A small silver lining can be found in the generosity of the world's people in response to the Haitian earthquake and subsequent humanitarian crisis. The Center on Philanthropy reports that as of today, American have pledged $519.5 million to 76 charities providing aid in Haiti. President Obama recently signed a bill allowing taxpayers to deduct cash donations to Haitian earthquake relief on their 2009 tax returns. Donations must be made after January 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010 and cannot be designated for the benefit of specific individuals or families. Ordinarily, taxpayers would need to wait until next year to report those deductions.
The BBB reminds donors to be prudent about making charitable donations. We recommend that donors not respond to spam messages and emails that claim to link to relief organizations. Also, please be wary of emails from people claiming to be victims of the earthquake. People involved in the disaster are simply not able to get online right now. For more tips on making wise giving choices, please check out the BBB's publication on How to Vet Haiti Earthquake Charity Appeals. For a list of nationally accredited charities providing relief, you can click here.