Charities gear up for another big fundraising effort

8 months after tsunami, some worry that donors might show reluctance

Katrina's Wake

September 01, 2005|By JoAnna Daemmrich and William Wan | JoAnna Daemmrich and William Wan,SUN STAFF

Even while grappling with the logistics of sending relief to communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, charitable organizations have scrambled to mobilize fundraising operations.

Some of the organizations are concerned because their efforts follow so closely the extensive fundraising in response to the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster in Asia.

Charity officials always worry about donations when one disaster follows another, said Shelley Borysiewicz, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities USA. Some people might be more reluctant to give, having donated so recently to tsunami relief, she said, but her agency has seen no signs of that.

"I think Americans have shown time and time again their generosity and spirit and will meet the challenge," she said.

After the tsunami, Catholic Relief Services received as much as $159 million in donations, the biggest disaster collection in its history, spokesman John Rivera said.

Tsunami donations

Marylanders contributed $5.5 million, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore collected $3.9 million of that, the most ever raised among local parishes for a single disaster.

Nationally, donations since Monday in response to Katrina have surged into the tens of millions of dollars.

The hurricane is different from the tsunami in terms of fundraising, said Linnea Anderson, spokeswoman for American Red Cross' Central Maryland chapter.

"Although the donations come from the same well of compassion, this disaster is very close to home, very personal this time," she said.

Since Monday, people and companies - including beer makers and petroleum companies - have contributed millions of dollars in cash and products.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said initial corporate donations to the relief efforts could total more than $100 million.

Mondy `pouring in'

Sarah Marchetti, national spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, said at least 30 companies had made donations by yesterday morning and that the number is expected to climb. "They've been pouring in," she said.

Baltimore-area charities said thousands of people have called, mailed and wired money. The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore said a man wrote a check for $10,000.

Area organizations have begun sending supplies and relief workers to the Gulf Coast.

The local Red Cross chapter is organizing a Sept. 9 blood drive and a Sept. 7 training session for volunteers who would be sent to the Gulf Coast for three weeks.

Yesterday, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. lent the Red Cross chapter two of Maryland's Wellmobiles to help hurricane victims. The 33-foot-long vans, which are managed by nurses, are used to deliver health care to the uninsured and underinsured.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

How to help

Most charities are requesting financial donations rather than goods or clothing. This enables them to use the money within the communities that are most affected. Among them are:

American Red Cross ( 1-800-435-7669 or 1-800-HELP-NOW

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore ( 101 W. Mount Royal Ave. Baltimore, Md.. 21201

America's Second Harvest ( for hunger relief. 1-800-344-8070

Catholic Charities ( 1-800-919-9338

Church World Services ( 1-800-297-1516

McCormick Tribune Foundation ( 1-800-508-2848

The Sun is a partner in this relief campaign. The foundation will match the first $1 million donated at a rate of 50 cents on the dollar.

Mercy Corps ( The Portland, Ore., nonprofit is working with Episcopal Relief and Development, for long-term disaster relief.

Network for Good ( provides easy donations to a number of charities, including the Humane Society of America (for pets) and chapters of the United Way in Florida and Louisiana

Salvation Army: (

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