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Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund Raises Nearly $1 Million After Tornadoes

George Drake Jr.

fund set up to help survivors of the Memorial Day tornadoes has so far raised nearly $1 million.

The Dayton Foundation’s Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund reports roughly half that amount has already been distributed to Miami Valley nonprofits assisting with recovery.

"That is absolutely an unbelievable outpouring of support,” says Dayton Foundation president Mike Parks. “I mean the smallest gift has been $6 and the largest gift has been $100,000 and anything and everything in between. The thing that's challenging is we're going to need some multiple of that.”

The fund has donated money to social service agencies, including the Dayton chapter of the Red Cross, the Dayton Foodbank, Catholic Social Services, St. Vincent de Paul, Miami Valley Community Action Partnership and others that are helping survivors with housing, food, shelter, legal services and other needs. 

The Foodbank of Dayton itself received over $50,000 in donations after comedian Mike Birbiglia began a charity-giving campaign on Twitter.

Parks says it’s critical that community fundraising efforts continue as the recovery moves forward. Help from federal agencies, including FEMA, he says, won’t be enough to help many survivors rebuild their lives.

"FEMA plays a major, major, major role, but there are going to be all kinds of gaps as a community that aren't covered by either FEMA, or insurance or social services, that as a community we're going to have to come together and say, ‘How do we handle this?’” Parks says.

Ongoing damage assessments show roughly 5,700 properties were damaged across Montgomery County. The storm damaged hundreds more in Greene and Mercer Counties.

coalition of groups coordinating relief estimate that storm recovery will take upwards of two years, and many affected homeowners, renters and business owners were uninsured or underinsured.

How To Help

Opportunities to help survivors are also available -- a number of fundraising events are planned for the month of July.

The following is a list of upcoming fundraisers for the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund:

  • RiverScape MetroPark and SOCHE, The Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund Benefit Concert (7/13/19)
  • The Contemporary, Art Gives Tornado Relief Fund (7/5/19): Make a donation of $5 or more now through July 5 and The Contemporary Dayton Board of Trustees will match your gift.
  • Sonder Brewing, Giving a Percentage of Sales (Month of July)
  • Carillon Historical Society, Brewers Festival (July)

Apply for Disaster Grants and Loans:

The deadline to apply for disaster assistance through FEMA, and very low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners through the United States Small Business Administration is Aug. 19.

FEMA officials say the fastest way to open a claim for disaster assistance is online at DisasterAssistance.gov; or by phone, at 800-621-3362.

FEMA, SBA and other state, local and federal experts are also on hand to answer questions about an application at disaster recovery centers located throughout the Miami Valley.

Beginning Monday, July 8, the centers will be closed Sundays and the new daily operating hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Find a center closest to you at FEMA’s website.