As the second anniversary of the December 2004 Asian tsunami is commemorated, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in Indianapolis, has released a new study that reports individuals, corporations, and foundations in the United States donated a total of $3.16 billion toward relief efforts.
The report finds that combined gifts of individuals nationwide accounted for the overwhelming majority of disaster relief donations. The 25 percent of American households that contributed to tsunami relief gave a combined total of $2.78 billion, while another $340 million came from corporations and $40 million came from foundations. The study also finds that people with higher incomes gave only slightly more to the tsunami relief efforts. Among households that donated to the relief efforts, the median amount given was $50, while the average donation was $135 — amounts that are virtually identical to those given for 9/11 recovery.
The largest percentage of donors (37 percent) reported making tsunami relief gifts through their place of worship. Another 27.5 percent of households said they gave through their school or workplace, and 13 percent of donors contributed through stores. "Churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples play a very important mobilizing role in disaster relief giving," said Eugene R. Tempel, executive director of the center. "However they chose to give, Americans' response to the tsunami was by far the largest outpouring of giving for an international disaster in recent memory."