November 29, 2012
Please Help Haitian Farmers Replant After Hurricane Sandy


Because grave food insecurity looms due to crop destruction by Hurricane Sandy, the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation is making emergency grants to prior agricultural grantees in the southern Haiti, which was slammed by the storm.  Grants to foster rural livelihoods and the decentralization of Haiti form the largest portion of the Haiti Fund’s work.  The Fund also supports education for the most marginalized children, plus advocacy for human rights and the effective and transparent use of foreign aid.  Please read the letter from Haiti Fund Director Pierre Noel, and consider supporting determined Haitian farmers eager to replant and rebuild.


Dear Friend of Haiti,


How many tragedies can a people endure – and still hang on to hope?


I just returned from my homeland of Haiti where I met with the leaders of 28 of the organizations we currently fund, and the stories they told me nearly crushed my spirit. Three weeks ago Hurricane Sandy slammed into Haiti. As far as we know, Sandy contributed to 57 deaths in Haiti, but with floods spreading cholera-infected water, the indirect death toll could be much greater. While in Haiti, I listened to Silias Rony, a leader of the peasant organization called COCIDES in Aquin, recount 252 homes destroyed, 2,444 homes damaged, 18,000 hectares of crops lost, and 85,000 livestock killed in just his county alone.


Picture, on the one hand, threading barely passable roads filled with mudslides and the immediate concern for soap, clothes, sheets, shelter, and chlorine tablets to treat water in the wake of Sandy. But the gloomier outlook concerns perished livestock and devastated crops—freshly planted rows of beans, corn, sorghum, root vegetables, and pistachios—that will mean food insecurity six months from now.


For Haitians there is no safety net, and no room for despair. With your help today, The Haiti Fund will be there to lift up these resourceful farmers. We can help them refortify their soil, reforest vulnerable hillsides, replant crops, and mill their harvests. By revitalizing agricultural communities and helping Haitians feed themselves, we will encourage the population to shift from the dangerously overcrowded slums of Port-au-Prince to vibrant villages throughout the countryside.


Part of your gift to The Haiti Fund will go directly in emergency grants to help those most impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Another part will be deployed in grants to help everyday Haitians find solutions to seemingly intractable, long-term problems. We are just over half-way into the life of The Haiti Fund, and I am incredibly proud of its many accomplishments. With over 60 grants disbursed all over Haiti since January 2010, we have equipped Haitian-led organizations to assess their needs and implement strategies, whether in farming, primary education, or in calling for justice. This was the focus of my meetings last week, when we had the extraordinary opportunity to bring together all of our current grantees for two full days to share lessons learned and to encourage ongoing exchanges to reinforce their work.


Imagine the daily challenges our leaders face, unbearable even before Hurricane Sandy and the terrible earthquake. Chavannes Casseus, director of the peasant organization MP3K, lamented: “We shoulder the burden of the whole community here…a pregnant woman is about to give birth at 1AM—they come to us. A family loses a loved one, a peasant family loses a crop, a child cannot go to school—they come to us. This is the burden heaped upon us as community leaders.”


Chavannes and MP3K, Rony and COCIDES—these leaders and groups are just a few of the many examples of the dynamism and dedication bursting in rural communes all over Haiti. The beating heart of Haiti is in its mountains, where we are committed to helping grassroots leaders create healthy, prosperous communities. During the remaining two years of The Haiti Fund, we will continue to convene our outstanding leaders for training in program design, financial management and reporting, so that we will leave these organizations far stronger than when we found them.


That’s why we need your continued help. Rebuilding Haiti is about more than discrete grants and projects. It is about more than building schools and homes and handing out seeds and hoes. It is about reweaving the social and economic fabric of Haiti. It is about providing organizational tools for self-reliance. It is about equipping Haitians to join together to withstand a hurricane and gain hope for tomorrow—long after The Haiti Fund is gone. Please consider a donation online through the Boston Foundation website ( or by mailing a check (payable to the Boston Foundation) to our offices at 75 Arlington Street, 10th Floor, Boston, MA 02116 with “Haiti Fund” in the memo line.


Thank you again for your continued support and faith in the ingenuity of our Haitian partners. As they continue to inspire us, let us continue to accompany them in their quest to overcome poverty and injustice. Certainly, the days we live in are not easy ones, but together, we can deliver sustained hope for a better tomorrow. As the Haitian motto states:  “Ansanm nou fò”—“In unity there is strength.”




Pierre Noel, JD

Director, Haiti Fund