Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Got $20? Send it to Haiti (UPDATED)

Haiti is not within my typical geographic area of interest, but it is (and should be) impossible to ignore the catastrophe there: as many as 100,000 people killed by a 7.0 earthquake which occurred on January 12.  As many as 1/3 of Haiti’s 9 million people are in need of aid.  For a country that already lives in dire poverty, an earthquake is doubly devastating.

There are plenty of resources out there, and advice on where to donate, but in case this is your first stop, I’ve compiled info on a few organizations doing effective work in Haiti:

  1. Yele: A relief organization rapidly erected by musician Wyclef Jean (who is Haitian).  Yele accepts donations online, but you can also text “YELE” to 501-501 to donate $5.  100% of donations are said to directly aid relief efforts (in other words, the org has almost no overhead costs).
  2. Partners in Health: This Boston-based organization is accepting donations and looking for doctors–especially orthopedic surgeons–to volunteer.
  3. The American Red Cross: Send a $10 Donation by Texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999 or donate here (note: although Haiti is a current priority, donating online does not guarantee your money goes to relief in Haiti).  The Red Cross will also soon have information on finding family and loved ones.
  4. Islamic Relief: This faith-based organization operates in several countries and is collecting donations on their web site.
  5. The Clinton Foundation is accepting donations via text message: text HAITI to 20222.
  6. Oxfam America‘s site opens with a donation box.
  7. To give to long-term rebuilding efforts, check out the Open Architecture Network, which is also looking for volunteer architects.
  8. Here are some ways to donate your frequent flier miles.

For more information from Haiti, Global Voices Online has put up a special coverage page.  A number of journalists have made it to Haiti, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper.  Many journalists, activists, NGOs, and average citizens are tweeting information from the ground as well; I’ve compiled some of them in this Twitter list.

Finding Family and Loved Ones in Haiti

  1. The ICRC’s Family Links web site aims to connect families.
  2. The Red Cross should have info on their site soon.
  3. Some people are using this New York Times Lede blog post to connect with family.
  4. You can get information on Haitian nationals who’ve been identified by calling 1-202-332-4090.
  5. For info on US citizens currently in Haiti, call 888-407-4747. Outside the U.S. & Canada, call 202-501-4444.  The U.S. Department of State’s Twitter feed has more info.
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  1. According to http://twitter.com/RedCross/status/7720590281 100% of donations texted to the Red Cross go to Haiti, though like you show, the web form doesn’t have that specificity.

    Just to be clear.

    I wonder how the different organizations will help. Why donate to the Red Cross over Yele over the Clinton Foundation, for instance? Do you know?

    • I honestly don’t know. I chose only organizations that have proven track records in disaster relief (with the exception of the Clinton Foundation, which I only added because it had a texting option, and Yele, which is brand new), but I can’t yet say which will be most effective.

  2. NGOs earmark their donations for specific causes or disasters when donors specify what their donation is for. Unrestricted donations–that are not earmarked for a specific cause–are what can be used for stuff like administrative costs. So donations from texting something like “Haiti” to any of these organizations should definitely all go to Haiti, not just with Yele.

    I also wonder what the practical differences in the work of Yele, the Red Cross, etc. are. It would be great if someone wanted to investigate and write something like that.

    Some people are also using the comments section of this NYT blog post to share/seek info about people they know in Haiti: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/connecting-readers-in-the-haiti-quakes-aftermath/

  3. Just wanted to let you know that Un Techo para mi País, a very well known NGO in Latin America, is going to do Emergency houses in Haiti, check it out, there are 3 ways of helping: http://www.untechoparamipais.org/ , also follow @UnTecho in twitter or check out their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/UnTechoParaMiPais.

    I think that donating to any of these organizations is helpful, we only have to be careful with the scams.

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