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Texans DE J.J. Watt raises $37-mil

Photo/Ran DeBord

Choosing

Wednesday, September 2017 09:20:29:01

Watt ends Charity collections at $37million dollars

J.J. Watt helped lead the Houston Texans to a 13-9 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. Afterward, most of the things he wanted to address were not about his aid in the Texans' victory, but rather his fight to help raise funds for the city he plays for.

Watt has been instrumental in collecting money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey earlier this month. He closed his Houston Flood Relief Fund on Friday afternoon after raising a total of $37,097,248 from 209,428 donors.

Speaking with Rich Eisen, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci after Thursday's win on NFL Network, the big defensive end explained how he'll use the Texans' extra days off this week to go back and help Houston in its recovery efforts.

"This next couple days is very big," Watt said. "We're stopping the fundraising on Friday at 5 p.m. to make sure that we can figure out exactly what we're going to do. We've already been in the process of that. I'm meeting with organizations and people that are in Houston, because we're trying to make sure the money stays in Houston and the surrounding areas and it goes directly to the people, not to overhead cost.

"So I'm working with organizations and I'm going to get the best organizations in each category that I want to help. Things like rebuilding houses. Things like food. Things like schools for the kids. Making sure that we take care of all these different areas."

Watt raised nearly $40 million for the city of Houston. He said, though, that as much as the money will help, the Texans' victory over the Bengals will lift some spirits as well.

"It's silly to say, because this is just a game, but wins go a long way," Watt said of what Thursday night's victory will do for the city's morale. "So this was really good for us."

Friday, September 2017 09:01:56

Houston recovery from Hurricane Harvey will take years 

by Michael Thatcher - President and CEO of Charity Navigator

and Ran DeBord - Sr. Editor AASN

Caring for each other and reaching out to help strangers in times of crisis is innately human. We all want to do good. But at the end of the day, most of us are pressed to figure out the how and why to do so most efficiently and with what we have to offer. With the response to Hurricane Harvey, we’ve seen the profound kindness and generosity of Houstonians, Texans, and all Americans — and that philanthropy, whether you call yourself a philanthropist or not, is growing in unprecedented ways.

Even those of us who live far from Houston have been shocked by the the video footage from Texas—the scenes of rescue after rescue, kindness after kindness. They are a reminder of something we feared might be extinct: Compassion

There is an intimacy in seeing people of every type thrown together without any social trappings. Everyone’s intertwined, those on screen and those watching from afar. Even journalists. A news crew filming from a boat was called to help a fragile elderly couple out of their home. They were tender and careful, calling the man “sir” and telling the woman who seemed embarrassed that she looked great.  And no one was asking whom these people voted for or about tax reform or whether a Confederate statue should be moved.

Compassion is hardwired into our species, says Dr. James Doty, who studies the brain from inside and out as a neurosurgeon, and who founded Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. When we take care of each other, the pleasure centers of our brains light up, he explains. “Altruism is not only a beneficial to others, but it bene ts us in terms of our health and longevity,” says Doty. “It’s quite profound.” We evolved this way as hunter-gatherer tribes because if one person su ered, it put the whole group at risk. We learned to respond to those in pain.

You can teach yourself to be compassionate when empathy is hard to come by, says Doty. List the things you have in common with someone. Maybe it’s that you both have children, or even that you’re both Chicago Cubs fans. It may sound too simple, but his research indicates that exercises like this help us see each other’s humanity and find ourselves in another’s face.

People are texting their friends and families about how they can get involved. This power, in response to Hurricane Harvey, has increased traffic on two sites in particular: CHARITY NAVIGATOR and  GUIDESTAR. People are reaching out to learn more about how they can help, and then they are taking the time to research which charities to donate to ensure that their money will be put to good use.

Photo/Ran DeBord

Downtown Houston has suffered a major flood on average about once a decade as far back as records extend in the 1830s. 

In 1935, when Houston was sprawl-free, the Buffalo Bayou—the main waterway through downtown rose 54 feet during a flood. The Bayou rose 40 feet during the worst of Harvey. Houston's landscape is incredibly flat, with only small streams and bayous to drain away storm water. That topography is not ideal for draining the sudden deluges of hurricane rain.

