Donations Help Create Self-Sustaining Community In Haiti.
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation & GoDaddy Follow Up on Promise & Inspire Change
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (April 1, 2013) – Executive Chairman and Founder Bob Parsons and his wife Renee, returned to Haiti to see how donations have helped earthquake victims there and to follow up on their promise to the school children in Les Cayes. What they discovered during their most recent trip to Haiti was a remarkable transformation, including stories of first-time events that have created a self-sustaining community.
GoDaddy, the Web’s top platform for small businesses, and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation are working together to make a difference in Haiti. Since the devastating 2010 earthquake, they have donated nearly $4 million and partnered with Hope for Haiti, an organization that has worked to help Haitians for more than 24 years. GoDaddy customers have also made a difference by donating to GoDaddy’s “Round Up for Charity” program.
“Seeing GoDaddy, Bob and Renee return to Haiti shows they really care about making a difference in the lives of the children in Les Cayes,” said Tiffany Kuehner, President and CEO for Hope for Haiti. “They witnessed the tremendous progress that’s been made. We have many first-time initiatives that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
The donations have been centered around the improvements at two schools in Les Cayes. There are new classrooms for the first high school in the community. Children can now look forward to continuing their education and possibly go on to college. Funding has also provided school supplies and teacher salaries, with plans to expand the classes to the 13th grade by 2017.
It was during a 2011 humanitarian aid mission, Bob and Renee discovered the educational needs of the community. Bob discovered the schools only went to the 6th grade, leaving many children no choice to advance in school. Bob made a promise on the spot and made a five-year, $2.5 million commitment to expand the schools. In fact, it was at that very spot two years later where Bob and Renee helped lay the new foundation for additional classrooms.
“When you say you’re going to do something – you do it. We made a promise to those kids and that community, and I was going to make sure we kept it,” said Bob Parsons. “You can see the difference, not only in the surroundings, but also in their faces. You can tell they are committed to do their best to make this a great place to go to school. Education is the key and I look forward to them moving on to finish college.”
The schools are now a life-force of the community with donations creating self-sustaining programs such as the first school garden that produces food for the school lunch program. This is the first time many of these children will receive a daily meal.
Another first – the schools are generating their own electricity with solar panels in a community that does not have power. Also new to the schools – the art program that teaches children how to use recyclable materials. In the recreation program, the soccer teams received brand new uniforms and shoes. These initiatives are helping the children develop confidence and critical thinking skills.
The first public health education and access program is now able to focus on prevention, providing healthcare services, and setting up life-saving surgeries by finding specialists to provide emergency support. Donations also support the new adult-education program where hundreds of adults are learning how to read and write. The home for the elderly is also set to receive additional funding. Bob surprised everyone with an announcement of new funds, when he saw the home where dozens of seniors live after being abandoned by their families.
“It’s partnerships like our Foundation and GoDaddy working with Hope for Haiti, where you see an immediate impact – changing and improving the quality of lives,” said Renee Parsons. “The Foundation’s mission is ‘we deal in hope’ and there’s a lot of that here today. The children and families inspire us to do want we can to make a difference.”
“The generosities of GoDaddy and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation have helped move things forward in a big way here,” said Kuehner. “The donations and five-year commitment not only made an immediate impact but provide us with time to create long-term plans to turn things around and improve conditions here. GoDaddy, Bob and Renee are allowing us to focus on the future and to put the earthquake behind us.”
GoDaddy customers have also shown their generosity by donating to GoDaddy’s on-going charitable effort known as the “Round Up for Charity” program. It allows customers to round up their GoDaddy purchases to the nearest dollar for charity. Since the program began in April 2011, customers along with GoDaddy’s matching portion, have donated nearly $500,000.
“GoDaddy has a long tradition of helping people just like they help customers succeed online,” said Meredith Allen, GoDaddy customer who owns and operates PetalsInTime.com, a business that creates handmade memory beads from flower petals. “It’s great to hear how a little donation can make a big difference, so donating to GoDaddy’s Round up for Charity program was the right fit for us.”
Bob and Renee have created a special bond with the community. “The kids look up to Bob and Renee,” said Kuehner. “They’ve built a strong bond with them and trust them. It means so much that someone believes in them and are so grateful they traveled so far to see them.”
It’s a relationship that will keep growing as the community creates self-sufficiency, independence and pride. “I’m very proud of these kids,” said Bob Parsons. “We’ll be back – they’re family.”