Fresh Leadership in Philanthropy

Karen Keating AnsaraKaren and her husband Jim make grants to end global poverty (primarily in Haiti and Nepal) via their donor-advised fund at The Boston Foundation.  With John Harvey, Karen co-founded New England International Donors in 2008, a network of 115 donors, grantmakers, social investors and advisors.  NEID is now a program of The Philanthropic Initiative in Boston and affiliated with The Boston Foundation.  

In 2010 Karen and Jim co-founded the Haiti Fund with the Boston Foundation, a fund guided by Haitian Americans and international development experts, which made grants in Haiti for five years. Karen now serves as an advisor to the emerging Haiti Development Institute and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.  

In addition, Karen serves on the Board of Directors of MCE Social Capital in California, the Leadership Council of Oxfam America, the Steering Committee of the Opportunity Collaboration, and the Board of Corporators of Wheelock College in Boston.  She recently served on the boards of Partners in Health, Essex County Community Foundation, and Harborlight Community Partners, an affordable housing organization.

Karen holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College, an M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School, and along with her husband an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem State College.  She has been trained in strategic philanthropy by The Philanthropy Workshop West. Jim and Karen are raising five adopted children, three from Ecuador, in Essex, MA.

What this blog is about…

To view Karen’s previous blog which was on Posterous, please click here
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June 5, 2018

These remarks were delivered at the June 2, 2018 Commencement for Landmark High School in Prides Crossing, MA.  Landmark is 2-12th grade day and boarding school with a special focus on educating bright students with language-based learning disabilities. First-in-class, Landmark draws students from across the US and other countries.  When Bob Broudo asked me to [Read more…]

April 30, 2018

Photo credit: Chris GambonI am pleased to join the inaugural Dean’s Advisory Board for the new Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, which brings together all faculty and their departments offering undergraduate and graduate programs in Global Studies.  From International Relations and Security, to Global Development Policy, to deep-dive regional studies, the Pardee School [Read more…]

April 3, 2018

Based on my life-changing year in the TPW Cohort Program, I helped found an international philanthropy network for philanthropists, grantmakers, social investors, and advisors called New England International Donors (NEID). Nearly ten years later, that project has born much fruit!

August 23, 2017

What do you do when you witness profound need? Do you stand by and feel badly, or do you do something about it? Changemakers Jim Ansara, founder of Build Health International and hunger advocate and Boston chef Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow, Waypoint) are driven by the need to make a difference. Listen to the full [Read more…]

August 14, 2017

 This interview was originally published in this week’s issue of BNID‘s newsletter. Read this dynamic interview with Jim Ansara, a Boston-area construction leader and the founder of Build Health International. Jim has spent much of his working life growing infrastructure capacity for health care delivery in low-income countries around the world. Click here for the full interview.

February 3, 2017
st boniface hospital haiti

Aerial view of the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation hospital in Fond de Blanc, Southern Peninsula Haiti. (Credit: Terry Sebastian)This story is featured on the website Humanosphere on Feb. 1, 2017:Build Health International: Making Haiti’s hospitals resilient and sustainable In a country starved for resources with a crippled public health system, one nonprofit is determined to make more of Haiti’s health-care facilities [Read more…]

December 8, 2016

Dear Supporter,This is no ordinary triumph. This is historic.This is the moment that the Irish poet Seamus Heaney foretold as the rising up of that “once in a lifetime…longed-for tidal wave of justice,” when “hope and history rhyme.”When the leader of 193 nations apologized on December 1 from his grand carpeted chamber at the UN [Read more…]

November 3, 2016

This is an article I wrote for the International Human Rights Funders Group recently:Applying Human Rights Principles to Disaster Response 

October 7, 2016

Haitians Live on Solidarity after Hurricane MatthewThe Southern Peninsula of Haiti has been decimated but not destroyed.  The strong networks of local leaders and residents will support each other and rebuild, with our solidarity and support.Many of my friends are asking where to give — AGAIN.  If you have a personal connection to a region [Read more…]

