Give for Tornado Victims Now

A violent, massive tornado struck the Oklahoma City suburbs with vengeance Monday, May 20. In what is described as one of the most destructive tornadoes in recent history, the tornado, nearly 2 miles wide with wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, left extensive damage and lives that are forever changed in its wake.

As details continue to emerge in the tornado’s aftermath, President Obama has declared it a major disaster and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.

Homes, schools and businesses were leveled in Moore, a community of about 55,000 people. The tornado was on the ground for about 40 minutes, leaving behind a debris field 20 miles long and several miles wide. Two elementary schools, Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary, were directly hit and destroyed.

Close to 200 people are being treated for their injuries, including 70 children. Families have been ripped apart and their homes no longer exist. Across the country, hearts are heavy with the loss of so many young lives.

Open your heart and give now—with a one-time donation or a monthly recurring gift—to organizations providing emergency aid. Your donation will help residents receive the shelter, food, relief supplies and emotional support they need today:

This local tragedy stirs deep emotion

I’ve been having great difficulty dealing with the horror that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My kids are often in Sandy Hook for sports and other activities, and I have spent many weekends on the sidelines of the soccer fields directly behind the school.

Holiday AngelNewtown is almost identical to my town of Weston, Connecticut, so it is very hard for me to let go of the horror by rationalizing to myself that it is far away or such a different type of community than my own. This trauma is deeper for all of us because the reality is that this could have happened anywhere and to any of us. That is what is most profoundly frightening about this event.

I have a 7 year old who is always curious, and he came home from school on Friday asking a lot of questions. After asking all the main questions, he paused and asked, “How did the kids know what to do when their teacher died?” He was obviously putting himself directly into that situation. I am very sad he has to think about these things at such an early age. As he was going to bed that night he asked, “Does God make these bad people?” I had to explain that everyday, we all wake up and have to make many decisions that can make us “good” or “bad” for that moment.

Every night now when I put him to bed, I first get a chill of realization that he could have been in that 1st grade classroom, and then I give a grateful hug that he is still here to tuck in.

It is almost impossible to comprehend the depth of tragedy and anguish that will always be a part of the Newtown community. Life is so precious—and at the same time, it can be unfair and unpredictable.

While our hearts are broken for the victims and all of those affected by this senseless tragedy,  the healing process must begin. There are many nonprofits that are currently supporting the town with: cleaning up the old school, setting up the new school, providing health services to residents in the community, supporting the firefighters, supplying aid for the memorial services, and offering ongoing activities to help the kids heal. To find out more and how to help Newtown, here’s an article that gives several ways you can be supportive.

A few charities providing the community with services that you can donate to:

kindnessMy personal belief is that we all must put a little bit of goodness back into the world and do what we can to overcome the horror by being kind to those around us. In addition to helping Newtown directly, random acts of kindness should be part of our daily routine to spread goodness. More than something we do in response to Ann Curry’s tweet…something we make part of our everyday life.

—Kendall Webb, Executive Director

Help Residents Get Relief from Superstorm Sandy

“Frankenstorm,” a combination of Hurricane Sandy, an early winter storm in the West, and arctic air from the North, has caused incalculable damage in the Caribbean and across the East Coast of the United States. Residents from Northern Canada to Bermuda are caught in the never-before-experienced aftermath of flooding, power outages, fires and devastation. Cities are struggling to supply basic services and restore order.

Give now—with a one-time donation or monthly recurring gift—so charities can get residents the help they need. Here is a list of charities on the ground, working, right now:

