Back in January, my finances were not in good enough shape to donate to the Haiti earthquake relief efforts. There were things I could've done to put some money together, but I decided to wait, because I figured that (a) I would have more money later in the year, and (b) Haiti would still need help later in the year, when most attention would be elsewhere.
So one of the long-delayed things I did yesterday was to finally donate to Mercy Corp's Haiti effort.
Mercy Corps somehow fell off my donations list some years back, I'm not sure why; have been meaning to start donating to them again. When I was looking around for organizations working in Haiti yesterday, I was struck by their six-month report; I really like their balance between helping meet short-term immediate needs and helping build physical, social, and economic structures for the longer term. They're supplying clean water, they're paying locals to work (on things like digging trenches and building retaining walls at earthquake-survivor camps), they're doing microfinance stuff. And they've got a youth program offering arts workshops and “cultural events” (not quite sure what that last means)—like the song says, “Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”
There are, of course, lots of other organizations doing good work in Haiti. But this was the one that caught my attention yesterday, so I sent them a donation. I don't generally earmark my donations—I tend to figure that the organizations know better than I do how best to use their funds—but in this case I really did specifically want to help their Haiti effort. Next time around, I'll give them a general-fund donation.
I also applied for a matching donation from my employers, who have a great matching-funds program. Any of you who work for companies that do matching donations, I urge you to take advantage of those programs—they can be a great source of extra money for organizations that do good.
It feels a little weird to be posting about Haiti when there's a newer and more immediate disaster that also deserves attention. The floods in Pakistan are next on my donations list. See forthcoming entry.