April 15, 2016

Story by Sayari Patel and Liz Schwartz of St. Boniface Haiti Foundation. First posted on Storify. St. Boniface Hospital is located in rural Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti, a remote region in the mountains of Haiti’s southern peninsula, 3-4 hours from Port-au-Prince. We are in the midst of constructing a surgical center which will provide the only free, 24-hour [Read more…]

May 8, 2015

 I had the privilege of participating as a panelist on a teleconference organized by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) regarding issues to consider in responding to the Nepal Earthquake. CDP is raising money for a pooled fund to make grants for mid to long-term reconstruction in Nepal. A summary follows as well as the [Read more…]

May 7, 2015
nepal girl eric montfort

New U.S.-Nepal Fund Launched after Model of Successful Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation Based on the tremendous impact of the Haiti Fund in helping to strengthen Haitian-led initiatives and empowering a cadre of Haitian American leaders to lead a philanthropic response to the Haiti earthquake, the Boston Foundation has launched a U.S.-Nepal Fund following [Read more…]

April 29, 2015
nepal crowd funding

We have been blessed to have many close Nepali friends.  As we grieve with them the loss of their homes and many treasured historic sites, we have joined with the Bhuju family, proprietors of Zumi’s Espresso cafe of Ipswich, MA, in matching gifts for Oxfam’s emergency relief work in Nepal.  Oxfam, which has long worked [Read more…]

April 26, 2015
take a breath and aid nepal

With today’s news of the horrific Nepal earthquake I am driven to take immediate action — to make an on-line donation or wire money to friends of friends in the dust-choked streets of Kathmandu and green pinnacles of rural Nepal. I am consumed with the grief of my many Nepali friends who are like family [Read more…]

January 12, 2015
Fundacon paraguaya

A PARAGUAYAN-HAITIAN PARTNERSHIP FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP & EDUCATION Petionville and Verettes, Haiti January 9 & 10, 2015 At two separate ceremonies attended by dignitaries, educational professionals and donors today and tomorrow, four Haitian high school students from Verrettes and Ile a Vache, Haiti – Widancia Charles, Estevenson Stephen, Minociene Cherestal and James Pierre — were honored for [Read more…]

January 10, 2015
stop ebola now

To equip donors to help stop Ebola and its deleterious consequences, New England International Donors (NEID) has launched a Beyond Ebola Fund to second five staff members for 18 months to the Liberian Ministry of Health.  NEID also maintains an evolving page of information about the philanthropic and aid response. In addition, NEID has held [Read more…]

November 14, 2014
harborlight community partners logo

November 7, 2014 Karen gave this talk at Harborlight Community Partners in Beverly, MA. Harborlight Community Partners, Inc. is a growing non-profit organization with the capacity and sustainability to provide affordable housing across Southern Essex County. I now claim my roots in the tiny town of Essex, but when I was growing up in the [Read more…]

October 15, 2014

NEW ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL DONORS 5th ANNIVERSARY DINNER October 8, 2014 As I often tell our five children aged 18-22, “The quality of the choices you make depends on whom you hang out with.” This is just as true in philanthropy. My philanthropic decisions have been shaped by the countless invaluable conversations I have had with [Read more…]

August 12, 2014
St Boniface Hospital maternity ward

The St. Boniface Haiti Foundation (SBHF) strives to improve life for the poor of Haiti by facilitating access to quality, affordable health care, educational opportunities and community development programs. Our goal is to create a model of successful, sustainable development in rural Haiti that relies on local leadership and work force and that can be [Read more…]

July 28, 2014
haiti trip 2014 group

  From July 14, 2014 These remarks, edited for this post, were offered to set the context for a philanthropy trip in Haiti hosted by the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation on July 14, 2014. The Haiti Fund concentrates on funding grassroots Haitian-led organizations in Haiti and Greater Boston. The Haiti Fund will close [Read more…]

