“After a lifetime of living and working in the inner-cities of America, focused on community transformation and community leadership development in areas such as housing, food insecurity, formerly incarcerated individuals and substance abuse treatment, to steal a phrase from one of my favorite authors C.S. Lewis, I was “surprised by joy” to learn about the What If Foundation and the truly inspiring mission of love, faith and hope that our founder Margaret Trost and all who have accompanied her on this journey have built. I am honored and excited about the opportunity to partner with so many in this work!”
Donor Relations Associate
“My work for What If Foundation is a constant reminder of the existence of compassion. As I open letters, read messages and communicate with donors, I know they feel part of something extraordinary and wonderful. It is a joy for me to hear why people choose to give to Haiti and what brought them to the What If Foundation family. I've travelled extensively in the West Indies, but being in Ti Plas Kazo for the opening of the Father Jeri School was especially memorable. I was able to see, first-hand, the direct and remarkable impact our donors and partner are making in Port-au-Prince.”
“I first developed an interest in Haiti when I traveled there with a church group thirty years ago. It was a blessing, therefore, to subsequently meet Margaret Trost, What If Foundation's Founder. I was inspired by Margaret’s generous response to her own experience in Haiti, and I was pleased to be able to serve on the What If Foundation Board for several years. For the past four years, I have continued my involvement with the Foundation through volunteer bookkeeping work. It is a privilege to have a role in supporting the work of the What If Foundation – programs which enrich and empower the lives of so many children.”
“When I became a mom, it was amazing to me how immediately I felt a love and responsibility for all children. I work with What If Foundation because I believe every kid deserves an equal shot in life, and the What If Foundation's partnership with Na Rive is incredibly effective at creating those opportunities for as many kids as possible. I feel honored that I can use my expertise to support their efforts and actually change lives. My time writing for the What If Foundation is the best part of my week.”
Natalie is a Freelance Writer and Brand Strategist.
Board of Directors
“Haiti is in my blood and my heart. Since I was a child, I’ve been impressed by how a nation with such great injustices and tormented history has managed to embody such wonderful warmth, liveliness and strength - making the Haitian culture so special and unique. I feel fortunate to have found What If Foundation and take part in helping Na Rive improve the lives of children and families in Ti Plas Kazo. I believe in the kindness, empathy and focus the foundation stands for and, most of all, that transformation in Haiti will come through small community-driven steps towards the bright future it deserves. Piti piti na rive.”
Catherine is a Global Marketing Strategist.
"When I visited Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, I was amazed at the perseverance and optimism of the Haitian people. Volunteering at a hospital, surrounded by people who had lost everything, I only saw smiles around. It was a very inspiring experience and made me realize how much I took for granted. I am so grateful to work with the What If Foundation to help our neighbors rebuild their beautiful country. I believe that every child should have access to basic needs, like food and education.”
Adeline is a strategist at Google.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a member of the What If Foundation Board for the last few years, working to support Na Rive with education and nutrition programs in Ti Plas Kazo. I am incredibly proud of the Father Jeri School which hundreds of children attend, and of the long-lasting food program which serves thousands of children for whom the meal we provide is often the only one they will have that day. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board and Na Rive to help the school thrive, nourish these children, and change the course of their lives.”
Susan is Supervising Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice.
“I had the pleasure of visiting Na Rive in 2014, during a trip with Margaret, our Founder, and got a crash course in the history and the wonderful people of Ti Plas Kazo. It was impossible not to want to be more involved with the awe-inspiring work What If Foundation enables. Being able to witness the audacity of hope that struck me when I read Margaret’s book On that Day Everybody Ate, I found myself wanting to give wind to the wings that hope flies on. The legacy and vision of Father Jean-Juste is alive and well at Na Rive, and it is such an honor to be a part of that.”
Kate is a Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart & Our Lady’s Collaborative.
"Growing up in Haiti, I witnessed the struggle of Haitian families to send their children to school. As the What If Foundation's first Education Coordinator and also a recipient of the education program, I've seen children who could only dream of becoming a lawyer or doctor, who are now lawyers and doctors thanks to the foundation. I also saw the impact of What If Foundation's sponsored education, Summer Camp and Feeding program on the lives of hundreds of children living in Ti Plas Kazo community.
I am hopeful and optimistic that the partnership between Na Rive and What If Foundation will create more opportunity and hope for a better and stronger Haiti. The Foundation's model of community-based partnership is a template for state and non-state actors working to build a brighter future for all Haitian children. That is why I support and contribute to the work of What If Foundation in Haiti."
