This hurricane season has been devastating for countless American families. Unfortunately, these hardships can linger for months and sometimes years as families, communities and local and state governments navigate the tough road to recovery.
We saw that firsthand here in Florida during the historic onslaught of hurricanes and tropical storms that impacted our state in 2004 and 2005. Long after the power was restored and debris removed, many of our residents still needed help to get back on their feet. Fortunately, hurricane recovery was accelerated by generous individuals, businesses and philanthropies around the nation.
A 2015 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that nearly 50 percent of households take six months or more to recover from an unplanned financial setback. Add to that financial burden the shock of losing your possessions or of being forced out of your home, and the impact is much worse. Our most vulnerable families often are those with children, creating economic uncertainty and instability in their lives, the communities in which they live and the schools they attend.
The lasting impacts will be far greater for the residents of Puerto Rico—which lacks the infrastructure to recover as quickly as Texas and Florida—many of whom have been displaced or are seeking relocation.
I encourage you to continue supporting families impacted by these storms, and consider contributions to the organizations listed below that are aiding recovery.
Together, we can make a difference for communities, educators and students across Puerto Rico and our Gulf states.
Florida: To support Florida teachers and students impacted by Hurricane Irma, contact the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations for local opportunities to help.
Puerto Rico: To support families and communities impacted by recent hurricanes, contact:
- Unidos por Puerto Rico to provide aid and support to hurricane survivors and
- The Heart of Florida United Way’s Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief fund to support families and communities.
Texas: To support teachers and students impacted by Hurricane Harvey, contact:
- Donors Choose to help teachers at damaged schools rebuild their classrooms and
- The Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy program to feed students.
About the author
Governor Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush was governor of Florida from 1999-2007 and is chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.