Red Cross announces updated fundraising total of $299 million in support of the Alberta Fires

FORT MCMURRAY, AB, Aug. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Thanks to the unprecedented outpouring of support from Canadians across the country, the Canadian Red Cross is proud to announce a fundraising total of $299 million, including matching funds contributed by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, for the Alberta Fires Appeal fund.

"We are grateful for the incredible kindness demonstrated by Canadians – friends and neighbours, community groups, governments and corporations – when it was needed most," said Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross. "This outpouring of support will help the people of Fort McMurray and its surrounding areas recover from the devastating Alberta wildfires and assist those affected for years to come."

This grand total reflects the generosity of more than one million Canadians, who rallied to donate $165 million, plus $104 million in matching funds from the Government of Canada and $30 million in matching funds from the Government of Alberta.

"The Government of Canada is dedicated to assisting families, small businesses and the community of Fort McMurray whose lives have been impacted by this devastating wildfire," said the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Chair of the Special Cabinet Committee for Coordinating Relief Efforts for the Government of Canada. "The $104 million we have been able to provide through donation matching to the Red Cross will provide continuous support to local recovery."

Over the last three months, these donated funds have enabled the Canadian Red Cross to help thousands of evacuees who fled the Fort McMurray area due to the fires. Now, with the matching dollars from the federal and provincial governments, the Red Cross has spent or allocated the funds to assist the people and communities affected by the fires in the following ways:

  1. Assistance to Individuals and Families -- $196 Million (spent or allocated)
    • Emergency shelter, registration, food, clothing, hygiene items, medical equipment, transportation, clean-up kits, and occupational items to help people return to work.  
    • Financial housing assistance to help with rent or mortgage payments, as well as the replacement of furniture, appliances and household goods.
    • Rebuilding of homes through collaboration with experts in the area of clean-up, repair and rehabilitation of homes.
    • To date, the Red Cross has already spent or allocated $146 million for this area of focus, and this includes providing more than $84.4 million of direct cash assistance – in the form of bank deposits, cash cards, cheques or money orders.
  2. Community Initiatives -- $50 Million (spent or allocated)
    • Assistance for community-based organizations and municipalities to help with urgent needs, or plan projects or events for recovery activities intended to rejuvenate the spirit and vibrancy of their communities. 
    • $5.5 million in funding has already been provided through 12 community organization partnership agreements to assist with urgent needs or recovery efforts. This includes $2.4 million provided to food banks in Alberta.
    • An advisory group of community leaders will be formed to help determine local needs and how Red Cross can best assist with recovery efforts.
  3. Support to Small Business -- $30 Million (spent or allocated)
    • To date, $4.5 million provided for the Business Recovery Hotline and emergency financial assistance for small businesses.
    • Assistance will also be provided for the business community to address recovery priorities. Additional details to be announced at a later date.
  4. Community Resiliency & Disaster Preparedness -- $12 Million (projected spending)
    • Support for community resiliency and disaster preparedness aimed at replenishing services that help the affected communities and residents to help themselves and each other.  It will also support new projects that improve the preparedness of families and communities to face another disaster.

People in need of assistance as a result of the Alberta wildfires are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 1-888-553-5505 to make an appointment for a confidential assessment. Red Cross recovery assistance is based on need, not loss, and is available for all evacuees who were permanent residents of the region at the time of the evacuation, regardless of where in Canada they may now reside.

As the Red Cross continues to assist the people affected by this disaster, regular progress reports will be posted on our website: www.redcross.ca . Projected areas of spending and allocation of funds are subject to change based on needs identified by the individuals and communities affected by this disaster. Red Cross assistance will not duplicate existing support available from municipal or provincial governments, or from insurance.

Donations will be held in a separate trust fund to be used only for Alberta Fires relief and recovery efforts. The fundraising cost related to this emergency appeal will not exceed five per cent. All remaining funds will be used for Red Cross operations to support vulnerable people, families and communities affected by this disaster. This includes a small portion of funds, one and a half percent, which ensures the Canadian Red Cross is ready and prepared to respond to future disasters. Fundraising costs are associated to the total funds donated to date ($165 Million), not the grand total including the matching funds.

For additional information about Red Cross funding for community organizations, please visit: www.redcross.ca/CommunityPartnerships  

Additional information related to the Alberta fires including information for evacuees can be found at www.redcross.ca/albertafiresinfo

Visit www.redcross.ca/blog to read stories by Red Cross staff, volunteers, supporters and friends.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information: Media Contact Information: Canadian Red Cross, National media: 1-877-599-9602, Alberta media: 1-403-541-4431, Quebec media: 1-888-418-9111

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http://www.redcross.ca

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