In the three weeks since Hurricane Katrina and its floods blew U.S. Gulf states, Americans have donated over $1 billion for families affected by the disaster.
Contributions surged on events such as President Bush's call last week for Americans to support the relief efforts, as well as numerous televised events featuring musicians and celebrities.
Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy estimated that roughly half of the $1 billion collected comes from corporations, and half from individuals. He believes the total amount of donations could eventually hit $2 billion.
The bulk of donations are going to groups such as the American Red Cross, which has collected $762.5 million, and the Salvation Army, which has garnered $85.7 million.
An initiative started by former U.S. Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton has attracted $100 million in donations.
So far, the largest corporate donation has come from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the retail giant, which has given $15 million to the Bush-Clinton effort. The Walton family, which owns a majority of the retailer, donated another $15 million.
Among the celebrities to offer individual donations, actor George Clooney has given $1 million to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund, courtroom thriller writer John Grisham has given $5 million to a relief fund that he and his wife set up to aid Mississippi residents, and hip hop star Jay Z has given $1 million to the Red Cross.