To Help Haiti, Don't Donate to American Red Cross: Haitians



To Help Haiti, Don’t Donate to American Red Cross: Haitians

As U.S. President Barack Obama urged people to donate to the American Red Cross to help Haiti amid Hurricane Matthew, Haitians took to social media over the weekend to urge people to do the opposite, pointing to how the organization was accused of squandering more than US$500 million in aid to the country in 2010.“In the coming days, many of you are going to write and ask me how you can ‘help Haiti’,” A woman from Haiti said in a Facebook Post earlier this week. “Here are my suggestions: 1. Don’t give the American Red Cross. Nope. But… Nah.”

The woman also urged people to only give money to local Haitian groups. The post had more than 5,600 shares by Sunday evening. “4. Lastly, we Haitians are tired. We just want to make it through to tomorrow without another ignorant or sensational headline. Please be respectful of that,” the woman concluded in her post.
Obama asked on Friday for “all Americans to go the American Red Cross and other philanthropic agencies” to give money to help Haiti.

But Haitians have lost trust in the U.S.-based organization after a damning 2015 report by NPR and ProPublica showed how the ARC used more than US$500 million in aid for the 2010 earthquake to build only six of the promised 700 permanent homes.
“The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people, but the number of permanent homes the charity has built is six,” the June 2015 report said. It also added that its investigation had “found a string of poorly-managed projects, questionable spending and dubious claims of success.”


Watch Poverty, Inc. Great insights into how NGOs do more harm than good.


I am a little hesitant to put much trust in news reports from TeleSUR. It is funded by the government of Venezuela, and to a lesser degree by the governments of the political alliance which Hugo Chavez put together before he died. TeleSUR was created to advance the viewpoint of that political alliance. I would look around for other news sources before putting too much confidence it what it claims.

As for donating to Haiti, many good Catholic organizations spring to mind:

Catholic Medical Mission Board
Caritas Internationalis
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Charities Miami


Even if TeleSUR isn’t great, they didn’t conduct the study which showed the massive problems with the Red Cross’ money management.

This sort of stuff is why I generally only donate to Catholic charities.


I was in Haiti a couple of years ago to meet with one Catholic relief organization which I don’t want to single-out at this time. More important is that in my discussions with both U.S. and Haitian relief / humanitarian workers on the ground, I absolutely came to believe that the most effective way to provide financial aid is via a specific relief organization - and there are numerous ones, including many Catholic ones - and not the Red Cross or similar international bureaucracies. I was told that the smaller, focused organizations are able to achieve things “under the radar” that the high-profile, lumbering giants are unable / unwilling to do. Just my 2 cents.




You can watch the whole thing on YouTube:


I do not doubt the truth of what you experienced. Small, entrepreneurial organizations composed of energetic, committed workers likely can accomplish more per dollar than national or international organizations which have layers of bureaucracy.

The problem is how can we discover these small, independent operations and how do we assess which ones are actually doing good instead of simply paying their founders? Doing so takes time, and after an emergency, we want to get aid sent as quickly as possible. :frowning:


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