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It has been barely a couple of weeks since Hurricane Ian tore a path through the Caribbean before slamming into the United States. Cuba, large parts of Florida, and South Carolina suffered extreme damage, flooding, and power outages, displacing tens of thousands of people and killing over 100, making it the second-deadliest storm to strike the United States in the 21st century. Just prior to Ian, Hurricane Fiona destroyed large portions of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

It is moments like these when political leanings need to be put aside. Hurricanes don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Left or Right, Red or Blue, human suffering is the same. Times like now require us to look past our differences and come together to help, heal, and give hope to those affected. This is a powerful moment for public and private partnerships when even a little help can make a tremendous difference.

Concordia’s 2022 Annual Summit Patron Programming Sponsors have been among the first to offer aid:

◦ Walmart, along with Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation, has dedicated up to $6 million in disaster relief to the affected areas and is working with nonprofit organizations to distribute food, water, and supplies to those in need. In many cases, nonprofits are using Walmart parking lots in the affected areas to distribute relief.  

◦ Verizon is offering unlimited text, data, and calling to customers in Florida counties hit hardest by the hurricane and is providing free wifi and charging in the affected areas. Verizon’s Wireless Emergency Communication Centers have been deployed in Port Charlotte and Fort Meyers to help people stay connected. In addition, Verizon mobilized its Tactical Humanitarian Operations Response (THOR) vehicle as part of a fleet of nearly 400 Verizon Frontline solutions, including drones, smartphones, routers, mobile hotspots, and portable satellite assets deployed to assist affected communities and begin rebuilding the critical communications infrastructure damaged by the storm.

◦ Tyson Foods announced it is donating four million meals to those affected by the hurricane. The company is partnering with Walmart, Publix, and Feeding America to distribute more than one million pounds of protein in the wake of the storm. The Tyson Foods Meals That Matter® disaster relief trailer will be parked at the Fort Meyers Walmart, along with volunteers distributing food, water, and ice.

Partnerships like these are examples of how the private sector can work hand-in-hand with the public sector to achieve great things in times of need. Planning for disasters like hurricanes during blue sky days and developing partnerships that allow companies to rapidly respond in appropriate, mindful, and life-saving ways is key. It does, however, require a longer-term commitment from key leadership willing to invest time, resources, and relationships.

We need to be focused on how to help and not on who to help. The companies highlighted here are leading the way. Who will follow?

Concordia partners with private, public, and nonprofit sector organizations to drive cross-sector solutions to the greatest challenges of our time. To collaborate with Concordia in 2023, contact partnerships@concordia.net.