MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat Charitable Fund, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation said Thursday they are giving up to $10 million in Hurricane Irma relief efforts across Florida and the Caribbean.
The pledge starts with an immediate $2.5 million donation by the Arison family to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County. Carnival Foundation and the Heat Charitable Fund are each pledging to raise a combined $5 million, and the Arison Foundation will match those efforts up to $5 million in total.
Micky Arison is the Heat managing general partner and Carnival’s chairman.
“As a long-time resident of South Florida, I have witnessed the resiliency of our communities – watching neighbors come together to overcome adversity,” Heat President Pat Riley said. “The South Florida community has supported our organization throughout the years, so it is only fitting that we are there to support and help uplift this community in its time of need.”
At least 26 people in Florida have died under Irma-related circumstances, and six more in South Carolina and Georgia, many of them well after the storm passed. The death toll across the Caribbean stood at 38.
Carnival is deploying 11 ships to provide affected ports in the Caribbean with supplies like food, water, clothing, diapers, medical supplies and generators, among others. Those missions are coinciding with scheduled and ongoing cruise itineraries.
“Our friends and partners from across Florida and the Caribbean have always displayed remarkable resilience, strength and spirit when facing difficult circumstances,” Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said. “They have come back strong in the past, and we will be standing with them as they work to come back strong once again.”
The Heat are also teaming up with the Golden State Warriors for more Irma relief.
The Heat will help move about 150 dogs and cats from Miami-area shelters that have been overflowing since the storm to Oakland on Friday. A FedEx plane with $11 million in relief items for Irma victims arrives Friday in Miami.
Once the plane’s medical supplies, hygiene kits and relief supplies are unloaded, the pets will board and depart for the Oakland-area shelters. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and captain Udonis Haslem will help load the plane in Miami. Warriors players Zaza Pachulia and Jordan Bell, along with assistant coach Willie Green, are going to meet the plane in Oakland.