The “One America Appeal” initiative will raise money for Harvey relief — and it’s not the first time former presidents have worked together for a good cause
All five living, former US presidents are joining forces to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.
As part of the newly-announced initiative “One America Appeal,” former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter are banding together to encourage Americans to donate whatever they can to relief efforts in the wake of the disastrous storm.
“Hurricane Harvey brought terrible destruction,” says President Clinton in a video plea that launched Thursday night.
“As former presidents, we wanted to help our fellow Americans begin to recover,” President Obama adds.
Their newly-formed campaign suggests that supporters make donations in increments of $25, $50, $100, $250, or $500 — or whatever they can afford. What’s more, 100% of the proceeds raised will go to relief aid: “Every cent donated through the One America Appeal will help victims recover,” the campaign’s website reads.
Although the Presidents’ charitable efforts were originally targeted exclusively at Hurricane Harvey, the scope of the One America Appeal has been “expanded to include Hurricane Irma now approaching the mainland United States,” according to an official statement. Irma, which was churning toward Florida as of Friday morning, is expected to bring widespread damage to coastal areas, and has wrought extensive havoc in the Caribbean.
On social media, the One America Appeal has already garnered widespread support, including from President Donald Trump.
We will confront ANY challenge, no matter how strong the winds or high the water. I’m proud to stand with Presidents for #OneAmericaAppeal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2017
— Lois Valois (@valois_lois) September 8, 2017
— Julie Muriuki (@julie_muriuki) September 8, 2017
Although the One America Appeal is their most recent partnership, this is not the first time that former presidents have put aside ideological or policy differences to support disaster relief. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina laid waste to large swathes of the Gulf Coast, then-President George W. Bush called on his predecessor, President Clinton, and his father, President George H. W. Bush, to lead recovery efforts.
In response, Clinton and Bush 41 — the man he had defeated for reelection in 1992 — created the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, which “raised $110 million from individual and corporate donors,” according to CNN.
In announcing their efforts, President George W. Bush said from the Oval Office in 2005: “The federal government will do its part, but the private sector needs to do its part as well, and that’s why I’ve asked Presidents Bush and Clinton to lead a nationwide effort to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They’re going to talk to large corporations and small businesses and individual citizens across the nation.”
More recently, in 2010, President Obama tapped George W. Bush and Clinton for earthquake relief after a powerful magnitude 7 tremor decimated the island of Haiti. The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund they created raised $54.4 million, and dedicated funds to more than 50 organizations.
“The most effective way for Americans to help the people of Haiti is to contribute money. That money will go to organizations on the ground…” said President Bush at the time. “One of the things that the President and I will do is to make sure your money is spent wisely.”
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