Growing up in southwest Houston, I remember the ominous darkening skies, strong winds, and seemingly endless rain of tropical storms. Businesses, schools and stores closing; homes losing power. I felt a bit like Dorothy in the tornado as I read books by flashlight, grateful for my house, my parents and my poor trembling dog hiding under my covers.
I can remember wondering when life would return to normal and the feeling of relief when the lights came back on, like waking from a scary dream.
In the immediate days surrounding a national disaster, donations to Red Cross and charities experience an uptick, and that is great news. The problem is that after the news coverage dies down, the real work of rebuilding begins.
An Uber driver in New Orleans told me his story of being displaced by Katrina, ironically he rebuilt his life in Houston and later moved back to be near family in the Big Easy, he recently told me that there are areas in New Orleans that are still not rebuilt.
One organization that loans to small entrepreneurs is Lift Fund, a regional fund that operates in Houston and the surrounding area, and also has branches throughout Texas. Here is their info:
YinCaravana also supports KIVA, an organization that enables people like you and I to loan as little as $25 to small entrepreneurs all over the world. I searched and unfortunately they have no entrepreneurs listed needing loans in Texas right now.
If you know of any other crowd-funding or impact investing organizations accessible to individuals like you and I and others who want to help, please share in the comments below.
(Update: Here is another organization that focuses on mid-term and long term assistance. http://disasterphilanthropy.org/)
Last quick tip - if you want to have a bigger impact than a one time disaster relief donation, put a reminder in your calendar for 6 months from now to check in and consider a second donation. Sometimes the need is still very present.
Thank you and please keep sending strength to the resilient people of Houston and the Gulf Coast of Texas. If you are feeling personally upset or stressed, check out this post for tips on how to deal..
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