June 26, 2014

Recently Karen Ansara, board member of the Essex County Community Foundation,  held an information session with ECCF and The Women’s Fund of Essex County, about the outrage of human trafficking. Read the post below created by Jo Kadlecek, Director of ECCF communications, or you can read it directly on ECCF’s blog. It was a beautiful summer morning but the [Read more…]

June 10, 2014
2014 June 14th haitian-coalition-somerville

On June 14th, the Haitian Coalition of Somerville. will host its 11th annual Fundraising Gala from 7-11 pm, at the Holiday Inn at 30 Washington Street in Somerville. The Gala will bring together up to 400 people for an exciting evening of music, dance, a business expo, raffle, auction and investment in our youth. The [Read more…]

June 9, 2014
Boston Public Library Haitian Independence

Boston Public Library hosts programs and exhibitions in May and June that document the arduous journey to the free Republic of Haiti and celebrate more than 200 years of Haitian independence. An exhibition featuring artworks that honor Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture is on display at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue, through [Read more…]

May 27, 2014
Karen Ansara and the Panel at Nat'l Forum of Family Philanthropy

PANEL: “I’ll Have What She’s Having!” The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, MAMay 8, 2014Moderator: Lowell Weiss, President, Cascade Philanthropy AdvisorsPresenters: Mario Morino, Morino Institute and Founding Chairman, Venture Philanthropy Partners; and William Campbell, Chair, Campbell Family Foundation and The End Fund Karen’s Prepared Comments (more than were spoken): Given the title of our panel, from the film [Read more…]

May 21, 2014
aerial view of HUM

Presented to the Partners in Health Board of Trustees (Following photos courtesy of Build Health International)I am here to add the back story to how this magnificent hospital was built, because I have heard about nearly block and pipe that went into it! You probably know all about its genesis: how it was originally intended [Read more…]

May 7, 2014

The Massachusetts School of Psychology is hosting  the 3rd Haitian art exhibition.  The Vibrant Streets of Haiti features some 36 artworks from Jacmel artists and New England artists.  May 3-June 14,  1 Wells Ave, Newton. The collaboration between Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachussetts (HAAM) and the Haitian Mental Health Network, has produced some unexpected outcomes: [Read more…]

April 30, 2014

  Due to a generous sponsor, all registration fees for the Haiti Funders Conference in Boston on June 5-6 have been waived. In an intimate setting, you will engage in discussions with Haitian government and NGO leaders and enjoy ample unscheduled time for networking and sharing your work.  The conference includes all meals and a [Read more…]

Please click on the image for more information and to register.

April 26, 2014

Now more than four years after the earthquake in Haiti we hear the same question echoing through the conversations, the meetings, the social gatherings where Jim and I meet with colleagues and friends. They ask, “But how can we help Haiti? The issues are too thorny; the government is weak…” It’s a question that haunts [Read more…]

January 1, 2013

  Today, on Haitian Independence Day, it seems fitting to remember that the work for justice may take a lifetime; indeed it has taken more than two centuries. My husband, Jim, and I support this work through the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. If you are a builder like my husband, there is no day more [Read more…]

December 31, 2012

The Haiti Fund at The Boston Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation invite institutional funders, philanthropists and advisors to join an array of Haiti funders to share lessons and explore new partnerships.  Three years after the earthquake in Haiti and the rush of international aid and donations, progress has been made, but much remains to [Read more…]

December 13, 2012

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon   Twelve faith-based and human rights organizations responded immediately today to the plan unveiled yesterday by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to elimiate cholera in Haiti. From the press release: “American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Church World Service, Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti, The Episcopal Church, Gender Action, Global [Read more…]

December 12, 2012

Global travelers will catch a glimpse of Haiti’s and Massachusetts’ rich culture next year when passing through Terminal A of Boston’s Logan Airport.  Under the inspiration and direction of Mike Cataldo, Director of Marketing for Massport, the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts will exhibit in Terminal A’s passageways original paintings by Haitian American artists and Haitian artists [Read more…]

