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Help us earn a $125,000 grant for our building project

Posted Feb 7th, 2013

Dear Friend of the What If? Foundation,

Today, February 7th is the birthday of the late Fr. Gerry Jean-Juste, who inspired the creation of the What If? Foundation nearly 13 years ago.  It feels like the perfect day to share very exciting news with you:

Through the generosity of supporters in Illinois, the foundation has been offered a challenge grant of $125,000 for our “Building the Dream” project!

With your help, we can meet the challenge and make a lasting difference for children in Haiti.

If we can fully match this grant by July 1st, the combined $250,000 will give us the money needed to complete both phase 1 and phase 2 of our project!  This means that the kitchen/cafeteria AND the first building of the school (for K through 3rd graders) will be able to be completed!  The food program will finally be able to move out from under the tarp and 4 to 8 year olds will have a chance to go to school!

We’ve already raised $40,000 towards this challenge grant, so we have only $85,000 to go.

Here are four ways you can help:

  1. Make a special donation beyond your current level of support by July 1st to help us meet the challenge and earn $125,000 for the building project. Your donation will be matched by the grant so your gift will have double the impact! If you have already made a “Building the Dream” donation, thank you!
  2. Watch this 7-minute video about the project and share it with your friends through email, Facebook, and Twitter to help raise visibility and donations.  Email/call us with any leads of people or organizations who might be interested in assisting us in attaining our goal.
  3. Host a special “Building the Dream” fundraiser and use the 7-minute video to communicate the vision of the project.  (Call the office if you’d like a DVD.)
  4. Continue your financial support of the food and education programs as you have in the past, so that we can sustain these vital programs throughout the building process and into the future.

Since the earthquake, so little reconstruction has directly benefitted the poor in Port-au-Prince.  But this project will.  We’ve planned carefully and construction is going well.  So far the security wall has been built and excavation for the kitchen/cafeteria began last week. (See slideshow)  An all-Haitian building crew is working in partnership with our team from Builders Without Borders and Na Rive, our Haitian partners.  Everything is on schedule and we’re moving forward as funds permit. Lavarice Gaudin, Na Rive’s program director, has told us that the excitement and hope within the community as this project unfolds is palpable.

Please help us reach the next step on our journey to build a safe, permanent home for the programs and a desperately needed school by doing one, two, three, or all four of the suggestions above.  With your help, we’ll be able to Build the Dream.

Thank you for all of your support.  Once again, the Haitian saying that Fr. Gerry taught me many years ago continues to guide us:  Piti piti na rive.

Little by little we will arrive,

Margaret Trost
Founder, What If? Foundation

“Patiently, transparently, lovingly, scientifically, open-mindedly, fraternally, respectfully,
let’s all move forward for the benefit of the children.”    – Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste