The One America Appeal led by former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama today announced that it had discontinued accepting donations after raising over $41 million for hurricane relief efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In total, more than 110,000 donors gave $41.3 million, which was distributed quickly to critical relief efforts in the affected areas. Major gifts came in from throughout the campaign from generous individuals, groups, companies, and organizations including Merck, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, Pfizer Foundation, the Born This Way Foundation, the NFL Foundation, The PGA TOUR, and proceeds from a preseason men’s exhibition basketball game between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri.
“On behalf of the former presidents, we want to thank each of the roughly 110,500 donors who so selflessly answered the call to help our fellow Americans in need due to the devastating 2017 hurricane season,” said David Jones, CEO of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. “Together, we have worked very hard to get this money where it is needed quickly, and the feedback we have received from the relief organizations with whom we have partnered indicate this special appeal has indeed made an important difference.”
Originally, the former Presidents were inspired to come together in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August, which unleashed devastating flooding that threatened hundreds of thousands of Texans — and spurred thousands of first responders and neighbors into action. The effort expanded twice in September to include recovery efforts in Florida from Hurricane Irma, and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricane Maria.
On October 21st, the former Presidents also came together at Texas A&M University for a special “Deep from the Heart” benefit concert produced by the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Emceed by Lee Greenwood, this unique event included a surprise performance by Lady Gaga and featured headliners ALABAMA, the Gatlin Brothers, Sam Moore, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen. The concert was broadcast live and carried by YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, which help raise millions more for hurricane victims.
Also helping to raise awareness and funds were the Ad Council, Interstate Outdoor Advertising, The Outdoor Advertising Association of America and AT&T.
From the outset, a special restricted account was established through the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation to collect and distribute donations to ensure 100 cents out of every dollar goes to assist hurricane victims. Donations have been distributed to:
- Houston Harvey Relief Fund
- Rebuild Texas Fund
- Florida Disaster Fund
- Unidos Por Puerto Rico
- Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands