PLAN!T NOW advocates empowerment of people through information and connection, and creates dialogue between people living in hurricane and severe-storm affected areas and those who should prepare in coastal regions of the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. Operating with the understanding that no matter where you live, a natural disaster can happen at any time, PLAN!T NOW advocates the power of preparedness.
The Grenada Relief Fund
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the tiny island of Grenada. The Category 5 storm sheared the rainforest trees to stubs, ripped the roofs from 90 percent of the homes, killed dozens of people and left many others devastated. As word spread of the destruction, a small group of highly passionate people led by actor Morgan Freeman were moved to intercede on behalf of the island and its communities.
Freeman remembers receiving a telephone call from friends in that country. They told him people on the other side of the island were desperate to get food, water and medical aid. People were sick, dehydrated and in danger of dying, and relief efforts were very slow.
“I had to try and help,” Freeman says. Thus, the Grenada Relief Fund (GRF) was born. To get the word out about Grenada’s dilemma, the members of the GRF focused on publicizing the islanders’ stories of survival and perseverance to communities worldwide. With the help of international partnerships between the Grenadian government and ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), U.S. nonprofits and corporations, Grenada became a gold-star example of how to recover from severe storm and hurricane disasters.
Formation of PLAN!T NOW
In December 2007, The Grenada Relief Fund was renamed PLAN!T NOW. Through education, research, local partnerships and indirect relief in the form of scholarships, grants and micro loans, PLAN!T NOW focuses on preparedness.
“Disaster happens when preparation doesn’t,” Freeman says.
PLAN!T NOW is a 501 (c) (3) IRS designated tax-exempt public charity that works coast-to-coast in the United States. With branches in Santa Barbara, CA and Chapel Hill, NC, its proactive efforts encourage people and communities to access the tools they need to reduce the loss of life and destruction caused by these storms.
Communities We Support
PLAN!T NOW assists coastal and island areas that lie between Belize, Barbados, Trinidad and North Carolina. The organization gears its information to the industries that are most prevalent in the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean. These industries include farming, fisheries, oil, hospitality and tourism.
In the United States, our work focuses on the areas north along the eastern coastline of North Carolina; northwest along western Florida; west along southern Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; southwest and south along southeastern Texas; and extends about 100 miles inland. In the Caribbean, our work targets, but is not limited to: Aruba, Northern Antilles, St. Lucia, Barbados, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Jamaica.
In Central America, our work is aimed at those living on the Gulf side of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Undergraduate Relief Scholarships Program. In 2009, PLAN!T NOW awarded $30,000 to storm-affected students as part of its Undergraduate Relief Scholarships Program.In 2010, the funds will be expanded, and a new category added: awards for students pursuing degrees in the hazards sciences. Click on the link for more information.
Local Partnerships. Visit our Partners page to learn more about local partnerships in the United States and beyond. Entertainment industry corporations, NGOs, local businesses — our partners help us reach out to a variety of communities with messages of preparedness.