Haiti Telethon Totals Set New Record For Donations

Television Helps Collect More Than $58 Million In Donations

George Clooney and rapper Wyclef Jean raised more than $58 million from the Hope For Haiti Now telethon. The money raised sets a new record for a public telethon where donations are pledged. The preliminary figures exclude donations by corporations and large private donors.

Donations continue to pour in even after the charity event. Apple Inc’s iTunes music sales will also contribute to the final amount. The two-hour special featured more than 100 celebrities and was aired on television networks around the world.

Singers included Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Coldplay, and Bono with his band, U2. Several actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington, took part in answering the telephones from people who pledged. There were related stories of survival from the Haitian earthquake that touched many hearts.

“The public has set a new standard of giving for a relief telethon with Hope for Haiti Now, and the donations continue to come in… people can still contribute 24/7 via phone, web and text,” president and chief executive officer of the Entertainment Industry Foundation Lisa Paulsen said in a statement. The Entertainment Industry Foundation is a non-profit organization providing philanthropic support to Hope for Haiti Now.

Social Networks And Search Engines Offered Pledges

The social network websites also contributed. Facebook and MySpace received several donations that contributed to the funds’ collection. Search engines Yahoo and Google created special banners on their home pages for online users to donate.

The telethon was much bigger than anyone thought. For instance, several cable networks aired the Haiti telethon for 2 hours without commercial interruption. Proceeds from the event will be split among relief organizations, the World Food Program, Oxfam America, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Yele Haiti Foundation.

Banks Reopen In Earthquake Struck Capital

The banks in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti reopened on Saturday. There was a crowd waiting in line after 5 a.m. to make their withdrawals to buy food and shelter. Others needed money to buy clothing.

However, several banks collapsed in the earthquake and won’t be reopening soon. Some branches might not ever reopen again. Banks that had doors to open attracted long lines of anxious and desperate people. The ATM machines haven’t been working since the earthquake.

The most important thing is that the reopening is a significant step forward for Haiti. Haitian officials have counted on the reopening of banks to give businesses a boost and free up money to begin the task of rebuilding the country. More than 112,000 Haitians are reported dead and about 500,000 remain homeless.

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