The Haiti Earthquake Is Devastating. Here’s How to Help

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This organization was formed out of The Haiti Fund, a five-year fund originally established by the Boston Foundation to help respond to the 2010 earthquake. The Haiti Development Institute takes a systemic approach to making long-term changes in rural communities by providing financial and organizational support to vetted Haitian nonprofits already doing good work. (See examples of its successes following the 2016 earthquake here.) 

Its earthquake relief fund is putting resources directly toward local community organizations. “By channeling disaster assistance to local Haitian organizations with roots and boots in the affected communities, we strengthen community institutions that will be there to drive full recovery—from immediate response through reconstruction to prosperity,” according to its site. 

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This local foundation—created and led by Haitians and supported by Open Society Foundations and nonprofit Ayiti Demen—is directing emergency funds toward its network of grassroots partners in the southwest, whom they worked with after 2016’s Hurricane Matthew. This “robust system of grassroots organizations built on Haiti’s traditional models of community, mutual aid, and cooperation” includes small cocoa and dairy farmers and women-run agricultural enterprises, according to Fokal. The first phase of its disaster-relief program includes supporting small, local organizations (serving about 7,000 families) and businesses with cash transfers. 

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This nonprofit, founded by Haitians and Americans in 1994, resources and follows the lead of community groups throughout Haiti. “The Lambi Fund is based on the premise that the Haitian people understand how development is best achieved in their country,” according to Lambi‘s mission statement, and “never dictates to a community organization what should be done.” 

Nearly all of the 60 community organizations that Lambi serves in the impacted southern region have asked for assistance following the earthquake. While these groups are continuing to assess the damage done, Lambi is currently raising money to provide survivors with food, water, and other essentials. 

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Fonkoze is a family of three organizations whose joint mission is to empower Haitians, especially women, to break the generational cycle of poverty: a Haitian microfinance company, a Haitian nonprofit that offers development services (like adult education), and a U.S.-based fundraising arm (three stars on Charity Navigator). Fonkoze says that of the more than 800 people who work there, almost all are Haitian. 

In addition to supporting long-term economic recovery, Fonkoze‘s immediate response includes distributing hygiene kits, providing much-needed loans to local businesses (like traders) to keep the local economy going, and supporting staff affected by the earthquake with cash, hygiene kits, and psychological support following the trauma.

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This nonprofit (three stars on Charity Navigator) works directly with the local grassroots organization Na Rive. When it comes to disaster relief specifically, “Na Rive’s​ know-how and extensive network in food purchasing and distribution, coupled with our fundraising abilities, allow us to respond quickly and effectively…often before larger organizations can get there,” the What If Foundation says. 


Currently Na Rive is coordinating first-response efforts, including setting up food pantries and mobile medical clinics. They are also assessing critical needs in tandem with leaders in the affected communities, developing long-term assistance plans, and working on getting medication and other supplies from the bordering Dominican Republic.

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Soil is a nonprofit organization developing sustainable, economical sanitation services in Haiti. The group has set up an Earthquake Emergency Response fund. “Our long-term presence in Haiti means that we have the community connections, donor trust, and staff capacity to respond to these emergencies,” Soil says. It is delivering emergency aid to affected areas, including hospitals and some of the more remote rural communities impacted, as well as supporting the efforts of other upstanding local organizations.

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