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Earthquake in Haiti: Leading U.S. Foundations Respond to the Crisis

January 22, 2010

Haiti_earthquake_10 In the immediate aftermath of the January 12 earthquake that brought widespread death and destruction to the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti, the Foundation Center surveyed members of its Grantmaker Leadership Panel to gauge the reaction of top funders to the unfolding crisis. More than half (53 percent) of current panel members responded.

Findings from the survey suggest that a number of leading funders are considering a direct response to the crisis, with a primary focus on providing emergency assistance. Most of these funders expect to provide this support to intermediary organizations headquartered outside of Haiti. Not surprisingly, leading grantmakers that have provided funding related to Haiti and/or responded to other disasters in recent years were more likely to consider responding to this crisis.

KEY FINDINGS

• Among the 120 foundations that responded to the survey, 42 percent are considering providing assistance for relief and/or recovery efforts in response to the earthquake in Haiti. Another 22 percent are "uncertain," while roughly 36 percent do not anticipate providing a direct response at this time.

• Among community foundations, 44 percent expect to provide assistance in response to the crisis, and nearly half have already established funds to collect contributions. Overall, nine of the twenty community foundations that expect to provide assistance have created funds, while another four are considering establishing such a fund.

• Foundations that have provided funding related to Haiti and/or direct support in response to other recent disasters are more likely to consider funding in response to the earthquake in Haiti. Among the nineteen respondents that have provided funding benefiting Haiti over the past decade (either in-country or through intermediaries), 74 percent are considering a response to the current crisis. Of the seventy-nine respondents that have provided funding in response to other recent disasters (e.g., the Indian Ocean tsunami, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Pakistani earthquake, the September 11th terrorist attacks), 56 percent are considering offering support for relief and/or recovery efforts.

• Most of the fifty foundations that anticipate responding (60 percent) intend to direct assistance exclusively to intermediary organizations headquartered outside of Haiti. Among the remaining grantmakers, 14 percent expect to fund organizations based in Haiti, 12 percent anticipate funding both intermediaries and Haitian organizations and the remaining 14 percent are uncertain.

• The vast majority of leading foundations responding to the crisis (90 percent) expect to focus on providing "emergency relief." Among other priorities, half of responders (50 percent) expect to offer support for health and medical care.

Researchadvisory_haiti

• Among the fifty foundations considering a response to the crisis, 24 percent indicated that they would be interested in collaborating with other grantmakers, either directly or through regional associations or grantmaker networks.

• Close to one in five of the 120 foundations that responded to the survey (18 percent) have a formal plan in place to respond to these kinds of disasters. Twenty foundations (16 percent) noted that they had in-house expertise regarding disaster relief generally. Moreover, 37 percent of respondents indicated that they had in-house expertise regarding nonprofit organizations that may be particularly well-positioned to respond to this disaster.

To read/download the complete advisory (4 pages, PDF), click here.

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The Foundation Center's Grantmaker Leadership Panel draws upon the expertise of chief executives at leading U.S. private and public foundations on critical issues of interest to the sector. Currently, 225 foundation leaders participate. The panel does not currently include leaders of corporate foundations, which had donated more than $103 million in cash and in-kind goods in response to the disaster as of January 22.

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