Officials of the ARA Foundation announced that grants totaling $190,000 were distributed this week to 20 rental equipment businesses that incurred severe damage from Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita. The grants are intended to provide immediate relief and to help quickly restore a rental business to full operation. Cash contributions from 98 donors to the Rental Industry Relief Fund made the grants possible.
Nearly 80 rental stores and suppliers and nearly 20 ARA state and local organizations contributed to the fund. In addition, the American Rental Association and ARA Insurance Services contributed $75,000 and $25,000 respectively. In total, slightly more than $200,000 was raised. Of that, the ARA Foundation distributed $190,000 in grants and designated the remaining funds as seed money for an ongoing ARA Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.
“This is a significant humanitarian effort on the part of the donors, the ARA Foundation and the entire rental equipment industry. It’s the first of its kind for our industry, where we are providing financial aid directly to rental businesses that suffered losses from a natural disaster,” said Skip Evans, Castle Rock, Colo., ARA Foundation chairman. “The ARA Foundation believes this rental equipment industry self-help program reflects the very best qualities within our industry — that we support and aid ‘our own’ when they are in need,” he continued, adding, “Aid was focused where the need was greatest.”
Donations were accepted through Nov. 15. Any rental equipment store that incurred hurricane damage and had 100 employees or fewer was eligible to apply for the funding. To ensure that all stores knew of the availability of the fund and to share details on how to apply for relief funds, the American Rental Association, program administrator for the ARA Foundation, contacted all rental centers (both ARA members and nonmembers) in the primary damaged areas of the Gulf Coast in the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. When Hurricane Rita occurred, the state of Texas was added. ARA also sought names from suppliers in the region to make certain that all possible stores had been contacted.