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Haiti: How Can I Help?

January 14, 2010

There are many lists of organizations available for making donations to disaster relief in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Yesterday on twitter, Lucy Bernholz (@p2173) asked about the best way to give. As we focus on high impact, here are 4 tips:

  1. Immediate response. In a disaster, timing is crucial. The sooner you give, the sooner the organizations can help.
  2. Financial contributions. As opposed to food or clothing, organizations need monetary donations to quickly mobilize the supplies and staff that are available.
  3. Orgs well-positioned for quick response. Organizations that already have teams in Haiti or have the capacity and experience for fast and efficient disaster relief.
  4. Orgs that can deliver immediate needs. Search and Rescue, Emergency Medical Care, Clean Water and Food Access, and Communication and Logistics.

We have compiled a small list of a few organizations that are well-positioned to deliver these services in Haiti (thanks to Carol McLaughlin and Katherine Summers for the supporting info from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)):

Orgs that have comprehensive health systems in Haiti, able to immediately mobilize their existing Haiti-based health teams and supplies and care for the critically injured:

  • Partners in Health (PIH): PIH is mobilizing its logical team and medical staff of more than 100 doctors and 500 nurses and nursing assistants to respond to the urgent needs of those Port-au-Prince.
  • Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS): HAS is currently a major site receiving patients suffering from traumatic injuries from the earthquake. (Note: They also have a facebook Cause to which you can contribute.)

Other relief orgs that are mobilizing needed supplies and staff to Haiti are:

  • Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): Members of Doctors Without Borders are already in Haiti treating the injured. They have four tented hospitals already in operation, and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of an inflatable hospital that is pre-packed with beds, trays, respirators, and essential medicines.
  • UNICEF: UN partners and UNICEF are involved mainly with providing supplies to survivors, such as temporary housing, water storage containers and purification tablets, and cooking supplies and food kits.
  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS):  CRS has food and relief supplies pre-positioned in Haiti. Additional supplies such as plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and water purification tablets are being loaded in the Dominican Republic for distribution in Haiti.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): The ICRC and the American Red Cross are mobilizing resources and staff to respond to the earthquake including search and rescue and medical supplies.

In addition to the larger more well known organizations above, Carol McLaughlin, our research director for global public health, has worked with the nonprofit organization Hands Together. For more than 20 years, this organization has worked with the poorest in the shanty towns of the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas in Haiti.  Staffed mostly by local Haitians, they run medical clinics, community health workers programs, elementary schools, and clean water projects, in addition to providing disaster response.

You can also send small donations via text, a service provided by mGive, to the following organizations:

  • American Red Cross:
    • Text the word “Haiti” to 90999
    • You will receive a text reply asking to confirm your $10 donation
    • Reply with a text with the word “Yes”
    • You will receive a Thank You message that your $10 donation has been received that will be charged to your phone bill
  • Doctors Without Borders
    • Text the word “DOB” to 90999
    • You will receive a text reply asking to confirm your $5 donation
    • Reply with a text with the word “Yes”
    • You will receive a Thank You message that your $5 donation has been received that will be charged to your phone bill
Stay tuned for a follow up post on how mGive was able to raise over $2 million dollars for the Haiti Disaster Relief effort through mobile giving. [Update: As of Fri Jan 15, 2010, mGive reports $8 million from its text giving campaign to the American Red Cross of a total of $10 million released from Red Cross donations. As of Fri, Jan 15, 2010, 1:20pm EST, popular topics on the twitter  home page are: Yele, HelpHaiti, Haiti, & Red Cross. I also started using #howcanihelp to track my related tweets. ]
41 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2010 11:23 pm

    Thank you for compiling this list, as $5 or $10 isn’t all that much to most people, but it will go a long way to helping those in Haiti. I really like how easy it is to donate too, what with the text message donation method.

    I can’t imagine how they must feel and how rough the last few days have been, especially in a country that does not have a lot to begin with. I imagine it would be a long time before I would feel comfortable sleeping inside again.

