Haas, Cal Communities Collect Aid for Philippines

Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, Minnie Fong, MBA 13, reached out to classmates via the school’s Facebook page to encourage them to donate to disaster-relief efforts. Fong has several family members living in Tacloban, the country’s hardest-hit city. Her cousin’s brother-in-law serves as vice mayor of the town.

So many alumni responded with offers of help, some wanting to give her a donation directly, that she set up a PayPal fund for contributions. “I didn’t expect people to give money to me,” she says. Instead, she organized the small fund to meet Tacloban's most pressing needs.

Fong has dedicated much of the past few weeks to fundraising and boosting awareness for disaster relief. In addition to doing two TV interviews with local CBS affiliate KPIX and participating in the station’s telethon on Friday, November 15, Fong has done three radio interviews.

“People have been giving so generously of themselves,” she says of the grassroots effort that has swelled within her alumni network. Fong estimates that as of Thursday, November 14, classmates have donated more than $1,600, nearly 71,000 pesos, through PayPal. Funds will buy food, water, and medicine that will be distributed through the vice mayor's office. Visit the Donation Drive for Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Victims in Tacloban Facebook page to learn how the money is being spent and where the goods are being distributed. The group is also sourcing solar lamps and rebuilding kits.

On campus, three Haas student organizations—Partnership for Pre-Professional Pilipin@s, the Haas Business School Association, and Berkeley Women in Business—are collaborating with the UC Berkeley Filipino-American community to support the University's #Act4thePhilippines effort.

This fundraising campaign seeks to raise $10,000 in monetary donations to help fund  the immediate relief efforts of National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) to support national grassroots and rehabilitation organizations on duty in the affected areas. Stanford University and San Francisco State University are key partners to this project as well, in addition to growing involvement from the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.

As part of Cal's #Act4thePhilippines, Pilipino student organizations are selling hand-painted ribbons and accepting donations at Sproul Plaza until November 26. They are also hosting a moment of silence for victims on November 20 from 11:00 to 11:15 a.m. at Upper Sproul and a Candlelit Night of Solidarity on November 21 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. also on Upper Sproul. They ask the campus community to wear white shirts during the candlelit event; donations will be accepted on site.

Learn more on the Haas undergraduate students' blog.

If you are not on campus, but would like to donate, visit https://www.youcaring.com/Act4thePhilippines.

Minnie Fong, MBA 13, does a live interview with the local CBS affiliate to raise awareness for Philippines disaster relief. Fong plans to see family in Manila over Christmas and hopes to visit Tacloban or another city to volunteer.