If you want to help but aren't sure where to start, tax-exempt charities that have indicated they are accepting Harvey-specific donations include:
- American Red Cross. To make a financial donation, visit the their website, call 1.800.RED CROSS or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation for those in need.
- Catholic Charities of USA. To make a financial donation, visit CCUSA's disaster-specific website or text 71777 to make a donation.
- Global Giving. To make a financial donation, visit their website or text HARVEY to 80100 to donate $10 to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible donations. The fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. To make a financial donation, visit the GHCF website.
- Salvation Army. To make a financial donation, visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1.800.SAL ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.
(Please note that these are not endorsements of a specific charity. If you're not a fan of those organizations listed, there are many other charities which would welcome your support.)
Corporate donor sites and giving challenges include:
- GoFundMe has created a landing page that aggregates the campaigns already created to help those affected by Harvey.
- Starbucks has donated $250,000 to relief efforts. Customers in any U.S. company-operated store who want to help can make a donation to the American Red Cross at the register. Additionally, Starbucks employees who make a personal contribution to the relief efforts can request matching funds through the company's Partner Match program (pro tip: ask your company if they have a donor match program). More details can be found here.
- United Airlines will match the first $100,000 raised through its charitable campaign. United MileagePlus members who donate a minimum of $50 to any of United's charitable partners will receive up to 1,000 bonus miles (details, which download as a pdf, are here). Remember that for tax purposes, if you receive something of value in exchange for a donation, your charitable deduction must be reduced accordingly.
In addition to financial donations, what else can you do?
- Austin Pets Alive is seeking families that can foster cats and large dogs. In addition to cash donations, the organization can also use in-kind donations like large plastic or metal bins with lids. Space for some items is limited so check with the organization first before you gather supplies. If you can help with fostering or in-kind donations, check out their websitefor details.
- The SPCA of Texas has also put out a call for foster homes to help care for the animals already in shelters and those coming from the Gulf Coast. You can sign up atwww.spca.org/foster. The organization is also accepting financial donations and in-kind donations, including cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, large wire crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspaper and gas gift cards.
- Donations of blood are also needed. You can't claim a tax deduction for giving blood but it sure is a terrific way to help. Find your nearest donation center by entering your zip code here.
- I know from past disasters that if you're able to write a handwritten note or two and send to those who are on the front lines of these disasters including police and fire departments, schools, and churches to offer your good wishes, it is typically appreciated.