Philanthropy is different than charity. Traditionally, philanthropy reflects long-term strategic investments in creating real change. But in times of national and/or natural disaster, both respond in short-term ways that can be most helpful.

The recent devastation in Haiti reflects the kind of disasters that call philanthropy to action. We can and should do our part in addressing the immediate rescue and relief aspects of this global disaster. Then, we can and will consider how philanthropy engages in rebuilding and reconstruction, over time.

Many of our infrastructure colleagues already are connecting our sector to enhance the impact and effectiveness of our philanthropic dollars. We encourage Council members and the broader field to work with those organizations that best reflect their interests. We will do our best to monitor and share information on the immediate needs in Haiti and organizations mobilizing resources in country.

Please visit our disaster grantmaking Web site for current information. Let us know how you are assisting—whether directly to Haiti, through a partner organization or through those in your local communities—so we can share the information with others in our field. Please send us your information and updates so that we can include your activities on our site.

As we reminded ourselves during the U.S. economic crisis, leadership moments are not scheduled. If philanthropy’s mission is to serve the common good, this is indeed one of those moments.

Steve Gunderson is the president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.

For real-time news and updates on philanthropy’s response to the earthquake in Haiti, follow the Council on Twitter at:

4 Responses to Philanthropy’s Response to Haiti


January 13th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Our website,, which is a resource for community association members is donating $1 for every new blog subscriber between now and Friday to the Red Cross for Haiti.

New Voices of Philanthropy » Blog Archive » Being Better When They Need It Most

January 15th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

[...] in moments like these (noting in particular Steve Gunderson’s closing thought in his post “Philanthropy’s Response to Haiti”). Perhaps we, as a field, should think about the best ways to communicate what works, what’s [...]

Resources for Giving to Haiti « At The Table @ The Minneapolis Foundation

January 15th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

[...] Blog post by President and CEO of the Council on Foundations on philanthropy’s response to Hai… [...]

Marion O'Neill

February 20th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

The PSEG Foundation is pledgeing $50,000 to match employee donations for Haiti to certain charities, e.g. American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders.

The company is also working with the State of NJ to address refugee families which are expected to settle in New Jersey, home of hte 4th largest Haitian populations in the United States.

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