Irene Relief Fund Boosted By Large Donors

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The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund has raised $6.6 million to help with the ongoing recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. 

Organizers say millions have poured into the fund since the storm’s anniversary in August.

In fact, the fund has raised nearly as much in the past three months as it did in the year following Irene.

Last August, one year after the storm, fund organizers announced that with individual contributions waning, they were starting a new campaign to appeal one-on-one to large prospective donors.   

To date, those appeals have been successful and the fund is closer to its goal of raising $10 million. David Coates who chairs the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund, says, "I think given the calls that we know we have ahead of us, I’m feeling pretty good about where we’re going and the fact that we’ll get there by the first quarter of 2013."

Coates says so far the effort to help victims of Superstorm Sandy hasn’t affected large donors’ willingness to support Irene relief. That’s because the donors and foundations being approached have Vermont connections.

"They may not live here year round, but they have a state presence," he says. " I think a lot of them are people that earned their money here and they haven’t forgotten that."

As of last Friday, $2.4 million of the $6.6 million raised so far has been distributed to 230 individuals and families for Irene recovery. Coates says he expects 600 more applications for help will be filed.

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