Since Hurricane Irma made landfall across the island chain, Branson has been a constant presence in the rebuilding effort.
On September 6, Branson updated his fans and followers that he would indeed be riding out the storm alongside his staff in the wine cellar on Necker Island, his privately-owned island in the British Virgin Islands. Then, when the clouds parted, Branson rather transparently showed just how extensive the damage was to his own home. But rather than wallow in sorrow, Branson instead pleaded with his social followers to donate what they could to help in the relief efforts.
Branson traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with leaders to learn about what the next steps would be to rebuild.
“There are worrying reports of civil unrest spreading – I urge everybody to stay safe, remain calm and support each other,” Branson wrote in a blog post, suggesting that to fix the islands and bring order once again the islands would need a “Marshall Plan.”
Now Branson has also enlisted the help of his famous family, including Kate Winslet, who is married to Branson’s nephew Ned Rocknroll, to further the cause.
“Hurricane Irma has left behind a trail of unimaginable destruction,” Branson wrote in the caption of a new Instagram update that shows the horrifying destruction caused by Irma. “As Kate Winslet reminds the world in @robsorrentifilm’s haunting video, there’s a momentous task ahead restoring the BVI. People need help rebuilding their lives and there is an immediate and critical need for food, water and shelter. Please take the time to share this video and donate what you can @virginunite.”
Branson explained exactly where every dollar donated will go in a blog post: Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, and Virgin Limited Edition, according to Branson, will work together with local organizations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families, and communities impacted by this disaster.
“We will support the efforts on the ground and provide assistance as those affected start to recover. We need to raise as much money as possible to help those in urgent need,” Branson wrote. He also noted that all overhead costs at Virgin Unite are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, “meaning that 100 percent of all donations received will go directly to helping support local BVI communities.”