Michael Jordan, Carolina professional teams and universities offer relief, donations to Florence victims


As Florence continues to deliver a heavy blow to the East Coast, celebrities, sports teams, universities and businesses are stepping up to the plate to help raise support, contribute donations and bring relief to the storm victims in need.

All three professional sports teams in the Carolinas -the Hornets of the NBA, the Panthers of the NFL and the Hurricanes of the NHL- have released statements of support for their home states.

Basketball legend and Hornets owner Michael Jordan echoed similar sentiments about the state he grew up in.

"It's truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas. The recovery effort will be massive and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet. Together with the NBA, we have launched a platform to aid those most impacted. Please join me, the Hornets organization and the NBA and donate to one of the local organizations assisting in the relief and recovery efforts. To all those affected, stay safe and know that we're here to help," Jordan said in a statement.

Jordan and the Hornets set up a micro-site to urge fans to donate to organizations. Jordan, who was recognized by the United States Senate in 1999 for his charitable contributions, has previously donated to relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and a $7 million donation to help start medical clinics in Charlotte communities.

Michael Jordan donation
Michael Jordan donation

In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, former NBA star and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, smiles at reporters in Chicago. Jordan is donating $7 million to at-risk communities in Charlotte to launch two medical clinics in troubled areas of the city. It's the largest philanthropic donation ever by the former NBA champion. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Panthers Owner David Tepper and his franchise offered support as well.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of North and South Carolina," he said. "We have been in contact with local and state officials and charities of both states to develop a plan to best assess the needs of the region and ensure we can effectively deploy resources to those most impacted."

The Panthers and the United Way are already working together to assist Florence victims, according to the Charlotte Observer. Tepper has donated to similar causes in the past, including $3 million after hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey. After Sandy, Tepper and his wife donated over $200,000 in gift cards to storm victims in shelters.

Along with support from the local sports teams, organizations such as Colgate University and Apple have assisted victims and made donations.

Colgate University was forced to cancel its Saturday night football game with Furman because of the disaster. Colgate coach Dan Hunt opted to donate the team's meals, which were scheduled for them at a Greenville hotel, to guests who had evacuated their homes. The university also donated the hotel rooms that were reserved for football players to evacuees.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a $1 million donation on Friday to the Red Cross. Cook and Apple also donated $5 million to relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Last year, the company opened a feature in the Apple App Store to allow iPhone users to donate money to the Red Cross directly from iTunes.

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