May 14th, 2010
07:47 PM ET

$1.3 billion donated for Haiti relief

Despite the economy, donors opened their wallets to give more than $1 billion in the first four months of the relief effort in earthquake-devastated Haiti, a generous response for an international disaster.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University estimates that donors contributed $1.3 billion - about the same amount raised for the 2004 Asian tsunami - to 96 private charities like the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.

Though it is less than the $5.3 billion generated after Hurricane Katrina, the center's executive director, Patrick Rooney, said the Haiti response was huge.

He said Haiti's proximity to the United States and extreme poverty may have tugged at American hearts.

"I think it's a little surprising that response was as strong as it was," Rooney said.

He said the economy did not influence giving, since most people donate small amounts that don't require a reallocation of household budgets - the average gift was $50.

About one-third of the total amount went to the American Red Cross, which raised $444 million, according to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Red Cross collected some of its money by allowing people to text a $10 donation from their mobile phones.

Thousands of aid agencies are currently working in Haiti as 2 million Haitians are enduring the rainy season in makeshift camps and struggling to buy food and provisions.

But Rooney expects donations for Haiti to drop off precipitously. They always do when media coverage fades and aid agencies shift from emergency operations like food drops and medical care to longer-term recovery measures.

"We're a nation with a short attention span," Rooney said. "Three to six months after a disaster, donations approach zero."

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Filed under: Earthquake • Haiti
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. alex

    just wait and see how many people will be charged with miss using people's founds...

    May 15, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. WILBERT FLEMENS

    IT IS REALLY SAD TO SEE HOW REAL PEOPLE AT HEART HELP HAITI, AFTER THE EARTH QUAKE; WHILE OTHERS PROFIT OF THE DESPERATE SITUATION TO MAKE MONEY. THE INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITY SHOUL NEVER GIVE ANY MONEY TO THE CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT OF RENE PREVAL OR THE SO CALLED ONG. THEY SHOULD FORM A COMMITTEE OF 10 TO 20 GOOD AND RESPECTED PERSONALITIES FOR THE DISTRIBUTION
    OF THE FOOD, TENT AND RECONSTRUCTION. OTHERWISE THE SHAME WILL ALWAYS PERSIST AS IT WAS AFTER THE LITTLE DISASTER OF THE GONAIVES TWO YEARS AGO. THE THE $ 197.000.000.00 GIVEN FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THAT LOCALITY WAS GRABBED BY THE GOVERNMENT , NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE. DONORS MUST REALIZE THE DEGREE OF CORRUPTION THAT EXIST IN THIS GOVERNMENT AND TAKE THINGS IN THEIR OWN HANDS.

    May 15, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. maureen sajda

    Icome from norther ireland have lived trought the troubles have lived in the usa 21 years great country. You have to work hard for what you get there is education for you if you want it but i feel you cannot give other countries money without taking care of you own people. Chartiy begins at home have to take care of you own first and then whats left over give we have people in the usa out of work we have diasters we have single mums we have health care illegal immergrants who pays the price working class people.We can only do so much yes i would love to donate money to a disater but unable to do as i have to pay bills. We need to get jobs back to america and get these young people of welfare and get jobs.Now we have the oil slick fishermen out of work that have familes who is going to help them the big oil companys they wont even take the blame passing the buck. It makes me sick to see how some of the amercian people are living. Nothing out there for the hard working person that only makes 8.00 a hour but is getting up at 5am in the morning and trying to feed a famly where is america going bye the way i am a single parent and have worked from the time i came here divorced took any job that was avaible worked 3 jobs had to work to pay bills.We need to get america back to work and take care of our own country and then help the other countries.

    May 15, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. gerald flaherty

    I saw a overhead picture taken aboce Port Au Prince seconds after the quake all it was was a cloud of dust. This was caused bu buildinds made of concrete without aid of steel doing a sudden collapse. A slam bang construction job. That kind of constuction must not be allowed anywhere. It seems to me I had seen articles warning against this very thing happening at Haiti some time before it did happen. I dunno I think the main problem is just Poverty not jut in Haiti but where ever there is Poverty.

    May 15, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. um

    also, despite the economy, one million ipads have been sold.

    May 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. nate

    Did any of you people who are foaming at the mouth about the amount spent on Haiti even contribute to it? If not, why the hell do you care? And if so, maybe you could give the rest of us a billing address? I'm sure plenty of your fellow Americans would fork out the 50$ you spent to shut the natural disaster that is your mouth.

    May 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. David

    It's sad to see how many organizations have enlarged their wealth under the misery of needed people. Donations were made to help a country (Haiti) suffering from the most basic needs, not to be wasted or misused by the bureaucracy of organization that have not accountability.

    May 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. israel cajigas

    WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IS WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH ALL THAT DONATED MONEY, AND WHERE IS ALL THE MEDIA FOLLOW UP CONCERNING THIS. DURING THE FIRST THREE WEEKS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE CNN AND SOME OTHER STATIONS WERE SHOWING US ALL THE DEAD BODIES AND THE BUILDINGS DEBRIS, NOW WE WANT TO KNOW AND SEE HOW HAITI LOOKS TODAY AND ARE THEY DOING THERE.

    June 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. anna

    God Bless America. America is a blessed country. Because, it gives. It also has people that pray for it day and night. Yes, it has been stricken with hurricanes, etc; but look around- none is compared to what is going on in other countries. Russia is burning. India is sinking, China, etc.... I can go on and on and on.. People, lets change. It is time that we all, including our president repent and turn to God. and He will forgive us our sins and make us a blessed nation.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jeff

    To the people asking what happened to all that money and why people are still living in tents: they're waiting for the next billion we're sending them. If everything was hunky dory we might not send it, considering we're 12 trillion in the hole.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. missleslie

    DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!........THAT IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE IN TAKING CARE OF ALL THE FUNDS NEEDED TO TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLE OF HAITI!.........WHERE IS THE MONEY!!!!!.......WHERE ARE THE RESULTS!!!!!!........SHAME ON YOU AND KARMA WILL GET YOU!!!!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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