Donate Millions for Quake Aid - 30th December 2004
(Credit: AP - Forbes)
U.S. corporations are donating
millions of dollars in cash and supplies to victims
of the tsunamis along the Indian Ocean, easily
eclipsing the initial $35 million in aid earmarked
by the U.S. government.
addition to cash, donations of everything from
diapers, antibiotics, frequent-flier miles and
a gel called OdorScreen meant to curb the stench
of decaying bodies are on the way to the region
in the wake of earthquake-fueled waves that have
claimed more than 117,000 lives in Asia, India
final tally is yet to be known, but it's clear
the Red Cross and other aid groups are experiencing
perhaps the largest surge in donations since the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the string
of hurricanes that hit Florida and the Caribbean
volume (of donations) that they're seeing in the
last few days is several times what they saw during
the hurricanes, which was several times what they
see on a normal day," said Charlie Cumbaa,
a vice president at Blackbaud Inc., which makes
software used by the Red Cross and many other
aid agencies to process donations.
the biggest corporate givers are Pfizer Inc.,
which is donating $10 million in cash and $25
million worth of drugs to relief agencies; The
Coca-Cola Co., which is donating $10 million;
Exxon Mobil Corp., which is giving $5 million;
and Citigroup Inc., which is contributing $3 million.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged
and health-care products companies were among
the biggest givers.
& Co. Inc. is giving $3 million in cash while
Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories
Inc. are each donating $2 million; each of the
three are also sending drugs and other health
care supplies to the region. Bristol-Myers Squibb
Co. is donating $1 million in cash and $4 million
in antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Roche Group
and GlaxoSmithKline PLC were also planning to
donate supplies and/or cash.
Inc., American Express Co., General Electric Co.
and First Data Corp. are each giving $1 million.
some corporations with operations in the countries
struggling with the disaster, their far-flung
enterprises are serving as quick supply routes
makers with offices or plants in the region sent
employees out with antibiotics, nutritional supplements,
infant formula, baby food and other supplies.
Employees of companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo
Inc. and Marriott International Inc. hotels in
the region are delivering bottled water, food
and other supplies.
sending whatever they can, as fast as they can,"
said Elaine Palmer, spokeswoman for PepsiCo, which
rushed out Aquafina bottled water from one of
its Indian bottlers and plans to contribute a
minimum of $1 million to the relief effort.
drinking water is one of the items most needed.
Many sources of fresh water, like wells, have
been contaminated by seawater, debris and sewage.
Thailand, Starbucks coffee shops are donating
all of Wednesday's profits to the relief effort.
The company also made an initial contribution
of $100,000 and will donate $2 for every pound
of certain coffees sold in January in the United
States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia
companies are offering to match employee donations
to aid groups and are making it easier for customers
Data's Western Union is offering free money transfers
from U.S. and Canadian donors to the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
had collected about 87,000 donations totaling
more than $5.4 million for the American Red Cross
as of Thursday afternoon.
Inc. is setting up collection containers at all
of its stores, in addition to a $2 million donation
from its foundation.
Inc. has put a link on its home page to relief
groups, and America Online is encouraging members
to donate to Network for Good, an online charity
the Internet-service provider founded along with
Cisco Systems Inc. and Yahoo! Inc.
members donated more than $1 million in less than
48 hours, according to spokesman Nicholas Graham.
York public-relations guru Howard Rubenstein said
an opportunity for some good PR was probably not
the only motivating factor in the corporate outpouring.
think it's a humanitarian instinct," he said.
"And the byproduct would certainly be good
PR for the corporation, and more importantly for
the growing list of donations were some companies
that have suffered bad press recently, including
$200,000 from Computer Associates International
Inc., which has been dealing with an accounting
scandal. Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck
have recently had to deal with stories about increased
risks of heart problems for patients taking their
a company that's had negative PR, I think it will
serve to soften the negative image," said
Rubenstein. "I would urge all companies,
but especially anybody who has made an apology
to the public or who has sustained broadside media
attacks, to consider this. It's another form of
apology and goodwill. But also another form of
Business Writer Linda Johnson in Trenton, N.J.,
contributed to this report.
and Community Entrepreneurs