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.

STOP in the Name of Haiti: Students Give Back

Naples HS Students Give Back

Teenagers. The word strikes fear into parents everywhere. Mind of their own, sometimes sullen, rebellious and … inspiring?

In the wake of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, a group of about 30 high school students defied the stereotype of what a teenager can be by springing into action. The Naples High School (Florida) club, Students Together Opposing Poverty (STOP) started making a difference by collecting donations from fellow students and faculty. And their giving hasn’t stopped. With JustGive’s help, they’re creating a lasting impact.

Giving Back to Haiti

Challenged by a promise from their sponsor and high school teacher Cynthia Odierna to match their fundraising, the group raised $400 that Odierna turned into $800. “Our students have helped Haiti for years,” she explains. “This last fall, STOP members gave at a grassroots, local level (through a homeless shelter), but after the earthquake, they wanted to do more.”

Senior Carmela Zabala, co-president of STOP, explains why giving back is so important, “Everything bad seems to happen to Haiti. It’s a poor country that’s had a lot of conflict. The earthquake gave us an immediate reason to help. Right now, with all that’s going on, the need is so great.”

STOP members collected clothing, medical supplies, and teddy bears for Haiti, enlisted community support, and recruited other clubs at Naples High. They have organized events each month to continue to give for Haiti:

STOP Gets the Rock Out for Haiti

>>>>>In January, STOP joined Kids Against Hunger and packaged 518,000 meals for Haiti.

>>>>>The Student Government Association’s dunk tank and ROTC’s penny wars added to their Valentine’s fundraising efforts in February.

>>>>>Car washes scheduled in March and April.

>>>>>And a big Concert for the Cause is on tap for April 19.

Helping their gift do more

In finding JustGive, the students turned their $800 donation each month into $1,200 through our $25,000 matching campaign. Those funds will go directly to help their chosen nonprofits, Partners in Health (link) and Oxfam America (link) rebuild the services and infrastructure of Haiti.

“When I heard about the matching money, I thought it was awesome,” Zabala told JustGive. “(Raising the money each month) is definitely challenging, but it has helped us get more done and driven more students to help.”

When JustGive started the monthly matching campaign, we wanted to help Haiti beyond just the immediate needs from the earthquake.  We wanted to encourage others to join us and support the long-term recovery of the county.  We’ve found a great partner in the students of STOP. They care enough to give for immediate relief, but are also dedicated to rebuilding Haiti.

More than two months after the earthquake, the Haitian people are still digging out. Most nonprofits haven’t even been able to start rebuilding. That’s why I’m so inspired by the students of Naples High School. They understand the need to continue giving, and to help nonprofits that are in it for the long haul. They providing hope for Haiti’s future. And I’m proud we’re able to help them.

Now there’s  an inspiring story about teenagers to share with your friends —especially parents who have high schoolers of their own.

If more students across the U.S. followed the example of the Naples High STOP members, can you imagine how much donations for Haiti’s recovery could do?

The Chilean Earthquake: A disaster of personal proportions

Tsunami Caused by Chilean Earthquake

Photo by Carolina Inostroza/Flickr

The devastating 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile earlier this month caused untold damage, and aftershocks continue to reverberate across the country. The immediate focus was rescue and piecing together entire villages overtaken by tsunami waves. Many of you took quick action to help. But what comes next?

On the heels of such a devastating earthquake in Haiti, disaster fatigue is easy to understand. I’m susceptible to it myself. There are only so many stories I can read and hear before I want to tune out. But reading personal stories from people affected by the earthquake is moving, and makes what happened all the more real – hitting home about how important it is to help.

You can’t imagine the devastation. . .
Personal stories paint a picture we don’t often see on the news.

“We keep getting big aftershocks (more than 120 of them over 5 Richter) – we had one an hour ago and I’m on the 5th floor of an office building,” wrote Sharon Matthews, cousin of JustGive Founder Kendall Webb in an email.

“We have been so fortunate – all of our extended family is unharmed, although there were some close calls. Fernando’s daughter was in a brick house that collapsed entirely, and his son and (his son’s) pregnant wife were at a surfing zone that was hit with a tsunami….You can’t imagine the devastation it covers such a large geographic area. More than half a million people have lost their homes (and most lost all their personal possessions). In lots of coastal towns, what the earthquake didn’t destroy, the tsunami swept away.”

Another supporter of JustGive, Agustin F. Huneeus, Proprietor of Quintessa Wines, has family in Chile and experienced the earthquake wrote:

“The earthquake was more intense than one can imagine. A full 90 seconds of violent shaking that seemed to last forever was followed by dozens and dozens of aftershocks, some almost as intense as the first shock. For those of us that have experienced earthquakes, this one was unique—it apparently started to shake very hard immediately and without warning, jolting people out of bed disoriented and in shock. The quake was…so strong it was even hard to walk. Just imagine waking up to this, walking to your family to try and get them out of your house or apartment to safety.”

Families and livelihoods affected by destruction
Disaster is a terribly personal affair that brings together countries – and the world. The relatively small death toll from the Chile quake – approximately 500 – can obscure the massive need that exists for families. As new government officials enters office, they find a country in desperate need of emergency temporary housing to help an estimated 500,000 people whose homes were severely damaged, and whose livelihoods will be affected for years to come.

Chile’s wine industry, one of the world’s most popular, endured hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from overturned 15 foot high wine vats and stored barrels, damaged facilities, and disrupted grape growth. As Huneeus wrote:

“Veramonte suffered damages, including some buckled tanks, toppled barrels, glass and pallets of wine,” Huneeus wrote, “but overall, it was not serious and we actually feel fortunate. The wine industry as a whole, however, has suffered quite a bit of damage and has lost a large amount of wine.”

