The Business of Giving
Exploring philanthropy, non-profits and socially motivated business, from the Gates Foundation to your donation. A fresh look at the economy of good intentions.
Haiti humanitarian efforts linked by mobile connections
Posted by Kristi Heim
It was clear the earthquake wrought devastation on a massive scale. Time saved meant lives saved. Two wireless companies in Bellevue went straight to work, one to repair its mobile network in Haiti and the other to channel funds to relief workers using text messaging.
In a country where traditional landline service is almost non-existent, more than a million Haitians rely on the mobile service Voilà for communications. That service is provided by Bellevue-based Trilogy International Partners, which received an award this year from the U.S. State Department for its decade of work in the impoverished country.
THONY BELIZAIRE/APF/GETTY IMAGES
Trilogy said members of its crisis task force were one of the first aircraft to land this morning at the Port-au-Prince airport to assist on-the-ground efforts.The earthquake wiped out much of the infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. Its local team could travel only by foot because roads were so heavily damaged.
Senior management of Trilogy, its Haitian wireless operation (Voilà) and its Dominican Republic operation (Trilogy Dominicana/Viva) began a disaster recovery plan and formed a special task force to secure the safety of its 500 local employees and assess damages, the company said in a post today on its Web site. Within hours the team determined its buildings were intact and its staff located.
"Voilà's network continued to operate for several hours through the aftershocks before we were forced to shut down the switch to maintain its integrity until our generators and cooling systems were back online," the company said in its post. "We have restarted our generators at the main switch and are in the process of bringing our network back up. Once this has occurred, we will be focused on managing traffic and adding capacity as rapidly as possible to aid the humanitarian efforts in Haiti."
TRACIE MORRIS/BLOOMBERG NEWS
In Bellevue, Jim Manis at the Mobile Giving Foundation quickly worked to roll out text message- based fundraising efforts. Manis founded the non-profit to help other non-profit organizations receive donations through text messaging campaigns. I profiled the foundation here.
People can text a keyword to a designated short code and make a donation of $5 or $10 to any of several organizations working to help Haiti. Every penny of the donation goes to the charity, and the amount appears later as a charge on the donor's mobile phone bill.
The Mobile Giving Foundation said it has already raised about $375,000 today, through the following campaigns:
- Text the word "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Foundation, the leading contributor to rebuilding Haiti founded by Wyclef Jean.
- Text the word "Haiti" to 25383 to donate $5 to the International Rescue Committee
- Text the word "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross.
- Text the word "Haiti" to 45678 (In Canada Only) to assist the Salvation Army in Canada.
Other groups engaged in ongoing relief efforts in Haiti include:
Partners In Health, Boston, www.pih.org
Mercy Corps, Portland, 800-852-2100 or www.mercycorps.org
Medical Teams International, Portland, 800-959-4325 or www.nwmedicalteams.org
American Red Cross, 800-733-2767 or www.redcross.org
World Concern, Seattle, 800-755-5022 or www.worldconcern.org
World Vision, Federal Way, 888-511-6548 or www.worldvision.org
Dec 17, 10 - 5:52 PM
Talking back: from charity to solidarity
Dec 17, 10 - 1:29 PM
Non-profits counting on year-end fundraisers, volunteers corps
Dec 16, 10 - 1:04 PM
Decade of vaccines begins with new models, funding challenges
Dec 15, 10 - 1:34 PM
U.S. foundations' international giving holds steadier than overall giving
Dec 9, 10 - 9:00 AM
Billionaire pledge swells with Facebook's Zuckerberg and others