  Dinner and Book Discussion: Mighty Be Our Powers January 14, 2013, 6:30 – 9:00 PM Hunt Alternatives Fund; 625 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA Join NEID for a dinner and discussion on Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War, by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee. [Read more…]

December 10, 2012
Breakfast in the Classroom, Emily Zoladz, The Grand Rapids Press

On December 3 I shared at a No Kid Hungry event for Share Our Strength our personal story of spending nine months on Food Stamps when Jim and I first met over three decades ago.  We never forgot what that was like or the desperate families we shopped with.   Nor will Mayor Cory Booker [Read more…]

End Haiti

Please help us reach 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for the UN to implement a comprehensive solution — rather than a bandaid approach — to the cholera epidemic in Haiti.  Tomorrow the United Nations will unveil a plan to contain the disease.  A coalition of over 30 faith-based and human rights organizations — the [Read more…]

November 29, 2012

  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 [Read more…]

November 27, 2012

  For its fourth of five years, The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation has released an RFP for proposals due January 31.  Proposals will be accepted from Haiti Fund grantees from 2011-2012, as well as new proposals from the following regions due to a funding partnersihp with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation:   Les Cayes, [Read more…]

Partners in Health celebrates 25 years with a gala in Boston Click on link above for Becca Rollin’s video of the Nov. 15th event.   At a spectacular gala event in Boston on November 15, global health organization Partners in Health celebrated 25 years serving the world’s poor.  Co-founders Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl, joined by Tom McCormack, [Read more…]

  Thanks to the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation and Ansara Family Fund grantee Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, we have a stellar panel in Boston this week discussing:   “Why have NGOs made such lim­ited con­tri­bu­tions in Haiti?” Featuring three Ansara Family Fund grantees, including Partners in Health, panelists will dis­cus­s [Read more…]

November 23, 2012

  As reported by the Beverly Hills Courier, Dr. Paul Farmer, Co-Founder of Partners in Health, has tapped Dr. Henri Ford, Chief of Surgery at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Vice Dean of Medical Education at University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, and member of the Board of Regents of of the American [Read more…]

November 15, 2012

  Tonight we celebrate Partners in Health’s 25 years of putting the poor first.  Why do you believe in Partners in Health? Co-Founder Paul Farmer shares below.  Post your comments here:   When Tom White, Todd McCormack, Ophelia Dahl, Jim Kim, and I founded Partners In Health 25 years ago, we couldn’t have known [Read more…]

October 28, 2012

In Haiti death is a daily lesson. Builder and exquisite writer Paul Fallon, who has lived in Haiti and guided the construction of the new “Be Like Brit” orphanage for over two years, chronicles the senseless deaths in his adopted community — including the smothering of an entire family living in a tent when Hurricane [Read more…]

October 27, 2012   Dear brothers and sisters,   I am writing you to let you know of the situation in Haiti following Hurricane Sandy.  I just returned from a trip to Port-au-Prince. The situation is devastating. The storm stayed for almost five days. The rain fell without ceasing. The wind was very strong. The [Read more…]

October 21, 2012

Why do I count the days between Opportunity Collaborations, the October un-conference in Ixtapa,Mexico for those committed to alleviating poverty?  Because every year I know I will fall in love there all over again.   I fall in love partly due to the tangerine sunsets and the lime margaritas — which set the stage for [Read more…]

August 27, 2012

    Well over 1,000 volunteers from Greater Boston have lent a hand to build and equip the new National Teaching Hospital  in Mirebalais, Haiti, as reported by G. Jeffrey MacDonald  in yesterday’s Boston Globe North.  From shipping construction materials and medical supplies, to shaping and installing millwork and ventilation systems, to laying tile,  to [Read more…]

    As of 11 p.m. on August 26, the day Hurricane Isaac struck the island of Hispaniola, Haiti’s Civil Protection Department of the Ministry of the Interior reported the following tragedies:    . 19 deaths, 6 disappearances, and 22 injured . 15,812 evacuated, 14,672 in 92 shelters, and 3,632 families without shelter  . 951 [Read more…]

