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Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis announces more than $60 million raised for hurricane victims

By Sarah May
|
December 15, 2022

In a significant development out of the Sunshine State, first lady Casey DeSantis announced Wednesday that more than $60 million has been raised by The Florida Disaster Fund to assist with recovery efforts in areas hard hit by Hurricane Ian, according to a press release from the Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Mrs. DeSantis was instrumental in launching the fund in the aftermath of the devastating storm, working together with public, private, and non-governmental organizations to bolster response and rebuilding initiatives in impacted communities.

Donations top $60 million

According to Wednesday's press release, the response from the philanthropic arena to the fundraising drive has been overwhelming and is making a real difference in the lives of those most able to benefit.

Casey DeSantis herself declared, “It has been heartwarming to witness individuals and organizations come together from all over the country to generously help Floridians rebuild and recover.”

“The $60 million raised reflects the graciousness and incredible commitment from good people to provide relief and hope,” the Florida first lady continued.

Expressing her gratitude for the influx of contributions and the ability to funnel them to the areas of greatest need, DeSantis added, “As we continue to target funds to maximize the impact of these donations in Southwest Florida, we could not be more grateful for the outpouring of support that makes these efforts possible.”

Reconstruction assistance prioritized

Additionally, Gov. and Mrs. Desantis announced earlier this month that upwards of $25 million in state funds would be combined with up to $35.2 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to provide building materials for temporary home repairs on storm-damaged homes and to facilitate the performance of that work by verified nonprofit organizations.

At the time that initiative was announced, Gov. DeSantis explained, “We are providing building materials and supporting nonprofit organizations to provide repairs so impacted residents can move back into their own homes.”

“Floridians are resilient, and the state stands by them every step of the way as they continue their recovery,” the governor added.

Mrs. DeSantis echoed her husband's sentiments, stating, “It is not a matter of if people will get back on their feet, it's when, which is why uniting communities to reduce red tape and break down bureaucracy to provide relief to Floridians is so important.”

“The generous donations to the Florida Disaster Fund will go to organizations that are on the ground helping impacted residents recover. We are appreciative of the continued and overwhelming support,” the first lady concluded.

Swift mobilization

The Florida Disaster Fund saw tremendous success almost from the moment of its inception, with Mrs. DeSantis announcing back in October that within a mere 48 hours of activation, the enterprise secured more than $20 million in donations for hurricane response efforts.

The first lady was quick to praise those who immediately stepped forward to help, saying at the time, “Raising more than $20 million in 48 hours for The Florida Disaster Fund is a testament to the generosity and compassion from people across Florida and the country.”

“This funding is already being utilized by organizations in the field to help people who have been impacted by this storm. We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support for Florida,” Mrs. DeSantis added.

It did not take long for the fund to attract participation from major corporate names such as Walmart, Publix, Lowe's, Comcast, Target, Amazon, and more, all of which offered assistance designed to meet the immediate needs of Florida residents who suffered losses as a result of the storm.

Formidable presence

With her husband's national political prospects seemingly on the rise, Casey DeSantis has become the subject of growing curiosity and media interest in recent months, as Fox News recently noted.

A former television reporter and national equestrian champion, Mrs. DeSantis is also mother to three young children as well as a breast cancer survivor.

After being declared cancer-free earlier this year, Mrs. DeSantis and her husband thanked those who sent well-wishes and prayers throughout her fight, and by spearheading this highly successful, multimillion-dollar hurricane relief fund, the first lady appears determined to repay the kindness shown by her fellow Floridians many times over.