From the great success that we have had with our Free Food Programs established in the 1950’s by my Parents, Aaron and Margaret Wallace, we have since been instrumental in the founding and supplying of other free food service organizations around the country. With the demand for our help in creating these organizations being driven by the skyrocketing need for the services, we have decided to open up our efforts to all interested in starting a food pantry for the needy. We can provide access to the training necessary to qualify your organization and partner you with the local organizations and businesses that can support your efforts. Contact us and we will help you through the RED TAPE and push your program to success! Here’s some new videos for the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Social Services Programs. The first is the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Free Food Program Celebrity Giving Back
The second one is Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Kids Celebrity Gift BackPacks.
You can view the following Santa Fe Elementary School’s Peace March with Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, SemiFreddi’s, Trader Joe’s, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Marshawn Lynch’s “Fam1ly F1rst” and Leon Powe’s “Fresh Start Oakland”:
Santa Fe Elementary School’s Peace March with Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation
You can listen to or download many of the Public Service Announcements for our partners that were broadcast over national radio on the page “A& MWF Supports Inter-Faith Multi-Cultural Events” at: http://amwftrust.org/a-mwf-supports-inter-faith-multi-cultural-events/. We have provided and we have produced videos from some of them as well. We will do one for any of our partners that work with us.
AMWF Community Food Bank!
The AMWF Community Food Bank is looking for new member agencies that will provide food and/or hot meals to Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Jose County community members year-round.
We are especially interested in new member agencies that are:
Open during high-need times of afternoon, evening, and/or weekend hours and serving clients in high-need areas of:
Tri-Valley area (Pleasanton, Livermore)
Pinole, Richmond area
San Leandro & San Lorenzo area
Tri-Cities area (Fremont, Newark, Union City)
Benefits of Membership Membership gives your agency:
Opportunities to apply for grants to increase agency capacity
Access to free nutritional education services, Food Stamp (CalFresh) outreach services, and the emergency food referral Helpline
To become a Member Agency, your organization must:
Be a non-profit, charitable organization that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. (Other 501c organizations, such as 501c5, do not qualify).
Operate an emergency food program, such as a food pantry, hot meal program/soup kitchen, or emergency shelter that is open to walk-in clients.*
Distribute food regularly for at least 3 months prior to applying for membership.
Provide food directly to individuals and families in need. At least 51% of your clients must be low-income.
Distribute Food Bank food at no charge. Your agency may not ask for donations from clients for food.
Not require clients to work or to attend any religious activities in exchange for food or meals.
Be willing to follow Food Bank regulations such as (but not limited to) submitting monthly food distribution reports and taking food safety training once per year.
* Please note: The Food Bank is not accepting new non-emergency programs at this time. Non-emergency programs include day care sites, afterschool programs, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers, and residential programs.
New Member Agency Application Process:
Contact the AMWF Agency Services staff to let us know about your interest in Food Bank membership. You can email us at amwft (at) amwft.org or call us at 510-394-4101
Agency Services staff will work with you to determine your eligibility
Attend a series of 2 trainings. At least 2 staff/volunteers from your agency must attend EACH of the trainings. We welcome (and highly encourage) agencies to bring more than 2 staff/volunteers to attend each training.
Note: We will announce training dates. Please contact us to let us know about your interest in AMWF Food Bank membership so that we can contact you when these dates have been scheduled.
Submit a New Member Agency Application. Applications can only be submitted after at least 2 staff/volunteers from your agency have completed all 2 trainings.
Complete a successful site visit at your agency. Food Bank Agency Services staff will visit your site to see your program, facilities, and review food safety policies.
Applications will be reviewed by the Agency Relations Committee. The Agency Relations Committee, a Food Bank board committee of staff and volunteers from current member agencies, will review and select member agencies eligible to join the AMWF Food Bank. Decisions are usually made within 6-8 weeks from the training dates.
Surah Al-Insan says: And they are those who give food in spite of their own need , to the needy, and the orphan, and the captive, [saying in their hearts], We only feed you for the sake of God, and we desire nothing in return from you, not even a word of thanks (76:8-9).
As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu wa Jazzak Allah Khair Khayrun,
AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION, (AMWF) would like to wish you all the very BEST and May ALLAH accept your good deeds and grant you and your families forgiveness!
AMWF, Muslims Giving Relief, Reflection, Gratefulness and Celebration! We recognized this as a time in which we needed to consult fully with ALLAH (SWT) on everything rather than on our human, flawed selves, which is why we pray, fast, turn to the Qur’an and beg our Lord’s guidance. In doing so, we come near to Allah as we have learned what it means to be content in all circumstances, whether having everything and comfortable or in having nothing and struggling. We have to gain a greater appreciation for the plight of the needy, the poor! Whether the working poor that can’t make ends meet, to the refugee with nothing, to the homeless, we MUST recognize their right to dignity and a decent life. It can not possibly hurt any of the able to help or support us who do. So how can ANYONE, much less the leaders of some major Masjids, take food from the mouths of the needy, or clothes from the backs of the needy DURING RAMADAN?!!!! Astaghfirullah!! More to come, iA. “And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).” [Hud 11:3] We are quick to rally around relief for a foreign war or a natural disaster, but ignore the personal tragedies
within the Muslim communities right here at home. You don’t have to donate money, food, clothing, other goods and services to Syria or Iraq that is NEVER going to get there, especially when we have our own Syria and Iraq in the Muslim communities right here, starting with the person praying next to you, the brother that has no job, the abused sister that has no here to go, the youth that’s cutting school and using drugs! The leaders of these Masjids do not want to acknowledge this and in doing so, fail and refuse to take into consideration that this is their, the Masjids OBLIGATION from Allah (SWT)! The Masjids are not just “a building” without a soul and none in it with a soul, it’s suppose to be the center of the community and the lives it serves- ALL community members at large, NOT just Muslims! We are grateful to ALLAH (SWT) for having touched the hearts of those who embody the God mandated mission and commitment to ALLAH’S principles that we as servants of ALLAH (SWT) must fulfill. You can make your check payable to: AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION (AMWF), 4200 Park Blvd, Ste# 116, Oakland, CA 94602; you can donate with Paypal email to: email@example.com, or our PayPal Fundraising Link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=SE6DGFDH9XVKL.
Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Free Food Program Celebrity Giving Back. The Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation really catered to everyone Saturday, August 6, 2011 at the “Oakland’s Got Talent” event at DeFermery Park. We distributed $25,000 worth of groceries FREE to ALL that came, “Fresh Start” Backpack Giveaway with 5,000 FREE Backpacks filled with school supplies, haircuts, manicures, health services, picnic Bar-B-Q lunch, games, entertainment, etc.
The second one is Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Kids Celebrity Gift Back Packs.
You can view the following Santa Fe Elementary School’s Peace March with Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, SemiFreddi’s, Trader Joe’s, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, Marshawn Lynch’s “Fam1ly F1rst” and Leon Powe’s “Fresh Start Oakland”:
Santa Fe Elementary School’s Peace March with Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation
Santa Fe Elementary Little Caesars Pizza Part 1
Santa Fe Elementary Little Caesars Pizza Part 2
Here’s the ABC-TV broadcast of our “Community Movement Toward Improvement” Music Conference in Oakland, California featuring MC Hammer, Martin Wyatt-KGO TV, Mohammed (MTV Real World-SF), Sway, Imani, Davey D, Raphael Saadiq- Tony Toni Tone, Greg Khalid Peck- Warner Bros,Karen Lee- Warner Bros Music, Eric B, Rico Cassanova, Abdul-Jalil,Tony Collins- Giant Records, Anita Greathouse-Knight, Gene Shelton, Lenny Williams,Thembisa Mshaka, Roy Tesfaye-Death Row Records shown in ABC-TV news clip.
Here’s the “I Know You’ll Love Oakland” Commercial for the City of Oakland Image Campaign.
Here’s Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson’s City Urban Economic Development Conference Commercial:
Here’s the link to the YouTube video from radio station KPFA’s July 17, 2010 broadcast with Tom Frainier, a Haas boardmember and owner of SemiFreddis; with Cal Haas Business School student Gian “G” Pepe of Pepe International/Little Napoli Resturant/Carmel Bakery discussing Haas School of Business, the Y.E.A.H. Program, The Bread Project and giving back to the community. The video includes lots of good stuff on the Bread Project with some very appetizing shots of their products and it will make you hungry for some of your delectable wares upon watching! All the folks at Haas Business School have been in love with it for some time now.
Dr. Kenya Numan discuss AMWF relief missions to Haiti on KPFA Radio Part 1, https://youtu.be/GsgrngbfHn8
Dr. Kenya Numan discuss AMWF relief missions to Haiti on KPFA Radio Part 2, https://youtu.be/HGsdfrxvPZE
Dr. Kenya Numan discuss AMWF relief missions to Haiti on KPFA Radio Part 3, https://youtu.be/IK-g9wSqiyo
Dr. Kenya Numan discuss AMWF relief missions to Haiti on KPFA Radio Part 4, https://youtu.be/w1r4Kwc-wpQ
We pray to God you and your Families are well, your health is robust, business is thriving, everything is perfect and stay in God’s Love, Grace, Guidance and Mercy.
“DRIVE To End Food Insecurity!”
AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION, (AMWF) AMWF is looking for groups and organizations in Northern California willing to expand their reach into the communities with a FREE Food Ministry and interested expanding in Hayward, Fremont, Santa Clara, and San Jose EVERY Faith Serving organization should, MUST, have a FREE Food Program or they are not serving the community! From our 64 years experience and the many FREE Food Programs that we sponsor at the various locations, we can not afford to overlook those in need in ANY community! There is a VERY DIRE NEED going ignored in this area of ALL our communities nationwide! LET’S CHANGE THIS IMMEDIATELY!!
If you have a program and want to begin a FREE Food Program, just contact us and let’s get it going ASAP!!! We are prepared to help you no matter where you are located to start a FREE Food Program in your area!
The program provides lunch, pastries, beverages, flowers and groceries of all types including meat, fish, poultry, halal, kosher, organic, all natural, gluten free, sugar free, etc.! The giveaway accommodates over 300 families! This is one of 20 locations for the Free Food Programs of the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation serving over 30,000 people per month!
The events served over 250 families with over $20,000 worth of food in just 2 hours! They now want to have their own permanent weekly Free Farmers Market!
See our video:
Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Free Food Program Celebrity Giving Back really catered to everyone Saturday, August 6, 2011 at the “Oakland’s Got Talent” event at DeFermery Park. We distributed $25,000 worth of groceries FREE to ALL that came, “Fresh Start” Backpack Giveaway with 5,000 FREE Backpacks filled with school supplies, haircuts, manicures, health services, picnic Bar-B-Q lunch, games, entertainment, etc.
