Almost immediately after Hurricane Harvey struck Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast, dozens of celebrities announced they would donate money and materials to help those most in need.
Nearly three months later, those donations are getting put to use, but at a fraction of the rate of the fundraising effort:
While the combined efforts of celebrities, ranging from Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z, to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, raised more than $100 million for the Bayou City, according to reports, only a small percentage of those funds went toward “boots on the ground” in terms of relief for flood victims.
Charitable organizations assisting with these efforts maintain the issue often lies, not with the celebrities themselves or their good intentions, but with the bureaucracy and inefficiency in the donation process.
According to reports, a major part of this process involves vetting the charities to determine how much of each dollar donated goes toward overhead and expenses, compared to how much goes to help those on the ground.
“Usually someone takes a fee every time,” Marcia Stepanek, a lecturer on media and communications for nonprofit management at New York’s Columbia University said in an interview. “How much do you get at the end of the pipeline?”
For instance, J.J. Watt’s foundation received $37 million in donations in just over a month.
However, according to administrative leaders of the efforts, the foundation did not possess the resources or manpower themselves to handle the volume and amount received in the response, and a lack of a plan potentially affected the distribution rate.
In the months following the success of J.J.’s initiative, the foundation announced it would disburse $31 million out of that $37 million to several notable charities, including Save the Children, Feeding America, AmeriCares and the home-building charity SBP.
Many other celebrities made sure that their money was put to good use, as well:
Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth reportedly purchased building materials for damaged homes and churches and also worked with volunteers to deliver the materials, as well as food and supplies to victims in his neighborhood.
Beyoncé also announced she purchased food and mattresses through her foundation, where volunteers delivered them to those who lost their homes in the storm.
If you need or would like to help in Houston, read more here.