IBJNews

Local businesses open wallets for tornado relief

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indianapolis-area corporate and private donors have given more than $1 million to tornado-relief efforts in southern Indiana and local TV stations are taking a big part in the fundraising efforts.

Several of the stations set up phone banks following Friday’s deadly twisters and are forwarding donations to the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis and the Salvation Army’s Indiana chapter.

As of Wednesday morning, the Red Cross estimated that it has received at least $750,000 in donations while the Salvation Army put its contributions at $427,000.

“Indiana really does a good job helping people,” said John Lyter, CEO of the local Red Cross. “It has a long tradition of doing that.”

WTHR-TV Channel 13, WISH-TV Channel 8 and WXIN-TV Channel 59 opened their phone lines to viewers and collectively raised more than $900,000, including $436,500 from WTHR. WISH and WXIN raised more than $230,000 each.

WRTV-TV Channel 6, meanwhile, helped raise $45,000 in conjunction with WIBC-FM 93.1 during a donation drive on Monument Circle.

The total figure includes a donation of $75,000 from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay who donated $50,000 through WISH and $25,000 through WTHR. Pacers Sports & Entertainment gave $100,000 to the Red Cross and staged a fundraiser at the Pacers-Atlanta Hawks game Tuesday night.

Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation also pledged $100,000 to the American Red Cross and said it will match Lilly employee contributions to relief efforts. And the Verizon Foundation said Wednesday that it would donate $50,000 to the Red Cross.

Coincidentally, WTHR had been forming an emergency-response partnership with the Red Cross, dubbed WTHR Cares, when the tornadoes struck, said Angela Cain, the station’s community affairs director.

“We started forming this about a month ago, and then Mother Nature called,” she said. “But we made it come together.”

WISH General Manager Jeff White said his station mobilized employees on Saturday morning, the day after the storms, to organize fundraising efforts.

White and fellow station leaders say their campaigns are not about who raised the most money or who became involved first.

“This is not a competition among stations, because it’s all going to a good cause,” said Lee Rosenthal, WXIN news director.

Televisions stations have an ideal platform to raise money simply by the large populations they reach. In that sense, they walk a fine line between the work they do for a community and the self-promotion that can follow, said Bruce Bryant, founder of Indianapolis-based Promotus Advertising, which often helps clients with charity-based marketing.

“When there’s such wide devastation, the question starts to become, is that opportunistic?'” Bryant said. “And I think the answer is, as long as it’s done in reasonable taste, you haven’t crossed that line. It’s good business.”

Bryant thinks the stations have acted responsibly but thought they should have tried to combine their efforts into one fundraising drive so “no one can be singled out of getting ahead of the competition at the expense of a natural disaster,” he said.

White at WISH said he realizes the potential danger of heavy promotion, but said the amount of destruction that resulted in 39 deaths puts their efforts into perspective.

“When you hear the devastating story of the lady who lost her legs to protect her children, it’s not about who collected the most,” he said. “We’re about recognizing and thanking people for what they have done.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • good question-any answer?
    Good story but in recent "help victims" TV story, the reporter described all the "disciplines" turning out to help==doctors, health care, firement, social work agencies, animal rescue etc...BUT WITH ONE NOTICABLE PROFESSION ABSENT TOTALLY--and the comment was: "with everybody helping Henryville area, where are any pro bono lawyers?"---so perhaps Mickey M. (who is one) might take on the question because what a great opportunity for reputable pro bono team of local attorneys to go down to protect storm victims or at least to advise---so far only legal eagles landing represent the insurance/lenders--not the insured and post-disaster is a breeding ground where the helpless get plucked . Any good pro bono firm want to step up to the plate?
  • Lots of help, I hope
    There's even a "Public Media Colleagues Helping Colleagues Fund" that gets voluntary donations that's offering to help our public media colleagues who've suffered losses from the storm. My colleagues are some of the most generous folks I've known.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT