Birmingham, AL (February 27, 2006) –After Hurricane Katrina hit the southeast coast of the United States last fall, the US Rugby Foundation and USA Rugby South led an effort to create the Rugby Union Recovery Fund to aid rugby programs affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Today, the Fund announced it has delivered a check for over $15,000 to the USRF. The contributions were collected through direct donations and proceeds through the sale of the Rugby Union Recovery Fund t-shirt to support redevelopment of rugby in the affected areas. Those contributions are in addition to the $2,500 in donations made directly to the USRF.
The Recovery Fund was supported by nearly every major US rugby sports brand that united to underwrite the cost of the fundraising efforts including the t-shirt printing.
“These clubs lost everything and we are just grateful we are able to support their efforts to bring rugby back to the affected areas,” said World Rugby Shop’s Bernard Frei, one of the rugby companies involved in the effort.
“There’s still a long way to go. The TV cameras are gone and the real significance of the disaster is starting to hit home as people try to move their lives forward again. The rugby community has come through in a big way, I am extremely proud to consider myself one of them.”
The Rugby Union Recovery Fund has sold over 900 of its t-shirts as fundraisers and hopes to sell enough in 2006 to reach its goal of $30,000.
“I can’t believe it but everyday I see orders for these tees,” says Frei. “People really do care and it’s having an impact. We’re by no means finished with our efforts-these people still need our help and we and the team at USA Rugby and the Foundation are going to keep plugging away with this.”
In the upcoming months, the US Rugby Foundation will be allocating the money to clubs in need as players and families return to their communities and rugby play begins again. The Fund still hopes to receive more contributions to better serve these areas. The USRF is currently working with the rugby officials in the affected areas to see how best to disperse the funds where they’ll provide the most benefit.
“We are extremely delighted and humbled by the results thus far, however, it could take years to rebuild these areas and bring back the game of rugby,” said Brian Vizard, executive director of USRF. “We just hope people realize that this effort is still moving forward and needs the rugby community’s support.”
Individuals can still buy a Rugby Union Recovery Fund t-shirt from which 100% of the proceeds will go into the recovery fund. These shirts are available online at www.RugbyUnionRecoveryFund.com.
Direct donations can be collected through the USRFF website at www.usrugbyfoundation.org. Once on the site, individuals can click on the ‘Contribute Today’ link and designate a contribution to the Rugby Relief Fund. Checks can also be sent to the USRF. Checks should be made out to the USRF, earmarked for the Rugby Relief Fund, and sent to:
2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
Donations to the Hurricane Katrina Rugby Recovery Fund are tax deductible through the IRS as 501 (c) 3 charitable giving.