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. dawn2121

    I am proud to say that Helping Hands for Haiti at FSC raised over $5000 to relief efforts! Collaborative efforts from faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni, and businesses!

    May 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joseph

    There is no accountability... What are they doing with the money? Why are people still in tents. Buying everything is not helping it's controlling. The Hatian people want jobs but yet these agencies are outsourcing the supplies and work... and are not using the people there.

    It's so sad. They know exactly what they are doing too. Where are the journalist?????????

    May 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. darren

    All this money raised for Haiti, how much are we going to raise for Nashville TN??? Im sure it wont even come close to 1 billion. Isn't it sad we can't help Americans like we help every other country.

    May 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lydia

    how disturbing. a waste of money. haitians will never rise above what they have been for centuries. they'll eat this money then they'll ask for more. to them life is all about survival, not prospering and pulling themselves out of the gutter.

    May 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • frantz

      Lydia, part of what you are saying is not true. Haitians are known to be hardworking. You people are ignorant of the reason that Haiti has been in this condition. If provided with effective leadership, Haitians can thrive and succeed! Self-serving leaders and subtle imperialism!

      June 1, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Proud Haitian

    Darren, how can you be so ignorant? Either that or you're clearly not logical or both. How can you compare TN to Haiti where we have over 200,000 dead people but about 20 in TN? What happened in TN was traggic and they are getting help but please don't compare the TN event to the catastrophe of epic proportion that happened in Haiti. That's just ridiculous.

    May 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Elaine

    When I read these stories I wonder where the money went. They don't even have simple drugs for diptheria! What a waste of all the generosity –you look at those people making do with tarps...Where are the tents paid for by donations? Where is the moneyh???? It is a disgrace. All of the general work should be done by Hatians. Another disgrace. I will never give money to these broad appeals again....it does not goe where they say it is going to go...to help the people.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    It is quite disappointing what occurs after the media leaves, however, an extraordinary amount was raised for the Haitian people.
    But I am disgusted with the replies provided by fellow viewers.
    First of all, Darren, you are right on time to appoint a great example for the fact that Americans have a short attention span. Your complaint that was generated, it is blindfolded to the fact that was provided in THIS article. Yes, 1 billion was raised for Haiti, where over 150,000 people died. While, 5.3 billion was raised for Katrina. Last I checked, Katrina occurred on our own soil, which would result in it being our own country? Correct me if I'm wrong. Also, review the death toll/displacement of Katrina and compare it to the death toll/displacement of Haiti. Once you do that, cross reference and see if the funds are about equally raised when looking at per 1 death/displacement.
    Lydia, the Haitian people are strong, many of them work harder than any of us will – from your post it's obvious that they'll work harder than you ever will. These people have suffered numerous wars and massive corruptions, which they do not agree to but, again, violence has led to it. Do not throw your points around when you're not aware of the situations/history. Ignorance is not bliss when you're trying to critique or criticize – sorry.
    Also, don't forget what people in America do, they exploit and only care for their own survival. You know what this means? The person doing this exploiting and fighting for bigger wallets, they'll dig you a grave if necessary to fill the wallet.

    Alright, thanks,
    Enjoy.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • frantz

      It is ignonrance; tendency to put generalize the problem is due to ignorance!

      June 1, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. James

    Listen up bleeding hearts....... All the money that goes into Haiti, goes into the Gov't of Haiti hands first. The little George Clooney telethon money...... didn't go anywhere here. I'm in Haiti, I see it everyday... When the Secretary of Tourism in Haiti (who is a Haitian) says that the Haitian people are lazy and don't want to do anything for themselves.....there's a problem. When we go out to show them how to build a home, and they look at us and say... nope, I'm not going to do that.... kinda makes you wish that the earthquake broke Haiti off from Dom Rep and sank. They just want *&^$ for free and not better them selves. You have organizations here like UNICEF, WFP (world food program) and UN coalitions partying it up at clubs, makes you wonder what kind of relief effort is going on here. When the biggest rebuild project for the nation is to rebuild the presidential palace? Why does America have to give Billions of dollars to a nation that doesn't contribute to anyone, not even thier selves? We don't even help our own, but we'll help a "poor" little nation? I say let Cuba come into Haiti, establish martial law and make it new. Worthless piece of an island.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Americangurl

    Yet Obama had the American flag removed from Haiti. Go figure!!!!

    May 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    I am inspired by the generosity of everyone, but wonder why we can't help those in difficulty within the USA.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LockandLoad

    I'm not sure who came up with the idea, but I saw on the news the other day where someone has turned these metal shipping containers into homes for Haiti with an aluminum cover that extends over the entire container by about 4 ft to protect from the rain. What a great idea!!! These container are earthquake safe and could save thousands of lives when the next big one hits! The cost to transform one on these containers was about $4K. They don't have running water or electricity, but it would be a huge safe haven for these people who live in mud huts!!! If my calculations are correct, we could have 25,000 of these containers for about 100 million. These containers are 40'x10' and could house probably 6 to 8 people or more during an emergency or earthquake!!!

    May 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jayell

    I agree with Pat. Americans are generous by nature and are willing to help those in need. $1.3 billion is a lot of money, and while I feel sorry for the Haitians, it's time to again focus on the problems here on our own soil. We have massive flooding, another catastrophe in the Gulf that will impact the livelihoods of thousands for years to come, just when those people were starting to get back on their feet from Katrina. We now need to focus on stabilizing our economy, creating jobs for the unemployed, helping our own citizens who are sick, hungry and homeless. Time to let other countries help rebuild Haiti and more importantly, let the Haitians help themselves. $1.3 billion will go a long way in giving them the tools and resources to do just that. We cannot be expected to rebuild their country for them.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ARGWINGS

    WHERE DID THE MONEY GO??????????
    WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH ALL THESE MONEY??????????????
    IS THE MONEY IN OFF-SHORE BANK ACCOUNTS??????????????????

    May 14, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Barbara

    Where are all the do gooders when a child in this country is homeless, or in need of medical care or would love to have parents that care about him? This country has gone to hell in the last 1 1/2 years but nobody does anything about it. We should be a little more concerned with ourselves than everybody else. Where are all these countries that we are sending all this money going to be when this country is dire need of help in a very short time? You can bet they'll act like they never heard of the United States of America.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. junior

    This is ridiculous, they only have 9 milliion peole and their still using the streets as toilets, still living in tents. Just where the h*ll is this $1.3B? In the pockets of their government as always.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
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