The UN whines about "stinginess" because they don't understand that
governments aren't *supposed* to replace charity. *That* only happens in
cleptocracies, socialist, and otherwise. :-).
The China Post
Corporations donate millions to victims
NEW YORK, AP
U.S. corporations are donating millions of dollars in cash and supplies to
victims of the tsunamis along the Indian Ocean, easily eclipsing the
initial US$35 million (euro25.73 million) in aid earmarked by the U.S.
In addition to cash, donations of everything from diapers, antibiotics,
frequent flier miles and a gel called OdorScreen meant to curb the stench
of decaying bodies are on the way to the region in the wake of
earthquake-fueled waves that have claimed more than 117,000 lives in Asia,
India and Africa.
The final tally is yet to be known, but it's clear the Red Cross and other
aid groups are experiencing perhaps the largest surge in donations since
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the string of hurricanes that hit
Florida and the Caribbean this summer.
"The volume (of donations) that they're seeing in the last few days is
several times what they saw during the hurricanes, which was several times
what they see on a normal day," said Charlie Cumbaa, a vice president at
Blackbaud Inc., which makes software used by the Red Cross and many other
aid agencies to process donations.
Among the biggest corporate givers are Pfizer Inc., which is donating
US$10 million (euro7.35 million) in cash and US$25 million (euro18.4
million) worth of drugs to relief agencies; The Coca-Cola Co., which is
donating US$10 million (euro7.35 million); Exxon Mobil Corp., which is
giving US$5 million (euro3.7 million); and Citigroup Inc., which is
contributing US$3 million (euro2.21 million). The Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation has pledged US$3 million (euro2.21 million).
Pharmaceutical and health-care products companies were among the biggest
Merck & Co. Inc. is giving US$3 million (euro2.21 million) in cash while
Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories Inc. are each donating US$2
million (euro1.47 million); each of the three are also sending drugs and
other health care supplies to the region. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is
donating US$1 million (euro740,000) in cash and US$4 million (euro2.94
million) in antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Roche Group and
GlaxoSmithKline PLC were also planning to donate supplies and/or cash.
Nike Inc., American Express Co., General Electric Co., The Walt Disney
Co., and First Data Corp. are each giving US$1 million (euro740,000).
For some corporations with operations in the countries struggling with the
disaster, their far-flung enterprises are serving as quick supply routes
Drug makers with offices or plants in the region sent employees out with
antibiotics, nutritional supplements, infant formula, baby food and other
supplies. Employees of companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Inc. and Marriott
International Inc. hotels in the region are delivering bottled water, food
and other supplies.
"They're sending whatever they can, as fast as they can," said Elaine
Palmer, spokeswoman for PepsiCo, which rushed out Aquafina bottled water
from one of its Indian bottlers and plans to contribute a minimum of US$1
million (euro740,000) to the relief effort.
Fresh drinking water is one of the items most needed. Many sources of
fresh water, like wells, have been contaminated by seawater, debris and
In Thailand, Starbucks coffee shops are donating all of Wednesday's
profits to the relief effort. The company also made an initial contribution
of US$100,000 (euro73,510) and will donate US$2 (euro1.5) for every pound
of certain coffees sold in January in the United States, Canada, the United
Kingdom, Australia and Germany.
Many companies are offering to match employee donations to aid groups and
are making it easier for customers to donate.
First Data's Western Union is offering free money transfers from U.S. and
Canadian donors to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red
Amazon.com had collected about 87,000 donations totaling more than US$5.4
million (euro3.97 million) for the American Red Cross as of Thursday
Wal-Mart Inc. is setting up collection containers at all of its stores, in
addition to a US$2 million (euro1.47 million) donation from its foundation.
Google Inc. has put a link on its home page to relief groups, and America
Online is encouraging members to donate to Network for Good, an online
charity the Internet-service provider founded along with Cisco Systems Inc.
and Yahoo! Inc. Yahoo also added links to five charities on its home page.
AOL members donated more than US$1 million (euro740,000) in less than 48
hours, according to spokesman Nicholas Graham.
New York public-relations guru Howard Rubenstein said an opportunity for
some good PR was probably not the only motivating factor in the corporate
"I think it's a humanitarian instinct," he said. "And the byproduct would
certainly be good PR for the corporation, and more importantly for our
Among the growing list of donations were some companies that have suffered
bad press recently, including US$200,000 (euro147,000) from Computer
Associates International Inc., which has been dealing with an accounting
scandal. Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck have recently had to deal
with stories about increased risks of heart problems for patients taking
"For a company that's had negative PR, I think it will serve to soften the
negative image," said Rubenstein. "I would urge all companies, but
especially anybody who has made an apology to the public or who has
sustained broadside media attacks, to consider this. It's another form of
apology and goodwill. But also another form of doing right."
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"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'