Donations for Haiti pour in even from bottom of Americans' pockets

Bono, Jay-Z and Rihanna perform on stage at the Hope For Haiti Now concert at the Hospital Club in London on Friday. Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) made No. 1 single on iTunes.

MTV/Getty Images

Bono, Jay-Z and Rihanna perform on stage at the Hope For Haiti Now concert at the Hospital Club in London on Friday. Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) made No. 1 single on iTunes.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Of all the calls that came Pati Chasnoff's way during a Kansas City, Mo., telethon for Haitian earthquake victims, one stood out.

The caller made only a $10 contribution but paid for it with her unemployment benefits debit card.

"I was so touched," Chasnoff said. "The woman said, 'This is my last $10.' "

The rapid outpouring of support for Haiti has amazed the philanthropic world, especially when the recession has so many Americans struggling financially.

The response matches the giving that followed the Asian tsunami and the 2005 hurricanes when America's economy was more robust, according to Jennifer Furla, executive vice president at Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, a Kansas City nonprofit consulting firm.

"I would guess many people would be surprised at the swiftness (with which) people have reacted, as well as the depth," said Furla, who is a board member of the Giving USA Foundation.

As of midday Friday, Americans had donated more than $377 million for Haiti, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

"It is amazing to see how much money has been raised and mobilized in such a short amount of time," said David Renz, director of the Midwest Center on Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Renz and others say several factors have coalesced to make it happen.

Technology has played a huge role. People cannot escape the alarming images, and texting makes giving easier. Other factors are Haiti's proximity and its ties to the United States.

$57M for 'Hope' and counting

Organizers for the all-star "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon say the event raised $57 million — and counting.

"The public has set a new standard of giving for a relief telethon with 'Hope for Haiti Now,' and the donations continue to come in," Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, said in a statement Saturday. The group is helping to oversee the funds gathered from the event.

The two-hour telethon aired Friday night. Stars like Brad Pitt, Beyonce, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and more encouraged donations.

The total released Saturday includes money raised by phone, text and the Web. It does not include donations by corporations or via iTunes, where people are able to buy performances of the event for 99 cents each, or the entire album for $7.99.

The Hope for Haiti Now CD is the biggest one-day preorder in the site's history and the new song Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour) by Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono and the Edge, debuted during the telethon, is the No. 1 single on iTunes.

Associated Press

Donations for Haiti pour in even from bottom of Americans' pockets 01/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 11:03pm]

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