Interpreting the reaction to Hurricane Sandy.
Yesterday Gina Bellafante of the New York Times ran a piece about the many cause-marketing initiatives being launched in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I found much of the article to be a re-hash of many previous essays about the pros and cons of cause marketing, so I kind of skimmed down the column until my eyes stopped at this:
According to data from Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, three weeks after the storm, $219 million had been collected. Comparatively, at the same point, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, $1.3 billion had been raised; at the same point after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, $610 million. The figure for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was $752 million.
One explanation for this disparity is that donors presumably have been less moved to help victims who seem largely middle class and white — the residents of Staten Island, Breezy Point in Queens and the Jersey Shore — than they were to assist broader communities of the poor in New Orleans and abroad.
There's something more here to explore, and over the next several days I'd like to come at it from a few angles. Is the country biased against New Yorkers? Is there, as Bellafante seems to intimate, well-meaning but latent racism at play? Is this a massive example of how impact and need both need to be demonstrated in an ask? Have the economic conditions taken another toll at giving? Or has the tragedy in NYC just not gotten the exposure of the other crises?
I'll take a look at a few of these ideas this week.