When Hurricane Dorian bore down on the Bahamas over the Labour Day weekend, forecasters warned of a potentially catastrophic storm. Their predictions proved terrifyingly accurate.
The category five cyclone—which many outlets reported would have been categorized as a six if the hurricane rating system allowed—ravaged the Bahamas’ Abacos chain. To date, dozens have been reported dead or missing, and more than 70,000 people have been left homeless by torrential rains, storm surges and sustained winds that exceeded 295 km per hour. Grand Bahama island faced similar devastation, with most buildings levelled or severely damaged. Dire food, medical supply and water shortages have left residents desperate for aid, while local government and businesses struggle to begin the social and economic rebuilding process.
Utter devastation in the Bahamas
They face a long and complex journey ahead. This news clip captures the extent of the damage to North Abaco. As Colin Albury, TCCF’s local relief coordinator points out in one interview, simply restoring power and water services to the island could take up to a year.
As the storm subsided and the scope of the humanitarian crisis became clear, a Canada Gives donor (“David”)—who sits on the Board of the Treasure Cay Community Foundation, a registered US Charity that has been supporting charities in Treasure Cay and North Abaco—took action. Originally established to coordinate disaster relief in the wake of previous hurricanes, their philanthropic work has included mustering and funding emergency services, supporting local residents and—in between weather emergencies—helping to fund the local medical clinic. While most international aid organizations have focused their relief work on more densely populated areas such as Marsh Harbour, David knew that less-populated North Abaco and other smaller communities would face much longer wait times for desperately-needed aid.
Coordinating international relief
With that in mind, and knowing it would take additional support to mobilize fundraising efforts, David contacted the Canada Gives team for help so that Canadian donors could also support the relief and rebuilding efforts there, in conjunction with the Treasure Cay Community Foundation. In response, Canada Gives set up a new donor advised fund named the Treasure Cay Community Foundation (Canada) (“TCCF Canada”). Leveraging our Global Projects Initiative, we are able to hire TCCF in the U.S as an Intermediary Contractor and deliver assistance most effectively by working with local charities in the Bahamas.
In addition to setting up the new Canada Gives Foundation account immediately, we also helped TCCF(Canada) launch a website within a day or two, so they could accept donations from Canadian donors and other Canadian foundations. Once the necessary funding has been raised, Canada Gives will establish a number of charitable projects to bring both humanitarian relief and longer-term restoration of buildings and livelihoods.
A legacy of hope
The Canada Gives Global Projects Initiative (“GPI”) was developed to manage charitable projects in developing countries under the guidelines set out by the Canada Revenue Agency. Funding is disbursed to contractors and local operators who are subject to formal vetting and financial due diligence. These intermediary contractors are hired via formal legal agreements with set budgets, and funds are released according to progressive stages established in the contract, supported with reports and receipts. Canada Gives handles project management, budget oversight, full financial and project reporting, as well as the many other key administrative functions involved in qualified foreign charitable activities proposed by our donors.
TCCF (Canada)’s effort not only highlights a commitment to deliver life-saving relief to devastated regions in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster, but also the remarkable generosity of Canada Gives’ donors like David. Their willingness to not only make a donation, but also to give their valuable time to ease the suffering of others—often making a difference in a community to which they may have little or no connection—is a constant source of inspiration. We are so pleased to be a part of it.
At this point our thoughts remain with the Bahamians impacted by this powerful storm. Efforts are now focused on rebuilding homes, infrastructure, community buildings and livelihoods—and delivering a sense of hope to those who need it most.
To donate to Treasure Cay Community Foundation (Canada), visit https://tccfcanada.ca/
About Treasure Cay Community Foundation
The TCCF was founded in 2004 following hurricanes that passed through Abaco. It is a Florida-based not-for-profit corporation and is classified as a 501 (c)(3) public charity by the United States Internal Revenue Service. Its mission is to assist fundraising by entities that perform charitable services in Treasure Cay and surrounding Northern Abaco communities.
Why Canada Gives?
Canada Gives provides a tax-effective method for Canadian residents to receive donation tax receipts for gifts intended to support foreign charitable activities such as disaster relief and reconstruction in the Bahamas. All donations made to TCCF (Canada) will receive an official donation receipt for income tax purposes in Canada. Learn more about how our Global Projects Initiative works.
Denise Castonguay, Executive Director and CEO