Coalition of the Giving

Coalition of the Giving (New York Post)

[P]rivate and government donations around the world for victims of earthquake-devastated South Asia passed the $5 billion mark. “This is by far the largest fund-raising event in history,” said John Hartman, vice president of Kintera Inc., an online fund-raising clearinghouse. In America, about $1 billion was raised from private sources, and an estimated three-quarters of that came from online, said Hartman.

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While private and corporate donations continued to pour into charities at an unprecedented pace, they were dwarfed yesterday by huge commitments from Australia and Germany that brought emergency financial aid pledged by governments around the world to $3.7 billion. Australia became the top relief donor with a pledge of $765 million to Indonesia — spread over five years — to help rebuild areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunamis.

Australia’s announcement came just hours after Germany had assumed the top philanthropic spot with a promise of $680 million in emergency aid to be provided over a period of three to five years. In announcing his country’s increased aid package, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insisted “it’s not about who is first in aid-giving. We have no ambitions about our ranking.” He said Western nations could win friends in Asia with their generosity. “This enormous willingness to help — by America, by Europe — makes it clear that the last thing we want is a clash of cultures,” he said.

Japan, which had previously promised the greatest amount of aid — $500 million — indicated it may increase its commitment.

Impressive.

FILED UNDER: Asia,
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