Winners Announced in USAID’s ‘Cash is Best’ International Disaster Design Contest

College students from all over the U.S. created public service announcements about why monetary donations are the best way to help communities after international disasters

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The USAID Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) and United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance is proud to announce the winners of their annual PSAid contest, a public service announcement (PSA) design competition aimed at college students. Winners in the 16th annual contest created PSAs to help underscore why “cash is best” when donating to international disaster relief efforts.

Material donations—like food, water, and clothing—are expensive to ship, often don’t match what is needed, are sometimes culturally inappropriate, and require sorting and storage which can hinder relief efforts. Whereas monetary donations – like cash, credit card, or online direct donations – allow humanitarian organizations to directly purchase what is needed on the ground, while also helping to stimulate the local economy. The winning PSAs will help CIDI spread this message throughout the U.S.

This year’s winning entries were selected from 107 submissions, spanning 13 universities, in the categories of video, static image, and digital image PSAs. For the second year in a row, all winners came from Arizona State University. University educators played a key role in this contest, sharing the opportunity with students and incorporating it into their curriculum or offering it as extra credit. The winning PSAs will be used in CIDI’s ‘Cash is Best’ outreach efforts and could be featured in prominent publications, aired during popular television programs or included in popular streaming services such as Roku, Apple TV, Disney+ and others.

“This message could not be more critical as the world’s eyes turn to Ukraine,” said Sarah Charles, assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. “I was recently at the Polish border where I saw well-meaning donations piling up and heard directly from aid workers who asked USAID to reiterate the message that ‘cash is best.’ Cash donations are what our partners need to help ensure Ukrainians get what they need most when they need it.”

Congratulations to the 2022 PSAid contest winners:

Digital Image:

Static Image:


“Working on this #CashisBest PSAid has been a very eye-opening, and great learning experience for me. I was able to research and better understand how monetary donations can better serve in international disaster relief and be quick and more accessible to the communities in need,” said Ryan Peterson, second place winner in the digital image category. “I hope that through my digital image, more people can visualize that message as well.”

Each year a panel of experts from the humanitarian, communications and design fields are selected to serve as volunteer judges. This year’s judges were Mia Beers, deputy director, Office of Global Policy, Partnerships, Programs and Communications, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance; Jessica Buckholtz, senior creative specialist, social engagement, American Red Cross; Calisa Hildebrand, communications director, Zillow; Michelle Hunsberger, global communications and campaigns manager, Amazon; and Amber Muradali, senior experience designer, Booz Allen Hamilton.

USAID also promoted the contest submissions on their social media allowing the general public to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice contest.

People’s Choice winners:

The winning entries can be viewed at For more information about the ‘Cash is Best’ message and how to best help surrounding international disasters, including the war in Ukraine, please visit


USAID CIDI was created in 1988 by the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance to inform the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and warn about the risks of donating unsolicited material goods. Through its “cash is best” messaging, CIDI’s goal is to support donors and relief agencies as they work to provide quick, effective, and efficient relief to people affected by disasters. CIDI provides donations guidance to individuals, groups, embassies, businesses, and corporations. For more information about USAID CIDI and helping international disaster survivors, please visit USAID CIDI at


Jackie Benitez, (239) 281-9928

error: Content is protected !!