VPR has been providing in-depth news coverage of the aftermath of and recovery from Tropical Storm Irene since it hit Vermont on August 28th, as well as online resources and information about road closures, volunteer opportunities, and more.
"The outpouring of concern from listeners over the last week has been tremendous," said Brendan Kinney, VPR's vice president for development and marketing. "We've heard from dozens of listeners wanting to do something to help with recovery efforts, but weren't sure of the best way to do it. We felt that giving listeners a trusted, secure avenue to make a donation to recovery efforts would be another way to help our neighbors."
As a public radio station, VPR has experience with on-air fundraising efforts and the complicated logistics that go along with such an operation. While VPR is not normally permitted to raise money on the air for another organization, it was granted a one-day waiver from the FCC to make this effort possible.
Vermont Disaster Relief Fund was created by the United Ways of Vermont in cooperation with the executive board of the Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Vermont VOAD) and Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) to be used specifically for long-term recovery. The fund will be used entirely for the unmet long-term needs of survivors from the Irene disaster, and decisions will be made by Long Term Recovery Committees recognized by VOAD and Vermont Emergency Management.
Donations can be made online beginning today.
VPR has conducted special on-air fundraisers in the past, but never for something so close to home. In 2001, VPR listeners contributed to help WNYC rebuild their radio transmitter after 9/11. And in 2005, VPR held a successful one-day fundraiser to help with recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
"Despite the enormity of this disaster, it is inspiring to see Vermonters from all walks of life rising up and reaching out to one another for support, and we are confident that VPR listeners will come together to support this important effort," Kinney said.