"I think it will actually be a more dynamic rebuilding which you wouldn't see in places that have a more traditional zoning code," Vanessa Brown Calder, an urban policy analyst at the Cato Institute, said.

"There is just a lot more ability to move and make changes given what they've learned from the damage associated with the storm."

Contrast that with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, she says, where rigid zoning codes prevented damaged developments in flooded parts of the city to be rebuilt elsewhere.


Since so many people are giving, it is important to remember how best to give — and to strive to be even better. Here are some tips to make sure your donation ends up where you want.

 But if you suspect someone is trying to scam you, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721.

Here are more good tips, provided by the Department of Justice:

• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

• Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

• Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and its nonprofit status.

• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

In times of crisis specifically, these instructions change only slightly. Start by giving to an established charity with a good track record. (The Charity Navigator 3 and 4 star rated organizations can be a good starting point.)

Early in a crisis, designate your investment to let the charity know where you would like the funds allocated.

Unless there has been a very specific request for supplies and you have exactly what’s being asked for, sending money — even small amounts — is often more useful and impactful than physical objects.

Photo/Ran DeBord

harvey IMG_4283

Brazos River flooding 09/01/2017

1. Be proactive. Identify which causes are important to you, and be specific about the impact you want your donation to have.

2. Research before giving. Narrow down your list of charities by asking some basic questions, like: Is the charity a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity? Are they financially healthy, accountable and transparent?

3. Talk to the charity. Learn about their accomplishments, goals and challenges. This will give you insight into how well the charity knows where it stands and where it plans to go. Even a short conversation can ensure your time and money go to where you hope they will.

4. Consider other ways to give. Once you can trust the charity, determine how to best spend your contribution. Create a budget and consider donating without specifications — monthly, if you can.

5. Don’t move on too quickly. Follow up with the charity in six months to find out how they’re using your money. Look for a progress report to understand how responsive the charity and if they can clearly communicate that progress.

Photo/Ran DeBord

But also, be patient and stay engaged. Relief efforts take time. They can last for years and require sustained engagement and assistance. If you are dedicated to a cause and an organization that will help achieve it, again, consider a recurring donation each month to continue supporting organizations that will be on the ground in the affected areas long after the immediate disaster has passed.

If you are called to act today, please do so wholeheartedly with those around who are doing the same. You might even challenge your friends, family and neighbors to find ways to contribute to those who are affected, be it in time, money or in-kind donations. We can help those affected better together.

Scammers with skimmers


But if you suspect someone is trying to scam you, report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721.
Here are more good tips, provided by the Department of Justice:

• Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming e-mails, including clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as members of charitable organizations or officials asking for donations via e-mail or social networking sites.

• Beware of organizations with copy-cat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.

• Rather than follow a purported link to a website, verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations by utilizing various Internet-based resources that may assist in confirming the group's existence and its nonprofit status.

• Be cautious of e-mails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files because the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.


Avoid cash donations if possible. Pay by credit card or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals. Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.


Photo/Ran DeBord

Harvey IMG_4354

Billionaires jump in

Houston Texans owner Robert ‘Bob’ McNair pledged to donate $1 million to United Way of Greater Houston's flood relief fund. “We just have a lot of homeless people and lives that have been disrupted” McNair told FORBES. “We see neighbors helping neighbors and it really is a reflection of Texas attitude -- you don’t see anybody complaining.”

The NFL Foundation announced Monday it would match McNair’s $1 million and donate the money to the Salvation Army and Red Cross.

Another NFL billionaire, Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, pledged to match $1 million in donations to The Red Cross. “The city was a tremendous host for Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and once again this past February for Super Bowl LI.”

Houston Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander initially said he would donate $4 million to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, though later Houston Chronicle reported that he has upped his donation to $10 million. “Our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family and neighbors are experiencing” Alexander said in a press release. “Houston, please stay safe.” Alexander declined to further comment on his donation.