AMWF is beginning it’s “”DRIVE To End Food Insecurity!” with our phone campaign that will be calling YOU!. This is our national effort to raise the badly needed $135,000 to purchase the refrigerated truck, freezer, and vans. We are looking for INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS, CHURCHES, OR ORGANIZATIONS TO RAISE $15,000 EACH TO DONATE TO THIS EFFORT!! YOU SHOULD EXPECT A PHONE CALL,EMAIL AND TEXT FROM US IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS RESQUESTING FOR YOUR COMMITMENT AND SUPPORT!!!
This is part of an overall effort to raise a total of $135,000 to include trucks, Apple computers, and equipment to better serve the ever expanding needy of Northern California with our Free Food Distributorship, first of it’s kind at this level! This is MAJOR!! We can put a possible END to food insecurity in the Bay Area, and serve as a model nationwide! Read it and let us know if or how you may be able to help us, we NEED IT!
We have a Food Truck to provide hot meals to the needy, at homeless locations weekly, but it needs repair! We recently took our large 2002 Ford E250XL cargo van in for repair and found out that it needs a new engine for $5,600 (over 260,000 miles) and after that repair of we can expect a transmission rebuild.We are interested in obtaining 2 cargo or passenger vans with removable seats, an SUV with removable seats or large pick up truck with a camper shell for pickup and delivery of FREE food, clothing and supplies for a National organization that serves the needy, under privileged, disadvantaged and disabled persons. We are also looking for 2 iPhone 10 or newer and the following computer electronics:
1 2019-2020 Mac ProTower 7.1 model, Mac Pro (Rack, 2019), “Quad-Core” 3.2, “18 Core” 3.33, “20 Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 2015-2019 Mac ProTower Xeon Cylinder, 6.1 model, ME253xx/A, MD878xx/A. Tech Specs: Mac Pro (Late 2013), “Quad-Core” 3.2, “10 Core” 3.33, “18 Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 2015-2019 iMac Pro, 6.1 model, “Quad-Core” 3.2, “14 Core” 3.33, “18 Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 2020 Mac Mini model M1, 9.1 MGNR3xx/A, MGNT3xx/A. Tech Specs: Mac mini (M1, 2020), “Quad-Core” 3.2, “Six Core” 3.33, “Twelve Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 2018 Mac Mini model 8.1, MRTR2xx/A, MRTT2xx/A, MXNF2xx/A, MXNG2xx/A. Tech Specs: Mac mini (2018) “Quad-Core” 3.2, “Six Core” 3.33, “Twelve Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 2014 Mac Mini model 7.1, MGEM2xx/A, MGEN2xx/A, MGEQ2xx/A. Tech Specs: Mac mini (Late 2014), “Quad-Core” 3.2, “Six Core” 3.33, “Twelve Core” 2.4, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
2 Apple MacBook Pro 16” Laptop, Core i5-4258U 2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 Apple MacBook Air Laptop, Core i5-5250U, 1.6-GHz processor, 8 GB RAM, 256-GB SSD, running MacOS 11.1 Big Sur and the top software
1 QuickBooks for Mac 2020
1 Comodo Endpoint Security Manager, Protection for 10 Endpoints
1 ClickTime Nonprofit Edition 1-Year Subscription for 10 Users
1 DocuSign Enterprise Edition – Access to Discounted Rates
1 Dropbox Business Advanced – Access to Discounted Rates
1 Enterprise Mobility and Security – Nonprofit Cloud Subscriptions
2 Mobile Hotspots 4G LTE with Internet Service for Nonprofits
Software: Apple Logic Studio 9 Music Production Software, Final Cut Pro, Motion & Compressor, Microsoft Office for Mac, Aperture 3, FileMaker Pro, Pro Tools, Pixelmator, Adobe Photoshop Elements CSS, QuickTime Pro, Toast Pro, Acrobat Pro, Dragon, Dreamweaver, After affects, Painter, Studio Artist, REASONS
1 Hosted VPS with email serices
1 Hosted VoIP Phone Service – Access to Discounted Rates
When the temperature drops, most pWhen the temperature drops, most people reach into their closet and pull out a coat. However, for those who don’t have a closet or even a coat, cold weather just means more misery. It’s particularly bad on those assembled along the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Black Hills. Many are Native Americans in unthinkable poverty! In an effort to alleviate that misery and make a small, but significant difference in the lives of children and adults in need, Barry Barkan and the Live Oak Institute, Ashoka Foundation, and Jewish Congregation Beth El; the Berkeley Masjid and their neighbors; and the AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION, (AMWF)formed a “One Warm Coat Drive”!
The project started as a result of a conversation between Barry Barkan and Abdul-Jalil in front of the Masjid during the weekly Jumaah “Free Farmers Market” Food Giveaway at the Berkeley Masjid in Berkeley, Ca, iA.The effort was facilitated by Dr. M. Yusuf Sheikh and Gamil Serajuddin at the Masjid.
We received hundreds of items, and cash donations that was used to buy more goods, that was trucked to Concord, packed and sent off to those in need.
This simple idea of collecting coats and distributing them to those who need them will stretch on through December, maybe longer.
Now, AMWF wants to have individuals, retailers, schools or businesses to host a Warm Coat Drive. You can host your area collection with local residents by having a collection box at a Starbucks, at the Park, at churches, at the YMCA, your local business, Community Center or Religious Organization. We can arrange to stop by several times a week to pick up the donations. We will also accept cash donations.
