International Paper Donates $100,000 to Help Rebuild Disaster-Impacted Selma, Alabama

International Paper Donates $100,000 to Help Rebuild Disaster-Impacted Selma, Alabama

volunteers in discussion
volunteers listening
team of volunteers in a damaged home
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Monday, February 28, 2022 - 10:35am

International Paper is proud to be a force for good in our communities by donating $75,000 to Team Rubicon to help rebuild 10 disaster-impacted homes,  and $25,000 to Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees, following tornadoes that devastated the Selma, Alabama community in 2021.

In 2021, repeated tornados and severe storms battered Selma, and within days of the storm passing, Team Rubicon’s veteran-led volunteers were in the community helping get individuals back into their homes. During the response, Team Rubicon realized that many homeowners in Selma needed additional assistance to make their homes safer and more resilient against future storms.

Selma has played a critical role in American civil rights history, with the March from Selma to Montgomery marking a turning point in the Civil Rights movement that led to the passage of the Voting Rights act in 1965. Despite its historic past, Selma has a 41.5% poverty rate, which is nearly triple the US average of 15.1%.

When disasters like these strike, the combination of physical hazards and socio-economic conditions make recovery more difficult for Selma and other similar communities. So, with the help of International Paper, Team Rubicon is continuing their work in Selma to ensure these homes are safe for families to return to and can withstand future storms.

“We’ve seen again and again that low-income and marginalized populations are impacted most by disasters,” said Art delaCruz, CEO of Team Rubicon. “Our approach to disaster relief is rooted in the belief that every community deserves a chance to recover. In a place like Selma, the combination of physical hazards and socio-economic risks make equitable recovery from disasters challenging.”

International Paper has special ties to Selma as their Riverdale Containerboard Mill is currently the largest employer in the county with more than 750 team members. On February 24th, leaders from IP’s Riverdale Mill were able to see the work at one of the homes being repaired by Team Rubicon. Riverdale Mill volunteers will be assisting with planting trees from the Arbor Day Foundation.

The trees International Paper is planting through their support of the Arbor Day Foundation are an important part of the community recovery process. They will help replace trees lost in the storm as well as build climate resiliency. Among many other benefits of trees, tree canopies can help lower air temperatures and improve air quality, and trees have been shown to increase property values for the home and neighborhood.

“We take our responsibility as a community member and partner very seriously,” said Bretton DeJong, Riverdale, Mill Manager. “Helping our neighbors in the communities where we live and work is a blessing, a privilege, and a challenge we gladly accept.”

International Paper is proud to continue to address basic needs, provide access, and help to fill the gaps that enable people to build stronger, more resilient communities.