Thank you, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) for joining us during Foundation Month, a time to honor the charitable work done by our partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). Today, we focus on two of TRTF’s most vital, emergency programs, “A Helping Hand” and the Disaster Relief Fund.

“A Helping Hand”

“A Helping Hand,” launched in 2010, provides public education retirees with charitable assistance for a one-time special need or other short-term hardship. Recipients include anyone who is receiving or is eligible to receive an annuity from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Since its inception, TRTF has awarded over $210,000 in aid to more than 210 recipients.

Disaster Relief

In February 2021, winter storm Uri struck Texas, causing serious damage to homes and other belongings throughout the state. 4.5 million homes and businesses were without power for days, and more than 100 Texans tragically lost their lives.

Thanks to generous donations from TRTA members, the TRTF Disaster Relief Fund raised more than $165,000 to help 660 retired school employees recover from this natural disaster. TRTF provided grants to help repair flood damage caused by broken pipes, replace food that was spoiled when the electricity went out, and pay for unexpected costs incurred when retirees were displaced from their homes.

To date, the Disaster Relief Fund has provided more than $375,000 in aid to over 1,100 active and retired school personnel. TRTF will be prepared should another disaster strike and be ready to offer aid at a moment’s notice with your help.

Disaster Relief recipient Renoka McCracken recently shared her story after suffering damages during the storm in February:

“As a retired teacher I was so blessed to receive a Disaster Relief Short Term grant from TRTF. I would have never dreamed in a million years that TRTA/TRTF could help me in a time of my greatest need, the winter storm of 2021. My home is on Lake Graham, and I use the lake for the watering of everything in my yard. Without power for 60 hours, I was unable to keep the pump house heated, resulting in the pump, PVC pipes, and storage tank all freezing solid. Of course, I also lost most of my food from the refrigerator and freezer. 

As most Texans in the winter nightmare, we felt helpless to take care of our basic necessities. And as a retired teacher on a fixed income, I was not going to be able to fix and replace all that would be needed for me to care for my trees, grass, and plants of 35 years. I remember the day when I read the email from TRTF offering the grants for those of us in need. I truly felt it was a message from heaven to facilitate my healing. What’s more, I received this gift within three days! From my teacher group, TRTA, the organization that I’ve spent many years as a member! 

I was astounded by the planning and care and foresight of people that protected teachers now by protecting my home and my personal needs. I am so honored to be a member of a group that proved to me they truly care about the members they represent. Thank you for the money but thank you more for understanding that many of your teachers needed something different this February!”

Do You, Or Does Someone You Know, Need Help? 

If you are a member of TRTA and you (or someone you know) need(s) assistance, please contact your local unit president or Foundation representative. For additional information, email or call 1.800.880.1650. A local unit directory can be found by clicking here.

All applications are reviewed independently and remain confidential. Recipients’ information will not be shared with the public unless the recipient provides permission to TRTF to share his or her story.

The Foundation provides financial assistance for a variety of needs, including but not limited to medical and dental bills, car and home repairs, energy bills, food, and more. For a complete application packet, including guidelines and instructions, please contact TRTF.

Please Donate

It is time to give big so that we may help our children, schools, teachers, and retirees. TRTF is determined to help. As a 501(c)(3), we are in a unique position to raise donations and deploy them through our unique charitable programs.

Please consider making your tax-deductible charitable contribution to TRTF. You may donate online here or call 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Sarah. TRTF also included its annual appeal letter and donation card in the third quarter issue of The VOICE, in TRTA members’ mailboxes now! You may use the donation card found on page 12 and the enclosed envelope to mail your donation to TRTF today.

Please stay tuned to the Inside Line throughout the month of November as we update you on TRTF’s programs and share stories from individual program recipients.