AMWF has set a goal of collecting 2,000 warm items this year with our wish list of all clean, reusable or new warm items including: coats, blankets, hats, scarves, sweats and other warm items in any and all sizes, infant through adult.
How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti and Built Six Homes
Even as the group has publicly celebrated its work, insider accounts detail a string of failures
by Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR
THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF CAMPECHE sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.
In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.
Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.
The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.
The group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.
The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.
After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to “develop brand-newcommunities.” None has ever been built.
Aid organizations from around the world have struggled after the earthquake in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. But ProPublica and NPR’s investigation shows that many of the Red Cross’s failings in Haiti are of its own making. They are also part of a larger pattern in which the organization has botched delivery of aid after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Despite its difficulties, the Red Cross remains the charityof choice for ordinary Americans and corporations alike after natural disasters.
One issue that has hindered the Red Cross’ work in Haiti is an overreliance on foreigners who could not speak French or Creole, current and former employees say.
In a blistering 2011 memo, the then-director of the Haiti program, Judith St. Fort, wrote that the group was failing in Haiti and that senior managers had made “very disturbing” remarks disparaging Haitian employees. St. Fort, who is Haitian American, wrote that the comments included, “he is the only hard working one among them” and “the ones that we have hired are not strong so we probably should not pay close attention to Haitian CVs.”
The Red Cross won’t disclose details of how it has spent the hundreds of millions of dollars donated for Haiti. But our reporting shows that less money reached those in need than the Red Cross has said.
Lacking the expertise to mount its own projects, the Red Cross ended up giving much of the money to other groups to do the work. Those groups took out a piece of every dollar to cover overhead and management. Even on the projects done by others, the Red Cross had its own significant expenses – in one case, adding up to a third of the project’s budget.
Where did the half billion raised for Haiti go? The Red Cross won’t say.
In statements, the Red Cross cited the challenges all groups have faced in post-quake Haiti, including the country’s dysfunctional land title system.
“Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges,” the charity said.
The group said it responded quickly to internal concerns, including hiring an expert to train staff on cultural competency after St. Fort’s memo. While the group won’t provide a breakdown of its projects, the Red Cross said it has done more than 100. The projects include repairing 4,000 homes, giving several thousand families temporary shelters, donating $44 million for food after the earthquake, and helping fund the construction of a hospital.
“Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross,” McGovern wrote in a recent report marking the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.
In other promotional materials, the Red Cross said it has helped “more than 4.5 million” individual Haitians “get back on their feet.”
It has not provided details to back up the claim. And Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister at the time of the earthquake, doubts the figure, pointing out the country’s entire population is only about 10 million.
“No, no,” Bellerive said of the Red Cross’ claim, “it’s not possible.”
When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, the Red Cross was facing a crisis of its own. McGovern had become chief executive just 18 months earlier, inheriting a deficit and an organization that had faced scandals after 9/11 and Katrina.
Inside the Red Cross, the Haiti disaster was seen as “a spectacular fundraising opportunity,” recalled one former official who helped organize the effort. Michelle Obama, the NFL and a long list of celebrities appealed for donations to the group.
The Red Cross kept soliciting money well after it had enough for the emergency relief that is the group’s stock in trade. Doctors Without Borders, in contrast, stopped fundraising off the earthquake after it decided it had enough money. The donations to the Red Cross helped the group erase its more-than $100 million deficit.
The Red Cross ultimately raised far more than any other charity.
A year after the quake, McGovern announced that the Red Cross would use the donations to make a lasting impact in Haiti.
We asked the Red Cross to show us around its projects in Haiti so we could see the results of its work. It declined. So earlier this year we went to Campeche to see one of the group’s signature projects for ourselves.
Street vendors in the dusty neighborhood immediately pointed us to Jean Jean Flaubert, the head of a community group that the Red Cross set up as a local sounding board.
Sitting with us in their sparse one-room office, Flaubert and his colleagues grew angry talking about the Red Cross. They pointed to the lack of progress in the neighborhood and the healthy salaries paid to expatriate aid workers.
“What the Red Cross told us is that they are coming here to change Campeche. Totally change it,” said Flaubert. “Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about. I think the Red Cross is working for themselves.”
The Red Cross’ initial plan said the focus would be building homes — an internal proposalput the number at 700. Each would have finished floors, toilets, showers, even rainwater collection systems. The houses were supposed to be finished in January 2013.
None of that ever happened. Carline Noailles, who was the project’s manager in Washington, said it was endlessly delayed because the Red Cross “didn’t have the know-how.”
Another former official who worked on the Campeche project said, “Everything takes four times as long because it would be micromanaged from DC, and they had no development experience.”
Shown an English-language press release from the Red Cross website, Flaubert was stunned to learn of the project’s $24 million budget — and that it is due to end next year.
“Not only is [the Red Cross] not doing it,” Flaubert said, “now I’m learning that the Red Cross is leaving next year. I don’t understand that.” (The Red Cross says it did tell community leaders about the end date. It also accused us of “creating ill will in the community which may give rise to a security incident.”)
The project has since been reshaped and downscaled. A road is being built. Some existing homes have received earthquake reinforcement and a few schools are being repaired. Some solar street lights have been installed, though many broke and residents say others are unreliable.
The group’s most recent press release on the project cites achievements such as training school children in disaster response.