Chilean Barrels of Wine Toppled by Earthquake

Photo by Rodrigo Gomez/Flickr

About 70 percent of Chilean production takes place in areas badly affected by the quake. The damage threatens the entire 2010 harvest and exports, which will have a ripple effect on all those Chileans working in the wine industry – some 80,000 individuals. An article in USA Today details the impact.

We can all help
Chilean families need to rebuild to recover. It’s not too late to help. Individuals like Agustin Huneeus are mobilizing resources:

“In the US, we are quickly establishing programs, promotions and partnerships with retailers and other wineries from Chile to help send aid to the millions of people left hurt and homeless by this horrible disaster. For now, you can all help by supporting wines from Chile, and making contributions to organizations that are on the ground helping those in need in Chile.”

Through JustGive, you can donate now to organizations helping the country. Be sure to designate your gift to the “Chile Earthquake.” For more detail on charities working in Chile, see our last Chile blog.

Tell a friend and make a difference today!

Help Chilean Earthquake Victims

Chile Earthquake

Photo: Alejandro Garcia (JanOSpixeles) via Flickr

A magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, February 27, setting off tsunami warnings for Hawaii and the entire Pacific basin. The fifth most powerful earthquake since 1900 has already officially claimed 700 deaths and that number is rising. More than 1.5 million homes were destroyed or damaged. Coastal towns, including Constitucion, lost the center of their village.

Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, called the earthquake “an emergency unparalleled in the history of Chile” and ordered supermarkets to give away basic supplies to help desperate victims.

The ground continues to shake with aftershocks; more than 50 followed the earthquake. And despite the state-mandated, earthquake-resistant building standards that helped mitigate damage, Chile needs emergency relief help.  Food, water and medical supplies are critical necessities as the Chilean government and aid groups search for survivors in the rubble.

You Can Help

Here are some charities on the ground helping Chile. They need your immediate support to provide assistance. Through JustGive, you can donate now, and designate your gift to the “Chile Earthquake.”

You can spread the word for more support

Use your Social Media tools to reach out to your friends and family to encourage their charity for Chile. Need ideas? Visit Fast Company Magazine for ways to spread the word. Not surprisingly, according to Fast Company Magazine:

…users of social media the world over have undertaken their own rescue measures. Twitter, Facebook, and several of Google’s properties aren’t trivial, now. They’re life-saving, informational tools. An eye-rolling bit of gossip about one of those Kardashian girls can explode through the Web in minutes–and now, news about those in Chile is traveling over the same digital pathways, with the same speed, reaching the same vast amount of people.


Tell a friend and make a difference today!

JustGive Gives Back – Haiti Relief and Recovery

Haiti Relief and Recovery

If the energy generated by the earthquake in Haiti was larger than that of an atomic bomb, as earthquake expert Anne Kiremidjian wrote on CNN.com, then the country will need at least three-times as much human energy to rebuild the country.

It’s been two weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and just now news reports show that things are starting to change for the better. Stores and markets are rising from the rubble; Haitian people are helping their neighbors. The spirit of the Haitian people coupled with the work of aid groups has helped return some sense of normalcy to everyday life. But that’s just a start; there’s so much to do.

Giving for their future
I am in awe of the outpouring of support to stem the crisis in Haiti. JustGive donors alone gave more than $3.1 million in the first week and a half after the earthquake. Those funds helped send much needed emergency supplies and aid to the country. But to ensure rebuilding efforts for the long haul, Haiti recovery organizations need funding for many years. That’s what motivated the Board and Staff of JustGive to do something big.

We have pledged $25,000 of our own money in a matching campaign to help spur long-term giving to nonprofits working to empower the Haitian people and restore the country. For every monthly recurring gift you make through JustGive to a charity working to rebuild Haiti, we will match 50 cents of every dollar donated until we use the $25,000 fund. The match applies for up to $500 per donor each month (so we can make the money go farther and gifts matter more). For details and qualifying charities, visit our Haiti Relief and Recovery page.

The country’s recovery will come through groups like Partners In Health (PIH).

PIH has provided vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is one of the largest health care providers in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services. Along with their ongoing work to tend to the overwhelming health needs of the people of Haiti, they are already working to rebuild the healthcare infrastructure in the country, as this PBS NewsHour reports.

Building a New Haiti
As you watch the devastation and the personal toll the earthquake caused, it’s difficult to think of opportunity. Yet, that’s exactly why we’re taking the bold step of our $25,000 matching campaign at this point. We want to ensure there is money available when coordinated rebuilding efforts can make the needed impact on the ground.

Organizations like Build Change – which designs earthquake-resistant houses for developing countries and trains locals to build them –will be the second wave of changemakers in Haiti. As Build Change’s founder Elizabeth Hausler described on the Ashoka Tech Podcast: “It’s a huge opportunity to move forward with…a reconstruction that leaves the population in better condition than before the earthquake.”

According to Build Change, after a major earthquake in a developing country, agencies typically build masses of houses that are not always culturally appropriate and sustainable in the local construction sector. Build Change creates a local skills base by training and empowering the victims of tragedy to rebuild themselves, all while stimulating local demand.

In my mind that’s just what Haiti needs. Organizations ready to tap into the indomitable drive of the Haitian people. With your long-term help, we may have found a spark for all the human energy Haiti requires to rebuild.

For more than 60 charities working to help Haiti rebuild that could use your help, see our Haiti Relief and Recovery Page. And pass the word along to your friends and family—together, we can power hope and change for Haiti’s future.

-Grant La Rouche, Director of Marketing