Florida Disaster Fund raises more than $20 million in 48 hours after launch

dog hurricane ian
The money is already helping people in the affected areas, Casey DeSantis said.

Within 48 hours of its activation, The Florida Disaster Fund has raised more than $20 million in donations for the communities that experienced Hurricane Ian’s destruction, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Saturday.

Major donations have poured in from 52 different corporations and individuals across the state and nation, including Microsoft, UnitedHealth and Goldman Sachs, to the state’s official private fund established specifically for Hurricane Ian victims. In kind donations are going to make life easier for those who are now facing life with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could stuff in their cars.

DeSantis said that the money is already at work at ground zero of Ian’s wreckage.

“Raising more than $20 million in 48 hours for The Florida Disaster Fund is a testament to the generosity and compassion from people across Florida and the country,” DeSantis said. “We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support for Florida.”

From moving belongings to getting refreshments, companies are lending a hand.

Telecommunications companies are trying to make it easier in various ways for storm victims to stay connected. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all chipping in unlimited talk, text and data for customers in affected zip codes for varying periods of time.

T-Mobile is also sending out four community support trucks that will be loaded with supplies like charters, cords and cell phones along with the facilities to charge up to 80 phones at a time. And Xfinity – Comcast opened WiFi hotspots in Central, north and Southwest Florida, along with the Panhandle that are free for anyone to use. Find details for using it here. Charter Communications has done the same.

Hospitality companies such as Expedia and Rosen Hotels & Resorts are making it easier for people to find emergency accommodations. Rosen is offering a distressed rate for those fleeing the storm. Expedia is encouraging its partners to waive pet and cancellation fees. And, in partnership with VISIT Florida, Expedia put up a portal to make it easier to find places in Florida to stay.

In addition to the $500,000 cash donation to The Florida Disaster Fund, Wawa Convenience Stores & Gas Stations is providing free coffee and fountain drinks to all first responders in Florida.

And U-Haul is offering 30 free days of storage and U-Box container storage at 43 locations listed from Coconut Creek to Jacksonville, west to Fort Walton Beach.

In a Fort Myers news conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was “really proud” of the First Lady’s efforts.

“We’re really excited to be able to help folks in a variety of ways,” he said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


14 comments

  • nail

    October 1, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Where are the funds going. DeSantis said they did not want food, clothing, water or any supplies. Since when can a state have a Go-Fund-Me without any charity described. On their webpage they say “transparent” This is DeSantis we are talking about. If he wants to get his wife involved in his grifting that is her problem, but not one charity, organization is named. Petronius said they gave out 1M. Where it does not say anything about this on the website.
    Most of the vendors suppling food are paid by FEMA.FEMA has made arrangements for living expenses and Apartments and. rental homes, so what exactly are they doing?
    Guess we wil find out when we sue for the FOIA records. Because as everyone knows, Desantis does not give up a record. unless he is sued for it. So much for the King who threw away the Sunshine Law…..

  • pete9313

    October 1, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    $20 M is great…in 2 days ?? fantastic…at that rate, why, will only need another 2000 days (5.5 yrs) to get enough money to pay probable monetary costs for this disaster…

    see…this is why we need a strong federal government…as much as people are willing to help out, want to help out, will do all they can to help out..its never enough…is a primary reason the govt needs to collect taxes…to take care of its people, ALL of its people, when they are in dire straits.

    as for congresspeople of some states not wishing to help out other states because those states dont follow the same political ideals…

    maybe states should be raising their own emergency funds…
    29M people living in Fla…if state govt taxed each individual (sorry; charged them a ‘fee’)…of, say $100 a yr; in 3 yrs…theres a billion dollars in the kitty ready to be used for next disaster…it will never be enough…but at least the state can say they tried, they raised and banked some money for a rainy day…

    because natural disasters will always continue to occur…and some politcal climates dont like big govt having lots of money to spend…at least, not until they need that money themselves…so maybe they should be creating their own emergency fund acct to benefit their state’s residents

