Vermont Disaster Relief Fund raises another $3 million in past three months

NEWS RELEASE

Nov. 26, 2012

Contact:
Betsy Ide, executive director, VDRF.
betsy@vermontdisasterrecovery.com
voice mail: 888-707-8373

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund has raised $6.6 million, David R. Coates, the fund’s chairman announced on Monday.

“We have made tremendous progress in the past three months, raising more than $3 million since the first anniversary of Irene,” said Coates. “We are two-thirds of the way to our goal of $10 million.”

Coates was joined Monday by Gov. Peter Shumlin at a news conference to thank those who have given to the disaster relief fund and to urge others to contribute.

“There is still a lot of work to do,” said the Governor. “I’m urging Vermonters to continue to be generous, to give, and not to forget.”

Coates announced that the Argosy Foundation, a private family foundation created in 1997, has made an $800,000 grant to the Irene relief fund. The Argosy Foundation also made a $60,000 contribution last year to finance assistance for mobile home owners.

“The mission of the Argosy Foundation is to help people to help themselves,” said Coates. “This very generous grant will help so many Irene survivors get back on their feet, back to where they were before Irene.”

The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund provides financial assistance to the thousands of Vermonters whose lives were torn apart by the floods of 2011. The fund is designed to fill the gap that exists after survivors receive assistance from the federal government, private insurance and other grant programs.

The fund is financed solely by private donations.

As of November 16, the fund had provided $2.4 million in assistance to 223 cases.

Coates said that there are still hundreds of Irene survivors who are still trying to rebuild their lives. “This will be a long term recovery,” he said. “Irene may seem long ago for many of us, but there are still Vermonters who live with the effects of Irene each and every day.”

Donations to the fund have come in all sizes and from a wide variety sources, including school bake sales, survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, fundraising concerts, the Keegan Bradley Charity Golf Classic, and the sale of VTSTRONG license plates.

The largest donation – $1 million – came from Burlington businessman Tony Pomerleau. That donation created the Pomerleau Cornerstone Fund, which helped replace or rebuild 66 mobile homes.

As of the most recent tally, roughly 34,000 I AM VERMONT STRONG license plates have been sold.

Coates said a major gifts capital campaign is underway for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. It is chaired by Coates, Charlie Kireker of Middlebury, and Karen Nystrom Meyer of Colchester.

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