July 20, 2012

    I would not be who I am had it not been for my mentors — and as a woman in my 50’s, I need mentors today just as much as I did in my 20’s.  Now I can chose a virtual mentor from a FREE series of on-line interviews at The brainchild of Jonathan Lewis, serial [Read more…]

July 19, 2012

  If I had 28 precious minutes, I would watch this riveting video. I would sign this compelling petition. I would send this video, “Baseball in the Time of Cholera,”  everywhere I could.   Now is the moment to make this go viral. Wake up the world!   See for yourself the evidence. [Read more…]

July 14, 2012

Speaking on a panel at the World Bank along with Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Jim Kim, now President of the Bank, Dr.Paul Farmer stressed that pills and prevention are not enough to end disease because it is inseparable from poverty and that investing in one sector divorced from others will not end that poverty.  Rather, investing [Read more…]

July 13, 2012

  The gnawing poverty of America’s families in the worst economy since the Great Depression seems to be invisible to many members of Congress.  The Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives just approved a farm bill with $16.5 million in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP or food stamps.  In [Read more…]

April 25, 2012

    The Haiti Advocacy Working Group, Haitian Grassroots partners, Diaspora leaders and additional U.S. Citizens are coming together to bring their voices to Capitol Hill on April 26, 2012. They will advocate for a just reconstruction process in Haiti, one that prioritizes consultation with Haitian grassroots groups and Diaspora groups. They will also advocate [Read more…]

  In late March Haiti’s President Michel Martelly toured the new National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais being built under the auspices of Partners in Health in partnership with the Haiti’s Ministry of Health.  The facility will be owned by the Haitian Government. Jim Ansara, Director of Construction for PIH noted that “President Martelly was blown away.  [Read more…]

March 18, 2012

  Join David Campbell (founder of All Hands Volunteers), Appy Chandler and representatives from the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund Boston for a lively discussion about their international philanthropy efforts. The conversation will be facilitated and hosted by Kate Guedj, Vice President of Donor Services at the Boston Foundation and member of NEID’s Steering Committee.   [Read more…]

  “Most banks give only .025% to charity.  Can you believe that?” asked Rick Wayne, President and CEO of Northeast Bank in Greater Boston, when I met him last week.  “Our new all on-line savings platform, ableBanking, will give $25 to the charity of your choice as soon as you open an account.  Then we’ll give .25% [Read more…]

March 8, 2012

  For days Haitian and volunteer construction workers made the construction site of Haiti’s new National Teaching Hospital ship-shape for today’s visit by dignitaries, former President Bill Clinton and Partners in Health (PIH) co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer.  Guided by Dr. David Walton and my husband Jim, Director of Construction for PIH, Clinton and his entourage examined [Read more…]

January 23, 2012

  Over 30 human rights, international development and faith-based organizations called the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) are convening on January 23-25 with Congressional representatives, leaders from Haitian civil society and Haitian Diaspora organizations to discuss progress made in Haiti since the earthquake.   The sessions include an amazing line-up of speakers.    For more information see: [Read more…]

January 12, 2012

  In 2011 our family fund issued a number of grants to Haiti, which are profiled on this page of our website.  By clicking on a photo, you can read a description of the purpose of the grant.  It has been our honor to walk with the people of Haiti, focusing on rebuilding their sense [Read more…]

  This week the first building of Haiti’s new National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais, which will care for women and infants, was unveiled for the media and public.  A central feature of its voluminous waiting room are well-used church pews lovely restored and shipped to Haiti, a donation of St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic parish in Boston.   The [Read more…]

    The flood of reporting on Haiti this week, the second anniversary of the historic earthquake in Haiti,  is citing wide variations in figures for the amount of aid pledged to Haiti.  I must admit, getting the facts straight on global aid to Haiti after the earthquake is enormously challenging due to all the [Read more…]

