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Tornado Recovery Funds: Helping to rebuild lives
& livelihoods in our region & across our state

Damage in Pratt CityTornadoes in April 2011 affected people and communities in 43 counties across our state, prompting a special response from the Community Foundation in coordination with community foundations across our state. We stretched beyond on usual five-county service area to set up the Alabama Tornado Recovery Fund and to partner with generous donors who used benefit concerts and other fundraising efforts to respond to these devastating storms.

We also used our on-going Emergency Response Fund, funded with $200,000 from our Community Funds, to respond to long-term unmet needs from these new storms through the Central Alabama Long Term Recovery Committee, which serves our five-county area.

Although we are not actively fundraising at this time,  your gift to our Emergency Response Fund allows us to respond now and in the future to disasters affecting the greater Birmingham area.

Reporting on response to April 2011 tornadoes

As of December 2012, tornado recovery funds  of the Community Foundation have supported unmet needs with more than $3.6 million in grants that have helped 630 families in 30 counties.

More about grants:

  • Within the five-county footprint of greater Birmingham, more than $1.2 million in grants have helped 200 families.
  • $3.2 million in grants through Long Term Recovery Committees helped families return to safe, secure homes by bridging the gap in needs to repair, rebuild and furnish homes.
  • $227,000 in grants for case management to help families make plans for recovery and connect to resources (prior to FEMA funding of these positions) and for construction coordination to expedite the work of volunteers.
  • $176,000 for community recovery, including two volunteer fire departments (one with community shelter), a playground, community meeting space, affordable housing projects and community planning.

Where do the grants come from? Tornado recovery funds were set up to accept donations from a variety of sources.

  • Alabama Tornado Recovery Fund  supporting unmet needs for long-term recovery statewide through  the Long Term Recovery Committees (LTRC) serving the 43 counties hit by the 2011 tornadoes.
  • The Emergency Response Fund, established in the wake of F5 tornadoes that hit Jefferson County in 1998, which supported unmet needs for recovery in Blount, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby and Walker counties in the wake of 2011 and 2012 tornadoes, as well as other natural disasters. The Central Alabama Long Term Recovery Committee connects these resources to individuals and families through a professional case management system and fills the gap for needs not met by insurance, FEMA, SBA and first-responder services.
  • Advised Fundsset up with the Community Foundation as philanthropic partner. These include:
    • Bama Rising Fund, established by the band ALABAMA and others who wanted to use their talents to help tornado survivors. A benefit concert in June 2011  and other donations raised $2.1 million for tornado recovery, which was distributed through  an Advised Fund of the Community Foundation.
    • Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, established by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Birmingham to support tornado recovery in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa with proceeds of a July 2011 benefit concert by the pop star Rihanna.
    • Brownell Tornado Recovery Fund – World Travel for Relief, established through proceeds from a benefit auction by Brownell Travel to mark the company’s 125th anniversary and serve tornado survivors in Jefferson, Walker, Tuscaloosa and Marshall counties.  Volunteers from the company also contributed time to home rebuilding efforts to make their support go even further.

Reporting to our donors*

Read more in documents distributed to the generous individuals, families and businesses whose gifts supported key tornado recovery grants:

*Totals shown above were reported at the time based on work completed, under way or projected by the organizations receiving the grants.  Some of this work also may include cases reported by the Central Alabama Long Term Recovery Committee, of which the Community Foundation is a member, and other Long Term Recovery Committees across the state.