Wall Street leaders are being called to donate a tenth of their expected bonuses this year to help rebuild Haiti.
Church World Service, which consists of 36 Christian denominations and communions, announced Wednesday its new campaign, "Bonus4Haiti." The global humanitarian agency is urging Americans to call on Wall Street to commit 10 percent of its bonuses to Haiti.
Americans can put pressure on Wall Street by signing CWS' Facebook Cause page, tweeting about the campaign and using the Internet to spread the message, "Tell corporate CEOs that to whom much is given, much is expected. Please tithe your bonuses to Haiti!"
"More Wall Street bankers and traders this year are expected to receive massive bonuses than last year, despite public outrage over the industry's seeming impunity to its own role in the economic meltdown," said CWS executive director and CEO the Rev. John L. McCullough. "We're inviting all Americans to join the call and invite Wall Street to offer ten percent of those bonuses to Haiti."
Most of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince was destroyed during a recent earthquake that killed more than 100,000 people and left hundreds of thousands more homeless. In the days following the disaster, both Christian and secular leaders have called for the cancellation of Haiti's foreign debt.
Haiti, considered by most to be the poorest country in the western hemisphere, was already struggling economically before the quake hit. Many leaders fear that the country will be unable to rebuild if it must also pay its debts.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the United Nations special envoy for Haiti, on Thursday appealed to global business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to help the country rebuild. Clinton said the hurting country needs "cash more than anything else" at the moment, but it will also need long term investment.
Likewise, McCullough noted the world needs to not only help Haiti recover from the disaster, but to assist the Haitian people to build for the first time in their history "a country and a life that reflects and respects their indomitable spirit."
The CWS executive director went on to call Wall Street leaders to join common American people, who have already shown great generosity, to help the island nation.
"Consider it a sacrificial offering," he said to Wall Street leaders. "Consider it seed money to jumpstart the reconstruction and development that we hope world leaders will now fully commit to while in Davos this week."
Since 1954, Church World Service and its partners have worked to alleviate poverty and hunger in Haiti.
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