January 9, 2012

    Join TransAfrica Forum and Let Haiti Live for a film festival and discussion about lessons learned, aid accountability and transparency and Haitian responses to the post-Quake reconstruction efforts. Where Do We Go From Here?In Commemoration of the January 2010 Haiti Earthquake, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day  Monday, January 16, 20123:00 pm [Read more…]

On January 7, 2012 an annual gala celebrating the 208th birthday of Haitian Independence drew over 500 people — mostly Haitian Americans.  In a program replete with Haitian folkloric dancing, singing, proclamations, humanitarian awards and speeches, I was invited to speak on the topic of “How we can individually and collectively help Haiti,” via the perspective [Read more…]

    Haitian Americans, Friends of Haiti, and Haitian civil society leaders will converge on Capitol Hill from January 23-25 to meet with members of Congress to discuss progress in rebuilding Haiti. Organized by the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, a coalition of international development, human rights and faith based organizations, the gatherings will “advocate for [Read more…]

December 15, 2011

  “One hundred and twenty eight homes near Port-au-Prince and which were finished in May, 2010, sat empty for 15 months, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of refugees were suffering in sordid camps. Finally the homes are occupied… but the majority by squatters,” reports Haiti Grassroots Watch, a collaboration of grassroots print and [Read more…]

December 6, 2011

  On November 16 I had the honor of speaking at a fundraising event for Wheelock College at the JFK Library in Boston.  The annual event celebrates students who receive generous four-year scholarships at $20,000 per year because of their proven commitment to community service.  Each of the Passion for Action Scholars demonstrates pursuit of Wheelock College’s [Read more…]

  Haiti Grassroots Watch, a collaboration of Haitian grassroots journalists and radio broadcasters, seeking to give voice to Haiti’s poor in the reconstruction process,  has just released another series of exposes of the dynamics behind Haiti’s reconstruction.  Editorializing below about recent events proclaiming a new factory zone for Haiti, the dossier continues with voluminous reporting in separate articles (links [Read more…]

  When many charities have gone, Rotary remains.  Connecting Rotary Clubs worldwide to Rotary Clubs in places of great need, Rotary International is the largest non-profit service organization in the world.  Haiti alone is host to 19 Haitian Rotary Clubs with over 600 active members.  Under the leadership of Dr. Guy Theodore,  a Haitian medical [Read more…]

  Haiti is largely dark at night.  Not a light pole, not a blue television light, not even a car light pierces the night in many vicinities.  Now Haitian youth are breaking the night with a simple technology — one they create.  At the Gressier JENKA Training Center for youth, born of a partnership between Haitian NGO, [Read more…]

November 29, 2011

  Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) to the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation are due December 1.  Proposals are particularly sought from the regions of St. Louis du Sud, Maniche, Cavaillon, Archahaie, Saut D’eau and Boucan Carré.  One round of grants will be made in May of 2012 for work in rural livelihoods, innovative education, permanent shelter, [Read more…]

November 28, 2011

  I am a “blan” and will always be a “blan.”  As a white woman of privilege I have to work at absorbing the souls, the laments, and the cries of triumph of my Haitian sisters.  Unless I do, I know that my meager gestures of solidarity will always be off the mark.  This past weekend which coupled [Read more…]

November 25, 2011

    What does it take to be on the front lines against hunger and the powerlessness that breeds it?  Utter selflessness.  Intrepid character.  A pattern of life decisions I did not make.  And so I have the highest regard for those who from an early age chose the selfless way.  The self-reflective story of a [Read more…]

November 14, 2011

  Our family fund focuses primarily on ending global poverty, because less than 5% of Americans give overseas.  So we are as picky about the domestic organizations we support as a child chosing between carrots and spinach.   None is more strategic, leverages more dollars from other sources, or has a more far-reaching impact on alleviating the scourge of [Read more…]

  I often find myself speaking to groups about Passionate Philanthropy, about what drives donors and what drives leaders.  The following article from Alliance Magazine provides a lexicon of qualities that propel vibrant social-profit leaders and those who make their work possible:  a sense of “competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and compassion.”  The author, Michael [Read more…]

