Joplin Tornado Relief Efforts Raise $39 Million

In the year since a category EF5 tornado killed 158 people and left hundreds homeless in Joplin, Missouri, at least $39 million has been raised for short- and long-term recovery efforts, the Joplin Globe reports.

The total does not include the estimated millions of dollars donated to Joplin's churches, church-affiliated charities, and small nonprofits engaged in recovery efforts. Indeed, the lion's share of the donations has gone to a handful of organizations and institutions; they include the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and its affiliate the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri ($9.4 million), the American Red Cross ($6 million), the Salvation Army ($5 million), the United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas (nearly $1.7 million), the Joplin Tomorrow Fund and Business Recovery Fund ($2.2 million), St. John's Regional Medical Center and Mercy Hospital Joplin ($6.75 million), and the Joplin School District ($8 million). The funds have provided support for a range of basic needs, including food, clothing, and transportation, as well as to rebuild and refurbish homes and public buildings and spaces.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars also have been used to help local businesses that were affected by the storm. With support from the Joplin Tomorrow Fund, which was launched with a $500,000 grant from the foundation of former U.S. Senator John Danforth (R-MO), and the Business Recovery Fund, which was launched by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, approximately 81 percent of the more than fifty-five businesses that were devastated by the storm have reopened.

Meanwhile, the two community foundations in the region have dispersed more than $3.8 million. CFO/CFSWMO also established the Joplin Recovery Fund the morning after the tornado to support area nonprofits recovering from the disaster. The fund has since awarded thirty grants totaling $2.43 million, mainly in support of rebuilding efforts.

"People saw what had happened, and they gave from the heart," said CFSWMO director Michelle Ducre. "We are committed to making sure the money makes the greatest impact."

Connie Farrow. "About $39 Million Given to Major Funds for Joplin's Storm Recovery." Joplin Globe 05/26/2012.