Persevering Through a Global Pandemic
Dear Hope for Haiti Family,
A longtime supporter of our organization recently asked me what I’ve felt while running an international non-profit organization in the midst of a global pandemic. In truth, I’ve found the experience to be equal parts frightening, humbling, and exhilarating.
Today, Hope for Haiti is committed, well-positioned, and uniquely qualified to use our best available resources to help make a difference in the lives of Haitian families during the pandemic. However, the global community is facing a frightening reality, and it can be difficult to try to embrace this reality and deal with it appropriately. Many experts in philanthropy and the non-profit sector such as Charities Aid Foundation of America (CAF America) are predicting a significant decline in charitable giving during a time when donations are critical for the organizations that support the most vulnerable people of the world, are actively fighting the spread of COVID-19, and are implementing programs to help mitigate the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic. I admit that I’m fearful of the challenging times that lie ahead not just because of the spread of the coronavirus and the potential for a shortfall in donations, but because of the notable increases that Haiti and other countries around the world are already experiencing in food insecurity, economic inequality, and disruptions to global education.
At the same time, these past five months haven’t just been about fear. I’ve been humbled on many occasions by the fact that I am not running an international non-profit organization by myself. In reality, I am one member of a passionate and undeterred team that is committed to the long-term fight for economic, social, and restorative justice in Haiti. Our team at Hope for Haiti is part of a rich legacy that was built, sustained, and supported by our founding members, generous donors, talented board members, and former staff who paved the way for our organization’s growth and ability to improve the quality of life for people living in Haiti, particularly children. It’s humbling to be part of an organization that brings individuals together for collective action and positive impact, especially during a period that requires a heightened sense of urgency to take action.
Lastly, while “exhilarating” may seem like an odd choice of words to describe my feelings during a global pandemic, COVID-19 has caused a systemic shift in our team’s approach to fundraising and the implementation of our programs. Over the past five months, we’ve had the opportunity to continuously innovate, from holding our first live-streamed fundraising concert to awarding $18,000 in grant funding to three female Haitian entrepreneurs in Haiti’s first ever pitch competition held over Zoom.
Our program and fundraising teams have been working overtime to procure, import, and deliver more than $10 million in medication, medical supplies, and PPE to support our healthcare staff and the Haitian healthcare system in the collective fight against COVID-19. We have received some incredibly inspiring gifts since the pandemic began from long-time donors, first-time supporters, and even famous athletes with authentic connections to Haiti such as Naomi Osaka, Jozy Altidore, and Jerry Jeudy. The combination of modifying our approach to meet new realities, cultivating relationships with new and old supporters, and quickly turning donations into impact has been nothing short of exhilarating. As we continue navigating into unchartered waters, our organization has embraced the challenge of not just raising the funds necessary to run our organization, but using creativity and new technologies to maximize our ability to help improve social, economic, and health systems that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
As always, we are so grateful to you for your support, guidance, and encouragement throughout this journey, and we look forward to keeping you updated on our future progress. Transparency lies at our mission’s core, and I encourage you to view our COVID-19 Action Plan and Results webpage to learn more.
Hope for Haiti CEO
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