CLINTON BUSH HAITI FUND GRANTS CONNECT HAITIANS WITH RESOURCES TO THRIVE
(Clinton Bush Haiti Fund) - www.clintonbushhaitifund.org
Grants Totaling $1.1M Reach Out to Artisans, Microentrepreneurs, and Students
WASHINGTON, DC – The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund today(Sep. 8) announced three grants that will connect Haitian artisans, microentrepreneurs, and students with resources for economic growth. The grants, totaling $1.1 million, will help provide Haitians with access to jobs and networks to help “build back better.”
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s $535,876 grant to the HAND/EYE Fund will connect artists throughout Haiti to US and global markets, further invigorating the Haitian artisan sector. HAND/EYE will create the Artisan Business Network to provide artisan groups with product development and communication tools to effectively and efficiently design and export their work.
In July, Martha Stewart and fashion designer Rachel Roy joined Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren in a business visit to several artisan communities. HAND/EYE is now working with Macy’s on the retailer’s order for the fall, and the Artisan Business Network will employ more artisans as business with Haiti expands. The newly formed Network will also help generate and facilitate new orders with other retailers, such as Anthropologie.
“Our relationships in Haiti demonstrate how retail can change the world,” explains Lundgren. “With a little planning and a little effort, we can open up opportunities for people largely excluded from global commerce. The resulting income has a profound impact for artisan families and a ripple effect in their communities.”
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund also announces a project with microfinance institution FINCA International (the Foundation for International Community Assistance). This $358,000 grant will help bolster the lending ability of its affiliate, FINCA Haiti. FINCA Haiti’s loans, which average just $300, provide access to credit for Haitians who are too poor to borrow from other lenders.
FINCA specializes in village banking, which brings small groups of community members together as a financial support group. These village banks are predominantly made up of women, and give individuals newfound borrowing ability. “For more than two decades, FINCA has stood by the impoverished women of Haiti, helping them start, or expand, small businesses, and provide a better life for their families,” says FINCA president and CEO Rupert Scofield. “This grant from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will strengthen FINCA Haiti’s loan portfolio, help us greatly expand our outreach, and help secure the program’s long-term sustainability.”
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund made a second grant of $259,000 to Inveneo, a communications technology NGO that is building computer labs in 40 rural Haitian schools. The Haiti Connected Schools program will use solar panels to power computer labs and bring rural broadband connectivity to schools in areas without reliable access to electricity. Working with local installers and sourcing equipment domestically, the Connected Schools program will cultivate business and employment opportunities for Haitian solar providers and IT technicians. This project complements the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s first project with Inveneo to train IT professionals and bring high speed data connections to rural regions in Haiti.
These three new grants from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will help provide Haitians with fresh and innovative resources to nurture economic growth. “When Haitian men and women have access to the networks and funding to build their enterprises and communities, they are able to more fully participate in the national and international economy,” Clinton Bush Haiti Fund board member and former Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman says. “There is immense business potential in Haiti, and these grants will help tap into that potential.”
The HAND/EYE Fund is a 501(c)(3) created in 2010 to connect artisan groups to US markets. It supports skilled artisans through grants to artisan cooperatives around the world. Its leaders are respected for their commitment to artisans and strong, personal relationships across US markets.
About FINCA International and FINCA Haiti
FINCA International is a 501(c)(3) that began in 1985, and whose mission is to provide financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets, and improve their standard of living. Active in 21 countries across the globe, and currently serving more than 850,000 borrowers (70% of whom are women), FINCA specializes in a form of lending called village banking, which provides microcredit through neighborhood cooperatives. FINCA Haiti, an affiliate of FINCA International, was established in 1989. It serves the working poor in Haiti, primarily those who operate in the commerce, service, and agricultural sectors.
Inveneo is a 501(c)(3) social enterprise whose mission is to connect and empower rural and underserved communities in the developing world with information and communications technologies. Since 2006, Inveneo and its partners have delivered innovative solutions to more than 1,500,000 people in over 500 communities in 25 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, nurturing and supporting local talent. Their Haiti program is an accelerated version of this model, as demand for the broadband service to-date has outpaced the supply of Haitian IT experts.