On August 15, the residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, woke up to the worst flood disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. As much as 22 inches of rain fell in a single weekend. More than 140,000 families were displaced in the flooding, and an estimated 1,500 dealership families were forced to evacuate their homes. Our fellow Baton Rouge dealers, their staffs and their families need help.
I visited Baton Rouge recently and it was heartbreaking to see the devastation in the area. I walked past shoulder-high piles of destroyed furniture, scattered personal possessions, drywall and other debris. Many people lost not only their homes and businesses, they lost their safety and security too.
Immediately after the flooding, NADA mobilized and acted. The NADA Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund was created as a critical resource for those in need after times of emergency and natural disasters.
Thanks to the support and donations of individuals, dealerships, dealer associations and our industry partners, the Foundation to date has distributed $500,000 in relief checks to more than 400 dealership families affected by the Baton Rouge flooding. But there is still so much more to do. The need for financial assistance is great and it will last for many months to come.
On behalf of NADA and the Foundation, I am asking fellow dealers to help by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Emergency Relief Fund today. With a $1,000 donation, you can "adopt" a dealership family in Baton Rouge and help to make sure they have resources during this challenging time of rebuilding. NADA's ultimate goal is to raise $2 million for our Baton Rouge relief efforts.
Established in 1992, NADA's Charitable Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to dealership families in times of need. Dealers can apply for aid on behalf of their employees. NADA picks up all administrative costs for this fund, and all money donated to the Emergency Relief Fund goes directly to the dealership families.
I would like to thank everyone for their support throughout the nation. Dealers have always come together during challenging times and when we need each other the most; this is no different. I am grateful for all the support you've shown to those in Baton Rouge and all that you've done to help our fellow dealership families.
Please continue to join us in our Baton Rouge Relief efforts today so that the city can rebuild and re-open better than ever before. Visit the Emergency Relief Fund to donate today and learn about the Baton Rouge Relief Efforts or call 703.821.7102.
Personal or corporate checks can be made payable and mailed to: NADCF Emergency Fund, c/o NADCF, 8400 Westpark Drive, Tysons, VA 22102.
Jeff Carlson is 2016 NADA chairman and a Ford and Subaru dealer in Glenwood Springs, Colo.