    • nail

      October 3, 2022 at 8:38 am

      Pete, let’s start with those who voted for the $18.8 Billion bill for emergency FEMA funds for FL. The bill was NO for every FL GQP in Congress. Not one GQP voted for the bill. Sick Scott NO. Little Marco didn’t bother to vote, he doesn’t go to SC when it rains in Miami. He doesn’t go most of the time as the 2nd worst Senator. Since the vote was 75-25 in the Senate, every Democrat voted for it, let’s guess who didn’t.
      Insurance. premiums tripled in 3 yrs.under DeSantis. He gave Citizens $2B out from taxpayers wallets, on top of the premium increases another one due this month.. DeSantis approved a $5 million rate increase for FPL over the next 4 yrs. To make sure FPL receives more money, solar power no longer gets credits. I now get a bill for $25. verses selling electric for a credit of $70-90 per month. All that pesky science stuff does not go down with GQPs.
      Fl surplus includes $2.7 billion in FL Rainy Day Fund (thank you Biden for Covid funds) the highest in state history, $15.7 billion in unallocated Revenue, $2.8 billion in unallocated trust funds, $499 million in the newly created EPRF(emergency funds) and then we have HOPEFULLY left $10Million in the fund to find Venezuelans in TX and fly them a deserted island. Now comes along this fund that Desantis appoints his wife to collect & distribute, maybe? But asks and wants nothing but cash? He has his wife trolling for dollars?
      I agree with you, FL needs to have a tax. We are a welfare state Every year, through the federal government, we receive 18-36% of our budget to survive. This year $3.4B.
      FEMA If they do not have flood ins. and they lost everything, the most FEMA will pay is 75,800. 37,900 for the structure and 37,900 for interior. They are not going to be made whole. They can borrow from FEMA at low rates but this will affect the elderly who live on SS.
      I think that every state (all GQP states) should have a personal tax. Fl does not. It should be a condition to FEMA funds.Why should every state that does have a tax pay for a state that does not. As you said, $100. in 3 yr is $1B. There is no doubt that FL will have an additional tax. Desantis has put this state in such a hole for this coming yr, that the state will be bankrupt if we do not.
      FL received a new tax for internet sales approx. $1.5B income a yr, but then Desantis gave business a tax credit of $625B.

  • joey

    October 2, 2022 at 6:46 am

    Dont trust Desantis that $$$ will never get to the people. Will be use for Desantis Political Action.

    • nail

      October 3, 2022 at 9:16 am

      I agree. When Desantis dd not use the funds from Covid as appropiated, the government should have clawed it back. I would not give him $05. What state starts their own Go Fund Me, with no charities listed? The page says the “charity” is transparent, that in itself is a laugh. The only state that has a Sunshine Law, where if you want to see something, you have to sue for it.
      Instead he keep 12M out to hunt legal aliens in TX and send them to a non sanctuary state or better yet, a deserted island Marthas Vineyard, for the low, low cost of $615,000. He wasn’t’t happy with just those so he send a woman from Tampa, that worked for counterintelligence to recruit more ppl. When she could not get enough to fill the plane she dropped them back off from the LaQuinta Hotel to the immigrant hotel where she found them. Then for again the low, low, price of $950,000 he flew an empty plane from TX to NJ empty. Sorry, there was a crew but no legal immigrants.
      What did Desantis say, nothing. You know him, he does not answer questions. But Christina Pushaw, his Russian comrade that Tom knows very well, said basically “it was a prank to get the libs.” Yep, Desantis spent almost 1M for a prank against the libs. I guess, no Repuglicons paid taxes….ha,ha, ha

  • Hope

    October 2, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Floridians have much to be thankful for and we have America’s Governor working hard for us. All the naysayers should reflect back and be thankful that this didn’t fall in the hands of Andrew Gillum as that would have been a second disaster on top of a disaster.

