Projects in Haiti: Currently focused on providing food, water, shelter and first aid through 11 mobile first aid posts. Domestic chapters are providing support to Haitian-American evacuees arriving in the United States.
Staff on the ground: 24
Strengths: The Red Cross has been working in Haiti since 2004. With low administrative expenses, the group receives a high ranking from nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. The Red Cross is also the only charity that has received texted donations: Phone companies will be holding on to most of those donations for up to three months, until customers pay their phone bills and honor their pledges, reports the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The Dirt: The American Red Cross has been plagued by scandals over the past few years resulting in a string of resignations. Its past president, Mark Everson, resigned in 2007 after admitting to an affair with an employee. Previous presidents resigned over the bungling of distributions after Hurricane Katrina and lack of accountability for donations raised after the attacks of Sept. 11.
Founded in 1865 in England, the Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian organization whose mission is to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ" and to help improve the health, education, economic and spiritual conditions of poor people around the world. With a U.S. budget of $3.05 billion, the group has invested $118 million in projects overseas.
Haiti Donations So Far: $4.79 million
Projects in Haiti: Providing immediate relief through food, water, shelter and medical care. Once these needs have been met, the Salvation Army said it would turn its attention to long-term rebuilding efforts.
Staff on the ground: Dozens of relief workers have joined the local staff of more than 700.
Strengths: The group has had a strong presence in Haiti since 1950, operating schools, clinics, food programs and church-related activities.
The Dirt: Salvation Army has been involved in many controversies over the years. In December, it was accused of discriminating against illegal immigrants after it demanded Social Security numbers from people participating in a Christmas gift charitable program. The group has been accused of discrimination before, and has regularly drawn protests from gay and lesbian groups over its reputed bias against gay employees and same sex partners. As a church, the group is exempt from filing tax returns, leaving nonprofit analysts in the dark about its financial practices.
United Way of America
Another large organization with global reach, the United Way was founded in 1887 and has 1,300 branches in the U.S. Its mission focuses on education, income and health. It has no offices in Haiti and has been mobilizing efforts there through its regional staff in Jamaica, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
Haiti Donations So Far: $1 million
Projects in Haiti: No local recovery is under way now, but the group said it plans to help with long-term efforts to rebuild schools, coordinate food and water distributions and help with the transportation of medical supplies. It's also pushing a bill in Congress to make Haiti donations eligible for 2009 charitable tax deductions.
Staff on the ground: None so far; the group has sent one staff member to the Caribbean to evaluate its long-term strategy.