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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

While Joe Scarborough is hammering the "Obama is an elitist" meme....
Posted by Jill | 5:44 AM
A devastating cyclone hit Myanmar four days ago, but you'd never know it from the cable news, because to them, the most important issue in the world is the Uppity Negro™ (sic) who has the temerity to call a bad policy what it is.

Now it seems the death toll in Myanmar killed at least fifteen thousand 22,464 people, with 30,000 41,000 more missing. Of course Myanmar isn't a beach resort, and there don't seem to be any leggy fashion models injured, so it's not a cable-newsworthy story.

The U.S. government's response has been to punish the ruling junta by sending a mere $250,000 in aid and taking Laura Bush off the Thorazine long enough to chastise the government for not doing enough to warn of the coming cyclone.

Yes, you read that correctly, and no I am not joking. The wife of the president who took four days to visit the Gulf coast and instead conducted photo-ops with a guitar and a birthday cake for John McCain instead is chastising another government for not doing enough to help its citizenry before what we call a hurricane.

When I donate to charitable and relief organizations, I look for those with the least amount of money put into exorbitant executive salaries, fancy offices and other overhead; and that don't plow a sizable percentage of donations back into additional fundraising. In looking for such groups to help the Myanmar relief effort this morning, I found a few of them:

One relief group with a high fund-raising efficiency (and #2 on Forbes' list with 99% charitable services after expenses) that has already issued a press release outlining its efforts is Direct Relief International, which has already contacted its partners in the area about helping.

International Medical Corps is #7 on the Forbes list, with 94% charitable services after expenses). IMC is already targeting donations to Myanmar cyclone relief.

Brother's Brother Foundation, a nonsectarian foundation whose mission is "to promote international health and education through the efficient and effective distribution and provision of donated medical, educational, agricultural and other resources.
All BBF programs are designed to fulfill its mission by connecting people’s resources with people’s needs." They deal primarily in donated medical and related supplies, but also accept cash donations to help purchase containers and pay shipping costs. Forbes Magazine profiled the foundation last December, calling it "as efficient as they come on our list of the country's 200 largest-by-private-donation nonprofits." I don't know what programs they specifically are doing for Myanmar, but you could contact them and find out.

Usually the American National Red Cross is first out of the gate at times like this, but it is one of the least efficient charities. So I thought it'd be worth the investment of time to come up with some where your money actually has a shot at going to help the people who need it instead of the executives running the foundation.

UPDATE: Richard Blair of All Spin Zone has set up a blog dedicated to cyclone relief efforts.


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