Saturday, January 16, 2010

Watch Your Pockets ALERT! Funny Money and Funky Histories of Charitable Organizations

Its a fact, everyone makes money off of misery, except those that are miserable.

When the flood of organizations who said they would "help" asked for donations I paused. I already had my stomach churned. I have had personal experiences with the woes of relief aid efforts with Tsunami in Asia, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Post-Aristide Coup (and Hurricane Gustave) in 2004-2005.

That is when I found out the hard truths about charities, they are a multinational, billion-dollar business. Most monies, from places like the American Red Cross, go to "administrative costs," leaving a small percentage to the actually people.

That is why months after huge catastrophes like Haiti's earthquake, many of the donors do not understand why the countries are still fucked up and people still have their hands out. That is because the money hardly reaches the people.

When, The Smoking Gun reported that Wyclef Jean's charity, Yele Haiti reported $300,000 in consulting fees and $250,000 in PR on several of its tax returns, I was not surprised. I remember when Jean was jigging at the Congressional Black Caucus making nonsensical remarks about politics and I knew my money would not go to him.

As well, the Huffington Post, published a story outing MasterCard, Visa, American Express and all the credit card companies that are taking profits off of the top.

As a result, when smaller organizations, or decent-sized ones who use most of the money for relief efforts comes along and asks for help, many potential donors are weary. They don't have the name like Save the Children, nor the history of Red Cross.

Give you a quick story. A woman I know who is currently stuck in Haiti because she has been doing work there for the past 20 years, said that in 1988 when she was flying into Haiti on a cargo plane there were about four or five missionaries on board boasting about their orphanages. When they began to exchange pictures, the photos were of naked male children. She later found out that a disturbing number of the "orphanages" were part of the sex trade and had naked photos of children for potential customers to choose their child of choice.

Giving money to organizations today is like an unfavorable game of Russian Roulette. I have to agree with a response made by a fellow blogger, to give your time and your own work is much better than a $5 donation to ease the First-World guilt.

4 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Reggie said...

The American Red Cross?!?

That's painful because I got my happy ass online two nights ago and donated money to them. When something like this happens I always reach out and give; but things like this will make you wish that you didn't. It really pisses me off to hear this, next time.........I'll know.

Anna Renee said...

Check it!

Be careful who you listen to and who you believe

EcoSoul said...

Reggie, I have been in the same situation before. Good intentions are misdirected. Anna Renee, I have known about Yele Haiti's activities due to my connections with Haitian aid waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy before this scrutiny. It just the politics of it all. It is hard to have an organization and know all that is going on AND provide aid to a country where your family is and not put them, his wife's people, and friends first. But I must note that the light is shining hard on Jean's organization and does not point out the years of misappropriation by the Red Cross and the lot of them.

Reggie said...

I donated to The American Red Cross when Katrina struck, that damned tsunami and now this.

It would be nice to know that my hard earned capital didn't go to pay some fatcat's cable bill; or to pay for some fatcat's wife to have her toes done.