Hagerty Consulting, Inc. Heads Hurricane Relief Effort

by Claire Toomey

In the wake of natural disasters, fundraising efforts and community volunteering become vital to the rebuilding of affected areas. “We know firsthand that recovery doesn’t end after a week,” said Laura Scherb, an Operations Associate for Hagerty Consulting, Inc., when asked about the importance of their recent fundraising effort, Give for the Gulf. “This is a long, challenging process, and we wanted to show our support for those going through recovery.”

Hagerty Consulting is an emergency management firm located in Evanston, IL., headed by Evanston mayor Steve Hagerty, that specializes in helping individuals prepare for and recover from natural disasters. In the wake of the destructive 2017 hurricane season beginning with Hurricane Harvey, Hagerty Consulting invited anyone from the community with an interest in becoming involved with a fundraising campaign to attend a planning meeting. Scherb says that the project was originally a group effort within their company, but as many individuals and local businesses were eager to help out, the campaign became bigger than they had originally imagined. Donation matching partners included Grumman Butkus, Multilingual Connections, and Hagerty Consulting, Inc. itself. Accuity, Whiskey Thief, Terra & Vine, Flat Top Grill, Main Dempster Mile, and Rotary Foundation, amongst other local businesses, were also heavily involved in supporting the project. A Facebook page, “Evanston Giving,” was created as a result of the fundraiser to raise awareness and include the larger Evanston community in the charity effort.

As of Oct. 3, the fundraiser had raised close to $13,000, not yet factoring in matching partners. This money came from both regular donations and several events in Evanston throughout September. Every Thursday of the month, “Giving for the Gulf” held a different event: first, lunch at Flat Top Grill (Sep. 7), then “Meet, Greet, and Give” at Accuity (Sep. 14), lunch at Terra & Vine (Sep. 21), and finally a happy hour at Whiskey Thief (Sep. 28). Participants in the events had the choice of donating to Team Rubicon, Red Cross, or Rotary Gulf Fund, while the matched donations will be split between all three. Keryn Wouden, another Hagerty Consulting, Inc. employee, said that the company carefully considered which organizations to work with, to insure that the money they collected would actually be going towards recovery efforts and helping the individuals that need it most: “It is always important to find organizations that have the infrastructure and reputability to be able to handle the money coming in and make the most from it.”

With the extent of the damage inflicted upon Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and many other regions due to environmental disasters within the past month—specifically, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria—donating and volunteering is helping to keep the affected communities afloat. According to Weather.com, September 2017 was the most active month on record for hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean. This fact suggests that more extreme weather may be coming, but, for now, Evanston has shown a willingness to respond quickly and meaningfully. 

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