On March 9, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Sendai, Japan and generated a powerful tsunami causing widespread destruction to northern Japan and area nuclear power plants. In response, employees around the world donated a combined total of $53,000 USD. This sum received a 50% match from the First Data Foundation, which resulted in an additional $26,500 USD to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund. The total impact of First Data’s giving reached nearly $80,000 USD to support immediate relief and long term rebuilding efforts.
Queensland experienced one of its worst flood events in its history after a powerful cyclone slammed into the already flood-ravaged northern Australian state. In the aftermath of the disaster, First Data aided the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal, a Queensland Government fund set up to help those affected by the floods. First Data employees in Australia, who weren’t affected by the disaster, generously donated over $2,000 USD to help their fellow Australians. This sum was enhanced with a $10,000 USD contribution from the First Data Foundation to aid the state’s short and long-term disaster response and rebuilding efforts.
While the primary purpose of our disaster relief program focuses on responding when our employees and clients are affected, sometimes a tragedy is so epic in scope and scale that we lend a helping hand, even if it doesn’t directly impacts anyone in our First Data family. The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti is one such example.
Over 1,200 First Data employees around the world generously donated more than $150,000 to UNICEF, the leading international children’s aid organization, in order to support the immediate and long-term needs of victims. First Data matched the employee donations two-for-one resulting in a total of $450,000 to provide food, shelter, clothing, and medicine to children in Haiti. First Data also waived over $100,000 in credit card processing fees for online donations to UNICEF.
In addition, First Data donated $50,000 to Habitat for Humanity to provide starter kits for families to make immediate repairs to damaged homes and construct transitional shelters that, as the country recovers, can be converted into longer-term housing. CARE also received $50,000 to carry out its long-term recovery projects to address earthquake-resistant construction and preparedness, rehabilitation of water systems, and reconstruction of schools and health systems.
In February 2009, the worst wildfires in Australia’s history devastated the southern state of Victoria. It took lives and destroyed homes north of the city of Melbourne. Fortunately, no employees at the First Data offices in Victoria were directly impacted by the devastation. However, several customers and others lost everything in the blaze.
In response, employees in Sydney and Melbourne came together to raise over $14,000 to support the Australian Red Cross relief efforts. In addition, First Data matched the generous employee contributions one-for-one, and made a corporate gift resulting in more than $40,000 to support the recovery efforts in the aftermath of the fires.
In September 2008, Hurricane Ike devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States and affected many of our First Data employees. Fortunately, our employees were uninjured and were eventually able to return to work.
To help those who were less fortunate, we partnered with the organization Rebuilding Together–Houston (RTF), to help the most vulnerable victims rebound from the storm. Employees donated to the First Data Foundation and received a two-for-one match. First Data also gave an additional corporate contribution of $25,000. As a result, a total of $45,000 was contributed to help rebuild the homes and lives of Houston’s low-income, elderly and disabled.
One year later, crews of Houston-based First Data employees volunteered directly for RTH by putting on gloves, grabbing hammers, and arming themselves with paintbrushes to provide a much needed facelift to deteriorating homes. The employees spent the October weekends repairing siding damaged by termite infestations, replaced doors, and scraped, primed and painted the home exteriors. These efforts provided the residents peace of mind to live comfortably in their homes for years to come.