Dell Technologies Founder, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and his wife Susan have pledged $36 million of their foundation's money to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which destroyed Houston, Texas, and several surrounding communities.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation announced the creation of the Rebuild Texas Fund today. The fund's goal is to raise more than $100 million in charitable donations aimed at immediate relief efforts, as well as long-term recovery and rebuilding.
"This disaster is personal to everyone who has roots in Texas," the Dells said in a letter posted to the foundation's web site. "Both of us were born and raised in Texas, and the street Michael grew up on in Houston is under water now."
“This is our home. And we know that it will take all of us working together, over the long term, to rebuild our Texas communities,” the CEO said in a statement. "As we announce the launch of the Rebuild Texas Fund, we know it is imperative to rally support from companies, community leaders and individuals to work alongside state and federal officials to provide an additional source of funding and ideas for recovery and rebuilding.”
Several large corporations have pledged support for relief and recovery efforts in the days since the tropical storm following Hurricane Harvey dumped more than four feet of rain – an estimated 11 trillion gallons – on southeastern Texas. Verizon, for example, pledged $10 million and Toyota $3 million, but the Dells' commitment is so far the largest.
The foundation has given $18 million – half its total commitment – to launch the Rebuild Texas Fund. It intends to give the rest by $1 for every $2 donated by others. The matching campaign will continue through 12 a.m. Monday with an eye toward surpassing its $100 million goal.
The foundation said the fund would focus on health, housing, schools, childcare, workforce, transportation and providing capital for rebuilding small businesses.
Dell started his namesake company in his dorm room at the University of Texas in the late 1980s, and his leadership of the company has made him a billionaire many times over. In recent years he's taken the company private in a $25 billion buyout, and last year made the largest acquisition in the history of the IT industry buying data storage giant EMC for $58 billion.
The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation was established nearly 20 years ago. It concentrates on education, and helping children and families in Texas.
Houston-area solution providers contacted by CRN this week praised first responders, emphasized their resilience and said the storm, which left widespread destruction in addition to unheard-of levels of flooding, in its wake, is a good reminder of the importance of disaster recovery plans.
Paul Neyman, president of Houston-based solution provider Waypoint Solutions, said the help and support pouring into Texas is inspiring.
"The amount of rain was just incredible, but just as incredible was the sense of community not only here in Houston but from other Texas and Louisiana cities; people arriving with boats, trucks, and supplies to help those most affected," Neyman said in an email to CRN. "I think Michael and Susan Dell pledging financial support on top of what these volunteers have started truly demonstrates that in times of need, the goodness we all have shines out to help those around us."