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American Charities Raise $41-Million for Asian Disasters

May 19, 2008 — By Caroline Preston, The Chronicle of Philanthropy

American relief groups have raised at least $41-million for victims of the China earthquake and the Myanmar cyclone. The groups say about $22-million has been donated for aid to earthquake survivors and $19-million for those harmed by the cyclone.

The vast majority of money raised in the United States for the earthquake has gone to the American Red Cross, which has brought in more than $10-million in gifts and pledges. The charity has raised more than $4-million since May 2 for an international relief fund, as well as $1.5-million for Myanmar.

Christy Feig, director of international communications, said she expected that gifts would continue to mount, particularly for earthquake victims.

“We do expect to still see contributions come in,” she said. “We know a lot of our chapters, especially in places with large Chinese-American communities, still have fund raisers scheduled.”

Give2Asia and Mercy Corps were among two other charities that reported higher fund-raising results for the earthquake. Give2Asia has brought in nearly $3-million for the earthquake, compared with $70,000 for cyclone victims. Mercy Corps has raised $2.67-million for China and $886,000 for Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable, an association of more than 160 large companies, said its members have given more than $16-million in cash, products, and services to victims of the earthquake, compared with $4.1-million to support relief efforts in Myanmar.

But several large relief groups, including Save the Children and World Vision, have seen greater success in raising donations for Myanmar.

Save the Children has raised nearly $4.5-million in pledges and gifts from U.S donors for the cyclone, compared with $269,000 for earthquake victims. The charity has received $1-million for Myanmar through the Web alone, the highest online response it’s seen since the 2004 Asian tsunamis.

World Vision has raised $4.6-million for Myanmar and $675,000 for China. It has also brought in an additional $300,000 through its disaster fund, money that could be spent on either disaster.

Mike Kiernan, a spokesman for Save the Children, said his group was just beginning to put a push behind fund raising for China. The charity planned to focus not on providing immediate relief but on helping to meet the longer-term needs of children left homeless by the disaster.

Other charities raising money for the crises include:

* CARE has raised $4-million in pledges and gifts for Myanmar. The charity is not raising money for earthquake victims because it does not work in China.

* Direct Relief International has raised $527,000 for the Myanmar catastrophe. It has not yet issued an appeal for China.

* Foundation for the People of Burma has raised $500,000 for cyclone victims.

* Operation USA has raised $110,000 for Myanmar and $106,000 for China.

* The Salvation Army has raised $76,000 for the two disasters, the majority of which has been earmarked for people in Myanmar.

Foundation and Corporate Grants

Foundations and corporations have contributed to both efforts. Following is a sampling of grants that have been made thus far:

* Abbott Fund: To provide water, food, and sanitation services for people affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar: $250,000 to CARE (Atlanta).

* AIG American International Companies: To support disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $1,000,000 to Give2Asia (San Francisco, Calif.).

* Boeing Company: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $250,000 to American National Red Cross (Washington, D.C.).

* Chevron Corporation: To support disaster relief for people affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar: $1-million to the International Federation of the Red Cross (Geneva), and $1-million to be divided among the International Organization for Migration (Geneva, Switzerland), Mercy Corps (Portland, Ore.), Pact (Washington), and Save the Children (Westport, Conn.).

* ConocoPhillips: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $285,000 to Red Cross Society of China (Beijing, China).

* FedEx Corporation: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $286,000 to Red Cross Society of China (Beijing, China).

* Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: For emergency-relief efforts for people affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar: $1-million each to CARE (Atlanta), Save the Children (Westport, Conn.), and World Vision (Federal Way, Wash.).

* General Mills Foundation: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $500,000 to American National Red Cross (Washington, D.C.).

* Goldman Sachs Group: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $500,000 to Mercy Corps (Portland, Ore.).

* Merrill Lynch: To support orphanages, provide counseling for children, and rebuild 14 schools that were damaged during the recent earthquake in China: $1,000,000 to China Youth Development Foundation (Beijing, China). Also to support relief efforts for people affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar: $500,000 each to American National Red Cross (Washington, D.C.) and Unicef (New York, N.Y.).

* Western Union Foundation: To support its disaster-relief efforts following the recent earthquake in China: $250,000 to Mercy Corps (Portland, Ore.).

— M.J. Prest contributed to this article.

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