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The Business of Giving

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January 14, 2010 at 1:39 PM

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Gates Foundation makes first Haiti relief grant

Posted by Kristi Heim

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making its first grant in response to the earthquake in Haiti -- $1 million to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to aid its initial relief efforts, including immediate food, shelter, water, sanitation, health and other needs of people affected by Tuesday's earthquake.

UPDATE: On Friday, the foundation made a second grant -- $500,000 to Partners in Health (PIH) for immediate- and medium-term medical care through its existing 10 health facilities and temporary mobile clinics. The grant will also help pay for medical supplies, tents, blankets, water, and other essential items. Partners in Health has worked in Haiti for more than 20 years to bring medical care to poor communities.

CRS "has experienced personnel and a stock of emergency supplies in Haiti," the Gates Foundation said in a statement today. Catholic Relief Services personnel in Haiti were struggling to make sure that their 300 staff members are safe and accounted for, as well as beginning relief operations by preparing food supplies to be brought in Friday from the Dominican Republic. The CRS blog has some details about the situation on the ground.

"The humanitarian conditions are catastrophic, and much more will need to be done to address the immediate situation, as well as support the sustained recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead so that people can rebuild their lives," the Gates Foundation statement said. "The foundation is continuing to monitor the situation and exploring additional opportunities to provide support for the relief efforts."

The largest private charitable foundation says it approaches emergency relief by trying to assist organizations that deliver food and clean water, improve sanitation, provide medical attention and shelter, and prevent or minimize outbreaks of disease.

It listed 10 relief groups actively working in Haiti for people looking for organizations to support.

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