  2. January 16, 2010 1:56 am

    Great information. You can also visit http://www.hpphilly to find out how to help locally. The Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia is organizing the Philadelphia community to provide aid to Haiti. We have secured a jet and plan to leave soon with medical professionals and aid. For more information contact Yve-Car Momperousse at

    Avec La Foi

    • February 16, 2010 9:41 am

      Hello Yve,

      Thanks for sharing your comment. I just saw an announcement in the Penn Almanac for “Help for Haiti: Beyond Media Coverage, An Evening of Philanthropy and Learning” taking place next Thu 2/25 from 6:30-8:30 in the Penn Museum’s, Rainey Auditorium. Glad to see your involvement on campus.

  3. January 17, 2010 1:47 pm

    If you know are planning to make a donation to assist those in need, please consider the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.

  4. Damien Leri permalink
    January 18, 2010 7:01 am

    Does anyone know of a someone offering to matching donations?

    • impactsp2walden permalink*
      January 19, 2010 10:19 am

      Hi Damien,

      Off the top of my head, I know that Alyssa Milano has presented a twitter challenge to corporations for a matching donation to her $50,000. Here is a Huffington Post article for the story: You can also follow her twitter feed:

      • Damien Leri permalink
        January 19, 2010 2:00 pm

        That seems like a good idea on her part (the twitter challenge). I’m looking for the same thing: a corporation or other organization that will match a donation by me or other individuals.

        For example apparently Otawa is matching donations by private Canadians. It would be a shame for citizens to donate now without know about that offer.

  5. Stephen Viederman permalink
    January 20, 2010 2:34 pm

    Cuban doctors have been in Haiti for years training Haitian doctors. The hospital is still standing and has been serving throughout the emergency. And they will be well after building capacity and serving the population. The information below can bring assistance to the project, and a donation is tax deductible.

    Give your donation staying power…with MEDICC and Global Links
    Emergency Earthquake Appeal: Support Cuban-Trained Haitian Doctors
    The effects of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti will be long term. That’s why MEDICC and Global Links (Pittsburgh, PA) are sending material aid to the Cuban-trained Haitian doctors on the front lines in Haiti’s public hospitals and clinics. Now 400-strong, they were already on the ground when disaster struck, serving in 120 communities throughout the country, including the hard-hit capital of Port-au-Prince.
    Graduates of the Latin American Medical School in Cuba, these doctors come from some of Haiti’s poorest regions, and will stay long after the initial disaster response is over. Like the 370 Cuban medical personnel who work with them, they are committed for the long-term to improving health and health care in Haiti.
    And so are Global Links and MEDICC: together, we are organizing a recovery and long-term medical assistance program relying on decades of experience in regional material aid cooperation, and with Cuba and Haiti in particular. We will be working with representatives of the Haitian graduates of the Latin American Medical School to identify needs for medicines, medical supplies and equipment. And we will get these supplies directly to them.
    While US law does not allow Cuban doctors in Haiti to receive these essential medical materials–the US embargo taking its toll post-disaster–MEDICC and Global Links will ensure distribution to the young Haitian physicians working in public hospitals and clinics alongside the Cuban team, seeing hundreds of patients daily.
    For health’s sake…
    We need your help to raise the funds for this joint effort–and to raise the policy bar by replacing hostility towards Cuba with cooperation when it comes to the health of the hemisphere–Haiti deserves nothing less. And Haiti’s young doctors need your support now.
    For more information, see, where you can also donate online to the HAITI EARTHQUAKE APPEAL. Or send your check to: MEDICC, PO Box 361449, Decatur, Georgia, 30036. Note at bottom: HAITI APPEAL.
    MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba) is a 501 (c) (3), not-for-profit organization; your donation is tax-deductible.
    Thank you!
    CNN: A Working Hospital in Haiti

  6. January 21, 2010 10:57 am

    Text RELIEF to 25383 to donate $10 to Catholic Relief Services from your phone.

