PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti -- Clinton Bush Haiti Fund co-chairs arrived in Haiti on Wednesday to meet with several of the small businesses and workforce development programs the Fund has supported.
Co-chairs Joshua Bolten, former chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and Laura Graham, chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, are taking this opportunity to visit as the Fund prepares to commit its remaining funds in 2012. Once it does so, the Fund will step back, empowering Haiti to chart its own successful future.
“By providing training, increasing access to financing, and improving the livelihoods of individual Haitians across the country, we are reaching the people -- from doctors to small business owners to farmers -- who are building a stronger Haiti,” Gary Edson, CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, said. “Importantly, the results we see from projects we have funded are just the beginning: we look forward to seeing their progress in the years to come.”
As part of the co-chairs’ visit, they are attending the opening of the Royal Oasis Hotel in Port-au-Prince, which the Fund helped finance. During its construction phase, the hotel supported more than 400 construction jobs. Going forward, the hotel will employ close to 200 staff, and will support even more indirect jobs, ranging from restaurant suppliers to local artisans.
On Thursday, the co-chairs were due to visit the Haiti Hospitality School, which is preparing students with professional training for hospitality jobs throughout the country. The Oasis Hotel’s philanthropic arm reopened the school with a grant from the Fund.
Thursday’s visits will highlight the Fund’s commitment to small and growing businesses. The co-chairs will meet with the Haitian entrepreneurs who started the office supply store Global Home and Office Smart and whose retail outlet was rebuilt with a loan from the Fund. They will also visit fund grantee GaMa’s KayTek factory, which is producing steel framing for construction. GaMa recently completed reconstruction on the historic Sacre Coeur secondary school in Port-au-Prince. Nearly 1,000 students attend the school.
As the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund continues to spend down its remaining funds, it has announced more than $2.5 million in new grants to programs that are working toward a healthier, more resilient future for Haiti.