The power of nursing was truly felt this fall, when nurses everywhere worked tirelessly to care for patients in response to multiple natural disasters, often while being affected by the events personally. Nurses supported each other in many ways, by volunteering their time and expertise and donating funds and goods to help organizations respond.
The American Nurses Foundation and the entire ANA Enterprise expressed care and concern for those affected by the disasters. To assist, the Foundation shared an opportunity to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and encouraged people to donate to the Texas Nurses Foundation, which collected more than $80,000 that has been distributed directly to nurses living in any one of the Texas counties declared disaster areas.
“It was a privilege to provide a conduit for nurses to contribute and support their colleagues,” said Cindy Zolnierek, PhD, RN, executive director of the Texas Nurses Association. “The many expressions of gratitude affirmed the merit of this effort.”
Subsequently, with hurricanes Irma and Maria affecting our communities, the Foundation activated its own Disaster Relief Fund. The fund collects donations that are then distributed through state nurses associations or other appropriate local organizations. Donations collected will aid nurses in their disaster response and recovery efforts in southeastern Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other areas affected by recent disasters.
Nurses House, Inc., a charitable organization dedicated to helping RNs in need, chose to pledge an extraordinary $20,000 to the Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund. At 2017’s ANCC National Magnet Conference® held in Houston, Texas, in October, attendees were encouraged to “Make a Difference at Magnet” to match this generous gift. More than $36,000 was donated in just one hour. Part of these funds will go directly to the charity of choice of the 2017 conference’s host hospitals, Rebuilding Together—Houston.
In total, the Foundation collected over $104,000 from nurses and supporters of nurses who donated during the fall.
Tim Porter-O’Grady, DM, EdD, APRN, FAAN, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said, “Kudos to the thousands of donors to the Disaster Relief Fund, and a sincere thank you on behalf of the board and staff for your generosity. Nurses can do anything they set their minds to, and no one knows as well as nurses the needs of the community in coping with natural disasters.”