Harvey Disaster Relief Donation Rumors

In the wake of a massive hurricane, rumors abounded about public figures who have donated to victims.

Published Aug. 31, 2017

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coastline as a huge Category 4 storm, flooding huge portions of the state and spawning grassroots rescue efforts, outpourings of goodwill — and the usual rumors.

Here are some of the most popular "donation" rumors:

  • Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather are donating large sums of money to Harvey relief efforts.  

False. After the story initially appeared and was debunked, once again recycled the phony story, down to a "to whom much is given, much is expected" aphorism.

  • Prince William and Prince Harry donated $100 million to Harvey relief efforts.

False. This is yet another of several pages mocked up to closely resemble the celebrities in small towns series of hoaxes, and utilize New York Daily News-style graphics. This time, Prince William and Prince Harry are the wealthy do-gooders:

It appears Prince William and his younger brother Harry is living up to expectation. By way of financial support, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and his brother has offered an overwhelming sum of money to the Hurricane Harvey victims.

Prince William and his brother Harry has donated 100 million dollars to help rebuild Houston, after the most populous city in the state of Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States was slammed by Hurricane Harvey on Sunday.

  • The same hoax site was responsible for another false story, this time about Usain Bolt:

  • Some heard that Sandra Bullock had generously donated to relief efforts:

Is is true Sandra Bullock donated 2 million to Hurricane Harvey victims inAugust 2017?

Mostly true. Bullock donated a million dollars to relief efforts:

  • President Donald Trump was among those rumored to be opening their personal purses to help the storm's victims:

Hi, Is it true that President Trump donated 1 million dollars of his own money to Texas ?

Mostly true. On 31 August 2017, the Associated Press reported that Trump pledged a million dollars of his own money to assist in Harvey relief, although it is unclear as of 31 August 2017 whether he has yet donated.

  • The supermarket chain Kroger was rumored to be donating $5 for every Facebook share of a 28 August 2017 post:

Is it true every time you share a word post to facebook that Kroger is donating $5 to hurricane Harvey relief?

Is Kroger donating $5 to hurricane Harvey victims every time their Facebook post "#Krogercares is shared on Facebook?

Mostly true, but outdated. On 28 August 2017 Kroger's Facebook page shared the following pledge, promising $5 per share with a donation cap of $100,000. On 1 September 2017, the post in question had more than 140,000 shares (seven times the 20,000 shares needed to hit $100,000, more than effectively ending the donation drive):

  • Walmart purportedly donated a million dollars for Harvey relief:

Did Walmart donate 1,000,000 for Harvey rescue efforts?

Mostly true. On 30 August 2017 Walmart issued a press release pledging that "Walmart will donate up to $10 million in cash and product to match customer donations two to one":

HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2017 – Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed up to $20 million in support of relief efforts in response to the severe weather impacting the Gulf region. This includes $10 million focused on support of American Red Cross shelters and $2 million in support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which was announced today at a press briefing with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

To help those in need, Walmart is launching a customer campaign with the American Red Cross to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief. As part of the customer campaign, Walmart is matching customer donations two to one with cash and product donations of up to $10 million to support American Red Cross disaster relief. Walmart’s initial focus will be on mega-shelters, providing items to meet basic needs, such as water, infant formula, diapers, underwear and personal hygiene products. We will also aim to increase comfort in these shelters by providing items such as TVs, DVDs, games and stuffed animals for children and healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will also give additional cash and product donations totaling $10 million to support the Salvation Army, Feeding America, Convoy of Hope, Team Rubicon and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, as well as other organizations assisting food distribution, sheltering and cleanup efforts.

  • The NFL donated at least a million dollars to Harvey victims:

NFL Foundation Matches Mr. McNair and Houston Texans' $1 Million Contribution to Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Efforts[?]

Mostly true. On 28 August 2017, the National Football League (NFL) issued a press release confirming that it would match Houston Texans' owner Bob McNair's million dollar donation to Harvey relief efforts:

The NFL Foundation will match Mr. McNair and the Houston Texans' $1 million contribution to the United Way Relief Fund to address the immediate needs of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The total $2 million contribution will support first response efforts by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and the United Way of Greater Houston. Our thoughts are with the Houston community during this difficult time and we encourage fans to text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief.​

Moreover, subsequently reported several additional NFL-related efforts to raise or send money for disaster relief. In total $6.2 million was donated by NFL teams and the league, and millions more were pledged in the form of promised donations or donation-matching:

Here's a rundown of other teams who are donating to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts:

1. The Houston Texans and owner Bob McNair are donating $1 million in Hurricane Harvey relief.

2. The Dallas Cowboys initially donated $100,000 before raising an additional $2.3 million in a Salvation Army telethon on Thursday. Team owner Jerry Jones called into the the telethon and wideout Dez Bryant answered to receive his $1 million donation.

3. The Detroit Lions and the family of team owner Martha Ford have donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.

4. The Baltimore Ravens are donating $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston, with the funds being distributed to the United Way Relief Fund for Hurricane Harvey, the Salvation Army of Houston and the American Red Cross.

5. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, via The Arthur Blank Family Foundation, is matching up to $1 million in fan donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

6. The New England Patriots and owner Bob Kraft are matching up to $1 million in donations.

7. The New York Jets and the family of owner Woody Johnson are donating $1 million.

8. Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk donated $1 million to J.J. Watt's fundraising initiative, which has tallied more than $12 million in donations.

9. The NFL Foundation is donating $1 million to the relief efforts.

10. The Los Angeles Rams are giving fans the option to donate a portion of their ticket purchase to the team's Sept. 10 season opener to hurricane relief efforts. In addition, Houston native and Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers is leading a fundraising effort to benefit the United Way of Greater Houston.

11. The Green Bay Packers are donating $100,000 to Watt's relief fund and are encouraging fans to donate to the American Red Cross.

12. The Giants have pledged $1 million to the Houston relief efforts -- Americares, American Red Cross and Houston Food Bank.

  • Texas-based billionaire and Dell Technologies founder Michael Dell is donating $36 million:

Did billionaire Dell really donate $36M to the hurricane relief fund?

Mostly true. Dell himself pledged $18 million and matching funds from outside donations, totaling $36 million (reportedly the largest Harvey donation as of 1 September 2017). Moreover, the magnate helped coordinate an effort with a goal of raising "$100 million for the fund by the end of the [2017] Labor Day weekend":

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio pitched in with a large donation:

Leonardo DiCaprio donates $1 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts



Gelles, David.   "Michael Dell, Tech Billionaire, Pledges $36 Million In Harvey Relief."     New York Times.   1 September 2017.

Walmart Newsroom.   "Walmart And The Walmart Foundation Announce Up To $20 Million Toward Hurricane Harvey Relief And Recovery."     30 August 2017.

NFL OPS.   "NFL Foundation Matches Mr. McNair And Houston Texans' $1 Million Contribution To Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Efforts."     28 August 2017.   "NFL Teams, Players Donate To Hurricane Harvey Relief."     31 August 2017.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.