AMERICUS, Ga. (Oct. 30, 2006) – Eight families who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and are rebuilding their lives in new communities, will soon be welcomed into new homes through a grant from the First Data Western Union Foundation to Habitat for Humanity International.
“The hurricane forced thousands of families to seek refuge in new communities where they must start again,” said Mark Crozet, senior vice president of development for Habitat for Humanity International. “This generous grant from the First Data Western Union Foundation offers direct relief and a new beginning to some of these families.”
The First Data Western Union Foundation provided more than half a million dollars to build eight houses in cities across the country where evacuee families have relocated. The donation comes from a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. First Data and Western Union employees donated money, which was matched by the companies.
On Sept. 29, Western Union was spun off by First Data, creating two separate, independent companies. As a result, each of the companies have formed separate foundations – the Western Union Foundation and the First Data Foundation – so that each can continue philanthropic efforts.
“As part of our commitment to disaster relief, the Foundation is making a long-term impact on these families affected by Hurricane Katrina,” said Luella D’Angelo, president of the Western Union Foundation. “These homes are being built in communities where Western Union and First Data employees work and live. We are happy to lend a hand to the construction efforts and welcome this opportunity to help our neighbors begin a new life in their adopted communities.”
Construction has already begun on two houses in Omaha, Neb., and Hagerstown, Md. Other houses being built in partnership with evacuee families are scheduled to be built in Denver, CO; Houston, Texas; Melville, N.Y. and St. Charles, Mo. Habitat partner families are selected based on evident need, ability to pay a mortgage and willingness to partner with Habitat. Habitat houses are purchased by partner families at cost on a no-profit mortgage.
About First Data Western Union Foundation
The First Data Western Union Foundation was the charitable organization of First Data and Western Union. The foundation supported philanthropic initiatives worldwide. On Sept. 29, First Data spun off Western Union resulting in two separate, independent companies that will each have its own foundation. The Western Union Foundation and the First Data Foundation will continue the philanthropic efforts of both companies. Since its inception in December 2000, the First Data Western Union Foundation donated more than $25 million dollars to help those most in need.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Ga., in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .