Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy estimates that $6.4 billion have been donated to Hurricane Katrina-related relief in the two years since the disaster. Center on Philanthropy executive director Eugene Tempel says fears that “donor fatigue” would negatively affect the fund-raising efforts of unrelated non-profit organizations have turned out to be unfounded. He says total charitable giving in the United States rose in 2005 and 2006 to accommodate additional Katrina-related aid.
Tempel says that phenomenon makes it all the more important that the ongoing needs of Katrina victims remain in the public consciousness. He says a number of Katrina refugees came to Bloomington, Indianapolis, and other cities in the state. Tempel says Hoosiers should be commended for offering so much assistance not only to those people, but to victims outside of Indiana as well.
Tempel says it’s extremely difficult to track the effectiveness of charitable giving in a place like the Gulf Coast where the scenario is so complex, though he says it’s clear that donations have had significant positive effect on the lives of many affected by the disaster. But Tempel adds that reconstructing the infrastructure destroyed by Katrina will likely be a “generation’s work,” and continued charitable giving will be crucial to that effort.