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from "Giving during disasters," by Mark Petersen, Open hands, 17 January 2010

My preference in giving is not to give quickly nor in times of disaster.  There are plenty of people doing that and you don’t have to join the bandwagon.  So stop feeling guilty and don’t give to get that monkey off your back.  Instead, carefully investigate options and choose to make a longer-term, more strategic decision to truly partner with an organization.

Some have asked me who they should consider giving to following the Haiti earthquake.  If you want to provide immediate assistance, send your funding through large corporate charities that had a well-established presence on the ground for years prior to the quake.  I specifically recommend World Vision Canada with whom we’ve had a long term successful partnership.  Their reputation speaks for itself.  They specialize in disaster relief and their logistical ability to respond effectively is unequaled.   CEO Dave Toycen is on the ground there now, and is tweeting his thoughts at @toycenontheroad.  You can know that even though your immediate funding can be used for an urgent disaster, that WV will be present in Haiti for the long term.  Poverty isn’t solved in a week.

For those who prefer a smaller, grassroots response my choice would be Haiti Partners.  They have a significant history as a Florida-based charity focused on building schools and training teachers as a long term investment in the next generation of Haitians.  They aren’t new to Haiti like some other agencies seeking funding for the Haiti quake.  They speak Creole, their staff are Haitians.  They’re now expanding their support base to offer Canadian donors an ability to partner with them.  In fact, for months they’ve been planning that Sunday, January 24 would be the launch of their first Canadian fundraiser in Toronto.

You can follow co-director John Engle at twitter (@haitipartners) as well as their blog or YouTube with frequent, informative video updates.