PacifiCorp last month announced a $500,000 donation to aid the relief effort following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm that wreaked havoc along the U.S.’s Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.
The hurricane destroyed levees, flooded major cities and small towns alike, took hundreds of lives and rendered thousands of people immediately homeless, and the devastation continues to be felt. The relief effort is expected to last months as the affected areas are cleaned up and structures, communities and lives begin the healing and rebuilding process.
“What has happened as a result of Hurricane Katrina is heartbreaking. Despite our employees being hundreds of miles from the disaster area, we are all impacted by what is occurring to our fellow citizens, and we want to do all we can to reach out,” said Judi Johansen, president and CEO of PacifiCorp. “PacifiCorp is pleased to help advance the hard work of the relief agencies and crews and be able to assist people in rebuilding their lives.”
The $500,000 donation is being split among several relief agencies. Thirty five percent, or $175,000, will go to Northwest Medical Teams of Portland, Oregon, American Red Cross chapters in Utah will receive 40 percent, or $200,000, which will be funneled to this and other disaster relief efforts. The remainder of the donation will be distributed among Red Cross chapters in Washington, Wyoming, Idaho and California. PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington, California and Wyoming and as Utah Power in Utah and Idaho. The donation comes from shareholders and is not absorbed by rate-paying customers.
“Our volunteers are making a tremendous difference in getting urgent medical care to hurricane survivors in this devastated area, and this generous gift from PacifiCorp will allow us to continue to help as people rebuild their communities and their lives,” said Bas Vanderzalm, president of Northwest Medical Teams. “I can't thank PacifiCorp enough for opening its heart to those who are in such great need here.”
The corporate donation is above and beyond an employee-driven campaign to raise funds. On Sept. 15, more than $70,000 had been contributed by the company’s employees in six states. The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning was to match the employee donations dollar for dollar. The employee fund drive concluded Sept. 16. The company also had utility crews on standby to help restore essential services in the affected states.
“We recognize that the restoration effort will be extensive, lasting for months, maybe years, and taking billions of dollars. We’re pleased to be able to help in some way, extending our commitment to the communities we serve to our national neighbors as well,” said Johansen.