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Donations to Help Haiti Exceed $528-Million


Haiti Hospital 1/28/10

Medecins Sans Frontieres France workers set up an inflatable hospital on a football field in Port-au-Prince.

Contributions continue to pour in for relief efforts in Haiti. Fifteen days after the massive earthquake struck, donors have contributed more than $528-million to 40 U.S. nonprofit groups, a Chronicle tally finds. (See a list of tallies from the organizations.)

The pace of giving for Haiti is running ahead of the amount donated in the same period after the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the Asian tsunamis in 2004 but slower than the outpouring of gifts after the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In the eight days after the flooding started in New Orleans, Americans gave at least $580-million for relief efforts.

In the nine days after the Asian tsunamis, major U.S. relief groups raised $163-million, and in the 10 days after September 11, Americans donated $239-million.

Last week’s star-studded telethon, organized by the actor George Clooney, had brought in $66-million as of Wednesday. The Entertainment Industry Foundation, a nonprofit group that collected the telethon money, has released information about how the funds will be distributed among seven relief organizations.

Many groups are raising large sums for relief efforts in Haiti online and through text messages. So far, the American Red Cross has received $29-million through its campaign to encourage $10 gifts through texts.

That’s a record for the group in terms of text messages. In contrast, it raised $200,000 from texts during the 2008 hurricane season.

Over all, the Red Cross had raised approximately $185-million through Wednesday.

Small Charities Win Big Donations

Less-well-known organizations, too, are benefiting from donors’ generosity. Network for Good, an online charity portal, has processed $5-million in donations for relief efforts in Haiti.

While some of that money went to high-profile organizations, Network for Good says that smaller charities that had been working in Haiti before the earthquake — such as Angelwish, Beyond Borders, and Hope for Haiti’s Children Ministries — have raised tens of thousands of dollars as well.

Charity officials say the pace of online and text giving, in particular, has slowed in the last few days. But they say they expect contributions from corporations and foundations to continue to add up.

“Some of the bigger corporations that have worked with Brother’s Brother will give larger checks,” said Karen Dempsey, vice president in charge of fund raising with the Pittsburgh aid group. “The $25 checks are starting to wane.”

Charity-watchdog groups, aid workers, and others have gone online to offer advice for donors on how best to give.

Meanwhile, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are working together to raise money for the relief effort.

Corporations are also stepping up. The Business Civic Leadership Center, a nonprofit group affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, announced on Tuesday that 299 companies had contributed more than $122-million to the relief effort.

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