Birmingham, Alabama (September 13, 2005) – The US Rugby Foundation and World Rugby Shop today announced the creation of the Rugby Union Recovery Fund to aid rugby programs affected by Hurricane Katrina. The funds’ efforts should help assist clubs in their quest for redevelopment and reorganization in the coming months.
“The Foundation is excited about teaming up with World Rugby Shop in this fundraising effort to assist those within the U.S. rugby community affected by Hurricane Katrina,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “Lots of individuals, clubs and programs have suffered greatly and we look forward to helping those in need get rugby back in the region as soon as possible.”
Martin Gardner, President, USA Rugby South has asked players and fans to please give generously to the fund.
“Hurricane Katrina has wrought havoc along the gulf coast, we’ve all been glued to the news long enough to realize how devastating the storm was. USA Rugby South has been working hard in recent years to grow our sport, particularly at the high school and collegiate levels. With a blow like this, we’ve lost a hard core of southern rugby with 12 clubs simply obliterated and players dispersed,” said Gardner.
“This recovery fund is important as it will accomplish two things. First, it will allow us to immediately help our fellow rugby players with humanitarian help and in relocating or traveling back home. Secondly, in the longer term, it will provide financial help in getting teams reestablished as people are able to move back. Assuming these teams have lost everything– kit, training equipment, and field equipment-they’re going to need help to rebuild these clubs. We just want to be there, ready and able to help.”
The Rugby Union Recovery Fund has established two options for individuals to contribute.
Individuals can 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 are also being collected through the USRF 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.
Bernard Frei, CEO of World Rugby Shop added, “Right now, the greatest need is for direct relief efforts. Eventually, after the primary requirements for food, shelter and clothing are met, players, clubs, and their families will want to resume playing and supporting their sport.”
“Rugby is a tight-knit community all over the world. In fact, we have received calls from across the globe asking how they can help. We’re delighted and humbled by the reaction of our partners– every major US sports brand with an interest in rugby has agreed to support us. In addition, we have received support from companies in Canada and New Zealand who decided that they had to act.”
All of the brands listed below are underwriting 100% of the cost of this fundraising effort. Every dollar spent on this merchandise will go directly to the Rugby Union Recovery Fund hosted by the US Rugby Foundation.
“We know that the US Rugby family will step up and demonstrate the rugby community’s dedication to ensuring that our glorious game is played again in the affected areas,” said Frei.
The following Rugby South programs are in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina:
New Orleans RFC
Jesuit High School Rugby Club
Brother Martin High School Rugby Club
Rummel High Rugby Club
Shaw High Rugby Club
DeLaSalle High School Club
University of New Orleans RFC
Tulane Men and Women RFC
University of Southern Mississippi Mens and Womens RFC
Southeastern Louisiana RFC
The following organizations are responsible for contributing to this effort:
Canterbury of New Zealand
United States Rugby Foundation
World Rugby Shop