Our view: What’s up with this grass-roots flood fund?You’ve seen the rain gauge graphic on News Tribune Opinion pages, plotting the progress of corporate, business and everyday-anyone’s donations to help Northland neighbors devastated by the June floods.
You’ve seen the rain gauge graphic on News Tribune Opinion pages, plotting the progress of corporate, business and everyday-anyone’s donations to help Northland neighbors devastated by the June floods.
But what do you really know about the Twin Ports Region Long-Term Flood Relief Fund? Other than the grass-roots undertaking has a really long, hard-to-say name?
“There have been questions and tidbits of misinformation floating around,” Paula Reed, president of the United Way of Greater Duluth, wrote in a “Fund Facts” document recently to help clear up misperceptions while providing information. “This is such a critical part of our recovery efforts and something that we will be working together on for quite some time.”
First, she said, the fund isn’t just for Duluth. It’s a regional fund, covering Duluth and Superior and across Douglas, St. Louis, Carlton (including the Fond du Lac Reservation), Aitkin, Pine and Lake counties.
And it’s not a United Way fund. “United Way is simply serving as the fiscal host of the fund because our organization has the capacity and systems in place,” Reed wrote. The fund is separate from United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.
Every dollar donated will go to flood victims, Reed promised. “Administrative fees are being covered by local governments, United Ways, foundations and other agencies,” she wrote. “The regionally coordinated effort will leverage more resources than multiple smaller funds individually. Large corporations, foundations and other potential donors from across the region, state and nation are more likely to support one coordinated effort because they understand the benefits of collaboration and know their investment will make the biggest impact for the largest number of people. This is an opportunity for demonstrating collective impact.”
Decisions about how the money will be distributed will be led by regionally representative committees working with long-term case managers financially supported by government and/or local resources. Case workers will work across the region, identifying needs and assisting individuals. “The Long-Term Flood Relief Fund will help people with unmet needs after all other means of support have been exhausted,” Reed wrote.
“While the initial goal was to raise $1 million, this fund will have to raise several million dollars to meet the needs of all those affected,” she wrote. “This effort is only just beginning — and is now more important than ever due to individual support for FEMA being denied and the fact that 95 percent of those affected do not have insurance coverage.”