This fall, more than 50 New Orleans schools, which sustained damaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, opened on time thanks to some help from GE. In a donation valued at approximately $590,000, GE supplied products from the company’s Consumer & Industrial business including electrical equipment, lighting and ballasts, and appliances to many affected New Orleans schools–including Crossman Elementary, Gentilly Terrace Elementary, Sylvanie Williams Elementary, Edgar P. Harney Elementary, Frances Gaudet Elementary, and Medard H. Nelson Elementary. This donation is part of the $5 million in cash and almost $10 million in equipment and services already committed by the company for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.
“Some schools opened September 7 and even earlier this year–something I’m not sure would have been possible without the extra boost we received from GE,” said Dr. Robin G. Jarvis, Superintendent of the Recovery School District. “The electrical equipment allowed us to get the lights on and the safety equipment allowed us to make big strides, quickly, with the cleanup. We’re hoping this donation will be an inspiration to the business community, as we work together to get more schools back on line as soon as possible,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis and Chris Gibson, New Orleans area sales manager for Consumer & Industrial who helped to organize the donation efforts, formally announced the donation in late September at Fortier High School in New Orleans. Also attending the event were representatives from the New Orleans Public Schools, the Louisiana Department of Education, Fortier students, and community volunteers.
Jarvis noted that the business community has been quick to help in many areas of Katrina cleanup, but this is the first major corporate donation made directly to the school district.
Specifically, GE tapped the products and expertise within Consumer & Industrial to offer much needed supplies for the refurbished schools, including:
* 87,000 light bulbs and 11,600 lighting ballasts distributed to 58 schools.
* Electrical transformers, switchgears, and surge protectors to eight of the hardest hit schools.
* Eight pairs of commercial washers and dryers, 10 top mount Energy Star® refrigerators, and 58 microwaves.
* 918 Emergency Lights, 816 Exit signs, numerous exterior lights, Tyvex safety suits for clean–up volunteers, filters, and paint.
“The New Orleans Public Schools had so many reconstruction duties in order to reopen these schools, we were happy to evaluate their needs and provide GE product support in whatever capacity possible,” said Gibson. “We’re very proud of this effort,” Gibson said, “and proud that we could assist the school system in restoring and improving the learning environment for the children of New Orleans. The New Orleans School System as well as the Louisiana Department of Education has been wonderful to work with, and I encourage other businesses to get involved. Every hand is still needed.”
“GE’s generosity is helping Katrina’s youngest victims overcome this devastating tragedy by returning to suitable schools, and their normal daily routine,” said Darryl Kilbert, Acting Superintendent of the New Orleans Public Schools. “It is truly heartening to see a socially conscious corporation like GE volunteer their time and resources to the New Orleans public schools in this desperate time of need.”