The Red Cross said it has to scale back its housing plans because it couldn’t acquire the rights to land. No homes will be built.
Other Red Cross infrastructure projects also fizzled.
A Red Cross effort to save Haitians from cholera was crippled by internal issues. “None of these people had to die,” said a Haitian official.
In January 2011, McGovern announced a $30 million partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. The agency would build roads and other infrastructure in at least two locations where the Red Cross would build new homes.
But it took more than two and a half years, until August 2013, for the Red Cross just to sign an agreement with USAID on the program, and even that was for only one site. The program was ultimately canceled because of a land dispute.
A Government Accountability Office report attributed the severe delays to problems “in securing land title and because of turnover in Red Cross leadership” in its Haiti program.
Other groups also ran into trouble with land titles and other issues. But they also ultimately built 9,000 homes compared to the Red Cross’ six.
Asked about the Red Cross’ housing projects in Haiti, David Meltzer, the group’s general counsel and chief international officer, said changing conditions forced changes in plans. “If we had said, ‘All we’re going to do is build new homes,’ we’d still be looking for land,” he said.
The USAID project’s collapse left the Red Cross grasping for ways to spend money earmarked for it.
“Any ideas on how to spend the rest of this?? (Besides the wonderful helicopter idea?),” McGovern wrote to Meltzer in a November 2013 email obtained by ProPublica and NPR. “Can we fund Conrad’s hospital? Or more to PiH[Partners in Health]? Any more shelter projects?”
It’s not clear what helicopter idea McGovern was referring to or if it was ever carried out. The Red Cross would say only that her comments were “grounded in the American Red Cross’ strategy and priorities, which focus on health and housing.”
Another signature project, known in Creole as “A More Resilient Great North,” is supposed to rehabilitate roads in poor, rural communities and to help them get clean water and sanitation.
But two years after it started, the $13 million effort has been faltering badly. An internal evaluation from March found residents were upset because nothing had been done to improve water access or infrastructure or to make “contributions of any sort to the well being of households,” the report said.
The Red Cross says 91% of donations went to help Haitians. That’s not true.
Instead of making concrete improvements to living conditions, the Red Cross has launched hand-washing education campaigns. The internal evaluation noted that these were “not effective when people had no access to water and no soap.” (The Red Cross declined to comment on the project.)
The group’s failures went beyond just infrastructure.
When a cholera epidemic raged through Haiti nine months after the quake, the biggest part of the Red Cross’ response — a plan to distribute soap and oral rehydration salts — was crippled by “internal issues that go unaddressed,” wrote the director of the Haiti program in her May 2011 memo.
Throughout that year, cholera was a steady killer. By September 2011, when the death toll had surpassed 6,000, the project was still listed as “very behind schedule” according to another internal document.
The Red Cross said in a statement that its cholera response, including a vaccination campaign, has continued for years and helped millions of Haitians.
But while other groups also struggled early responding to cholera, some performed well.
“None of these people had to die. That’s what upsets me,” said Paul Christian Namphy, a Haitian water and sanitation official who helped lead the effort to fight cholera. He says early failures by the Red Cross and other NGOs had a devastating impact. “These numbers should have been zero.”
So why did the Red Cross’ efforts fall so short? It wasn’t just that Haiti is a hard place to work.
“They collected nearly half a billion dollars,” said a congressional staffer who helped oversee Haiti reconstruction. “But they had a problem. And the problem was that they had absolutely no expertise.”
Lee Malany was in charge of the Red Cross’ shelter program in Haiti starting in 2010. He remembers a meeting in Washington that fall where officials did not seem to have any idea how to spend millions of dollars set aside for housing. Malany says the officials wanted to know which projects would generate good publicity, not which projects would provide the most homes.
“When I walked out of that meeting I looked at the people that I was working with and said, ‘You know this is very disconcerting, this is depressing,’” he recalled.
The Red Cross said in a statement its Haiti program has never put publicity over delivering aid.
Malany resigned the next year from his job in Haiti. “I said there’s no reason for me to stay here. I got on the plane and left.”
Sometimes it wasn’t a matter of expertise, but whether anybody was filling key jobs. An April 2012 organizational chart obtained by ProPublica and NPR lists 9 of 30 leadership positions in Haiti as vacant, including slots for experts on health and shelter.
The Red Cross said vacancies and turnover were inevitable because of “the security situation, separation from family for international staff, and the demanding nature of the work.”
The constant upheaval took a toll. Internal documents refer to repeated attempts over years to “finalize” and “complete” a strategic plan for the Haiti program, efforts that were delayed by changes in senior management. As late as March 2014, more than four years into a six-year program, an internal update cites a “revised strategy” still awaiting “final sign-off.”
The Red Cross said settling on a plan early would have been a mistake. “It would be hard to create the perfect plan from the beginning in a complicated place like Haiti,” it said. “But we also need to begin, so we create plans that are continually revised.”
The Red Cross says it provided homes to more than 130,000 Haitians. But they didn’t.
Those plans were further undermined by the Red Cross’ reliance on expats. Noailles, the Haitian development professional who worked for the Red Cross on the Campeche project, said expat staffers struggled in meetings with local officials.
“Going to meetings with the community when you don’t speak the language is not productive,” she said. Sometimes, she recalled, expat staffers would skip such meetings altogether.
