I was thoroughly disgusted by many of the charities and non-profits working in Haiti. For example, there were career aid workers buzzing around in $50,000 SUVs with tinted windows (which I assume were bullet-proof in a largely gun-free country). This wasn’t a singular sighting – they’re everywhere. That’s a hell of a message to send to the people you’re there to help: ‘I’m afraid of you.’Non-profits aren’t any different than corporations in some ways: Our money reinforces their practices. Give $25 to McDonalds and it will strengthen McDonalds’s practices all the way down to the chicken cages. Give $25 to Komen and you know that it’ll reinforce wasteful practices within the bureaucracy.I came away from Haiti certain that the best way to give support is by giving the money directly to an individual. I DON’T KNOW where my money is going when I give it to a large NGO. And I suspect they themselves don’t realize where a lot of their money is in the communities.There are three types of people to whom I feel confident when giving my money: Locals of strong character, aid workers who are particularly passionate, or small organizations run by people whose character I trust.I donate to Haiti Scholarships because I know Alex. I trust her. I’m confident that she genuinely, in her heart, wants other people’s lives to improve. This is an organization I feel good about supporting, and she’s an aid worker I feel good about supporting.Further, I met many of the recipients. I know that they are men and women who are burgeoning community pillars still in the process of learning. I know that my own money is going to one particular guy whose character and values I want to support. I also know, personally, several of the other students and I’m happy that I might be able to support them in becoming positive influences in their communities. There are also many students I don’t know, but I trust Alex’s judgment.
Mike volunteered several months in Haiti in 2011 with All Hands Volunteers. Haiti Scholarships thanks him for his contribution to Haiti Scholarships, not only financial, but also in taking the time to share his thoughts with us!