After an EF-2 tornado damaged nearly 400 homes and many businesses March 21, the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation's Round Rock Cares fund was reactivated to assist impacted residents.

The fundraiser, originally created in 2020 to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic closures, raised $435,500 that went directly to impacted residents. The GRRCF collected funds from May 25 through about the end of April, GRRCF Executive Director Amy Merida said. The bulk of these monies, $346,000, was raised in a matter of 11 days.

Of the money raised, $297,265 was used to pay insurance deductibles for affected homeowners, and $99,735 in expenses was paid for those who are uninsured, such as renters. A total of 227 families were assisted, along with several businesses.

"That's what makes the community foundation so great; we're able to mobilize quickly and provide a tax-deductible way for people to give," Merida said. "We were excited to be able to provide direct [assistance]—here's a check—all those other things are great and necessary, food, water and supplies and things like that. But sometimes you just need an immediate cash infusion."

Merida said the GRRCF is no longer accepting applications for Round Rock Cares funds, as they have been dispersed.

Round Rock was not the only community impacted by the tornado. Merida said some Hutto officials reached out to the GRRCF, asking how they organized to raise funds for tornado victims, so they could model their own fundraiser.

With its history of serving Round Rock in times of need, Merida said the groundwork had already been laid for Round Rock Cares to reactivate.

"When this happened, it was so easy, because we already had created the template," Merida said. "Round Rock Cares is an emergency relief fund—disaster relief—no matter what that looks like. Because we already had the system in place, it was easy to make the same calls to those major donors that had been involved in the past."

When the fund's activation was announced, benefactors including the Nelson Family Life Foundation, Dell Technologies, the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation, the city of Round Rock, the Round Rock Chamber, Emerson, the Jay Latham family, the Nyle Maxwell family and the Jim Boles family committed over $260,000 to the fund.

The Greater Round Rock Community Foundation manages donated funds. All donations are 100% tax deductible, according to the city.

Preliminary damage assessments showed out of 680 damaged homes in Round Rock, 13 were "destroyed," and 93 had "major damage." Neighborhoods identified as being heavily impacted are Kensington, Windy Terrace, Greenlawn Place, Windy Park, Turtle Creek, South Turtle Creek, South Creek, Concord at Brushy Creek, Forest Grove and Forest Bluff.