One month ago, singer Wycef Jean’s “NGO” (for”Non-Governmental Organization) called “Yelle Haiti” raised just over $1 million to help victims of the 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. At the time, scores of non-profit organizations sprang up to announce some kind of effort to assist the quake-damaged country.
But of all of them, Yelle Haiti received the most attention because of alleged past spending patterns, leading to the awful and unfounded accusation that Wycef Jean was using the money for personal use.
Just after The Smoking Gun and The Washington Post blog posts were issued (and with no evidence of having attempted to personally contact Wycef Jean to give him a chance to respond to the accusations) and the rescue efforts ramped up, suddenly the American Red Cross became mentioned in commercial after commercial as the “go-to” nonprofit for donations.
Some newspapers, like The San Francisco Chronicle, included the American Red Cross in a list of recommended organizations to donate to in the effort to help Haiti. The message, and thus the common assumption or “conventional wisdom”, was that the American Red Cross was the “safe” organization to donate to.