  7. Leah siskin permalink
    January 26, 2010 11:23 am

    Another organization that has been on the ground for a number of years in Haiti is American Jewish World Service. They work with and provide grants to five different organizations in Haiti. They are in regular contact with two of their grantee organizations in Haiti. To donate go to or text AJWS to 25383. To read more about their work in Haiti, go to

  8. January 26, 2010 11:07 pm

    Dear Colleagues
    While the people of Haiti are going to need all the help that can be mobilized in order to have effective relief and then rebuilding … do not be surprised when the media starts to report on the missing millions (of dollars that is!). There is not a single large organization in the international relief and development community … official or NGO … faith based or otherwise … that has a deep appreciation of the importance of accounting and accountability. My guess is that organizations like Partners in Health and Doctors without Borders are exceptions to the general rule … a quite a lot of the smaller organizations that have long experience in Haiti … but almost all the other big name organizations talk a good game about how much funds have been mobilized but do not tell the public or anyone else very much in a credible way about how the funds have been used. This has happened after every disaster … and will happen again unless there is a change in the way the accountability issue is addressed. I hope they will prove me wrong … but I doubt it!
    Peter Burgess
    Community Analytics.

  9. rakesh jadly permalink
    March 27, 2010 9:38 pm

    it is good to see how many people are ready or helping others people who are vulnerbale or victims of nature or man made disasters.
    i apeal to all those generous people put more stress on helping people to become independent. i mean create job oppurtunities or give them training in any field make them sustainable. so that they dont depened forever on charity. there are many ways in which you all good people help them to become independent.

  10. April 2, 2010 11:14 pm

    Wonderful list of ways we can help in Haiti. Thanks for sharing!

  11. April 3, 2010 10:22 pm

    Folks I just came back from Haiti about a week back and the situation is still bad , the spread of disease is reaching epidemic status .I request everybody to donate more ,not just the money but time so that the people of haiti can have a life.
    To put Haiti’s dilemma in perspective, imagine all the homes and buildings in any one of Canada’s most populous neighbourhoods demolished or irreparably damaged. Its residents are living with family and friends or in tents pitched on soccer fields, parking lots and school yards, waiting for the wreckage to be removed and the infrastructure replaced so they can just move home.

    Then multiply that image by eight times — because the population of one neighbourhood is only a fraction of those displaced in the still-reeling country.

  12. June 29, 2010 3:27 am

    Our church is sending folks every week for the next 3 months to help build homes. It will be wonderful to get as many families possible into some shelter.

  13. July 25, 2010 11:13 pm

    It is great to see how blogging can be used to mobilize fund raising and help people in need. Do you have an update?

  14. September 8, 2010 1:46 am

    Wow, this is impressive. I appreciate the gathering of all these links! Keep up the awesome work!

  15. September 9, 2010 11:04 am

    Haiti was a terrible disaster and I know Oxfam in Scotland have got a good appeal going so people can donate. It is called the Oxfam Emergency Appeal.

  16. November 19, 2010 11:01 am

    Please help us get the word out. Call me with any questions 617-535-9704 x 701. THANK YOU!

    A National Day of Remembrance The American Alabaster Quilt for Haiti

    The Witherspoon Institute’s American Alabaster Quilt for Haiti is at once a memorial to those lost in the Haitian Earthquake in January and a message of hope for the future! The gigantic puzzle quilt (1 football field long) will be created over the next 5 years. As the quilt grows it will be presented at the yearly Haitian American summit.

    At the launch on Jan 12, 2011 is a 6am Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations where the first quilt made by Massachusetts’ Sisters in Stitches will be presented. At the 6pm Thanksgiving Dinner in Haiti WIN will present the last piece of the puzzle quilted by Howard University sponsored by the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians in Washington DC. The middle is left for our work to be done!

    Get more details at Thank you!

  17. champrizi1 permalink
    July 6, 2012 3:18 am

    Wonderful list of ways we can help in Haiti.Thanks for sharing. You can also visit other techonolgy and info based sources who give charity to the people of Haiti.Wonderful list of ways we can help in Haiti.Academic institues are always 1 of the three elements within research of growth and development of techology.Your factor along with other comparable institues tend to be proven supply of info.We at Cellocean recognize and value and try to as helping plateform to write information.


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