Wadner is a communications and policy strategist, and Chief Executive Officer of XtraMile Communications.
"I was born and raised in Haiti. Organically my heartstrings vibrate to the crescendo and decrescendo of hope for the people of Haiti. This intimacy is also why I have been skeptical of most non-Haitian organizations helping in Haiti. Despite all good intentions, they often apply “off-the-shelf solutions” to problems that are often laced with cultural, environmental and spiritual challenges that are endemic to the Haitian people.
I first heard of the What If Foundation through a co-worker whose recommendations I value. The simplicity and clarity of their mission statement reads like a breath of fresh air. Instead of trying to overlay their own solutions to local problems, they listen to how Haitian communities prioritize their problems and how they intend to best solve them.
Over the last 20 years, What If Foundation has been raising funds to support Father Jeri’s vision through the grassroots organization Na Rive to fund programs that remain Haitian-led and Haitian-run. And that to me is the chief reason why I am delighted to be a part of this organization."
Sophis is IT Project Director for the Department of Public Health in the City & County of San Francisco.
“There is a Haitian saying, 'Dèyè mòn, gen mòn' — it means ‘beyond mountains, more mountains.’ Many years ago, I learned this phrase from a UCC mission co-worker from Haiti, and after working in complex conflict settings for most of my career, I could not agree more. Throughout my work this phrase has guided me as it often feels that after overcoming one great obstacle, you merely gain a clear view of the next one.
The Haitian people constantly face obstacle upon obstacle—more and more mountains—yet face them with an indomitable spirit of hope. I am excited to be part of the What If Foundation and share my knowledge of international program development, fundraising and external relations during this exciting time of growth for What If Foundation”.
Adam-Michael is Chief Development and Marketing Officer for the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco.
“Having the opportunity to be in partnership with Fr. Jean-Juste when he was alive and to continue supporting his vision for the Ti Plas Kazo community with Na Rive is one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life. The care, heart, and devotion that goes into making the food and education programs in Port-au-Prince possible – both in the states through the What If Foundation board, staff, and donors and in Haiti through the members of Na Rive – is beautiful and inspiring. Love in action. Piti piti na rive! Little by little we will arrive.”
Margaret is the Founder of the What If Foundation.
“I had the privilege to introduce What If Foundation founder Margaret Trost to Haiti during a trip I led in 2000. It has been a joy to watch this program grow and evolve, and I am proud to be associated with it. I served on the What If Foundation board for over 10 years and I continue to work with various grass roots organizations in Haiti. The dignity and respect for the Haitian people at the heart of every aspect of What If Foundation’s methodology is what touches me most deeply and inspires me most consistently to stay connected and to let others know about this wonderful organization.”
Bryan is the Founder and Director of Crosswind Music Ministries, Haiti Allies.org, and CEO of the Convergence Music Project.
“I read Margaret Trost’s book, On That Day Everybody Ate, and it inspired me greatly. To be of service to a cause that helps so many Haitians was a calling impossible to ignore. To give back, to help those in need is the reason I so eagerly wanted to join as a board advisor. At the end of the day, it won’t be about how much money we made, or how many possessions we owned. It will be about what we did as individuals to make this world a better place for those in need. It’s an honor and privilege to be part of an organization that is making such a tremendous impact on the lives of so many.”
Mark is the Founder of Spiritus Financial Planning.
Our Haitian partner, Na Rive, carries out the vision of celebrated Haitian human rights activist Father Gerard Jean-Juste (‘Jeri’) and runs the programs the What If Foundation funds. The Na Rive team led by Program Director Lavarice Gaudin, who worked closely with Father Jeri and took the reins of Na Rive after Father Jeri’s death in 2009, continues to work tirelessly through turbulent political and economic times to ensure that food, education, and hope are available to as many children and families as possible.
Na Rive is a Haitian nonprofit organization with deep roots in Ti Plas Kazo. The name Na Rive comes from the Haitian proverb “piti piti na rive,” which means “little by little, we will arrive.” Their ingenuity, resourcefulness, love and perseverance fuel every step they take to improve the lives of children and families in the Ti Plas Kazo neighborhood and beyond. We are incredibly proud to support their vision for the future of this community and for Haiti at large.
“Few organizations in Haiti have successfully helped those in need, and even fewer organizations have let Haitians lead the way. This is what makes the What If Foundation and its partnership with Na Rive unique and impactful.”Lavarice Gaudin, Program Director, Na Rive