If Not Us Then Who: Building a Permanent Fund for Haiti Through the Mobilization of Haiti's Resources-The Diaspora

Building on an asset framing model that promotes the strengths and resources of Haiti, Ayiti Community Trust (ACT) has long recognized the significant role that Haitians living outside of the country can play in the development of the country. As a community foundation building a permanent fund to support grassroots organizations in the areas of Civic Education, Entrepreneurship, and Environment, the founders and board of governance sought to unite Haitians throughout the glove in recognizing the vital role that we can play as a collective in the future of the country.

The recent article in Politico by Joel Dreyfuss confirmed what we knew all along. The children of Ayiti (Haiti) living outside of the country must play a significant role in the country's future development. Over the past five years, we remained laser focus on building relationships and partnerships with Haitian organizations and individuals in the US, Canada, and other parts of the globe. Despite the urgency we knew existed to act expeditiously, we recognized that this might be a slow process due to the trauma and many ways that Haitians in the diaspora have been betrayed by projects that often lead to no results. We knew that this would be a marathon, not a sprint, and we geared up for the journey ahead. We believe that a permanent fund using an endowment model can be created by Haitians for Haiti. We saw an example of that when, upon hearing about the fund we were creating for the country, a 65-year-old Haitian woman wrote a $60.00 check which served as the first check deposited into the fund account at the Miami Foundation (where the fund is being invested).

We aim to reach an initial 20 million dollars in the endowment in 5 years, yield about 1 million dollars in perpetuity, supporting grassroots organizations in the outskirts of the capitals. We know that such a goal is reachable with Haitians and friends of Haiti united in legacy to create something for the country that will exist for generations to come!

By Guerda Nicolas, PhD; President of Ayiti Community Trust