NLC Corporate Partners Mobilize in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

November 21, 2012

By Cynthia Cusick

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NLC Corporate Partners mobilized their resources, expertise and capabilities, to help the affected communities and their residents. Many have given generously to relief organizations and their associates have logged thousands of volunteer hours to help the hardest hit, while others changed their business practice or enhanced service in order to lessen the burdens of recovery.

Mobilized Resources, Expertise and Capabilities
Many of NLC Corporate Partners have their headquarters, are service providers or have extensive business footprints in the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey. In addition to bringing back up their own businesses and service provisions, many were also responding to requests for assistance, donating products and service and providing direct assistance to the neediest victims.

Wal-Mart facilitated responses to numerous requests from several government officials in the impacted areas, such as Mayor Cory Booker in Newark, NJ; Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey; and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City. The requests ranged from transporting generators to schools to delivering truckloads of food, household items and bottled water.

Verizon's emergency fleet of vehicles and self-contained emergency inflatable air shelters assisted local government, and public safety and emergency management agencies at locations in Brooklyn, Long Beach, Queens and Staten Island in New York, and Hazlet, Hoboken and Ortley Beach in New Jersey. These mobile stations provided organizations with communications, Internet and video capabilities in particularly hard-hit areas where such services were not available.

The Home Depot Foundation donated 5,000 metal/garden/stone/bow rakes, 5,000 flat/transfer shovels, and 15,000 pairs of leather cowhide work gloves to the American Red Cross for cleanup activities in New York and New Jersey. More than $270,000 in supplies - five truckloads - went to the states of New York and New Jersey for immediate clean-up and recovery, including buckets, shovels, trash bags, flashlights and batteries.

As recently as last week, the recovery continued as Southwest Airlines helped to relocate 60 orphaned animals from the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Dogs and cats from Long Island and Delaware County were flown across the country on a Southwest Airlines chartered flight to Rancho Santa Fe, CA. The animal relocation was critical to make room for additional pets displaced by the storm.

Gave Generously to Charities
Millions of pledges and donations to the American Red Cross by the NLC Corporate Partners and their foundations, as well as by their employees and customers, have gone to the relief efforts in the hard-hit areas of the Northeast. Many of the corporate foundations matched employee contributions - Visa and Verizon matched their employee donations two-to-one. During a two week period post-Sandy, Wells Fargo customers donated more than $1 million to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at Wells Fargo ATMs across the country.

In addition to the American Red Cross, NLC Corporate Partners contributed to other national charities, including The Salvation Army, Feeding America, Team Rubicon and Operation Homefront's Emergency Relief Fund. Locally, their stores and retail outlets contributed to local relief efforts and environmental organizations leading clean-up efforts on the coast.

Logged Thousands of Volunteer Hours
In addition to bringing up business operations and companies' associates dealing with their own personal recovery at home, many NLC Corporate Partners mobilized volunteers to help in the hardest hit areas. For example, in the parking lots of Wal-Marts in New York, the company partnered with one of its suppliers - Johnsonville - to serve sausages and hot meals for those affected by, or responding to, the devastation and mass power outages.

Associates from The Home Depot volunteered their time and talents through Team Depot, the company's associate-led volunteer force, to help with rebuilding initiatives. Registered nurses and licensed social workers from UnitedHealth Group's various businesses have been volunteering their time at area shelters to support people's health care needs.

Changed Business Practice or Enhanced Service
Easing the hardship of the loss of power, inability to access service and unexpected injuries, NLC Corporate partners modified their business practices and enhanced services to help their customers. Wells Fargo expanded its mobile deposit service, waived the fees it normally charges for using another bank's ATMs, allowed customers with time accounts (CDs) to withdraw funds from these accounts without incurring an early withdrawal penalty and waived late fees on credit cards and certain small business and consumer loans for customers in the affected areas.

Cigna extended a number of temporary policy changes to assist people in New Jersey and New York impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including refilling prescriptions even if it would normally be too soon for a refill and paying claims for out-of-network services at in-network rates. Similarly, Enterprise temporarily suspended "drop fees" for customers requesting one-way car rentals.

For more examples of the relief effort contributions made by NLC Corporate Partners, please visit the Superstorm Sandy Relief Efforts page.

About the NLC Corporate Partners Program
The National League of Cities Corporate Partners Program was established to promote the exchange of ideas between corporate leaders and the leaders of America's cities in order to strengthen local government, encourage economic competitiveness and promote corporate civic engagement. A core principle for participation is a demonstrated track record as a good corporate citizen.