Huge Houston Institutions Are Stepping Up with Hurricane Harvey Donations

From Whataburger to Beyoncé, Texas legends are pledging their own money to help Houston recover.

By Katharine Shilcutt August 30, 2017

When it comes to helping out in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, no one is doing more than Houstonians themselves.

Mattress Mack opened his furniture stores as emergency evacuation centers; Beyoncé quietly made a "significant donation" to recovery funds; JJ Watt has raised $7 million and counting for disaster relief; and sports tycoons like Jim Crane and Les Alexander made donations of $4 million and $10 million, respectively.

Not to be outdone, the McNair family and Houston Texans ponied up $2 million for the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund, while The Kinder Foundation pledged $1 million. ConocoPhillips stepped up too, with a $2.5 million donation to the UW fund. Other United Way donors include Chevron ($500,000), TechnipFMC ($1 million), Amegy Bank ($500,000), Macy’s ($1 million), Anadarko ($1 million) and the Lennar Foundation ($1 million). And this is to say nothing of the Houstonians rescuing their neighbors in flat-bottomed boats or zooming down subdivision streets on jet skis to rescue stranded grandmothers.

Adding to the list of generous Gulf Coast donors tonight is Houston's own Waste Management, which donated $1.5 million to Mayor Sylvester Turner's relief fund, and Corpus Christi-based Whataburger. The beloved burger chain pledged $2 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, $500,000 of which is earmarked for local food banks.

"To all our Family Members and neighbors who were impacted by this storm’s devastation, we stand with you," said Whataburger Chairman Tom Dobson. "The path to recovering and rebuilding is long, but we’re here for you and we’ll get through this together."

Meanwhile, Canadian rapper/honorary Houstonian Drake has vowed, via Instagram, to work "with local relief groups to aid and assist the people of Texas in anyway we can and in the most immediate way possible." And Walmart, the second-largest grocery store chain in Houston, donated $20 million to Hurricane Harvey relief in the entire Gulf Coast region, with $2 million dedicated to Houston-area recovery efforts. Cincinnati-based Kroger, the largest grocer in Houston, gave $100,000 to the Houston Food Bank, while San Antonio-based H-E-B donated $100,000 to local recovery efforts in addition to sending out fleets of mobile kitchens and disaster relief units to feed those in need.

All of this generosity couldn't be more appreciated, as early estimates peg clean-up costs for the region at $100 billion, with $57 million anticipated for Houston's needs alone.

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