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DALLAS (Nov. 30, 2017) – Since making landfall in late August, Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas Gulf Coast and has impacted over 6 million Texans, many of those being students who were in their first weeks of school or about to start school.

Educate Texas, an initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, has launched the Harvey KIDS Education Fund, designed to help meet the urgent needs of PreK-12 school districts and public schools along the Texas Gulf Coast affected by the storm’s devastation. Developed in partnership with a cross-sector of local, state and national leaders, the Fund has already amassed nearly $1.5 million in donations from foundations that will be used to provide immediate relief as well as to support longer-term rebuilding efforts. The name of the fund is the Harvey Keeping Impacted Districts Supported (KIDS) Education Fund, and donations are encouraged. Educate Texas has also teamed up with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which will support the outreach efforts and provide information regarding the needs of the region. Applications are now being accepted, and affected school districts are encouraged to learn about eligibility requirements and apply online at edtx.org/harveykids.

“Our schools are experiencing significant hardships that impact their faculty, teachers, students and families. Having spoken with superintendents and school leaders across the region, we know these resources will play an important part in helping our students and families recover,” said George Tang, Managing Director of Educate Texas.

TEA has projected that more than 42,000 students have been displaced across district lines and that the damage done to the Gulf Coast region will require years of support and hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild infrastructure, including schools.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath shared, “Our school systems are doing everything in their power to get our impacted schools and communities back to a sense of normal as quickly as possible. However, there are still many critical issues that we must address, and the Harvey KIDS Education Fund will provide critical resources towards our schools’ and students’ success.”

To mitigate the impact to displaced students, the Fund will provide districts and/or schools with financial support from private sources (not governmental entities) to cover incremental costs not anticipated within their current budgets. Districts may also apply for funding to redesign the student experience and support the implementation of their strategies.

The first stage of grants is expected to be announced as early as December 2017. To date, major donors to the fund include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Boone Family Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Lyda Hill Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, ORIX Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

“We recognize the critical role that philanthropy has in addressing key community needs and believe this collaboration between local, state and national leaders is a prime example of how we can come together in a crisis. Through our partnership with Educate Texas, TEA, school leaders and philanthropic partners, we hope our students, families and schools will be able to overcome some of their key challenges,” added Bruce Esterline, Senior Vice President for Grants with The Meadows Foundation.

The immediate relief effort grants will provide short- to mid-term funding that will be spent in the next 12 months. These funds can be used to address immediate challenges related to the storm, such as support for basic needs, mental health services, transportation and communications with students and families, and more. Grants for the longer-term, rebuilding efforts will be available for up to a three-year period. These will enable districts to plan and implement systemic strategies to improve academic outcomes for their students, including human capital initiatives and new program strategies.

To be eligible for both immediate relief efforts and rebuilding efforts grants, Texas school districts and/or schools must be listed as FEMA Declared Disaster Counties. Additionally, any proposal submitted by an eligible school or district will need to have the district superintendent’s signature. Public and charter schools are eligible, and private schools are not.

Educate Texas has formed a steering committee that will review and make decisions on the grant applications. Grant amounts will vary for each district and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. To apply for a grant or make a donation, go to the Harvey KIDS Education Fund page on the Educate Texas website at edtx.org/harveykids