Reaching out to Haiti


Our hearts go out to the people whose lives have been shattered by the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. Early death toll estimates are in the thousands, but officials fear the final count could top 100,000. Essential infrastructure has been flattened, and many skilled workers (including health care providers) who could help with recovery are missing or dead. Haiti is in urgent need of assistance in this time of crisis.

Charity Navigator has compiled a list of organizations that are responding to the earthquake in Haiti. Many of these organizations are not only doing great work, but also work with philosophies and practices that are in line with Foundation Beyond Belief’s mission.

However, many of the organizations working in Haiti have a focus on proselytizing to those they assist. Food for the Poor, for example, is a large charitable organization that includes this in its mission statement: “Ultimately, we seek to bring both benefactors and recipients to a closer union with our Lord.” Similarly, Hope for Haiti Children’s Center, Feed My Starving Children, and Love A Child, Inc., use some of their time and money to spread their religious views.

We commend every organization that is working in Haiti to alleviate suffering and offer essential services, but we’d like to suggest a few groups that both receive high ratings from Charity Navigator and take a secular approach to their charitable work.

MADRE, for example, is a small organization with a high efficiency rating and a good track record in disaster relief that does not mix worldview with its charity. ActionAid International is an outstanding organization that is efficient, non-sectarian, and works with a small budget. International Relief Teams, AmeriCares, Doctors Without Borders, and Partners in Health all receive high ratings for the secular charitable work they do.

We encourage Foundation Beyond Belief members to give what they can to help the people of Haiti through this crisis. Visit the Charity Navigator site, investigate the organizations that are working on the ground in Haiti, and support these groups however you can. Disasters such as this serve to remind us that we are all one human family; please take this opportunity to demonstrate our humanistic generosity in a time of great need.

UPDATE: Also consider donating to the Humanist Charities of the American Humanist Association. They’ve set up a fund specifically for Haiti disaster relief.