Gulf Coast Leaders Mobilize to Aid Tornado-ravaged Communities

The Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, a community-led philanthropy in the Gulf Coast, has partnered with the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Ala., to provide emergency grants to assist some of the hardest-hit low-income communities affected by the deadly tornado clusters that hit the South. The Black Belt Community Foundation serves Alabama's Black Belt, which stretches across the middle of the state from Mississippi almost to the Georgia line. Rich in human, religious, geographic and political diversity, the Black Belt is home to the highest percentage of African Americans in Alabama, and also contains a high concentration of low-income rural communities.

"Entire neighborhoods have been wiped out, and many low-income, rural communities do not have food or shelter. The areas west of the interstate and east of Tuscaloosa are in desperate need of assistance and supplies, and we are committed to providing aid," explains Felicia Jones, executive director of the Black Belt Community Foundation.

"We know from experience the importance of moving resources to these areas quickly -- that's why we're working in partnership with organizations like the Black Belt Community Foundation and The National Coalition of Black Civic Participation to leverage resources," said LaTosha Brown, director of the Gulf Coast Fund. "Our goal is to raise $500,000 in funds for long-term tornado disaster relief. The grassroots organizations we support are already on the scene, coordinating relief efforts from the ground."

Immediately upon learning of the tornadoes, members of the Gulf Coast Fund's extensive network of grassroots leaders mobilized to provide relief in and around Tuscaloosa, Ala. Having personally experienced a series of disasters, including hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, as well as the BP oil catastrophe, Gulf Coast community leaders and residents have become experts at disaster recovery. Leaders like Derrick Evans, advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund, are proving ready, willing, and able to provide assistance to tornado-ravaged communities wherever needed. Many are already on the scene, clearing tree limbs and tornado debris from residents' roofs and personal property, setting up tarps, and offering temporary lodging, generators, fuel, food, clothing, and other necessary supplies.

To make a donation that will directly support tornado-affected communities, visit http://www.gulfcoastfund.org.

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