  • American Red Cross — Providing shelter and supplies. During the first day of the storm, Red Cross had already deployed 1,300 disaster workers and had 160 emergency vehicles ready to respond.
  • AmeriCares — Delivering medical aid and shelter supplies.
  • ASPCA — Providing shelter and food for thousands of animals.
  • City Harvest— Providing food to people in the areas hardest hit.
  • Direct Relief International— Supporting the immediate needs of those affected by working with local partners best situated to assess, respond, and prepare for long-term recovery.
  • Doctors Without Borders— Treating patients on the spot in New York and New Jersey.
  • Habitat for Humanity— Rebuilding, repairing and cleaning up in the hardest hit areas.
  • Humane Society — Supplying  shelter and food for pets.
  • Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City— Identifying immediate aid needs, including food, water and hygiene supplies, as well as long-term relief and restoration efforts.
  • Operation USA — Sending emergency, shelter and cleaning supplies to affected areas, in addition to helping health clinics restore services.
  • Samaritan’s Purse — Sending staff, equipment and volunteers to three of the affected areas on the East Coast.
  • Save the Children—Reuniting children with their families, providing child-friendly shelter.
  • United Way of America— Addressing recovery needs in communities that FEMA has declared disaster areas.
  • World Vision —Supplying flood clean-up kits, personal hygiene items, and emergency food kits.

For more charities that offer help to US disaster victims, search the JustGive Guide.

Famine – It’s a small world, after all

I am reminded daily just how small our world can be. Most recently, an earthquake on the other side of the globe could have contaminated the fish I eat for dinner or the California coastal water I swim in. Japanese trading delays affected the lines of iPad impatience outside our local Apple stores—providing a front row seat to how connected our modern world is and how faraway disasters can have ripple effects that touch us in unexpected ways.

Seemingly back to back, a stream of disasters have headlined the US media: Haiti, The Gulf Coast oil spill, earthquake and nuclear contamination in Japan, tornadoes in the South – and now the horn of Africa drought.  The UN has declared famine in several regions of war-torn Somalia during the continent’s worst drought in more than 60 years. This is a dire prognosis, given the limited aid available/allowed by the current al-Shabab regime and the mass migration of people fleeing to neighboring countries for refuge that may not exist.

Photo Credit: Business Daily

Not as many people have responded to the Somali famine as previous disasters or requests for aid. Perhaps we feel helpless, that our dollars don’t make a difference, or that we’ve donated to other causes and are already stretched thin. In the meantime, 3.2 million people, nearly half the population of Somalia, need immediate life saving assistance. To date, more than 29,000 children have already died and another 640,000 are malnourished.

Photo Credit: Associated Press, Zuydam

While living abroad, I participated in the 40-Hour Famine with World Vision Australia, where I raised money by not eating for 40 hours. It was a real life feeling of what it would be like to live and function without sustenance – luckily one that ended after a mere 2 days.

40 Hour Famine Crew at the South Australian Global Leadership Convention

Millions of people both domestically and abroad are not so fortunate.

IMAGE CREDIT: FAMINE EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS NETWORK & FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION ANALYSIS UNIT

I am immediately struck by the current crisis in Africa and consider it to be a GLOBAL concern and priority that children are dying of starvation in a world where there is and should be enough food for everyone. We all need to be involved, and take it personally.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Support charities providing assistance on the ground: 

In our ever-growing and connected “small world,” my actions – and yours –can make things better.

>> Wondering how much to give? JustGive helps you get started. Consider making your gift an automatic monthly donation (just click recurring).

>> Start a charity registry and do your own famine fundraising!

>> Keep the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter – inspire your friends to be part of the solution.


— Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

Give now to help Japan’s survivors

Living on the West Coast where earthquakes are a normal part of growing up, I imagine what it would be like if the disaster that struck Japan happened here. What if I was separated from my family and had no way to know what’s going on, no way to communicate, and was alone and lost?  As a mother, I immediately know how desperate I’d feel if I was separated from my little girl. How would I find her? How would I know she is ok?

Although we don’t know how many areas have access to the Internet in the coastal areas hit by the tsunami, Google’s Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake is helping find missing people. So is the Family Links website from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Watching updates from international news programs, I noticed Brazil has the second largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan.  There are thousands of people there without any news or contact from their Japanese friends and family.  So Person Finder and the ICRC site are helping people all over the world – who are relieved to know their loved ones are safe, even if they can’t yet speak or connect in any other way. I’m thankful that technology can at least ease minds across the oceans in its own small way.

Staggering disaster damage

Although Japan was well prepared for an earthquake, there was “next to nothing” the country could do to prepare for the magnitude of destruction this earthquake and tsunami caused.

