September 26, 2010; Source: Associated Press | This is one story we would like to stop writing. In Haiti, small nonprofits with relatively small budgets often remain unfunded in their efforts to help local populations in overlooked or rural neighborhoods even while only 15 percent of the pledged $4.7 billion in international donor dollars have been spent.
Local groups like Haitian sports academy, L’Athletique D’Haiti, have stepped up to ensure that people are served, and now L’Athletique’s soccer fields house 2,000 homeless families in tents and under tarps but without the benefit of donor dollars. Melinda Marks of the Haiti Response Coalition says, “The large charities have a lot of money in their bank accounts that’s not getting spent in Haiti . . . to be honest with their donors, and really be accountable to the Haitians whose names they used to raise the money, they need to put it into Haitian-led plans.”
A spokeswoman from the Red Cross, which has spent only a third of the $480 billion it collected since the January earthquake, says, confoundingly, that the problem is that the groups are just not “sustainable”. —Ruth McCambridge