November 6, 2011

  Join attorneys from Mintz Levin, Ropes & Gray and Foley Hoag for a forum with Brian Concannon, Esq., Founder of Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti on November 8.  Concannon will discuss using the legal system to build stability, prosperity and protection in Haiti.      Building Back Haiti More Justly Brian Concannon Jr., [Read more…]

    Presenting alongside two leading researchers in the field of international development and philanthropy on November 2, Paula Johnson of The Philanthropic Initiative and Rachel Glennerster of the Abdul Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, I boldly confessed my passionate, right-brained approach to international philanthropy, and my discomfort with metrics.    I believe I [Read more…]

        Join new Haitian-led Foundation Aksyon for a night of Haitian design, food by Todd English, and a musical performance by Wyclef Jean.  Proceeds to benefit Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG), Hard Hats for Haiti, and Pan American Development Foundation.   Yes, this is Haiti — Contemporary Haiti Saturday, November 19 Museum [Read more…]

    Little known before to students of American History, the largest slave revolt in our country (in 1811) was inspired by the Haitian Revolution of 1803.  Hear Daniel Rasmussen, author of the bestseller, American Uprising:  The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt, describe how:     “Haitian rebels had defeated the armies of Napoleon [Read more…]

November 5, 2011

  Preeminent human rights attorney from Port-au-Prince, Mario Joseph, discussed the current state of human rights in Haiti at a forum sponsored by the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation on October 28.  The Haitian earthquake did not kill over 200,000 in the “deadly collapse of neighborhoods,” claimed Joseph, but rather the “failure of the rule of law” did. [Read more…]

November 4, 2011

  On November 8 view the exquisite hand-sewn linens from the Artisinat of Haiti Projects, Inc. in Fond des Blancs at a cocktail reception at the Hampshire House in Boston.  Each year, Fond des Blancs linens become treasured holiday gifts.   The event will unveil a new line of high-end fashion accessories designed by Haitian fashion designer Prajje. [Read more…]

  Has it only been two weeks since the Opportunity Collaboration ended in Ixtapa, Mexico?  Curious about what the buzz is all about?  On November 30 help New England International Donors members recapture the flavor and energy of the convening as they share their “take-aways” and outcomes over Mexican food from Oaxaca and Veracruz!  To RSVP to [Read more…]

October 30, 2011

    Billy Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, always inspires me with his ability to change and grow — himself and his organization.  After nearly twenty years of harnessing corporate and community will and compassion to raise money to support food pantries and anti-hunger programs across America, he and his board boldly [Read more…]

October 28, 2011

  I had the pleasure of traveling last week to the Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico with Haitian-born Jean-Patrick Lucien, computer engineer and insatiable social entrepreneur from Massachusetts.   Jean-Patrick, the son of an agronomist, was raised and educated in Haiti through his teenage years until he migrated with his mother and brothers to the Boston [Read more…]

October 26, 2011

    On November 16 at the John F. Kennedy Library I will join several speakers, all sharing our stories and insights, into what shapes everyday people into “Passionaries,”* people driven to pursue a mission — even a calling — and spark passionate commitment among others.   Passion for Action Leadership Award Dinner Wednesday, November 16, 2011 [Read more…]

    In 2009 Christopher and Anne Ellinger, founders of Bolder Giving — a donor education project that inspires greater giving by offering tools, sharing stories and building a community of donors —  gave me a Workbook they had lovingly prepared to help individuals explore the outer limits of their generosity.  Examing several dimensions of giving outlined in the [Read more…]

October 25, 2011

   Starting in September scores of skilled construction volunteers from the U.S. — electricians and electrical linemen, tile-layers, carpenters, plumbers, and jacks-of-all trades —  have been serving week-long rotations to build the new National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti.  Simultaneously, the volunteers are working alongside Haitian construction workers to teach them advanced skills.    Over seventy-five [Read more…]

