Augusta unites with schools for Haiti relief

"I want to see the entire city get involved." -- Deke Copenhaver, Augusta mayor

Richmond County schools and the city of Augusta have come together to establish a relief effort for Haitian children after last week's devastating earthquake.


"I want to see the entire city get involved," Mayor Deke Copenhaver said Wednesday.

Details will be presented at a 4 p.m. news conference today at the school system's central office on Broad Street. Copenhaver said he and Superintendent Dana Bedden began discussing the idea last week, and the Haitian Children's Fund will be officially established today through the Community Foundation for the CSRA.

Richmond County principals are being brought on board to have their schools participate in the combined effort. Copenhaver said he also would present the idea to the Augusta Commission at its next meeting Feb. 2. Although he said he doesn't plan to request city funding, he could ask the commission to pass a resolution of support and consider other ways to help.

Copenhaver said the fundraiser is focused on helping Haitian children with everything from medical care to education. He said part of the effort also is to raise awareness of the plight of Haitian children.

"Schools have been destroyed, and we need to help with educational needs," he said. "The illiteracy rate down there is just staggering."

The mayor and Lee Smith Jr., the president of the Community Foundation for the CSRA, say they hope the drive will be as successful as one the city led after 9/11. Smith said that fund, called the Sept. 11 Care and Prayer Crusade, raised about $1.3 million.

Smith said donations are tax deductible and will go to the nonprofit group Hope for Haiti.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or


Tax-deductible donations to the Haitian Children's Fund will go to Hope for Haiti.

Mail checks to The Community Foundation for the CSRA at P.O. Box 31358, Augusta GA 30903. Checks should be made to The Community Foundation for the CSRA and earmarked for the Haitian Children's Fund.