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In 2004, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the tiny island of Grenada. This Category 5 storm sheared the rainforest down to stubs, removed 90% of the roofs from the homes, and left many devastated. As word spread of the destruction, a small group of highly passionate people led by actor Morgan Freeman formed the Grenada Relief Fund to lend a hand to the island and its communities. By way of getting the word out about Grenada’s dilemma, the members of the GRF focused on connecting people with stories of survival and perseverance told by islanders to outlying communities worldwide. With the help of international partnerships between that country, NGOs and US non-profits, Grenada ministries and others, Grenada became a gold star example of how to recover from severe storm and hurricane disasters.
Grenada Relief Fund’s small part in letting people know about Grenada’s strength and the efforts there to rebuild proved a powerful catalyst for continuing the work. Even more, the sharing of survival stories proved to the members of the organization the importance and impact of peer-to-peer communication and the effects of even the smallest preparation. The most important story became how to prepare vulnerable communities to endure these naturally-occurring events that affect them, and that communication between survivors, NGOs and non-profits and government and non-government agencies that seek to help before the events occur is key.
With that in mind, the Grenada Relief Fund expanded its mission, changed its name to PLAN!T NOW, and began advocating the simple message of the power of communication and planning.
PLAN!T NOW provides people, communities, and companies in high-risk regions the information they need to protect their families, homes, businesses, resources, and documents from the effects of any disaster through public service announcements, information offerings via many forms, and also by providing direct relief through grants and scholarships to hurricane-affected persons.