Sunday, September 4, 2005

From combined dispatches

Lilly Endowment Inc. gave $20 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina, leading donors of at least $404 million on a pace that is “unprecedented” in recent U.S. history, the Chronicle of Philanthropy said.

Lilly Endowment, the biggest shareholder in Eli Lilly and Co., gave $10 million to the Salvation Army, the largest donation the organization has received for the effort. The foundation also gave $10 million to the American Red Cross, becoming the largest donor in the history of the organization.

The overall amount of contributions compares with the $239 million given to charity in the 10 days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The American Red Cross, based in Washington, raised $302 million through Saturday, almost triple the $106 million it had received a day earlier, the Chronicle said.

“The world saw this tidal wave of disaster descend upon the Gulf Coast, and now they are going to see a tidal wave of compassion,” President Bush said during a visit to American Red Cross headquarters. “This country is coming together to help people who hurt.”

Mr. Bush yesterday urged Americans to give to the Red Cross, which also needs volunteers and blood donors to help with the aftermath of the storm.

Chronicle editor Stacy Palmer predicted the giving would continue.

“I think it got off to a somewhat slower start because it wasn’t clear what the scope of the disaster was,” she said. “Now that people are seeing what’s going on, they’re trying to mobilize as fast as they can.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said initial corporate donations likely would surpass $100 million.

In Houston, volunteers used 30 jumbo ovens to cook 10,000 personal-size Papa John’s pizzas for arriving Louisiana refugees.

“Everybody deserves a hot meal,” said Keith Sullins, president of Houston Pizza Venture, the city’s largest franchise of Papa John’s Pizza.

Other donors included Exxon Mobil Corp., the biggest U.S. oil company, which gave $2 million to hurricane victims. Chevron Corp., the country’s second-biggest oil company, donated $3 million, the Chronicle said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, increased its cash contribution to the relief effort to $17 million. General Electric Co., which earlier pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross, Saturday said it will give an additional $5 million in cash and $10 million in equipment and services.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac and its foundation announced they were donating $10 million to aid organizations. Coca-Cola Co. is donating $5 million.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. of Dallas donated $250,000 and nearly $350,000 in products, including diapers, baby wipes and bathroom tissue.

United Health Foundation of Minneapolis dedicated $10 million to disaster-relief efforts. The nonprofit foundation is funded by UnitedHealth Group.

United Health spokesman Mark Lindsay said his company hoped the announcement would encourage other businesses to donate resources.

“We just want to make sure that it was well-funded and there’s a pool of money there.”

Many of the contributions so far have been from the pharmaceutical industry, including AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Wyeth, Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson. The four combined to send more than $9 million in cash and supplies including antibiotics, insulin and toiletry kits to the affected areas.

The Lilly Endowment was founded in 1937 with a donation of company stock by three members of the Lilly family. It owns about a 13 percent stake in the maker of Prozac and Zyprexa, a stake valued at about $8 billion, Bloomberg data show. Last year, the endowment gave $25 million for hurricane relief.

Patrick Rooney, research director at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, said corporate giving likely would account for between one-quarter and one-third of the money received in the relief effort.

“Following the [September 11] attack on America and the tsunami, I think corporations have stepped up to the plate a little more for disaster relief,” he said.

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