Last night, South Florida's two top weekly newspapers (said modestly) Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach donated $5,000 to Partners in Health (PIH), perhaps the most important charity in returning Haiti to normalcy after this week's monstrous earthquake.
And we are challenging alternative newspapers across the country to give more. We'll match up to $10,000 in gifts to PIH, which runs dozens of hospitals throughout the island nation.
The contribution was announced last night at a Manno Charlemagne concert at Tap Tap, South Beach's best known Haitian joint. Proceeds from that concert also went to PIH.
We chose PIH because of its stellar background and ability to help. It was founded by Paul Farmer, who is the deputy special UN envoy to Haiti (and a Harvard PhD in anthropology). The organization has 100 hospitals on the island mostly outside the earthquake area, so it can render aid. It presently provides health care to about a million Haitians and Charity Navigator gave it a top grade, because 94 percent of contributions go to charity (not administration). The writer Tracy Kidder even wrote a book about Farmer, who grew up in Florida.
New Times also plans to back several other events designed to raise money for the island: There will be a concert January 23 and 24 at Peacock Park starring Afrobeta, Locos Por Juana and Suenalo among others to benefit the Red Cross. And a fundraiser is planned Wednesday at the Vagabond. Gibson Guitars plans an auction.
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