Hedge fund billionaire and Houston native John Arnold is the latest in the line of billionaires who vowed provide financial support. Arnold took to Twitter to pledge $5 million to Greater Houston Charity Foundation. “Thank you Houston's 1st responders for your tireless work” he tweeted. “Laura & I happy to do our part & commit $5 million to relief via @greaterhoucf .”


Hurricane Harvey Damage

The following is from a HOMEOWNER ADJUSTER (Name withheld) please read this carefully.

If the state declares this storm a hurricane and you have a hurricane deductible it will apply. If the state declares this is a tropical storm then your wind deductible will apply.

If you have the following damages: 

Roof damage, fence damage caused by wind, water entering from broken windows (wind driven rain) - your wind deductible will apply.

If you experience any water entering from the ground such as underneath doors, through weep holes in bricks, etc - that will be considered flood and you will need to file a claim for flood. This damage will not be covered under your regular home policy. If you do not carry a flood policy then you will need to file a claim with FEMA.

If you have roof damage and require a tarp. You can contact your insurance company because many companies have approved contractors they deal with. BUT because of the enormous amount of calls insurance companies are getting right now it would be best to contact a roofer. MANY FLY-BY-NIGHT ROOFING COMPANIES ARE COMING TO THE AREAS. DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT WITH ANY ROOFER UNTIL AN AMOUNT IS APPROVED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY. DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT WITH ANY ROOFER TO PLACE A TARP ON YOUR ROOF. SOME OF THESE COMPANIES WILL PRESENT A CONTRACT LIKE DOCUMENT AND CALL IT A RECEIPT. DON'T SIGN IT. Please hold onto all receipts of any temporary repairs you make.

People under a mandatory evacuation should hold onto all receipts for hotel and food. Your policy provides Additional Living Expenses. That means your carrier would pay for additional meal cost above and beyond of what you normally spend on meals. *your insurance carrier will not pay you the amount on your receipt*

People that have lost their homes due to flood. Your flood carrier will discuss with you what type of living expenses would apply if any.

Please note if your damages are not covered under your homeowners policy (meaning flood) then you cannot claim additional living expenses. Why, because your home is inhabitable due to the flood.

EXAMPLE: Jane carries a homeowners policy and flood policy. Jane has interior water damages inside the home due to flood but she also has roof damage from wind. 

1. File a claim with your homeowner carrier which will cover damages to the roof and any damages inside the home caused by wind. 

2. File a claim with your flood carrier for interior water damages cause by surface/rising/ground water entering into your home.

If you have a power outage causing loss of food. Most policies provide coverage for food loss. Check with your homeowner carrier for coverage options you elected. Most policies have a $500 limit on food loss.

Downed trees - your homeowners coverage provides a limit of $1,000 regardless the amount of trees that have fallen. Any one tree is subject to a $500 limit. This coverage is subject to your wind deductible.

If your neighbor tree falls onto your home or vehicle due to the windstorm it is considered an act of God. Your neighbor homeowner policy will not cover your damages because it was an event beyond their control. If their tree falls and damages your home you will need to contact your homeowner policy carrier. If their tree falls and damages your auto then you will need to contact your auto carrier. AGAIN your neighbor is not responsible.

Tenant/Renters policy - damage to personal property

If you have damage to your personal property due to a flood then you will need to contact FEMA. Your tenant policy will not apply. 

If you have food loss due to power outages you may have coverage depending on if you elected that specific coverage. Contact your carrier to find out if you elected food spoilage coverage. Most policies have a $500 limit.

Flooded vehicles: Auto policy- you will need comprehensive coverage to cover those damages. File your claim with your auto carrier.

Please remember if your home is uninhabitable due to a covered loss under your specific policies Additional Living Expenses coverage will apply. The keyword is COVERED LOSS. KEEP ALL RECEIPTS.

I have been an adjuster for a LONGTIME. If you have any questions please let me know. EVERYONE PLEASE BE SAFE. GOD BLESS


Antonia Suarez is a regular contributor to All Access Sporting News  (AASNSports)


Sources for this article include: UnitedWayofHouston, YouCare, Michael Thatcher-CharityNavigator, AmericanRedCross, Wikipedia, Twitter, AASNSports

~ All Access Sporting News

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