Community Foundation Rebuilds Lives and Livelihoods in Response to Deadly Alabama Tornadoes
On April 27, 2011, two waves of killer tornadoes, 62 in all, cut a path across Alabama almost 700 miles long, injuring thousands and killing 243 people. Estimates ranged as high as $1 billion to rebuild thousands of homes, businesses and key community services.
April 27, 2011, was a historic day in Alabama for all the wrong reasons. In two waves of destruction, 62 tornadoes cut a path almost 700 miles long, injured thousands and killed 243 people. Estimates ranged as high as $1 billion to rebuild thousands of homes, businesses and key community services including fire departments, libraries and grocery stores.
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham led the way by:
• Raising more than $3.7 million total from generous people across the country who wanted to help in long-term recovery
• Serving as philanthropic partner for the Bama Rising Benefit Concert, a star-studded event organized by the band Alabama and supported by 13,000 ticket-holders and general donors ($2 million out of total raised statewide).
• Convening Long-Term Recovery Committees to coordinate grants through community-based efforts across the state and make plans to respond effectively to future disasters.
• Bringing more than 550 families home again by repairing and rebuilding homes, purchasing building supplies, appliances and other needs
• Speeding up recovery by supporting 16 case managers and seven construction coordinators working with multiple projects.
• Supporting six community planning and rebuilding projects, including two fire departments, a community shelter, a playground and housing for out-of-state volunteers.
“We are grateful that you took time to remember our people, our needs and our dreams for a brighter future,” said Tayna Rains of Upper Sand Mountain Parish in North Alabama. Her comments reflect the experience of many:
• One survivor from the Pratt City neighborhood of Birmingham felt the loss of her home and the deaths of several neighbors. When her home was rebuilt with Community Foundation support, she could sit on her front porch again and be part of rebuilding the life of her community.
• One Phil Campbell couple suffered critical injuries, including a threat to the life of their unborn child. By the fall of 2011, they were able to celebrate the birth of a healthy boy and, with Community Foundation support, settle into a new home.
• The volunteer fire department in Shoal Creek Valley returned to action with a new facility, better than what was destroyed, plus a community storm shelter, thanks to Community Foundation support.
“The networks and trust we have developed across the state make us better prepared as a community today to respond to future disasters,” said Kate Nielsen, president of the Community Foundation. “We have learned valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t, what resources we have and what we are lacking and what systems must be in place to have an effective response.”
Founded in 1959, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham serves as a leader in supporting education, health, economic security and a strong, vibrant community.
More About This Charity
Disaster Relief and International Aid
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham drives positive change through grantmaking, convening and leading, as we leverage donor giving to meet community needs forever.
- This Achievement alone raised $3,700,000
- This Achievement raised $13,800,000 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 558 people since January 1, 2011
- 16 case managers, rebuilt 550+ homes, 2 fire stations, 1 community shelter