As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, the state of Texas was struck with disaster once again, as a historic winter storm raged across the state. Hundreds of thousands of residents were without heat and power, and many had no water as pipes froze and burst. Even weeks later as temperatures hit more than 70 degrees, many are still feeling the storm’s devastating effects.
“To see how people are still living without water, without power, weeks later … it’s heartbreaking,” said Dale Lockett, Director of Local Programming & Community Marketing at KHOU. “It may be 70 degrees out, but it is incumbent upon us to make sure our community knows just how much suffering is still going on.”
If there is a positive outcome of this disaster, it’s the fact that communities can come together – stronger than ever – to help each other out. It’s something Lockett has had a front-row seat to, along with Stephanie Wilcox, Director of Community Marketing at WFAA in Dallas. The pair worked together with colleagues across the state to raise much-needed funds and bring much-needed relief across the state with a special Texas Cares: Winter Storm Relief effort.
“It’s the first real disaster to affect all of Texas, which is a massive state,” noted Wilcox. “The fact that this storm has affected communities across all 11 TEGNA markets in Texas made us feel like this is something we need to take action on – and fast.”
In just three days, all 11 TEGNA stations in Texas came together in partnership with United Ways of Texas. Each station promoted a designated Winter Storm Relief fund on-air and via social media with public service announcements, while also creating dedicated landing pages where viewers can donate until March 31st. For example, Austin area residents can visit KVUE.com/donate to help.
“When we were looking at what nonprofit to partner with, it really came down to United Ways’ flexibility with the funds,” said Lockett. “They are able to provide food and water, and they can provide financial assistance for paying rent and utility bills or covering repair costs.”
To make an even bigger difference, the TEGNA Foundation kicked off the effort with a $100,000 donation. One day after the campaign launched, another $50,000 was added by TEGNA viewers all across Texas. The fund is projected to rise even more, as the campaign run continues through to the end of March.
“The money we raise is going to make a huge impact for the communities that are in the most need,” said Wilcox. “It’s also important to show our viewers that we’re trying to make a difference by helping those neighbors hit hardest.”
“At TEGNA, we have the platform to support nonprofits with a mission to help these individuals and families get back on their feet,” Lockett said. “I’m really proud of our teams across Texas, and I feel good about the impact we will have. It’s going to do a lot of good in this state.”
“It’s so wonderful to know we can rely on our sister stations to help when our community is in need,” Wilcox adds. “The most important thing we can do in the media industry is to tell people’s stories. But to go one step further and help the entire state to take action is unbelievable.”
It all ties back to TEGNA’s mission to serve the greater good of the communities it serves.
“When our community needs us, this is how we rally together,” said Lockett. “We are living that purpose of serving the greater good, right here with this winter storm relief effort. At the end of the day, I’m just thankful to be in a position where I can help do good.”
Thinking of how you might amplify your brand’s community efforts or looking to join our affiliates in their efforts to serve the greater good of our communities? Get in touch.