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Red Cross, Habitat get challenge grant to aid hurricane victims

American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity receive $1 million challenge grant to aid Florida hurricane victims

Case Foundation grant encourages citizens nationwide to contribute to immediate and long-term assistance

Sept. 15, 2004 – With extensive damages from hurricanes Charley and Frances in Florida leaving thousands of families in crisis, and with Hurricane Ivan expected to hit the panhandle region next,The Case Foundation has issued a challenge grant of $1 million to help the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity International raise funds to assist victims of the hurricanes in Florida and other disasters. Each organization will receive $500,000 to be matched 1:2 by private donations with the goal of collectively raising $3 million in assistance for those affected by hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan.

Response to the recent hurricanes will be the largest sheltering and feeding operations for a natural disaster in Red Cross history. “With the ferocity of Hurricane Charley, persistence and size of Hurricane Frances and impending threat of Hurricane Ivan, the Red Cross assures the country that we have the physical capacity to respond, but we need the financial support of the American people to do so,” said Marsha J. Evans, pesident and CEO of the American Red Cross. “We welcome The Case Foundation’s challenge grant and hope it will inspire individual donors large and small to pledge their support.” The Red Cross will use the money raised to continue its emergency relief efforts of providing food, shelter, counseling and other assistance to those in need.

Habitat for Humanity International will use funds raised by the challenge grant to help hard-hit Florida partner families pay insurance deductibles of up to $1,500. Money will also be used to repair homes damaged by hurricanes Charley and Frances and to build new homes for families who find themselves in need.

“We are pleased and profoundly grateful that The Case Foundation has once again expressed confidence in Habitat for Humanity by committing $500,000 as matching money to help with the recovery efforts in the wake of the hurricanes in Florida,” says Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “Their generous grant will be multiplied by additional gifts to produce at least $1.5 million … to rebuild the thousands of broken homes and fractured lives caused by the fierce wind and rain of the hurricanes.”

“With the storms coming back to back as they did, and little time in between to get in to make evaluations and repairs, our volunteers and resources are spread pretty thin,” says David Williams, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Habitat for Humanity. “We have 6,000 partner families in Florida, many of whom need help right now. The money we raise will not only help families through the tragedy of these hurricanes, but to finance a long-term effort to help rebuild and build new homes in Florida.”

Recent reports indicate that 31,000 homes were destroyed or are uninhabitable due to the storms. According to Florida Power & Light, as of yesterday nearly 145,000 people remain without power in Florida. The hurricane season typically runs from June 1st to November 30th, with the most devastating storms historically occurring in September and October.

“Seldom have we seen natural disasters in the U.S. like the recent hurricanes that have so disrupted the lives of children and families in Florida,” said Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation. “By making this matching grant to the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, it is our hope that citizens around the country will open their hearts and pledge their support for the many thousands of people who have been affected by these terrible storms.” The Case Foundation was established in 1997 as the private family foundation of Steve and Jean Case.

To take advantage of this generous matching challenge grant and help the people affected by the recent hurricanes and other disasters, individuals should make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-HELP NOW or visiting www.redcross.org. To donate to Habitat, please visit www.habitat.org or call 1-800-413-4868, and designate your gift for The Case Foundation matching grant.

About The American Red Cross
Since Hurricane Charley slammed into Florida on August 13, the Red Cross and its workforce of volunteers and employees have opened 629 shelters, providing refuge to nearly 286,000 residents, served more than 5.6 million meals and snacks to victims and relief workers and offered mental health services to more than 23,500 disaster victims.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of the recent hurricanes and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. There are 6,000 HFHI homeowners in Florida. For additional information, please visit www.habitat.org.