A fund that was set up to help flood victims in Cedar Rapids still has roughly $2 million. Dan Baldwin is president and C.E.O. of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, which established the Flood 2008 Fund.
He says individuals and businesses have donated around $5.5 million to the fund and all of that money will be delivered to various non-profit agencies sometime next year.
"There’s still some money coming in, but certainly not any large amounts," Baldwin said. "We anticipate that probably sometime in 2010 we will have granted out the money." More than 5,000 homes and 700 businesses were damaged or destroyed in last year’s flooding in Cedar Rapids.
Baldwin says the grants have been handed out over time because organizers knew there would be several phases to the flood recovery. "The first grants we made were to relief organizations – the Salvation Army and the Red Cross are experts at coming in right after (disasters)," Baldwin said. "Then, you have the recovery and rebuilding and we expected it would take a couple of years. That’s clearly what has panned out."
Since June of 2008, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has delivered Flood 2008 grants to 53 local organizations that support recovery and rebuilding efforts. Recently, a program called "Block by Block" was awarded $700,000. Baldwin says that program focuses on rebuilding an entire city block – one at a time.
"So, what (the program) does…it really helps put neighborhoods back together and it has been received very well and is off to a very good start," Baldwin said. Donations to the fund have come from 45 states.
Baldwin says the nonprofit groups supported by the grants have provided immediate food and shelter, supplies and equipment kits for flood clean up, free legal assistance, home furnishings and appliances, mental health and substance abuse services and more.