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Former First Ladies Unite to Provide Relief to Schools Affected by Hurricane Season 2017
Dallas, TX – Today, The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation announced a combined $2 million pledge to support education in the aftermath of recent catastrophic hurricanes. Of the $2 million, The Laura Bush Foundation is dedicating nearly $1 million for grants that will be awarded to schools affected by this year’s devastating natural disasters as part of the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative. The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is committing $1 million to provide resources to public libraries, as well as supplies and books to classroom teachers and students in Houston who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“This fall, we have witnessed devastating forces of nature,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “I am thrilled to be partnering with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation during this time of great need. We are committed to rebuilding school libraries that have been damaged during this year’s hurricane season so that our nation’s children have the resources they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.”
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as other storms this season, have caused catastrophic damage in Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast by flooding schools and homes and leaving many families and their children displaced. The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and The Laura Bush Foundation recognize the importance of helping families regain a sense of normalcy in their lives, and the ability to access the academic and support services in their schools is paramount to returning to that normalcy. The foundations will raise funds to rebuild school and community libraries, provide classroom resources for teachers, distribute school supplies and books to children in need, and mobilize volunteers.
The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides annual grants to our Nation’s neediest schools so they can extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries. In addition to the annual grants, the “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative” in 2006 provided nearly $6.5 million to school libraries affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to rebuild book collections damaged or destroyed in the storms. With a goal to raise additional funds to combine with the initial pledge, this year’s Disaster Relief Initiative will provide larger grants to schools in Texas and across the southeastern United States that have been devastated by this year's storms.
“As heartbroken as George and I were watching Hurricane Harvey engulf our beloved Texas with unprecedented floodwaters, so too were we moved by the selfless heroism of the first responders and neighbors who risked their own safety to help others,” said Mrs. Barbara Bush. “Seeing Texans reaching out and coming together is why I am so proud to join Laura and her foundation to equip our childcare centers, schools and libraries with resources they need to help children and their families continue on the path to recovery.”
The two foundations have brought together partners from across the country in support of their disaster relief efforts, including Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Kids in Need Foundation and Phillips 66. Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Phillips 66 each donated $250,000 to help rebuild home libraries for children, and Kids In Need Foundation, with support from Dollar General Literacy Foundation, will be supplying more than $1 million in school supplies.
For more information on how to donate to school libraries in need, or how to apply for school disaster relief, please visit www.laurabushfoundation.com.
To support relief efforts to Houston-area public libraries, teachers, and children affected by Hurricane Harvey or to volunteer, please visit www.bushhoustonliteracy.org .
About the Laura Bush Foundation
The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides grants to our Nation’s neediest schools so they can extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries with the goal of encouraging students to develop a love of reading and learning. Since its inception in 2002, it has awarded over $14.3 million to more than 2,700 schools across the country. In addition to the annual grants, the “Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative” in 2006 provided nearly $6.5 million to school libraries affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to rebuild book collections lost or destroyed in the storms. In 2014, The Laura Bush Foundation transitioned from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. to the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, where it is managed as a restricted fund. More information can be found at www.laurabushfoundation.org.
About the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation
The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, co-chaired by Neil and Maria Bush, was established as a charitable organization focused on improving the quality of life for Houston residents through the power of literacy. The Foundation advocates for literacy as a fundamental right of everyone and a foundational skill towards success in life. It is founded on the belief held by Barbara Bush, former First Lady, “If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.” In 2013, the Bush Family created the Houston-based foundation separate from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a national foundation, in response to the need to deepen the awareness of and intensify services and support for the nation’s fourth largest and most diverse city – Houston. For more information, visit www.bushhoustonliteracy.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bushhoustonliteracy on Twitter @bushhoustonlit and on Instagram @bushhoustonlit.