Please join us in congratulating Margaret on receiving an honorary doctorate in human letters from USF for her work with the What If? Foundation and our partners in Haiti.
Here is USF’s press release announcing this great honor:
SAN FRANCISCO (May 16, 2013) – The University of San Francisco (USF) will present an honorary doctorate in humane letters to Margaret Trost, founder of the What If? Foundation, this Sat., May 18, at 6 p.m. The What If? Foundation teams with its Haitian partners to fund programs in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood of Port-au-Prince that provide 6,000 meals each week, more than 200 school scholarships each year, an after-school program for 240 youth, and a summer camp for 550 children. The What If? Foundation is the only funder of these community-based programs.
“Margaret Trost has been working with poor Haitians for more than a decade,” said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., who will confer the honorary degree during the graduation ceremony for more than 300 graduate students of USF’s Masagung Graduate School of Management. “She certainly exemplifies the truism of the founder of the Jesuit order, Ignatius of Loyola, that love shows itself in deeds more than in words. What if everyone lived this maxim as well as Margaret?”
“I am deeply honored to receive this honorary doctorate from the University of San Francisco, which inspires me through its commitment to use academic excellence as a vehicle for creating a more humane and just world,” said Trost. “I am especially grateful for this opportunity to share my experiences with the next generation of leaders as they prepare to use their skills and knowledge in the pursuit of social justice.”
In 2000, Trost traveled to Haiti for the first time to volunteer at a hospice founded by Mother Teresa. She was inspired by the faith and dedication of the sisters who administered to the people, but was overwhelmed by the suffering she saw throughout Port-au-Prince, especially among children, many of whom experienced daily hunger and faced disease related to acute malnutrition and the absence of clean drinking water. During her visit, she met Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest, now deceased, and a 2006 USF honorary degree recipient, who told Trost of the hunger most children experienced there. Motivated to make a difference, Trost returned to California and founded the What If? Foundation to support food and education programs for impoverished children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Trost credits the success of What If? to the collaboration with the foundation’s Haitian partners, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the aide directly benefits children.
The graduation ceremony will take place at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on the USF campus—located at 650 Parker Ave. (at Fulton Street) in San Francisco.
About the University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student’s passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” For more information, please visit www.usfca.edu.
Today the What If? staff, along with founder Margaret Trost, will travel to Port-au-Prince to meet with our Haitian partners, Na Rive, who lovingly run the food and education programs day after day. Margaret shares: “This is a journey I look forward to because it re-connects me with the children we serve and the challenges they face in their daily struggle to survive. It reminds me of the difference every meal and every school scholarship makes. And it reinforces the importance of our 13-year partnership, which is a model of sustainable development through community-based, Haitian-led programs that are effectively serving the most vulnerable.”
We are looking forward to hearing an update on the programs supported by your openhearted donations.
As the staff of What if?, along with founder Margaret Trost, prepare to leave for Haiti next week, please take a moment to visit the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood with them in this 3 minute video (below) to see the impact your donations are making today in the lives of hungry children.
It is with a heart full of gratitude that I share with you our 2012 Annual Report. In it you will read about the food and education programs you support in Haiti and you will find quotes, like these three, from children who describe the powerful difference you are making in their lives.
Translated from Kreyol “I live in a tent city. I would like to go to school, but I have not been before. I like coming to the food program because they give me a big plate of food, so I am not hungry. And I get to play with other kids. I love that they teach me songs and other things. I feel safe at the food program. Really safe.” – Rolande, age 7
“You know what? I cannot wait to wake up in the morning to go to school! School is very hard and it is difficult for me to study at home with no lights, but I could not think of a better way to spend my days. I hope everyone knows that my school scholarship has made me the happiest boy in the world. Thank you for helping me be a better and happier person.” – Fergusson, age 13
“My favorite part of being in the after-school program each week is the chance to be a part of such a great community. I think it is important to do well in school but also to learn how to respect other people, which is what we are learning at this program. I hope to make my community proud after I finish school.” – Madeline, age 15
Rolande, Fergusson, and Madeline speak for many others who receive a nutritious meal every weekday, a school scholarship, or who attend the after-school program. The What If? Foundation is the only source of funding for these community-based programs, and without you and other What If donors, these badly needed services would not exist.
If you are in a position to send a donation, please click on the donate button you see to your right, or visit the donate page on our website soon.
65 cents pays for one meal at the food program. An elementary school scholarship costs about $250 per year. Your dollars go far, are used so carefully, and impact lives directly.
In two weeks, I will travel to Port-au-Prince to meet with our Haitian partners, Na Rive, who lovingly run the food and education programs day after day. This is a journey I look forward to because it re-connects me with the children we serve and the challenges they face in their daily struggle to survive. It reminds me of the difference every meal and every school scholarship makes. And it reinforces the importance of our 13-year partnership, which is a model of sustainable development through community-based, Haitian-led programs that are effectively serving the most vulnerable.
Thank you for your trust and support and for holding What If, Na Rive, and the children we serve in your heart.