Guest Author - Jackie O´Neal
Hurricane Katrina- related issues
By Jackie O’Neal
In observance of the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Charity Navigator, the charity evaluator, will be posting results of a Roundtable Discussion- “Philanthropic Response to Katrina: What went right? What went wrong? Readers may access the results of the discussion on August 22nd on Charity Navigator’s Official website: http://www.charitynavigator.org.
Executives connected to several charities have offered their insights to explain some of the problems that occurred. The roundtable participants included: The American Red Cross, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Desire Street Ministries, Direct Relief International, Operation USA and Pasado’s Safe Haven.
Charity Navigator’s, Sandra Minutti noted one of the main obstacles addressed during the roundtable discussion focused on a seeming breakdown in communication concerning procedural matters as the relief efforts unfolded during and after the disaster.
An estimated $4.25 million became the estimated amount produced for relief and recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast. However, with the majority of the total having been directed to The American Red Cross, their management of the funds came into question.
The balance of $2 billion raised by less known and perhaps less reputable charities raises the question about how effectively the funds were used towards the re-building process.
In light of the fact that the re-building process will continue for years to come, Charity Navigator advises donors to follow-up with their charities and request feed-back on how donations have been used, and if in fact, donations will continue to target the most urgent needs on the Gulf Coast.
According to statistics drawn from Charity Navigator’s website, 36% of disaster relief donations were used for human service organizations, while less than 1% of disaster relief went to Environment, Education, and Health. These issues will need to continue to be addressed over the coming years as some alarming statistics have come into focus:
. As of May 2006, less than 33% of public schools have re-opened in New Orleans, Plaquemine and St. Bernard Parishes.
.Only 66% of public schools have re-opened in the New Orleans Metro area.
.In addition, 1.3 million acres of forest lands were destroyed causing a projected loss of an estimated $5 billion to the forestry industry.
Government officials have identified an estimated 500,000 people in need of concrete mental health services due to the increase in cases of depression and anxiety coupled with hostility.
To listen to a podcast of my interview with Charity Navigator’s Sandra Minutti, Visit:
http://www.internetvoicesradio.com, Giving Hearts Live!
Tune in Friday, 4-4:30 PM EST for updates on charities and charitable endeavors.
Next week, August 25th, my guest will be Jesse Johnson of Haiti Kids Foundation.