Ponying with Hollywood to teach about Disaster Giving

Mike Rea, founder of Give2Asia, calls the 2004 Asian tsunami the “first global disaster of our time.” When he learned that Hollywood was producing its own retrospective (of sorts) on the tsunamis, he realized it was an opportunity for educating people about responding effectively in the wake of natural emergencies.

So Mr. Rea fast-tracked his plans for his “Tsunami Plus 10″ Project to coincide with last month’s release of The Impossible, a film starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.

His goal is to help inform disaster philanthropy. Mr. Rea’s takeaways, in broad strokes, are relatively simple:

* Make gifts not only to the Oxfams of the world but also to community groups.

* Give “when emotions are high,” he suggests, but also later—six months or a year after the disaster, when it becomes clearer which nonprofits are doing an effective job and still need cash.

* Write checks; don’t send used clothes.

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