The Red Cross said it has “made it a priority to hire Haitians” despite lots of competition for local professionals, and that over 90 percent of its staff is Haitian. The charity said it used a local human resources firm to help.
Yet very few Haitians have made it into the group’s top echelons in Haiti, according to five current and former Red Cross staffers as well as staff lists obtained by ProPublica and NPR.
That not only affected the group’s ability to work in Haiti, it was also expensive.
According to an internal Red Cross budgeting document for the project in Campeche, the project manager – a position reserved for an expatriate – was entitled to allowances for housing, food and other expenses, home leave trips, R&R four times a year, and relocation expenses. In all, it added up to $140,000.
Compensation for a senior Haitian engineer — the top local position — was less than one-third of that, $42,000 a year.
Shelim Dorval, a Haitian administrator who worked for the Red Cross coordinating travel and housing for expatriate staffers, recalled thinking it was a waste to spend so much to bring in people with little knowledge of Haiti when locals were available.
“For each one of those expats, they were having high salaries, staying in a fancy house, and getting vacation trips back to their countries,” Dorval said. “A lot of money was spent on those people who were not Haitian, who had nothing to do with Haiti. The money was just going back to the United States.”
Soon after the earthquake, McGovern, the Red Cross CEO, said the group would make sure donors knew exactly what happened to their money.
The Red Cross would “lead the effort in transparency,” she pledged. “We are happy to share the way we are spending our dollars.”
That hasn’t happened. The Red Cross’ public reports offer only broad categories about where $488 million in donations has gone. The biggest category is shelter, at about $170 million. The others include health, emergency relief and disaster preparedness.
It has declined repeated requests to disclose the specific projects, to explain how much money went to each or to say what the results of each project were.
There is reason to doubt the Red Cross’ claims that it helped 4.5 million Haitians. An internal evaluation found that in some areas, the Red Cross reported helping more people than even lived in the communities. In other cases, the figures were low, and in others double-counting went uncorrected.
In describing its work, the Red Cross also conflates different types of aid, making it more difficult to assess the charity’s efforts in Haiti.
For example, while the Red Cross says it provided more than 130,000 people with homes, that includes thousands of people who were not actually given homes, but rather were “trained in proper construction techniques.” (That was first reported by the Haiti blog of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.)
The figure includes people who got short-term rental assistance or were housed in several thousand “transitional shelters,” which are temporary structures that can get eaten up by termites or tip over in storms. It also includes modest improvements on 5,000 temporary shelters.
The Red Cross also won’t break down what portion of donations went to overhead.
McGovern told CBS News a few months after the quake, “Minus the 9 cents overhead, 91 cents on the dollar will be going to Haiti. And I give you my word and my commitment, I’m banking my integrity, my own personal sense of integrity on that statement.”
But the reality is that less money went to Haiti than 91 percent. That’s because in addition to the Red Cross’ 9 percent overhead, the other groups that got grants from the Red Cross also have their own overhead.
In one case, the Red Cross sent $6 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross for rental subsidies to help Haitians leave tent camps. The IFRC then took out 26 percent for overhead and what the IFRC described as program-related “administration, finance, human resources” and similar costs.
Beyond all that, the Red Cross also spends another piece of each dollar for what it describes as “program costs incurred by the American Red Cross in managing” the projects done by other groups.
The American Red Cross’ management and other costs consumed an additional 24 percent of the money on one project, according to the group’s statements and internal documents. The actual work, upgrading shelters, was done by the Swiss and Spanish Red Cross societies.
“It’s a cycle of overhead,” said Jonathan Katz, the Associated Press reporter in Haiti at the time of the earthquake who tracked post-disaster spending for his book, The Big Truck That Went By. “It was always going to be the American Red Cross taking a 9 percent cut, re-granting to another group, which would take out their cut.”
Given the results produced by the Red Cross’ projects in Haiti, Bellerive, the former prime minister, said he has a hard time fathoming what’s happened to donors’ money.
“Five hundred million dollars in Haiti is a lot of money,” he said. “I’m not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. I know more or less the cost of things. Unless you don’t pay for the gasoline the same price I was paying, unless you pay people 20 times what I was paying them, unless the cost of the house you built was five times the cost I was paying, it doesn’t add up for me.”
This story was co-published with NPR. Mitzy-Lynn Hyacinthe contributed reporting. Design direction by David Sleight, production by Hannah Birch.
In 2004, I was just starting my first full-time job in a Washington newsroomwhen disaster struck. It was on the other side of the world: an extraordinarily powerful earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, that triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean. But thanks to CNN it felt like the anguish and terror were happening in the next cubicle. I still remember the fear on the fishermen’s faces and watching mothers cry as they searched for their children in the waves. Powerless, eager to help, I did the only thing I could think of: I went online and sent $20 to the American Red Cross.
Thirteen years later, we’re watching another disaster, this time much closer to home. Tropical Storm Harvey, supercharged by a freakishly warm Gulf of Mexico, has slammed into the Texas coast and is now running a dayslong conveyor belt carrying trillions of gallons of water from the ocean to the sky to the bayous and streets of Houston. Highways have become rivers in America’s fourth-largest city. Apartment complexes are filling up like bathtubs. Dams are nearing failure. Thousands have had to be rescued from the still-rising floodwaters in the overbuilt, improperly drained city. The scariest part is that, with the water still rising, no one can really know how bad the damage has been so far or what is to come. Once again, most of us outside the zone feel powerless but want to help. Once again, leaders and noble souls are telling us the best way to do so is to turn to the best known, most bipartisanly loved brand in humanitarian relief.
