How Pepsi-Co, Tesla and Michael Jordan are helping the Carolinas
Early estimates show that Hurricane Florence has left a $ 22 billion path of devastation in its wake, with $ 2.5 billion in insured losses so far. At least 33 people have died in storm-related incidents. Hundreds of thousands of people are still without power in North Carolina, and flooding remains at dangerous levels.
Corporations have stepped up to stem the pain and are donating tens of millions of dollars to the Red Cross and other nonprofits to help with recovery efforts. Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways companies, celebrities, and athletes are helping those affected by Florence.
Basketball legend and North Carolina–native Michael Jordan, now owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is using his star status to get fans to donate via an NBA micro-site. He is also donating $ 2 million of his own cash — $ 1 million for the American Red Cross and $ 1 million to the Foundation for the Carolinas Florence Response Fund.
Jordan isn’t the only athlete to step up. Major League Soccer’s’ Atlanta United and the owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons have each pledged $ 1 million. University athletes are also pitching in. After its football game with South Carolina’s Furman Paladins got canceled because of the storm, Colgate Raiders coach Dan Hunt released its hotel rooms to those affected by the storm and donated the scheduled team meals.
In anticipation of Florence’s landfall, many auto plants in the Carolinas — including those of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo — shut down production for days. But now that the storm has passed, Toyota and GM are offering some relief on car payments for affected residents. Consumers struggling with car leasing and financing can seek extensions and deferred payments. And Tesla is allowing drivers to charge their cars for free at all of its express-charging stations in Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Access to safe drinking water is critical to survivors faced with potentially contaminated water from heavy rainfall at various industrial sites. The EPA reports that 16 community water treatment facilities in North Carolina are unable to supply drinking water and that seven publicly owned sewage treatment works are non-operational as a result of flooding. More than 600,000 customers have been warned not to drink tap water as North Carolina’s flooded hog farms; waste lagoons are under scrutiny for contamination.
With its birthplace in New Bern, North Carolina, Pepsi-Co was eager to help. The soft drink giant is donating $ 1 million to relief agencies and $ 350,000 in meals to help the Carolinas. Beer distributor MillerCoors sent over more than 2 million cans of drinking water to the region, and Anheuser-Busch trucked in more than 300,000 cans of fresh water.
The big banks are also donating millions to organizations helping victims. Wells Fargo donated $ 1 million, with $ 500,000 going to the Red Cross and the other $ 500,000 to other organizations in affected areas. Struggling customers can also seek the bank’s help for refunding certain late fees for personal, credit card, auto, and other lines of credit. Bank of America, Capital One, HSBC Bank, Morgan Stanley, Mastercard, Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation are among the financial institutions making major contributions to the Red Cross.
Sibile Marcellus is an on-air reporter covering the day’s top stories in business for Yahoo Finance’s three daily live shows. Follow her on Twitter @chasingsibile
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