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.
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 Haiti, Haiti 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.