The number of people affected is hard to fathom. The most recent disaster figures from Reuters say that more than 440,000 people have been evacuated. Over 850,000 households are still without electricity in near-freezing weather—and at least 1.5 million households don’t have running water. According to CNN over 8,200 people are confirmed dead and sadly, at least 13,000 more missing.

The earthquake and tsunami have taken an unknown toll on family pets and animals too – leaving many four-legged friends injured or abandoned who need rescuing.

Rescue and relief help

This is a time when the people of Japan need help from every resource and every donation that we can give. Despite an ever-growing death toll, there is some hope. Teams like the Los Angeles County Fire urban search and rescue teams are in Japan right now offering their skills to find survivors. And the story and photo of this four-month-old girl who had been separated from her parents for three days and was saved by the Japanese Defense Force touches our hearts.

Save the Children estimates at least 100,000 children have been affected by the disasters; many who have suffered profound losses. They are working to bring a sense of normality back into these children’s lives.  Direct Relief International has worked with the Japanese American Citizens League to provided $400,000 that was sent to Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan), a 31-year-old leading Japanese nonprofit organization.  This donation allows AAR Japan to continue its relief efforts, which are focused on persons with disabilities and elderly persons affected by the disaster.  They have teams providing essential nonfood and food supplies.

Welfare groups are scrambling to rescue helpless animals. Access to affected areas makes the job more challenging, and it’s another urgent need to help cold, hungry and injured animals or give shelter to those being left behind. Many rescue and animal care organizations are working to make a difference, including: International Fund for Animal Welfare, Inc. and the Humane Society of the United States.   This video from GlobalAnimal.org shows a dog bringing help to an injured friend, a glimpse of compassion in the midst of tragedy.

It is hard to know what you can do to help at a time like this. But thankfully—just like it does for people searches—today’s technology makes it easy to donate and help when the Japan victims need it the most.  And more than ever, I trust organizations that have experience and success in disaster recovery. JustGive has set up a special page that lists relief and aid groups working to help the Japanese people begin the long road to recovery.

Donate now and provide hope to people who have lost everything, including loved ones. Your generosity could mean one more hot meal, one more tent, one more survivor found.

And pass the word along to friends and family so they can give too.

Julia Hughes, Marketing Assistant

Haiti: What a difference a year makes?

Last January 12th, Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake—killing over 230,000 people and leaving more than 1 million homeless. The magnitude of the catastrophe, and the effort needed to rebuild are sometimes hard for me to grasp.

Just last week, the Huffington Post spoke of the delay in progress to aid survivors and rebuild. The Chronicle of Philanthropy states only 38 percent of the $1.4 billion donated by Americans to help survivors and begin rebuilding has been spent. Compared to Katrina, $3.3 billion was raised with 80 percent spent in the first year.

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Photo Credits: Allison Shelley (All Rights Reserved)

Like many donors who want to know their money is going to good use, my initial reaction was frustration. The recovery process seems stagnant. Why are survivors still living in substandard conditions? The fragile nation was most recently hit by a cholera outbreak. But I know the solutions aren’t simple; rebuilding will take years, likely a decade or more.

The Nonprofit Times interviewed Charlie MacCormack, CEO of Save the Children, who worries “the bulk of funds will be spent on this stabilization. It’s handing the people a fish, instead of teaching them to fish.” Julie Sell of the American Red Cross said they “will remain rebuilding in Haiti until every one of its donated dollars is spent.”

JustGive’s commitment to Haiti

In February 2010, we pledged $25,000 to match your donations for Haiti relief and rebuilding. To restore the country and help empower the Haitian people, we disbursed over $75k to 26 charities, including our partner organizations like Friends of the Children of Haiti, Grace Mission to HaitiHaiti Micah Project, Lamp for Haiti and the Robert Ford Haitian Orphanage and School Foundation.

Our biggest of the smallest, Friends of the Children of Haiti received $3,800 in donations while our largest charity recipients were Hands Together and Partners in Health which received $24K and $17K, respectively.

In the last year, combining these matching donations with the immediate, one-time donations made, JustGive raised and sent $4.6 million to charities helping Haiti.

