We are all saddened to hear of the tragedy in Haiti today. While we still don't know the full extent of the damage, we can be confident that an already fierce, daily struggle to survive has taken a disastrous turn for many Haitians.
Like most of you, I wanted to immediately know how I could help. So, I checked in with a few of my friends, people who, not coincidentally, I happen to admire most, and here is what I pulled together. In no particular order:
1) Text "HAITI" to "90999" to donate $10 to the Red Cross -- Our friends at the US State Department, including Katie Stanton (@kateatstate), very quickly put together this number to channel relief contributions directly to first responders who will be on the ground there. I love that our government does things like this. (Update: I am told this only works in the US)
2) Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti -- My good friend Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) created this foundation to permanently improve the lives of the most impoverished in his home country of Haiti. Over the years, the stories I have heard from Wyclef remind me of how hard the living is there. I am humbled by Wyclef's commitment to the region and the impact Yele Haiti has there every day. Check out more on Yele Haiti.
3) Donate to Partners in Health (click here) -- PIH (@pih_org) is already on the ground in Haiti and mobilizing their relief efforts. If you have heard of Paul Farmer, this is the organization he co-founded. Working to provide health care and education to the poorest of Haiti, PIH is the real deal.
4) Donate to Architecture for Humanity (click here) -- Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) and his non-profit Architecture for Humanity (@archforhumanity) can be found at virtually every developing world disaster site on the planet. These guys are a collection of design and housing geniuses who work tirelessly to provide shelter for the most deserving.
5) Donate to charity:water (click here) -- If you know me, you know how passionate I am about charity:water (@charitywater) and it's work to bring clean water to the 1 billion people on the planet who don't have it. Recently, the organization's founder, my friend and inspiration Scott Harrison (@scottharrison), traveled to Haiti to commence operations in that country and already thousands of Haitians have clean water to drink. As if the situation wasn't already bad enough, the need for clean water only intensifies in the aftermath of earthquakes. Every dollar of your support to these guys goes fully and immediately to work in the field. (Update: charity:water wrote a post encouraging you to also help their partners in Haiti.)
6) Learn more about Haiti -- So often we send token amounts of charity to far-flung developing world destinations. Yet, rarely do we have a sense of what life is like there. Thus, one of the ways I believe you can also respond to a tragedy like this is to commit to learning about Haiti, it's culture and wonder, as well as its daunting hardships. To that end, I recommend reading Paul Farmer's book Mountains Beyond Mountains to get a taste of the hard work underway. Also, be sure to watch Ghosts of Cité Soleil. Produced by Wyclef, and starring him as well, this documentary terrifyingly depicts the heavily armed gang leaders in Haiti's poorest neighborhoods. Meantime, try following the Twitter accounts of the folks mentioned above. Each of us can learn something from them.
7) Update -- A lot of thoughtful folks have left links below to other organizations who can channel your help to those who need it most. Please check out those groups and feel free to discuss them here.
Thanks to all of you for taking action. We owe it to Haiti, and to each other,