Helping Haiti

The scenes from Haiti are now etched in all our minds. There are also thousands of news reports detailing the grim and difficult work being done by aid workers from around the world, assisting the Haitians who valiantly struggle to maintain any sort of dignity under the most trying of circumstances.

Since the devastating quake has also brought an outpouring of appeals for support, we thought we could best assist our readers by giving you some options we have researched, including organizations we think are doing some of the best work to ensure your hard-earned donation dollars are having a maximum impact on the ground. If you’re interested in doing some additional research, we recommend you use a resource like the American Institute of Philanthropy’s website, which grades charities on a scale from A to F (they give high marks to organizations such as AmeriCares, International Rescue Committee, and Oxfam), and the Better Business Bureau’s Charity Reviews section on their website.

Relief Organizations:

Since their founding in 1982, Americares has provided more than $9 billion in aid to 137 countries. Their first airlift to Haiti delivered over $6 million worth of critically needed medical aid for survivors, including antibiotics and pain medication, as well as other vital emergency supplies.

Oxfam America
With Quaker and Oxford University roots, Oxfam provides assistance in over 100 countries, including Haiti, where the organization has three decades of experience. They are currently on the ground providing clean water, shelter and sanitation.

Un Techo Para Mi Pais
Founded in Chile in 1997 by some university students and a Jesuit priest, UTPMP set as its mission the elimination of extreme poverty.  They currently work in 15 countries in Latin America (and now Haiti) mobilizing thousands of young volunteers to assist in transitional housing and social development programs.

Formed in 2005 by Haitian-American alternative hip hop star Wyclef Jean in response to Hurricane Jeanne, in the past, Yele has assisted getting thousands of children into school and universities, created teacher training, and showed amazing results on the ground, from getting food delivered to slums controlled by gangs to massive street cleaning efforts.  Now, the organization is mobilizing efforts to ensure the delivery of food, water and medicine in Wyclef’s native land. They’ve also come up with one of the fastest, simplest ways to donate, texting YELE to 501501 for a $5 donation.

MICROAID International
Finally, as often happens after many disasters, the needs of people and places, such as the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, become overshadowed and marginalized with the passing of time. One organization that continues to work in areas that would otherwise be forgotten is MICROAID International, which steps in after the emergency response and relief issues of a disaster have been addressed but the long-term recovery is still going on.

Others to consider:

Salvation Army

UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)


Extra Credit
You can also sign a petition encouraging Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use his influence to have Haiti’s $890 million international debt forgiven (the US has already taken this important step, but others, such as the World Bank, Taiwan and Venezuela, have yet to follow suit).

Then, there’s this interesting suggestion from Juan Cole, president of the Global Americana Institute, who is encouraging Wall Street’s Big Three financial institutions: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase, to donate 10 percent of their $47 billion earmarked for employee bonuses (yes, billion with a “B”) to Haitian relief efforts (Haiti’s annual GDP is $7 billion).

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