There are many ways you can help communities that have been affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Monetary Donations Are the Best Way to Help
The best way for Coloradoans to assist those impacted is to make a financial contribution to agencies already engaged in the disaster response. A number of Colorado organizations are assisting in the hurricane response and recovery efforts. At the national level, many voluntary-, faith-, and community-based organizations are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors.
Local Foundation Offers $3 Million Match of Colorado Hurricane Recovery Fund Donations
One local option to make your donations go farther is to donate via Colorado's Hurricane Recovery Fund. This fund, established by the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, will help nonprofit organizations address intermediate and long-term hurricane recovery needs across U.S. states and territories. On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Bohemian Foundation announced that it will match dollar-for-dollar up to $3 million gifts made by Colorado individuals, businesses and foundations to Colorado's Hurricane Recovery Fund.
Donations made to the fund by midnight on Nov. 1, 2017 are eligible for the match. The Community Foundation will not charge an administrative fee to this fund. To donate online, visit the Community Foundation's website at NoCoFoundation.org/hurricane. If you have questions or are seeking more information, please contact the Community Foundation team at DonorServices@NoCoFoundation.org or 970-224-3462. Checks may be made payable to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, memo Hurricane Recovery, and sent to 4745 Wheaton Dr., Fort Collins, CO 80525. Donors also can text COLOGIVES to 41444, a text-to-give option provided by United Way of Larimer County for this fund.
Following Hurricane Harvey, Bohemian Foundation established a $2 million matching grant that challenged northern Colorado residents to donate to the Community Foundation's Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund. With the growing impact of the 2017 hurricane season, Bohemian Foundation has expanded the match from $2 million to $3 million and has opened the campaign to all Colorado residents and organizations, including foundations.
Help Where It is Needed Most
It is better to send cash donations rather than physical items. Transporting and storing items comes at great expense. Quite often, survivors do not need or can't use goods that are donated by generous fellow citizens. Organizations that receive unsolicited donations have to take time to catalogue and store such materials, which takes valuable time away from working on urgent needs.
If you wish to donate your time, it is safest, most efficient and effective to volunteer with a trusted volunteer organization that is already responding in the affected area. Do not self-deploy into a disaster-affected area; you can put yourself in danger and sap resources such as housing, food, water and medical aid.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is a good source of information about ways to help, including opportunities to volunteer or donate. Check first to see if the skills, timeframe, and/or goods you wish to donate are needed and requested.
Don't Fall Prey to Donation Scams
Unfortunately, some criminals use disasters to take advantage of your generosity. Do your research before you donate to make sure your charitable contributions are assisting those intended. Stop Fraud Colorado, a service of the Colorado Attorney General's Office, offers checklists, tips and information sources to help you review trustworthy charities and identify potential fraudulent solicitations.