Your donations at work

American Red Cross has immunized more than 900,000 people, helping minimize the cholera outbreak. They are also providing more than 660,000 gallons of clean water per day.

Save the Children began to meet the basic needs—food, water, sanitation and shelter—immediately after the quake. Now, efforts are shifting to long-term needs such as a safe place for children to play in the tent villages, clean bathroom and shower areas, and sanitary water sources.

Lutheran World Relief contributed 30,000 health and hygiene kits, 25,500 quilts, 35,700 school kits, 17,500 tarps and 39 large tents for temporary schools. An additional 35,000 health kits assembled at Lutheran summer camps this year are expected to be distributed this month.

Students Together Opposing Poverty (STOP)


This last year, we’ve been following the efforts of students at Naples High School (Florida). Their club, Students Together Opposing Poverty (STOP), began collecting donations from fellow students and faculty immediately following the earthquake. Challenged by a promise from their teacher to match funds raised, together, they generated nearly $10,000 in Haitian relief. (Read more about their fundraising efforts, including Concert for a Cause which raised $2,500 in donations.)

Continuing to help
Updates from the media on progress in Haiti, slow as it may be, are reminders that we still have work to do. When Katrina hit home we saw the devastation first hand. Let’s keep working to help our neighbors struggling to rebuild their home. Make a donation to an organization committed to disaster relief in memory of those who lost their lives last year. Continue giving. Then tell someone about it, share your thoughts with us on Facebook, or follow our conversations on Twitter.

How You Can Help Flood Victims in Pakistan

Flooding in the district of Muzzafargarh

Photo Credit: Save the Children A family at a makeshift camp for persons displaced by the extensive flooding in Gujrat Town, district of Muzzafargarh...Intense flooding forced Akram and his extended family of 13 to leave their home on August 2nd. ..Those fleeing the flooding reported an estimated 200 houses washed away or destroyed by flooding. Most inhabitants of Gujrat earn a living through agriculture, farming Rice, Sugar and Cotton. No deaths were reported by the villagers however they estimate that 90% of the herd of cattle and goats have been lost to flooding. ..Within the makeshift camp children are suffering with diarrhea and skin complaints. There is no shelter, no sanitation, no access to clean water and no electricity. Most of the internally displaced people (IDP) sleep under the trees for shelter from the rain. They complain that they have received very little food and water, and only one one occasion had any access of medical supplies via a private donor...

With more than 5 million homeless and 1,600 people feared dead to date, the floods in Pakistan are becoming one of the worst in recorded history. One-fifth of the country is under water. The World Health Organization says that 46 of Pakistan’s 135 districts are affected by the flooding (an area close to the size of Italy). With the lack of clean water, urgent danger, and the specter of communicable diseases such as cholera threatening hundreds of thousands, help is urgently needed.

Nonprofits are hard at work to make a difference in Pakistan. Here’s how you can help:

  • Learn more about how charities are helping on the ground by following their blogs, photo blogs  or Facebook updates.
  • Donate now to help those nonprofits continue their relief work.

Nonprofit Response

  • Acumen Fund: The Acumen Fund supports innovative organizations working in Pakistan. They are an excellent resource to locate strong groups providing flood victims with much needed services.

Blog: http://blog.acumenfund.org/2010/08/13/the-pakistan-floods-how-you-can-help/

  • American Red Cross: The Pakistan Red Crescent has provided thousands of people with food packs, relief items and tents from its prepositioned supplies. The American Red Cross has committed an initial $100,000 to support their ongoing relief efforts for the most vulnerable populations, including women and children.

Blog: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.1a019a978f421296e81ec89e43181aa0/?vgnextoid=c02a25d459d3a210VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

  • CARE: CARE is supporting health teams, mobile clinics and the distribution of emergency supplies.

Blog: http://www.care-international.org/Featured-Articles/pakistan-read-the-blogs.html

  • Concern Worldwide US: So far, 5,700 families have been helped by Concern Worldwide’s emergency response in Pakistan.

