U.S. company proves successful NGO partnerships can happen
Imagine walking a rocky dirt path across the side of a mountain. You shift awkwardly and thick drops of cold water from a large bucket balancing on your head drip down your neck.
After 20 minutes, you’re home. You can finally shower off the dirt clinging to your skin, but instead of walking into a tiled shower stall, you walk into a room the size of an airplane bathroom — a room with cement walls and no roof. Instead of a faucet with running water, you wash with water from the bucket you just hauled. This is a reality many children in Haiti live with daily — but not for the children who are fortunate enough to live in Grace Village.
“ Teaching children how to shower with running water was one of the most gratifying moments in my life,” said Krista Carroll, co-founder of Print 4 Change, a print management company that helped fund Grace Village, a community built by Healing Haiti, a nonprofit agency focused on bettering Haiti. Carroll helped 40 children move from an orphanage last December to Grace Village, located in Titanyen, where children now have their own beds, pillows, toilets and showers.
“Simple comforts like running water and flush toilets are something these children hadn’t experienced,” said Carroll.
Print 4 Change boasts an impressive portfolio of clients, including Foot Locker, Max Mara and Moet & Hennessy. What separates Print 4 Change from its peers, however, is its charitable endeavors. It pledges 50 percent of its profits to provide water, food, shelter and education to the less fortunate.
“We don’t just fund [charitable] initiatives,” Cortney Aranda, Agent for Change at Print 4 Change said. “We contribute ideas and strategies … Jeremy and Krista Carroll [the Print 4 Change founders] have a big heart for Haiti. They went to Haiti with Healing Haiti, and it changed their lives. They wanted to help in a very direct way, rather than just writing a check.”
Grace Village offers children two dormitories, a cistern and a feeding center. The feeding center has the capacity to feed 75 to 125 additional children from neighboring communities, and a medical center will open in 2013 for the children of Grace Village and in surrounding communities.
“It was indescribable to see the intense joy and gratitude of the children as they realized Grace Village was their new home,” Carroll said. “As we drove up in the bus, the childrens’ screams of joy could be heard in the vehicles behind. It was amazing to be a witness to God’s work unveiled.”
Through their partnership with Healing Haiti, Print 4 Change helps provide care to elderly and former restaveks. A restavek is a child or young adult who works for a family in exchange for room and board. In families where there is no regard for this person, restaveks are sometimes abused and treated like slaves. Print 4 Change and Healing Haiti provide a refuge for those who have been abused as a restavek. After rehabilitation, they are able to live at Grace Village where their physical, emotional and spiritual needs are cared for.
“ Eldercare” is a program also located in Titanyen that supports about 30 elderly people. A meal-on-wheels-style truck provides food and water daily. In the near future, the orphaned elderly will also have a housing facility at Grace Village. The founders hope these elders will mentor the young children living in the village.
Aranda said the company has found success in building partnerships with NGOs and other nonprofits that hold specific areas of expertise. “Healing Haiti, under the direction of founders Jeff Gacek and Alyn Shannon, was the first and strongest partnership,” she said.
“I think engaged philanthropy brings the donor and the nonprofit into a deeper partnership in which more impact can be made,” Carroll said. “Engaged philanthropy is also so much more rewarding and motivating than simply making a donation, and it is key to creating an engine to empower those living in poverty … I believe that we have a responsibility to not only share our resources monetarily, but also our time, energy and heart,” Carroll said. “That is what accomplishes real change.”
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