Donations to Haiti Aid Top $150 Million, Exceeding Katrina Figures

Including an unprecedented surge of text message donations, people have now contributed more than $150 million to earthquake relief in Haiti, according to figures released yesterday by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. That's five times the amount donated in the days immediately after the 2004 Asian tsunamis, and more than the $108 million received in the first four days after Hurricane Katrina.

The impromptu wave of giving-- even more impressive because many Americans are still cash-strapped from a weak economy-- will likely have a detrimental effect on domestic non-profits as people adjust their donations for the rest of the year. That said, charities are reporting huge numbers of new donors giving in small amounts. As of Saturday, American Red Cross, which had raised $87 million overall, had received $12 million through its handy $10-at-a-time text-donation

program (text "HAITI" to 90999)-- exponentially more than the $200,000 raised in the same

manner following Katrina.

The charities are praying against donor fatigue, because Haiti will need more financial help for a very long time. From The Chronicle:

But the devastation is so vast that many nonprofit leaders worry the response will not be enough.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Gail McGovern, chief executive of the American Red Cross, said that while the organization's focus is on immediate needs, the organization expects that it will be needed in Haiti for many years.

"Make no mistake," she said. "This is going to be a massive long-term recovery."

Helping to build the coffers are current and former Miami Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning, whose foundation has raised more than $800,000 from fellow pro athletes in just a few days.

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Gus Garcia-Roberts