Blog: http://www.concern.net/blogs/pakistan-floods-coverage

  • Doctors Without Borders: In addition to the scale-up of medical activities, teams continue to focus on providing affected families with basic items and safe drinking water in order to improve their living conditions and prevent the spread of diseases.

Blog: http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/countries/asia/pakistan/index.cfm

http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/invoke.cfm?objectid=84590B0A-15C5-F00A-25D2E0901B0886CD&component=toolkit.article&method=full_html

Plog: http://msf.ca/blogs/photos/2010/08/09/pakistan-7/

Blog: http://www.theirc.org/blog/where/pakistan

  • Islamic Relief USA: Islamic Relief USA launched a $2 million campaign to help the victims, and more than 500 Islamic Relief staff are on the ground distributing aid, conducting needs assessments and helping in the general relief effort.

Blog: http://blog.islamicreliefusa.org/

  • Operation USA: Through a network of local partner agencies, Operation USA is responding with critical medical aid, water purification tablets and shelter. Visit the website or Facebook for updates on their efforts in Pakistan.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-USA/103370036602?ref=ts

  • Oxfam USA: Oxfam and its partners launched a rapid-relief effort to reach more than one million people with essential aid.

Blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10898817

  • Save The Children: With programs in Pakistan for 30 years and the capacity to mount large-scale relief, Save the Children quickly deployed staff and launched a humanitarian response. They’ve provided assistance to more than 37,800 children and adults.

Blog: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/blogs/category/theme/pakistan-floods/

Plog: View a slideshow of images on MSN

  • US Fund for UNICEF: UNICEF teams have been delivering safe drinking water, critical medical supplies, supplementary food and family hygiene kits to more than a million people a day. In addition, UNICEF is supporting mobile medical teams, vaccination campaigns and sanitation efforts across the affected zone.

Blog: http://www.unicefusa.org/news/news-from-the-field/unicef-emergency-aid-arrives-pakistan.html

  • World Vision International: World Vision is providing emergency health services, distributing water, emergency food items, and supplies. They plan to reach 150,000 people over the next three months.

Blog: http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/about/emergency-presskit-pakistan?Open&lpos=lft_txt_Pakistan-Floods

Visit us on Facebook and share with your friends and family to help raise awareness and support so Pakistan families and children can recover.

National Park and Recreation Month: Time for a Green, Volunteer Vacation

My family visited Shenandoah National Park recently, renting a rustic cabin from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. For those of you who have forgone running water and electricity with an infant in tow, you understand this is no small commitment. But we all made it through happily.

There must be something in air this summer, because the First Family flew to Maine recently for an outdoor weekend vacation at Acadia National Park, the iconic end of the line for the Appalachian Trail. More and more people are visiting the great green outdoors. If you haven’t already made plans to visit a national park this summer, it’s the perfect time.

July, designated as National Park and Recreation Month by Congress, salutes the vital role of parks and recreation: How they help us establish and maintain a healthy quality of life, and contribute to the physical, economic and environmental well-being of communities. Since 1985, this month has been a chance to showcase our national parks.

Green and Volunteer Vacations

National parks are a uniquely American creation. They are truly the first foray into what is now called ecotourism. But more simply, they remain one of the best ways to vacation in nature.

After a decade of decline, attendance at national parks shot up sharply in 2009 to almost record numbers—ten million more people visited national parks last year than in 2008. People are once again seeking out greener pastures (and forests and deserts) for their vacations. And vacations aren’t just what they used to be.

Organizations are connecting with vacationers across the country—and the world—for nature cleanups, preservation projects, and to help promote local, sustainable practices. Volunteer vacations are a growing trend and parks in the US are becoming popular destinations. The Ecology Project International‘s Yellowstone program for teens saw a near doubling of participation by students, who take on conservation work at the park.

USA Today posted a great article to get you started on a national park volunteer vacation.

