Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google, Microsoft, Other Tech Companies Pledge Millions To Haiti

Google, Microsoft, Apple and several other top tech companies have pledge to donate millions of dollars in disaster relief aid to Haiti following the January 12 earthquake.

"In order to help the people of Haiti respond to this catastrophe, Google is donating $1 million to organizations on the ground that are rescuing those still trapped and providing clean water, food, medical care, shelter and support for those affected," Jacquelline Fuller and Prem Ramaswami of the Google Crisis Response Team wrote in an Official Google blog posting.

In addition Google has reached out to the YouTube community for help. A Spotlight on the YouTube homepage drives traffic to videos from Oxfam and the American Red Cross, where you can make donations to relief efforts. 

Microsoft has announced it is making an initial commitment of $1.25 million, which includes cash and in-kind contributions.

Other support efforts include:

  • By activating our Disaster Response team- a dedicated group that plans how our company, people and partners can be mobilized during issues such as this-  through outreach to lead government, inter-government and non-government agencies involved in leading local and global response efforts. We’re currently engaged with humanitarian relief organizations to assess how we can make a difference.  More information on Microsoft Disaster Response is on our Microsoft Corporate Citizenship website.
  • We have issued an appeal to our employees to support the relief organizations working in Haiti – we match our US based employees donations up to a maximum of $12,000 per employee.
  • We are working with impacted customers and partners to help get critical systems up and running.
  • We are helping drive awareness and donations for relief efforts through MSN and Bing.
  • The NetHope Emergency Working Group was activated last night to set up the basic telecommunications communications between the relief agencies operating in the affected areas.
  • The NetHope Haiti Emergency Center (a secure Sharepoint application used by all of the NetHope members) is active and serves as a focal point for all reports, events, contact lists and collaboration.
  • Microsoft is committed to supporting the immediate relief and rescue efforts in Haiti and we are working with our NGO partners to provide the necessary support.

Other tech related organizations that have pledge support include, which has set up a special donation page on its Website, for funneling Haiti-earmarked funds to the Red Cross and World Vision. Apple has also got into the act by placing a "Haiti Earthquake Relief Donate Here" button on iTunes.

Beware Possible Scams

The good in people often brings out the worst in other and there is always someone out there looking to cash in. The FBI has warned that there are several major sites, email scams and other related issue facing potential donors.

People should apply a "critical eye" to requests for financial donations. "Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes," the FBI said in its advisory.

Scam e-mails are already emerging. Symantec noted a so-called 419-style e-mail that purported to come from the British Red Cross. The fake British Red Cross e-mail uses the real London address of the organization, according to Mathew Nisbet, a malware data analyst with Symantec Hosted Services. The contact e-mail for the British Red Cross is wrong, however, and the organization doesn't collect donations using the Western Union money transfer service, either.

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