White House Names Charities Receiving Trumps’ Hurricane Harvey Donations

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up after meeting people impacted by Hurricane Harvey during a visit to the NRG Center in Houston, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP

The White House on Wednesday listed 12 organizations to which President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump had pledged to donate a total of $1 million as part of their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Two organizations, Red Cross and Salvation Army, were together promised a majority of the sum, at $300,000 each. Reach Out America and Samaritan’s Purse were each promised $100,000. The remaining eight organizations — the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Catholic Charities, Direct Relief, Habitat for Humanity, Houston Humane Society, Operation Blessing, Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies and Team Rubicon — were each promised $25,000.

Six of the organizations are religiously affiliated. Two, the Humane Society and ASPCA, deal with animals. One, Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, describes itself as facilitating “a variety of projects involving people with disabilities, including post-disaster relief work.” And Team Rubicon draws on the “skills and experiences of military veterans” and first responders following disasters.

TPM has reached out to each organization in an attempt to eventually confirm that they have received the money the White House claims they will.

Tony Morain, communications director for Direct Relief, said in an email on Wednesday, Sept. 13 that “[t]he donation arrived. It was a personal check signed by Donald J. Trump for $25,000.” He said a week earlier that Trump’s longtime assistant, Rhona Graff, had told him a check was in the mail.

Paul Timmons of Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies told TPM over the phone on Monday, Sept. 18 that he had received the donation from Trump in the previous week. Sherry Ferguson, executive director of the Houston Humane Society, also confirmed via email that the group had received its promised donation. So did Bryan Thomas Director, director of public and media relations for Habitat for Humanity International.

Ron Busroe, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army, said in a statement that “We’re thankful for President Trump’s commitment to help The Salvation Army provide support to those affected by the storms.” But Kurt Watkins, a public relations specialist employed by the group, did not respond Thursday to TPM’s requests to clarify the statement. Nor did Duane DeVorak, a spokesperson for Team Rubicon, who said that the group was “humbled to have the support of three United States Presidents – Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump,” but did not specify further.

Jeanne Hamrick, senior manager of media relations for the American Red Cross, said in an emailed statement Wednesday that “[t]he American Red Cross is grateful to the Trumps for their generous support of our mission,” but did not confirm having received the funds over the phone with TPM.

Scott Knuteson, a representative for Samaritan’s Purse, said the group “does not disclose information on individual or foundation gifts to the ministry.” Emily Schneider, director of media and communications for ASPCA, also said that organization did not comment on individual donations. Chris Roslan of Roslan & Campion Public Relations, LLC, said in an email that “Operation Blessing does not disclose information about any donor or donation.”

Representatives for the other groups did not respond to requests for comment.

Read the White House’s full statement below:

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced today a personal donation of $1 million dollars to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and have designated twelve organizations to receive contributions.  The President and First Lady witnessed the work of some of these groups first hand while visiting with hurricane survivors, first responders, volunteers, and Federal, State, and local officials, and are proud to further assist the recovery efforts in Texas.  Several of the following organizations were recommended, at the invitation of the President, by members of the White House Press Corps, and he would like to thank those who made recommendations for their attention to this important cause.  The President and First Lady continue to pray for the people of Texas and Louisiana.

·       Reach out America – $100,000

·       Red Cross – $300,000

·       Salvation Army – $300,000

·       Samaritan’s Purse – $100,000

·       ASPCA – $25,000

·       Catholic Charities – $25,000

·       Direct Relief – $25,000

·       Habitat for Humanity – $25,000

·       Houston Humane Society – $25,000

·       Operation Blessing – $25,000

·       Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies – $25,000

·       Team Rubicon – $25,000

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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