Vacationing Generously

No matter where you choose to vacation, our national parks and refuges are a treasure. My family tries to get out into the woods as often as possible, and our son is working on filling up his National Wildlife Refuge Passport. With 552 National Wildlife Refuges, he has a long way to go. It’s for his generation that we try to travel with five goals:

  • Go local, Go green. By supporting local businesses committed to sustainable and indigenous practices, and researching hotels and tour companies that have ecotourism policies and standards in place, we are doing our part to create a market for green vacations.
  • Choose green activities. We make use of the parks and their surroundings on our vacations by biking, hiking, whitewater rafting and kayaking, among other outdoor activities.
  • Pack in, pack out. We leave as little a footprint as possible, so others might enjoy the same surroundings for years to come. We work to stay on trails, not to leave garbage, and respect the local environment.
  • Offset the vacation. I like using such services as Carbonfund.org where we can make sure our vacation is green by offsetting carbon emissions for travel.
  • Support conservation. By donating to organizations working to conserve national parks and wildlife refuges before we visit, we can empower a force of local volunteers and Federal workers to continue to give their all to make the places visited safe and green for generations to come.

What can you do?

The First Family’s next trip will be down to the Gulf for a volunteer vacation of their own. Visit our Facebook page to learn more about some work that’s been done right now to protect the eight national parks and 33 wildlife refuges along the Gulf of Mexico threatened by the BP oil spill. Search our database for a local “friends” organization of your parks. Or check out some of these national organizations working to benefit parks and refuges:

  • National Park Foundation – For more than a century, private philanthropy has been essential to the preservation and protection of America’s national parks. The National Park Foundation upholds this commitment, working to raise the funds necessary to connect all Americans to their national parks and guarantee their future for generations to come. They recently launched a special fund to help the Gulf in the aftermath of oil spill and to assist sustained recovery efforts.
  • National Recreation & Park Association – NRPA is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities. Founded in 1965 through the merger of five national organizations dedicated to the same cause, NRPA has grown over the years —in total membership, in outreach efforts, in building partnerships, and in serving as the voice and defender of parks and recreation. This year, they’re encouraging all to “Celebrate, Advocate and Recreate!”
  • National Park Trust, Inc. – NPT’s mission is to provide important recreational and educational parkland opportunities for current and future generations.  As a country, since we’re spend more time indoors and successive generations are growing up with less of a connection to nature, their goal is to build greater awareness and appreciation for the country’s public lands and parks. Their vision: Everyone will have an American park experience.
  • National Parks Conservation Association – Americans expect our national parks to have clean air and healthy wildlife, and to be well-cared-for historical treasures. But years of underfunding and external threats such as air pollution and climate change are taking their toll. National Parks Conservation Association is working on these key initiatives to restore America’s national parks by the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.

Pass this on to friends and family who are interested in going green and exploring our national parks for their next vacation!

Haiti Relief Update Part II – Nonprofits at Work

Charities creatively, consistently push on

Charities are working hard to provide shelter and guard against death and disease.

Organizations like Mercy Corps are taking creative approaches to solving the problems in Haiti. They teamed up with Mother Jones to help many of the small and medium-sized business that were lost in the earthquake by supporting Haitian entrepreneurs as they reopen their businesses and create much-needed jobs.

Partners In Health reports that last month, four health clinics in Port-au-Prince operated by their partner organization have surpassed 100,000 patient visits since they were first established. The clinics serve four large settlements of displaced survivors of the earthquake. PIH also posted a fascinating series of blogs from workers on the ground.

According to Doctors Without Borders, their teams continue to work to meet changing, but still major medical needsfrom approximately 20 sites and several mobile clinics. “More than one million people are still living in deplorable conditions, beneath tents or plastic sheeting,” says Stefano Zannini, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti. “In the meantime, the rains are intensifying, flooding the sites where earthquake victims live several times a week.”

The Red Cross raised the largest amount of funds for Haiti earthquake relief. On their update page (http://www.redcross.org/haiti) they have an interactive map that includes markers, photos and video where their network provided aid. These cumulative efforts were made possible by a combination of mobile teams and responders at fixed locations to provide drinking water, relief items, vaccinations and other medical assistance.

Ashoka Ashoka Fellow Daphne Nederhorst wrote about her experience on the ground finding local changemakers in Haiti in her post.

These and other nonprofits working in Haiti still need your help. You can still join the hundreds of individuals who have committed to our Rebuild Haiti Campaign and are leveraging our $25,000 match by becoming a monthly donor now.

