- Keep America Beautiful (KAB) has launched the Community Restoration and Resiliency Fund to provide financial aid, technical support and other resources to communities affected by Hurricane Harvey — and those to be affected by Hurricane Irma — according to a press statement.
- "Cleaning and restoring beautiful public spaces — and improving their resiliency for the future — can play an important role in the overall recovery of a city, town or neighborhood and help to strengthen a sense of community," KAB President and CEO Helen Lowman said in the statement.
- Lowe's agreed to become a founding member of the fund with a $125,000 donation, and other donors include Dickinson's Witch Hazel Skincare, Keurig Green Mountain, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. Industry professionals and businesses are also encouraged to donate.
The U.S. is no stranger to devastating hurricanes, however this recent round of catastrophic storms ripping apart coastal communities is unlike anything the nation has experienced before. Cleanup and recovery efforts have already started in communities affected by Hurricane Harvey — with the help of hundreds of donors, including industry giants like Waste Management — yet efforts are only as successful as the leadership they have behind them. This new fund from Keep America Beautiful, a group that specifically operates for the purpose of beautifying communities, will be a welcomed and greatly-appreciated addition to the contributions already put forward to reshape Houston.
KAB's fund is specifically designed to not only boost cleanup efforts, but to also rebuild greenways, community gateways and downtown areas with green infrastructure. Houston and other affected communities have a rare opportunity to bring a new level of sustainable focus to their cities if recovery groups focus on rebuilding with priorities of environmental protection and resilience.
Influence from KAB may also help boost diversion rates during cleanup efforts. While most residents and officials are more worried about removing debris than where that debris may end up, it would be a lost opportunity to not divert the waste for recycling or reuse purposes. It is up to industry groups like KAB to get involved and ensure that waste management is being done properly, while still maintaining efficiency.