But I won’t be donating to the Red Cross this time. And after years of reporting on and inside some of the biggest disasters of the decade and change, I know what a costly mistake the focus on donating anywhere can be.
Part of the problem is the American Red Cross’ track record when it comes to disasters. It isn’t great. I learned this best in Haiti, where I survived the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake and ran the Associated Press bureau from 2007 until 2011. When the earthquake struck, killing an estimated 100,000 to 316,000 people, American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern’s staff swung into action doing what it does best: raising money. Their appeal to “save lives,” aided by endorsements from President Obama and celebrities, and fueled by a pioneering text message campaign, raised a staggering $488 million.
It quickly became clear that the organization’s biggest problem would be figuring out what to do with all that cash. The U.S. chapter had just three full-time staff in Haiti at the time of the disaster. Though it soon sent more, and subcontracted staff from the local Haitian Red Cross, the truth was that there wasn’t all that much they could do: ARC isn’t a medical aid group à la Doctors Without Borders. It doesn’t do development work or specialize in rebuilding destroyed neighborhoods. What it does best is provide immediate assistance—often in the form of blankets, hygiene kits, or temporary shelter—and as incredibly destructive as the earthquake was, there wasn’t half a billion dollars of tarps and hygiene kits to hand out. Staffers came up with all kinds of creative ways to unload the money, including handing it off to other aid groups that could use it better (after ARC had taken its customary 9 percent administrative cut). As it became increasingly clear that the entire earthquake response, from the lowliest neighborhood to the top floor of the United Nations Secretariat—had been a failure, ARC found itself scrambling to explain why the half a billion dollars it took hadn’t made a substantive difference in survivors’ lives. “There’s only so much money that can be forced through the emergency phase,” an ARC spokeswoman told me when I asked how it was possible that just a third of the money it had raised had even been committed, much less spent, two years later.
What no one at the organization bothered to do was explain to the public—in Haiti or back in the States—that it had never needed anywhere near that much money in the first place. (In contrast, some NGOs state their fundraising goals in advance and cap or redirect donations once they have exceeded those amounts.)
ARC was roundly blasted in the U.S. for its shambolic response to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, with international observers warning that elements were so bad that they verged on criminal wrongdoing. Seven years later, despite an internal retooling effort, it failed again in 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. (The response was “worse than the storm,” one Red Cross driver told ProPublica during its jaw-dropping investigation.) Typically, the organization has had more success responding to small-scale disasters; it’s common to hear stories people tell of the blankets and compassion they got from Red Cross volunteers after house fires. But even there, they’ve been getting into trouble: ARC’s 2015 response to a string of northern California wildfires was so bad—showing up unequipped and unprepared, shutting down other volunteer operations, and then failing to provide promised food or shelter on its own—that locals shunned the organization to focus on their own relief efforts.
Worse than what we know is what we don’t. The ARC, which boasts annual revenues of more than $2.6 billion, is notoriously opaque when it comes to what it does with the money it raises for disasters. It has never produced a meaningful breakdown of its spending after the Haiti earthquake. If you look at RedCross.org right now, you’ll see a prominent link inviting you to “make a difference” by donating to its Harvey effort. But nowhere does it say what it will do with the money. A tiny video shows empty cots in a shelter.
When I emailed and called the organization’s full-time media relations department Sunday and Monday asking how much it had raised so far, how much it thought the group might need, and what Red Cross volunteers and staff were doing in the response to Hurricane Harvey, I eventually got back this reply: “At this point in our active disaster response, we are unable to answer your questions by your deadline. Thank you for understanding.” I followed up again. A few hours later, the organization sent a second note saying it was providing food, cots, blankets, and other support to 6,000 people in various shelters across the region—again with no information about the cost or money raised so far.
It isn’t just journalists who get the shaft. ARC’s leaders have misled Congress. In a scathing 2015 report, the federal Government Accountability Office noted that “no regular, independent evaluations are conducted of the impact or effectiveness of the Red Cross’s disaster services.”
As ProPublica’s Justin Elliott has reported, many of these issues are the result of a team of former AT&T executives taking over a complex organization—one that manages tasks as critical and disparate as blood-banking and providing resources to military families, while operating in a blurred, neither-fish-nor-fowl zone with some of the privileges of a government agency (such as free rent for its D.C. headquarters) but the moneymaking latitude and lack of oversight of a private corporation.
ARC and its defenders sometimes protest that there’s too much focus on them; that scores of other actors have also failed in their responses to the same disasters. In part, that’s just the other side of the double-edged sword that comes with having a higher profile than others and raising far more money than anyone else—for being, as McGovern likes to say, “a brand to die for.”
But in another way, they are entirely right. There is too much focus on the ARC in disasters such as Harvey, in a way that goes beyond any one organization. The way our society handles disasters—first the calamity; then the outpouring of sympathy and donations; then the long, slow rebuild—is wrong. As humans have long known, it is easier, cheaper, and better to mitigate or prevent disasters from happening than to rescue victims and rebuild after them. We’ve known for centuries about the threat of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts have warned for years that the Texas coast needed to make serious investments to prepare for nigh-inevitable storms, including preparing mitigation specifically for intense, unprecedented floods worsened in part by climate change. It seems that some, including many of Houston’s hospitals, heeded those warnings and are benefiting from the preparation. Other sectors did not. At a systemic level, instead of taking those threats seriously, Texans elected a governor who distorts facts about climate change. Americans picked a president who—days before this disaster and moments before rushing to the defense of rampaging neo-Nazis—announced in front of his gilded elevator that he was scrapping federal construction standards that had required new projects to account for climate change’s effect on storms like Harvey.
