The Qatar Harvey Fund was created by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Although located halfway around the world on the Arabian peninsula, Qatar has long-established ties in southeast Texas through decades of economic cooperation and educational exchange. The enormous damage of Hurricane Harvey made it immediately clear that rebuilding and recovery in the region would be long and challenging. The $30M Qatar Harvey Fund was created as a commitment of solidarity between the people of Qatar and the people of Texas as they embarked upon this long road.
The Fund was not intended to provide emergency assistance in the immediate aftermath of the storm, rather it sought projects in areas that would have an enduring impact beyond the gift itself – education, housing and community development. The Fund identified strong partner organizations with a demonstrated ability to plan and execute projects that would address the long-term needs of impacted communities.
The Qatar Harvey Fund is chaired by Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, who established a distinguished advisory Board to support and guide the Fund in selecting projects to disburse the $30M. Board members were sought to bring expertise from the public, non-profit, private and education sectors as well as deep knowledge and experience of the diversity of the communities the Qatar Harvey Fund would serve.
The Board includes the following prominent individuals:
- Ryan Lance, Advisory Board Chairman and Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips
- Eileen Lawal, President, Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy
- Renu Khator, Chancellor of the University of Houston System
- Graciela Saenz, attorney and former Houston City Council member
- The Honorable Bill White, former Mayor of Houston
Ambassador Al-Thani named Chase Untermeyer, former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar and long-time Houston resident, to advise the Embassy on the QHF.
Guidehouse LLP (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Public Sector) was engaged to provide independent financial oversight of the Qatar Harvey Fund and some of the funded projects.