Haiti and Intel’s response

Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – among the poorest in the world. And then catastrophe struck. Tens of thousands are dead. Hundreds of thousands are injured. Millions are homeless.

Sitting, as I do, where corporate America and disaster relief intersect, is immensely gratifying. To watch our employees rally immediately in response to events in Haiti, asking, “What can I do to help?” “Can my skills be put to use there?” “What is Intel doing?” “What do the people of Haiti need?” is beyond heart-warming. All the way to inspiring.

Within 24 hours, over 700 employees had made donations to relief efforts. Just to give you a sense of where this is likely headed, some history: Over 8,000 employees gave $1.4 million for the South Asia Tsunami relief effort, 8,500 gave $1,700,000 after Katrina, and 7,000 gave nearly $800,000 for the China earthquake. All of this then matched by the Intel Foundation. Our employees are pretty amazing.

As important as cash is, we have capabilities that go beyond that. Our internal IT group is coordinating Intel’s response to the need for our technology and technical expertise – primarily to facilitate communications among relief organizations, between them and their supporters, and between relief workers, refugees and their scattered and frightened families. Expertise earned through similar work following 9/11, the South Asia Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and other disasters around the globe helps us target those efforts effectively. Working through NetHope, we are matching resources with needs at a number of organizations.

Increasingly, relief organizations are coordinating their efforts from the first moments of such a major disaster. The UN, US Department of State, US Chamber of Commerce and all the major aid groups are holding daily synch-up meetings.

Although the Intel Foundation has pledged to match employee donations and has committed an additional $250,000, we are moving carefully to understand where these funds will have the greatest impact, aiming not just for immediate disaster relief, but for the much longer – and frankly much less adrenalin-fueled – process of rebuilding a nation and its infrastructure. Haiti’s recovery will be a long, long story – the proverbial marathon vs. sprint.

I welcome your comments, concerns, advice and support. I am proud to be in a position to help Intel and our employees make a real difference, and to work for a company that empowers us to do so.

Update: As of January 20th, over 2,500 Intel employees have donated $481,000 for disaster relief in Haiti – and that is just what has been tallied! Another 350 receipts remain to be processed and more are flowing in. The Intel Foundation match for those donations along with an additional $250,000 commitment from the foundation and up to $350,000 in in-kind contributions means that Intel and the Foundation together have committed $1.08 million to date. When the employee donations are added, the total is $1.56 million. NetHope, World Vision and Mercy Corps have all received contributions so far. In addition to our efforts to support immediate needs, conversations with those and other agencies continue to select key initiatives for Intel’s longer term investment in Haiti, including technology support and expertise.