EARTHQUAKE -- January 18, 2010 at 12:49 PM ET
Donations to Haiti Relief Effort Top $150 Million
Charitable and relief organizations have been inundated with donations since last week's devastating earthquake struck Haiti, and a report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy on Saturday suggests that the money raised thus far vastly exceeds what was raised immediately after other international catastrophes, such as the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. According to the report:
So far, donors have contributed more than $150-million to major U.S. relief groups, a Chronicle tally finds. By comparison, such charities had raised a quarter of that amount -- $30 million -- in the three days after the 2004 Asian tsunamis, and $108 million in the four days following Hurricane Katrina.
Many U.S. organizations have received millions of dollars via text message, the first time the medium has been used so widely in the United States for philanthropic purposes after a disaster. More than a million Americans have given $10 by texting "Haiti" to 90999, raising more than $10 million for the American Red Cross in texts alone.
"It's the first time we've ever done anything like this, and the response has been really great," Gloria Hwang, a Red Cross spokesperson, told PRI's The World.
Over the weekend, some charitable watchdogs began raising concerns about musician Wyclef Jean's charity, Yele Haiti, which has raised several million dollars, and its past financial dealings. On Saturday, Wyclef took to YouTube to defend his organization and denounce the accusations as baseless.
Wall Street banks are also opening their wallets for the relief effort, with Bank of America*, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase each pledging $1 million to charities benefiting Haiti. Citigroup has pledged $2 million.
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is reporting on its Web site that it has already received more than 90,000 contributions for relief and recovery efforts.
Tonight on the NewsHour, correspondent Tom Bearden reports on the rise of text donations and how they are contributing to the relief effort in Haiti. That report is followed by an interview with Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer about the unprecedented charitable response to the disaster.
*Bank of America is a NewsHour underwriter.