At certain moments, the American tradition of private philanthropy shines. Even in our personal case – a universe away from the most needy – members of the Miami Beach community have rallied round, offering things for our children to do, a place to stay, Sunday lunch, advice and support. It has been deeply helpful as the UN itself struggles to pick up the pieces.
A Zogby Interactive poll released today found that two-thirds of US adults plan to give to Haiti relief. Even if the eventual reality does not quite match up, it is a remarkable figure.
UTICA, NY – On the day when the nation celebrates the sprit and service of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a new Zogby Interactive survey finds two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) have given or plan to give to relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti. Thirty-three percent have already made a donation and another 31% plan on doing so.
That result is part of a Zogby Interactive survey of 2,003 U.S. adults conducted from January 15-18. The poll has a margin of error of +/-2.2%, with larger margins for sub-groups.
Eighty-one percent of African-Americans have donated or plan to, including 47% who have already done so. Among whites, 61% will give, including 32% who have already given.
Meanwhile, questions surrounding Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti charity have continued. Hopefully some good will come of the scrutiny. I have no inside information about Yele, and am reluctant to make judgements on an organisation that has done so much to raise awareness, but I do know that Haiti – as many poor countries and aid recipients – was awash with fake or questionable charities, ‘briefcase NGOs’, even before the disaster. There is huge potential for well intentioned donations to go astray.
Aid is an exacting discipline, a profession that requires training and expertise, and if this story raises awareness about the need to give wisely it will be helpful. Here is some advice from the US Better Business Bureau.
Here are some recent press stories on the Yele Haiti issue:
CNN report on Yele
Wall Street Journal
The Smoking Gun