According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, in the two weeks since southeastern Louisiana was devastated by flooding of historic proportions, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has raised more than $3.6 million for relief and recovery efforts and distributed more than $2 million.
Of the total raised, $1.7 million has been donated to employee assistance funds set up by local companies to help employees who have been affected by the flooding. BRAF currently administers forty such funds, awarding grants ranging on average from $1,000 to $5,000. BRAF president and CEO John G. Davies told the Business Report that employee assistance funds have proven over the years to be one of the most effective ways to get communities back on their feet after a natural disaster.
In addition, BRAF's Louisiana Flood Relief Fund has received donations from across the United States, including $250,000 from Capital One Bank, $250,000 from an anonymous donor via a foundation in Tennessee, and more than $1 million in online donations. BRAF is working to distribute the funds quickly to a variety of organizations across the affected parishes, including the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Together Baton Rouge, Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area, Ascension Public Schools, and Unlocking Autism Baton Rouge. Benefit concerts in support of flood victims also are being held in several cities.
While BRAF is grateful for the outpouring of support, Davies said he hoped to raise more funds for the victims. "We need to be closer to $10 million than to $5 million."