and Regional Affairs. “This is a special cause and a special day, because this large donation from staff and faculty will now be placed in the hands of organizations that can help these families rebuild.”
Staff with Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs as well as three Duke employees who serve as Doing Good in the Neighborhood donors and campaign liaisons visited the State Capitol on Monday to deliver the check. Joining Wynn in attendance was Nancy Kelly, director of community engagement and events in the Nicholas School of the Environment; Jonathan Abels, executive director of the Duke Center for International Development in the Sanford School of Public Policy; Tony Jenkins, assistant facilities manager for the Fuqua School of Business; Lou Rollins, director of special projects for the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs; Sam Miglarese, assistant vice president for the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs and director of the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership; and April Dudash, senior program coordinator of communications for the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs and Doing Good in the Neighborhood.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper greeted each Duke guest in the historic Old Senate Chamber and thanked Duke Doing Good in the Neighborhood donors for their generosity.
“We have a lot of volunteer groups that are moved by their compassion, moved by their faith, and they are out there on the ground rebuilding people’s houses,” Cooper said about the state of Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. “What we’re able to do (through this fund) is buy lumber for them and just give them the help that they need to get this stuff done. This donation helps an awful lot. This can provide them with the boost that they need to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
The Office of the Governor, in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina, awards North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund grants to community organizations that support long-term Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. The first grants, totaling $810,000, were awarded in June to six organizations. The first grant cycle had 18 applicants that requested a total of $4.06 million in grant funding, signifying an intense need.
The recent $51,000 donation from Duke employees and Doing Good in the Neighborhood is the first donation toward the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund’s second grant cycle, which will be announced soon.
“We haven’t stopped and haven’t forgotten the organizations we weren’t able to fund,” said Laura Zink Marx, president and CEO of United Way of North Carolina. “We already know there’s a great need still there.”
During Hurricane Matthew, about 35,000 homes received flood damage; 71 percent of these homes were in low-moderate income neighborhoods, according to United Way. North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund donations help homes and families in Bertie, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Lenoir, Greene, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson and Wayne counties.