In response to the widespread damages and devastation caused by Hurricane Rita, Entergy has expanded the scope of the Power of Hope Fund to provide assistance to victims of this latest storm.
The fund, which currently stands at $3.3 million was created to help Entergy customers and employees recover from Hurricane Katrina. Entergy Corporation, the electric and gas utility that serves the areas hardest hit by hurricanes Katrina and now Rita, launched the Power of Hope Fund and seeded the fund with an initial corporate donation of $1 million. The fund differs from immediate relief efforts of other agencies in that it will focus on helping victims transition from shelters and/or temporary housing back into the community.
Contributions donated to the general fund as of Sept. 26 will also be used to provide assistance to victims of Rita. Donors will be able to designate whether they want their contributions to be used to aid hurricane victims in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas.
"These back to back storms have taken a toll on our communities, but they have not destroyed our spirit," said Curtis Hebert, executive vice president for external affairs for Entergy. "We are committed to helping our communities rebuild and come back stronger than ever."
Grants will be awarded to individuals who were impacted by the storm, as well as to nonprofit agencies who are providing direct services to hurricane victims. Individuals and families are eligible for grants ranging from $1000 to $10,000 per household. The grants can be used for a variety of needs, including housing (rental deposits or mortgage down payments), transportation, job placement or training, and home repairs. The grants cannot be used for utility bill payment assistance, but they can be used for repair of electrical equipment or inspections necessary to re-establish electric service. Grants for nonprofit organizations that are providing direct service to hurricane victims will range from $10,000 to $20,000.
The deadline for the first round of applications is Oct. 7. The deadline for subsequent rounds will be the first Monday of each month for the next five months. After that, applications will be reviewed every other month. To access the forms, log onto www.powerofhope.com or call 1-888-355-8168 during normal business hours. The after hours phone is 601-397-2865.
The fund is administered through the Foundation for the Mid South. Tax- deductible contributions are accepted by phone at 1-888-355-8168 or online at www.powerofhope.com. Contributions can be mailed to The Power of Hope Fund, Foundation for the Mid South, 134 East Amite Street, Jackson, Miss. 39201. One hundred percent of every donation will provide direct aid to hurricane victims.