From the press release:
â€Right now, the focus in the region is appropriately on basic human needsâ€”potable water, food, shelter, medical care, fuel, and other basic necessities for our community. We salute all the organizations and individuals who are helping us from around the nation, and even the world, through their donations to organizations like the American Red Cross and other charities,â€ said Steve Richer, executive director of the MGCVB. â€We must, however, look at the long term needs of our community. That means jobs and bringing back the businesses that support them, particularly those generated by our hospitality industry.
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has set up the â€˜Build Back Our Coast Fundâ€™ for this purpose.
â€I am pleased to report that many corporations, national organizations both in and out of the travel industry, and foundations have offered to help. I have personally been impacted most by the generosity of the American people and friends around the world. The kindness and caring has been overwhelming.â€
Donations can be made via the Fundâ€™s Web site at or via phone at 800-474-4445. Donors may earmark funds specifically for similar efforts in Louisiana, Alabama, or Florida via sister community foundations in New Orleans, Mobile, and Pensacola.
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a 20-year-old philanthropic organization based in Biloxi, Mississippi that administers charitable funds for many local entities, as well as its own funding. Both the offices of the Foundation and the Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Coastal leaders, including Dickie Roberts who has evacuated the Coast and set up temporary offices in neighboring Alabama are working from their remote locations to continue serving their constituents. Ms. Roberts stated that â€the opportunity before us is challenging and enormous however, we are experiencing all of the for-profit and non-profit forces joining together as never before to dream, plan and regenerate.â€
Encouragement has been pouring in from national organizations, starting with the National Tour Association, American Bus Association, Travel Industry Association, Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International, and American Society of Association Executives. The American Gaming Association and its â€Katrina Relief Fund,â€ which was already underway and has begun soliciting its members, is cooperating with the effort.
Richer acknowledged the work of the CVBâ€™s ad agency, TURKEL, located in Miami, for its contribution and commitment to help with the fundraising, and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau for its contribution of both professional staff and the services of its New York-based public relations firm, Rubenstein Associates.