UHV Relief Fund receives $35,000 grant from Red Cross
The University of Houston Foundation recently received a $35,000 grant from the American Red Cross to support the University of Houston-Victoria Relief Fund to help students still recovering a year after Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast.
The UHV Relief Fund was created in fall 2017 to help UHV students recoup some of the losses they experienced during the hurricane. The grant from the American Red Cross will be the fourth major grant contributing to the fund.
“We are grateful to receive this grant, especially because it will have such a positive impact on our students,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “Hurricane Harvey had a massive impact all along the Texas Gulf Coast, and UHV is determined to help its students recover so that they can focus on completing their degrees.”
The grant will be provided in three installments over the course of a year.
“The UHV Relief Fund has received an amazing amount of support,” said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. “The fund has received support from nonprofit organizations and our own faculty, staff, alumni and community members, many of whom also experienced losses.”
The university disburses funds as they become available. Students can submit an application that details their need, and a committee will review the applications and give out awards. The average award is $500 to $1,000. UHV has disbursed about $100,000 from the fund so far.
“Our main focus when awarding these funds is helping students meet simple needs so they have one less thing to worry about in the recovery process,” Pisors said. “Instead of using large sums to help one or two students replace a large item like a vehicle, we want to help lots of students replace items such as damaged laptops or purchase their books for classes.”
Those funds can make an important difference, said Rachel Guerrero-Hernandez, a UHV freshman from Needville. She recently received $1,700 from the UHV Relief Fund to help pay for childcare expenses during her family’s recovery.
Guerrero-Hernandez and her husband, their son and her father were away on their family’s annual summer vacation when Harvey hit the Houston area, and they were unable to get back to their home for six days after the initial impact. When they got home, they found all of their furniture and belongings ruined because of flood damage and mold.
Before the storm, the couple was looking into buying a home. But afterward, the downpayment was spent to replace furniture and belongings, and take care of other financial needs. In addition, the family had to spend six months living with friends and family until it could find a new home. Now, Guerrero-Hernandez, her husband and their 4-year-old son are living in a leased home while her father lives elsewhere.
“It’s so overwhelming to think about what we lost and the financial burden that we had to incur just to try to start getting things back to normal again,” Guerrero-Hernandez said. “Every bit of support we have received is a welcome benefit. There are no words to express how grateful we are. I feel so blessed to be part of an institution that supports its students like this.”
To contribute to the fund, go to www.uhvconnect.org/donations and click on the UHV Relief Fund link or contact University Advancement at 361-570-4306. To learn more about the fund, contact Pisors at 361-570-4812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Hurricane Harvey recovery project was funded in part by a grant from the American Red Cross.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.