Local news organizations in Texas are maintaining lists of organizations, both local and run by the Red Cross, where those affected by the storm can get help and those inclined can send donations. Experts and experience say that, if you are going to donate to anyone from outside the disaster zone, send cash, not stuff. Boxes full of food, clothes, or other stuff will clog up supply lines and as likely as not go unused.
Yet the hard reality is that we still don’t know what the needs in Houston and other parts of Texas or Louisiana are going to be or who will be best to respond to them. Millions of people are still in the middle of the storm, with the National Hurricane Center warning that some areas could get double the already awe-inducing amounts of rain they’ve already received. Survivors, in other words, haven’t even gotten past the emergency to take stock of the damage and really begin the difficult relief phase; if this was an earthquake, the ground would still be shaking.
It is difficult for rescuers to get in. There is nowhere for most people to go. While there are heroic efforts going on right now by locals and neighbors to save as many as they can from the floods—efforts that authorities should encourage and help coordinate—the hard, frustrating reality is that there is not very much an untrained outsider can do to help once a complex disaster has begun. And with, at a bare minimum, hundreds of billions of dollars in damage expected and future storms on the way, the costs in cleaning up this mess and getting people back into their old lives again are going to be astronomical, on the level that only wealthy and powerful governments, and the combined power of their citizenry, will be able to address.
Some people get personally offended by talk like this. They are seeing pain, they are being generous, and they hope it might help—just like I did watching the pictures from Indonesia from my cubicle years ago. The people suffering in this storm deserve all of that and more. But what you learn when you really dive into these situations is that momentary intentions, no matter how kind, are not enough—not on this scale. Those past, ineffective, and opaque disaster responses, from Haiti to New Jersey to the Gulf Coast, have created a legacy of mistrust, not only of the Red Cross but of the entire humanitarian aid apparatus its iconic brand represents. We can’t afford to do that again.
If we really care about the people of Houston and the rest of the Gulf Coast, we have to commit fully to a combined, sustained, serious response to recover and rebuild—meaning lots of money, lots of attention to helping those areas adapt for the future, and lots of concern for the people who we know are most vulnerable. We all need to come together to prevent future disasters, whether the growing risk of a major Oklahoma earthquake, a Caribbean tsunami, and especially the many threats we face from climate change. The sooner we acknowledge and act on that and stop debating the best place to send $20, the better off all of us will be.
Kobe Bryant Supports Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation
Kobe Bryant Primary Position: General Partner, Bryant Stibel In 1991, Bryant started his basketball career when he played for his high school team at Lower Merion High School. In 1996, he was drafted into National Basketball Association (NBA) by the Charlotte Hornets and was subsequently traded to Los Angeles Lakers. In 1997, he founded Kobe Family Entertainment, an entertainment company. In 2013, he co-founded Bryant Stibel, a venture capital firm. In 2014, he founded Kobe Incorporated, a venture capital firm that majorly invests in sports industry. In April 2016, he played his last match game.
GIVING HISTORY Philanthropic donor gives primarily to healthcare causes. Lifetime giving exceeds $10,000. Notable gifts include: At least $10,000 to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and at least $1,000 to Children`s Hospital Orange County (CHOC). He has also donated to American Red Cross, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation and Dream Foundation; exact donations made are unclear. Founder of the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and families in need, and encouraging young people to stay active through sports. The foundation operates Mamba Football Club, a youth soccer club in Orange County, California that teaches young athletes how to become leaders and independent thinkers. The foundation has partnered with several Los Angeles, California-based organizations including Step Up on Second, My Friend’s Place and United Way. He has reportedly granted undisclosed amount to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Center for Abused Children, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center. He is actively involved with NBA Cares. He has reportedly supported the victims of the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, earthquake in China and Haiti and the disaster in Japan. He has also established the international youth scholarships for the Kobe Basketball Academy. In 2009, he partnered with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation to launch the Kobe China Fund as his first global charitable initiative to raise funds and awareness for education and health program. He is a corporate sponsor of the Scholastic Sports Network. Bryant is the Honorary Chair of the United Way’s HomeWalk.
SHOP AMAZON AND SAVE WHILE YOU SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS TO HELP OTHERS!!
Marshawn Lynch is closely tied to the Oakland Community.
The giveaway will take place this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interested parties should go to Lynch’s Beast Mode store in Oakland, where the first 2,000 kids to show up will receive tickets.
Check out the full rundown, sent from Lynch’s Twitter account:
It’s a generous move on Lynch’s part, especially considering that one junior admission pass to Raging Waters San Jose costs $28.99, meaning $58,000 worth of tickets are being handed out.
Children have always been at the forefront of Lynch’s philanthropy. The running back once gave out free haircuts to Seattle kids with good grades, and he’s been holding his summer clinic, the “Fam 1st Family Youth Football Camp,” for more than a decade.
With less than three months remaining before the start of the NFL season, Lynch is expected to be an important contributor on a Raiders team that went 12-4 in 2016. He saw his last professional action two years ago, when he rushed for 417 yards in 6 games for the Seattle Seahawks.