SAC looks to track down Haiti funds

Student organizations raised more than $7,500 for relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but at least one organization has yet to deposit its raised funds, a GW official said Tuesday.

Executive Director of the Student Activities Center Tim Miller said his office is taking an active role in tracking down smaller fundraisers by student organizations. Miller said the University wants to ensure the groups deposit funds earmarked for charity.

Miller said student organizations normally deposit money to accounts through his office, which can then administer the funds to a third party, like a nonprofit organization.

The Caribbean Student Association, which sponsored the Hands for Haiti events, collected $7,500 by GWorld and cash over the past month that is now waiting to be distributed, Miller said.

“We do have the funds from the GWorld swiping for Haiti and the party,” Miller said of the two main Hands for Haiti events. “Other than that, there have been tiny little ones that we don’t have much information on.”

And with many impromptu, large and small-scale fundraisers, Miller said he is informally tracking down groups that took in money for charity.

“When we find out about the different groups, I’ll ask them what they’ve gathered,” Miller said.

Miller said two groups in particular that held Haiti relief events have not been in contact with his office to deposit funds – GW Cooks, and a group of graduate students who held a fundraiser and donation drive.

“I think there are probably a few $50 or $60, but there’s not many that are sizable amounts,” Miller said. “We are going to continue to research who else might be doing events.”

Miller said he did not have any specific information on the group of graduate students who held a fundraiser.

Natalie Labayen, president of GW Cooks, said her organization raised $154 for the Red Cross, but was unsure whether the money had been distributed to the charity.

“I believe we gave that money to the SAC,” Labayen said. “They were just asking a bunch of student organizations to make the money and then they were deciding to allocate it where it went.”

In addition to student organizations, there were a number of unofficial efforts by students to fundraise for Haitian relief organizations – from a house party advertised on Facebook to a bake sale in JBKO Hall, held by members of the Human Rights Living and Learning Cohort.

“We heard what happened to our friends and family and we decided to do a bake sale and clothing drive for Haiti,” Morgan Golin, a member of the LLC, said. “We raised a surprising amount, the generosity of the students in JBKO was surprising.”

Golin said the group raised approximately $270 from the bake sale, but was not sure if the money had been donated to Red Cross yet because she was not in charge of depositing the money.

“I’m not exactly sure of that particular detail,” Golin said. “The money will just go through the Red Cross fund that they have going for Haiti.”

Miller said his office will continue to reach out to organizations on campus and plans to send checks to two relief organizations – the Red Cross and Project Medishare, both nonprofit organizations assisting with efforts in Haiti – once all funds have been allocated.

“I’m reaching out to the ones I’m finding out about,” Miller said. “But there isn’t sort of a watchdog process. When we find out about the different groups I’ll ask them what they’ve gathered.”

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