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Celeste Terry
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The world was and is still in shock after a mega eathquake leveled Haiti last Tuesday. And, immediately people began to donate and charities went into high gear to accept those donations. I also immediately donated to Yele Haiti, founded by musician and native son, Wyclef Jean. I'm feeling good because this is my first donation to Haiti relief. Over the weekend, I see Wyclef crying defending his charity. This is a donor's worst nightmare. The questions began in my head. Did my donation go to the right place? What happened? The website said Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. I find in the news that Yele Haiti has not spent one dollar on earthquake relief, but is for "second-order" aid for rebuilding for the long term" according the president of the charity. I am glad to be donating to Haiti, but this issue speaks to how important it is for charities to clearly explain what they are collecting for and how donations will be allocated. Anything less than that raises questions and can affect future donations, even if no wrong-doing occurred. The "hint" of scandal is just as bad as actual scandal. No charity can afford either. When a celebrity puts himself out there for his charity, be sure that everything is in order with taxes and credibility. Also, perhaps after meeting all criteria, add a BBB Accredited Charity Symbol to the website. Transparency is essential, especially in a tough economy like today. I will continue to donate to Haiti relief. My next donation will be to UNICEFF. I worked at the United Nations so I know how donations are utilized. I will donate to Yele Haiti again, but this time I will know that my donation is not for earthquake relief per se. Be careful charities. Victims of disaster count on the good reputation of charities, and the celebrity that founded the charity for the services they need.
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Jan 19, 2010