Katrina Fundraising Tops $100 Million

The famously stingy American public has so far contributed over $100 million to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which struck only four days ago.

Contributions Near $100 Million (WaPo, A12)

Less than a week after Hurricane Katrina, American giving to help storm victims has surged past the level raised for South Asia tsunami relief in the same period, nearing the $100 million mark, according to charities and experts. But relief groups and federal officials worked to keep the donations flowing from Americans worried about oil prices and the economy.

President Bush yesterday appointed his father, former president George H.W. Bush, and former president Bill Clinton to spearhead fundraising for hurricane victims, in a reprise of their roles as tsunami money-raisers earlier this year. The American Red Cross, which has raised three-quarters of the total, planned a national direct-mail appeal as it welcomed a $5 million donation from Texas energy baron T. Boone Pickens. Corporations gave one-third of the total so far: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest retailer, has pledged $17 million to the relief effort, the largest corporate donation yet, with chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. delivering the commitment by phone to Clinton, officials said.

Charitable organizations across the country said that while the windfall was beyond anything they had experienced, it represents only a fraction of what will be needed for a rebuilding effort expected to last years. “This is going to be the most massive need we’ve seen in our history,” said Maj. Dalton Cunningham, the Salvation Army’s divisional commander for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. “But the challenge comes when the emotionalism of the event dies.”

The Blogosphere alone has donated $472,000 and counting.

Scott “Smash” Koenig
has proposed a “40 days of sacrifice” solution to raise more money.

Adding up my total tipjar and ad revenue for the past 40 days (going back to July 22), I have a total of $1,467.88 in my account. I’ll round that up to an even $1600.00.

Now here’s the really good news: I just checked with my current employer, and they’re going to match all employee donations (through a special corporate disaster relief fund) up to a total of $100,000 for the whole company.

So, between my beer money, your generous tips, my ad revenue, and my employer’s matching fund we’ll be giving a grand total of $3,200.00 to Hurricane Katrina relief.

Quite generous and I’m sure others will be following suit. I’ve given a few bucks already but will likely do something similar. While my company isn’t doing matching funds, Kim’s is. We just have some details to figure out.

For those who can’t obtain matching funds, though, it may make more sense to donate a smaller amount each month. As noted in the piece above, money is going to be needed for a long time. The devastation from Katrina will only be in the news until the next hot story comes along.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. SMASH says:


    Thanks for the shout-out, but you forgot the link!

  2. bryan says:

    I heard on NPR this afternoon that the total was over $200 million.

  3. Herb says:

    My wife and I are up in years and live on a very tight fixed income. We discussed the Katrina tragedy and decides to make a contribution to the Salvation Army. We did this yesterday.

    A question then came to me: How much could raised if every family in the US contributed $ 20.00 each.

    If anyone with more insight in this could give an answer, please put the answer on this blog. Thank you.

  4. sa says:

    About 300 million people. 4-5 per family. 75-60 million families. 1.5-1.2 billion dollars.

  5. Herb Ely says:

    I’ll bet this total will be much larger after everybody goes to Church on Sunday

  6. KS Huffman says:

    Surely you jest! (Americans are NOT stingy)
    Last year alone Americans donated more than imaginable for relief efforts all around the US and the world. I work at a post office where people ship donated items to Mongolia and the Netherlands, and ofcourse to servicemen and women everywhere, out of simple compassion. I wouldn’t even hesitate to give up of my own abundance for my fellow Americans to make it through the week with hope. Love is all around US!

  7. Tina says:

    I’m not sure, has someone already given an esitmate for how much more will be needed?!