CSR and Haiti Recovery

Philanthropists and investors are still paying attention. Why?
Jan 13, 2011 4:01 PM ET

Unconventional Haiti

What is it about Haiti that keeps philanthropists and investors alike coming back? 

One year after the devastating earthquake, Haiti still captivates the interest of many in the United States.  Outside of Hurricane Katrina, this is rare for disasters. 

An Unconventional Disaster Response

The typical disaster giving cycle lasts a few months, if that long. The window of time is even smaller when another disaster happens shortly afterward. For example, Nashville was hit by extreme flooding in May 2010, but was quickly overshadowed by the Gulf oil spill. The flooding, one of the worst disasters in recent memory, was largely overlooked by donors.

Haiti is a different story. Even with a major earthquake in Chile happening a little over a month later, people remained interested in Haiti’s ability to rebound from the terrible disaster. Remember, these disasters occurred at a time when the U.S. economy was extremely unstable and companies were slashing philanthropic budgets left and right. So why the unconventional continued interest in Haiti?

Though Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, donors and investors still see reasons to pay attention. Maybe it’s the close proximity to the United States – neighbor helping neighbor. Maybe it’s human nature to not be able to look the other way in the face of a still-unfolding tragedy. Maybe it’s the spirit of hope and resiliency so noticeable on the faces of the Haitians who appear in our news outlets.   

And maybe the allure of better things to come has us wanting a seat at the table.

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.