Naples High School donors keeps raising money

Our friends at Naples High School STOP Club in Florida continue to raise funds for Haiti. A recent Concert for a Cause generated $2,500 to help fund their monthly donation through JustGive to Partners in Health. Nearly 500 people attended the fundraising event described by Club sponsor Cynthia Odierna as “magical.” It included:

  • More than 150 volunteers—a dozen student organizations, and nearly 15 local businesses and individuals providing everything from sound systems to food.
  • A program packed with talent–the Naples High chorus, solo performances, poetry readings, drum circles, and ethnic dance performances.
  • Booths that sold artwork, posters and calendars, and specially made t-shirts and bookmarks, with all proceeds benefiting the cause..

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Club co-president, Carmella Zabala, described the drum circle as so powerful that the crowd began dancing and chanting “Haiti, Haiti.”

While this was his first involvement in raising money for Haiti and he needed convincing to participate, Naples High senior, Taylor Allen, said what he learned about the work of Partners in Health made him an enthusiastic supporter. “I discovered a model of International Aid I believe in and an organization I can really support,” he commented.

Help is still needed

There are average people across the world making an extraordinary impact for Haiti. The Naples High students are just one story that demonstrates how determination and dedication can make a meaningful difference. Join them now by becoming a monthly donor and JustGive will match 50 cents of every dollar you donate. Show Haiti and its residents that while their story may have dropped from media headlines, they are not forgotten.

Update on Relief in Haiti


Is Haiti Forgotten?

In an earlier Haiti earthquake update blog we featured a photo from award-winning photojournalist Allison Shelley who worked with Project Hope while in Haiti. When Allison returned to Haiti for her second time she wanted to bring something back that could help the people she’d met. Five months after the deadly earthquake that rocked Haiti the answer that came back:  tents. The Haitian people still needed a structure to call home.

Led by donors like you, the world responded to Haiti in its time of need. JustGive donors alone gave more than $4.7 million to nonprofits working to aid Haiti. Allison returned to Haiti with tents donated by friends and colleagues so a few more Haitian people would have a dry place to sleep, but with hurricane season threatening their progress, the work to truly rebuild Haiti is far from done.

Long after the majority of giving for Haiti occurred, JustGive donors still haven’t forgotten. They continue to donate money for Haiti. Our matching campaign has raised more than $26,000 to date, and you can help us continue to raise money for nonprofits working to reconstruct Haiti by giving now.

As the photos below that Allison was so kind as to share with our readers, the climb to reconstruct Haiti is an uphill battle, but the Haitian people persevere.

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Photo Credits: Allison Shelley (All Rights Reserved)

Rebuilding Haiti is ongoing

Rubble and collapsed buildings still dominate the Haitian landscape. An estimated 1.3 million people were left homeless by the January earthquake and hundreds of thousands of Haitians are still living in tent camps around Port-au-Prince. Three weeks into hurricane season, with tropical rains falling on a daily basis, 21 of those camps are “high risk” or likely to flood.

The Haitian government continues to look at innovative ways to rebuild their country. On June 17, they launched “Building Back Better Communities,” a global competition to create different housing types that government officials can study before commissioning them for destroyed neighborhoods. The competition, which will have multiple winners, is divided into two parts to attract the greatest variety of ideas.

Notables such as former US President Bill Clinton and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim recently created a $20M fund to help rebuild the Haitian economy. “We have to unleash the ideas, the energy, the creativity of your enterprises. This is a good first step,” Clinton said. “The focus of this fund is to help create jobs not only by helping small- and medium-size business to recover but to do better than they were doing before the earthquake.”

But even with the help of such innovative funds and competitions, the reality is that Haitians still need help from the ground up. Our matching campaign focuses on rebuilding Haiti, because, despite the outpouring of generosity that met the earthquake, our friends in the nonprofit sector told us that their biggest need is sustained support of their efforts in Haiti.

Visit us next week for an update on the impact of your donations to Haiti relief. We’ll focus on some of the work nonprofits are doing on the ground in Haiti.