Give a Hand to Haiti Through the American Express Top 25
American Express is hosting a competition on its website where users (you don't have to be a member) submit ideas that could have a positive social impact if given a little bit of funding. $2.5 million will be divided among the top 25 projects. Let's face it - this is mostly advertising for American Express but a little seed money can go a long way. There is one worthwhile Haitian project concerning reforestation in Les Cayes but you could always submit an idea of your own. The deadline is August 18th.
Some of the projects listed are well intentioned but misguided. Take for example the project focused on sending boxed and canned foods from the United States to food insecure countries. Sure its an easy thing to do but it is not sustainable and promotes dependency instead of self reliance. The project on reforestation in Les Cayes revolves around planting high value tropical fruit trees. The deforestation and subsequent erosion are responsible for environmental, social, and economic stresses in Haiti. Fruit trees are unlikely to be cut down - drive from Thomonde to Hinche and most of the few remaining trees you see left will be mango trees. The person who submitted this project is a Haitian who was born in the area looking to give back to his community.
There is a fairly active discussion board as well. Scroll through the projects, see if there is something that resonates with you, and if not, then post your ideas. Given how few votes it takes to get a project into the top 25, it could make a difference.
If you know of other contests like this, please post in the comments section below.