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. Rico

    Haiti being the crucible of the Americas and the reason for the Lousiana Purchase has been long ignored. It is shameful that our Hemisphere (minus the multiple NGO's) has ignored the people of Haiti and the racism that has led it down is disprosperous journey. There is a lot of ignorism from a lot of people that have never been there and don't care to have such strong thoughts.

    May 15, 2010 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. knox10sean

    Awesome! How much money have we raised to help the flood victims in Nashville?

    May 15, 2010 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rico

    Nashville flooded on a bad day wouldn't compare to Haiti on a good day.

    May 15, 2010 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rico

    Neither would New Orleans

    May 15, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. PhoeZ

    Kind hearts must be noted. At the same time, it is sad to remember how Cyclone Nargis in Burma washed away nearly 200,00 people and displaced 2.4 millions back in 2008. But didn't see donation as nearly 10% of that amount.

    May 15, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. indian

    All charities are frauds and all donors are suckers. Most charities send some cheap tents and use most of the money to pay themselves. Red Cross was in a controversy for sending only a small fraction of the total money collected to Haiti.

    May 15, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    who's getting this money???

    May 15, 2010 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. mike

    **BREAKING NEWS** We need to send help to the following country: THE UNITED STATES. There are many without food, shelter, & clean drinking water. Residents are going without heat for the winter, healthcare for the sick, & proper education for children. We have people here that lack basic human needs. Will you re-post this?

    May 15, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. externa labady

    the money giving to haiti is in the hands of there donors. its a shame when they cry out freud of the haitian government when there is no freud. to put plain and simply the money is in the hands of white caucation politicians who are thieves and claim to be good hearted samaritans. ask them about the money and god. maybe thats why they are stuck with bad karma, for lying.

    externa lababy

    May 15, 2010 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. slozomby

    for a billion dollars couldnt we just buy haiti?

    May 15, 2010 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Alohadeb

    REALLY!! Where is the MONEY?? Sean Penn had to go and wake up the director of one of the aid organizations to get a dose of antibiotic to save a 15 year old boy who had diphtheria, a disease that we here in the US are vaccinated against........

    The young boy DIED!! I am sick of seeing all these organizations so disorganized that many more people are going to loose their lives because of all the BS....

    It needs to stop!

    May 15, 2010 at 4:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. phd

    Its kind of sick that americans seem more willing to give their money to other nations in despair than to their own countrymen(Katrina)

    May 15, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Suzie M.

    What about our Native Americans that suffered so terribly this past winter on the Plains? What about the incredibly high teen suicide rate among tribal youth? Why was the Cheyenne Reservation left to languish with broken water pipes and no running water for thousands of inhabitants? We should take care of the people in this country before aiding foreigners. Why have you not stepped in to fix these disgraces, President Obama and former Presidents Bush and Clinton? Natives need help NOW.

    May 15, 2010 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. J Flaherty

    Haiti was a disaster before the earthquake, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The earthquake made a desperate situation almost impossible to change for the better. Haiti has no resources, illiteracy is very widespread and the country has a long entrenched history of corruption among the country's few elites. People with wealth and people who receive an education, leave for better places.

    Haiti needs a long term development plan, along with billions of dollars, for education, and tools, and to provide the steady stream of money needed to support a long term development plan.

    Most of all, Haiti needs some type of resource base , which the people of Haiti might use to build up their economy and their nation. The U.S. could ship non biological waste, ( old bicycles, building debris, scrap metal, just about any cast off article), along with the shipping containers that carry the material. A few million containers of this material every year would provide a real resource base for Haiti, and a real chance to start real development.

    May 15, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Betty Boop

    We all should speak from intelligence, not emotion. I love reading the comments, they are revealing. Keep them coming.

    May 15, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
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