With chances of finding survivors dwindling, the death toll rising and increasingly grim images emerging from earthquake ravaged Haiti, the outpouring of assistance from musicians and celebrities – not to mention ordinary citizens – offers a ray of hope.
First up is a benefit show organized by Dave Wakeling, frontman of U.K. ska icons The English Beat, that will take place Sunday, Jan. 17 at San Francisco’s Red Devil Lounge.
Wakeling explained that he was moved by the unfolding tragedy in Haiti and “proud of the swift American reaction as opposed to what happened with Hurricane Katrina,” a reference to the Bush Administration’s disastrous bungling of relief efforts following the 2005 tragedy.
All proceeds from the evening will be split evenly between Doctors Without Borders and the Yelé Haiti Earthquake Fund.
Madonna is also stepping up to help the thousands of victims in the devastated Caribbean nation, announcing earlier today that she has donated $250,000 to Partners in Health and encouraging her fans to match her generosity.
“I urge all of my friends and fans around the world to join me collectively to match my contribution or give in any way you can,” Madonna said. “We must act now.”
Singer Maxwell, whose mother is from Haiti, issued a statement today praising the efforts of the Clinton Foundation and its founder, President Bill Clinton, and encouraging his fans to get involved by sending donations.
“I was honored to attend an emergency meeting organized by President Bill Clinton on Thursday,” Maxwell said. “It was pivotal to me, and even uplifting.
“I was in a room with all kinds of incredible people form all sorts of different backgrounds, all working on solutions – artists, financiers, disaster specialists and Haiti experts like Dr. Paul Farmer, the public health specialist who is a United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti…
“The most important thing I learned was that sending cash is the best way to help right now. The easiest way to do it is through text messaging, but other ways to help include donating to organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, UNICEF, Red Cross and Wyclef’s charity Yelé Haiti.”
Joining West Coast host George Clooney for MTV’s previously announced “Hope for Haiti” telethon, set to air Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. EST, is Haitan-born Wyclef Jean, who will emcee the East Coast portion of the show.
In addition, the program will now be carried simultaneously on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO and CMT, and will also be made available internationally.
Besides Jean’s Yelé Haiti foundation, the telethon will benefit UNICEF, Oxfam America, Partners in Health and the Red Cross.
Clooney and the other members of advocacy and grantmaking group Not On Our Watch (which includes Brad Pitt) also announced a $1 million donation to Partners in Health earlier today.
And finally, New York City’s City Winery announced a series of benefit shows late this afternoon that will be held over four nights – Jan. 20, 21, 24 and 25 – with 100% of proceeds going to Yelé Haiti.
Artists lending a hand to raise funds include Patti Smith, The Swell Season, Josh Ritter, Lewis Black, Living Colour, The Antlers, Rosanne Cash and David Johansen.
The goal of the quartet of shows is to raise $100,000.
For updates on the MTV/George Clooney telethon, visit Think.MTV.com.
For additional info on the City Winery Haiti benefit series, including nightly lineups, visit CityWinery.com.
To make a contribution to relief efforts via your cell phone, text ‘Yéle’ to 501501 (and donate $5 to Yéle Haiti) or text the world ‘Haiti’ to 90999 (and donate $10 directly to the Red Cross).
For links to charities accepting donations for Haiti earthquake victims, visit Maxwell’s Web site Musze.com.
To purchase a blink-182 Haiti Charity shirt, visit Blink182Merch.com.
For information on other ways you can help, visit Redcross.org.