    • nail

      October 3, 2022 at 8:56 am

      America’s governor? Are you kidding. He hasn’t got a clue what is going on. He brought his film crew to a restaurant on Friday morning while he made hashbrowns for first responders. Thank you 1st responders but did he really need a film crew, while I am watching the news and the Cajun Army is set up in one of the most popular shopping centers in Ft. Myers complaining that they have words saving over 300+ ppl and they do not have any water or food for the whole day? Or Food America is asking for donations because they are preparing hot meals and delivering them to ppl who are in shock walking the streets because their cars wee underwater and they have lost everything they owned, while Desantis is making hash browns with the cooks watching him.
      A Democratic State Senator rented a 24ft truck, then went out and begged for food, water, mattress and diapers. She and 2 helpers went to one community that was still partially underwater but ppl were living there, to feed them, all while “America’s governor” was playing with the film crew.
      You must have very low standards for what is good and bad, but then again, you vote for those that take, and never give.

    • nnail

      October 3, 2022 at 9:04 am

      BTW grow up. Gillium lost!!! But as a true QAnon trumper when the have nothing to say it’s but, but. But let the building 4 years ago. The one you replaced him with has brought FL to be the most expensive state in the country. When Greasy was elected we were 11th in the country. Today, we have the honor of having so many firsts.
      The most expensive state in the country.
      The ” “expensive insurance in the country.
      The most deaths from Covid per capita in the country.
      The most current deaths contributing more than half of all deaths every week in the country, for 5 strait months.
      And finally Desantis’ proudest; the most deaths of children under 18 than any state in the country. Even CA and NY together.
      Yeah, you an be proud Gillum who basically gave up the the race, 8 months before the election only lost by only 32,000.

      • Catherine Colbert

        October 5, 2022 at 10:44 pm

        I lived through Hurricane Harvey and FEMA barely covers what is needed to recover from a flood. Disaster assistance comes in two forms: a U.S. Small Business Administration loan, which must be paid back with interest, or a FEMA disaster award, which is about $5,000 on average per household. The Florida Disaster Relief Fund will be vital to supplement funding for all Floridians affected by the Hurricane. Don’t be distracted by criticism. Ron & Casey: Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.

  • Avy115

    October 2, 2022 at 3:50 pm

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  • BC

    October 3, 2022 at 8:36 am

    It would be a public service if y’all would provide more clarity around how this fund was started, who controls it, and what transparency measures are in place to ensure funds are distributed to people in need. Independent confirmation of what’s on the fund’s website would be helpful.

    One of the downsides to having a divisive, partisan governor who shows nothing but disdain for people who did not vote for him is that it creates a sense of distrust. His followers will believe anything DeSantis says, but the rest of us — which is tens of millions of Floridians — have good reasons for not trusting him. There are a lot of accusations flying around the web. Help us get to the truth.

    • Catherine Colbert

      October 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

      I lived through Hurricane Harvey and FEMA barely covers what is needed to recover from a flood. Disaster assistance comes in two forms: a U.S. Small Business Administration loan, which must be paid back with interest, or a FEMA disaster award, which is about $5,000 on average per household. The Florida Disaster Relief Fund will be vital to supplement funding for all Floridians affected by the Hurricane. Don’t be distracted by criticism. Ron & Casey: Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.

  • Catherine Colbert

    October 5, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    I lived through Hurricane Harvey and FEMA barely covers what is needed to recover from a flood. Disaster assistance comes in two forms: a U.S. Small Business Administration loan, which must be paid back with interest, or a FEMA disaster award, which is about $5,000 on average per household. The Florida Disaster Relief Fund will be vital to supplement funding for all Floridians affected by the Hurricane. Don’t be distracted by criticism. Ron & Casey: Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.

  • Hope

    October 7, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you First Lady Casey, you are a Blessing to Florida!

Comments are closed.


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