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October 13, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Haitians Saying ‘No’ to Red Cross Help

Storm-Battered Haiti Sours on American Red Cross: A growing number of Haitians and Haitian-Americans have lost trust in the U.S. charity’s ability to effectively manage disaster aid and are calling on donors to give to humanitarian groups based on the Caribbean nation instead, according to The Washington Post. As the island recovers from Hurricane Matthew, investigative reports critical of the Red Cross’s performance after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake are circulating widely on social media, as are posts critical of the organization and lists of Haiti-based relief groups. Gail McGovern, president of the American Red Cross, sought to refute what she called “persistent myths” about the charity’s post-quake Haiti work in a Huffington Post column.

Answering Questions on Clinton Foundation and Haiti: Following the release of email exchanges between State Department and Clinton Foundation officials in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 temblor, the Associated Press addresses key issues the communications raise — such as why the charity was discussing aid offers with the Hillary Clinton-led federal agency and whether any of its supporters got special treatment. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has seized on the emails on the campaign trail, accusing the Clintons of cashing in on the Haiti disaster. His running mate, Mike Pence, called for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate alleged foundation improprieties, Politico reports.

Brackets for Good Fundraising Competition to Go National: The charity game modeled on the NCAA basketball tournament will hold its first nationwide contest in 2017, with the winner to receive $100,000 from new corporate partner AT&T, reports the Indianapolis Star. Sixty-four national nonprofits to be named in December will compete in the competition, in which the winners of head-to-head fundraising matchups advance to the next round. Indianapolis-based Brackets for Good debuted in 2014 and to date has held local contests in a handful of major cities. Read Chronicle articles on Brackets for Good and the growth of gaming as a charity tool.

More Charities Using Virtual Reality to Dramatize Mission and Raise Money: A growing number of nonprofits are creating virtual-reality experiences to build awareness of their cause and draw in donors, The Washington Post writes. Organizations such as Alzheimer’s Research UK and education charity Pencils of Promise say the immersive video technology helps them tell compelling real-life stories about the people they serve, generating empathy that in turn opens wallets. Read a Chronicle story about how nonprofits are employing virtual reality.

Ala. Charity’s Ex-Accountant Pleads Guilty to $1 Million-Plus Theft: Federal prosecutors said Reggious Sanchester Bell, 30, of Madison, Ala., rang up huge personal expenses on credits cards issued by the Huntsville Rehabilitation Foundation, Al.com reports. Mr. Bell worked from 2008 to 2013 as an accountant for the nonprofit, which operates under the name Phoenix and provides counseling and employment for people with disabilities. Prosecutors said Mr. Bell manipulated Phoenix's accounts to hide purchases from hotels, airlines, and stores and will pay $1.3 million in restitution to the charity.