As of late Sunday, the American Red Cross had received 2.2 million text messages pledging $10 each for a whopping total of $22 million in donations.
The National Football League’s promotion of text-message donations during its weekend playoff games produced stunning results, with money “coming in at the rate of $500,000 an hour,” Roger Lowe, a Red Cross spokesman, told the New York Times.
“I need a better word than ‘unprecedented’ or ‘amazing’ to describe what’s happened with the text-message program,” Mr. Lowe said.
The calls for donations featured New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and Chargers defensive end Jacques Cesaire. Both players have Haitian parents.
It was Obama’s State Department that initiated the text-messaging program shortly after the earthquake hit. The Red Cross had experimented with mobile fund-raising in the past with limited success, but the State Department stepped in with assistance to streamline the launch this time.
Totaling up its donations from all sources, the Red Cross reports that it has so far collected $103 million for relief to Haiti.
In other football news, the NFL Players Association pledged $1 million to aid in relief and recovery efforts in Haiti to assist victims of the earthquake.
NFLPA will contribute $1 million through their Disaster Relief Fund to the American Red Cross and Partners In Health ($500,000 each). In addition, NFL owners and players are making their own personal donations.
Since its inception, the NFL-NFLPA Disaster Relief Fund has provided aid to those affected by the events of September 11, 2001, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina and the 2007 San Diego wildfires.
Merci, to Priscilla in France for sending the link to the New York Times report!