  On October 13 human rights activists for Haiti and representatives from 40 countries met in Geneva to make recommendations to Haiti to improve its human rights record.  The role of Haitian civil society organizations in relating to the UN was also discussed.  The culmination of a many-month process of consultations with Haitian civil society [Read more…]

  On October 26, 2011 / 2pm-4pm/ 2456 Rayburn Congressional Office Building, Washington, DC, Keenan Austin, Senior Advisor to Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, along with Congresswomen Yvette Clark and Maxine Waters, will host a briefing with human rights advocates and Haitian grassroots activists about current concerns facing Haiti.      Mario Joseph will speak about human rights and the [Read more…]

  When Tory Dietel Hopps, one of the most strategic and sophisticated philanthropic advisors I know, says, “Dance!”  she means it!  She dances in Cowboy Boots.  She dances in flip flops.  She’s even been known to jettison a shoe or two while dancing at the Opportunity Collaboration, an intense and lively annual retreat held in Ixtapa, Mexico [Read more…]


    Please join me in Boston’s Seaport District on November 2, along with financial and philanthropic advisors from private firms and non-profit organizations, as I share my passion for international philanthropy.  I will discuss with leading experts in global philanthropy the tension between empirical evaluation and donor passion in shaping international giving.  Panelists will include Paula Johnson, my colleague from New England [Read more…]

    Human Rights in Haiti October 27, 2011, 5:30-7:00 p.m. The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation* 75 Arlington Street, 10th Floor Boston, MA *picture ID required The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation invites you to a special conversation with renowned human rights lawyer, Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney at Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Port-au-Prince.   [Read more…]

October 23, 2011
Jonathan Lewis, Founder of the Opportunity Collaboration

    Pragmatic.  Pointed.  Always provocative.  Jonathan Lewis, Founder of the Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico welcomed 300 international delegates to a marathon, “roll-up-your-sleeves” convening to cross-pollinate ideas and forge partnerships to end poverty globally.  “Because we know multi-disciplinary solutions to poverty are needed,” stated Jonathan, “delegates are committed to reaching beyond parochial policy silos — united in setting [Read more…]

October 3, 2011
Famine-striken Somalians at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu/ Photo Credit:  Cassandra Nelson

    Last night I wanted to turn away.  For starters I was under-dressed. ( I had never seen the invitation.)  Second, after a little wine my heart was woefully unguarded. The elegant dinner and animated chatter suddenly shifted to images of shrunken babies and women who had been raped while walking 30 days through [Read more…]

September 21, 2011

  Ravaged by a 14-year civil conflict fueled by despotic President Charles Taylor, the country of Liberia began to crawl out of its abyss in 2006 when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected to the Presidency. Since then, according to government reports:  the economy has grown by 7% between 2006-2009; …“has attracted 16 billion USD [Read more…]

September 12, 2011

  Haiti: After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer Dinner and Book Discussion Tuesday, October 4, 2011 from 6:00 – 9:00 Private residence in Cambridge, MA (near Harvard Square) RSVP:   Join New England International Donors (NEID) for its eleventh dinner and book discussion in an intimate private setting.  Bringing together donors, grantmakers, social investors [Read more…]

  The Creole Choir of Cuba Oct. 1, 8 p.m. Somerville Theater Somerville, MA Tickets: $28. 617-876-4275.   The Haitian Diaspora resides not just in the U.S., Canada and France — but in Cuba — and in typical Cuban fashion celebrate their musical heritage.  Emanating from the Eastern Cuban city of Camaguey, the Creole Choir of [Read more…]

September 11, 2011

    On Octo­ber 13, 2011 representatives of the Gov­ern­ment of Haiti will appear in Geneva before 47 mem­ber nations of the UN to attest to Haiti’s adherence — or lack of adherence — to universal human rights standards.    Some ask, why invest in a UN-mandated review of the state of human rights in Haiti [Read more…]

  All future vision and past remembrance is subjective, tinted by the lenses of our own contexts and experiences.  September 11 can be remembered through lenses tinted with outrage and patriotic hubris, or as Brian Concannon describes,  lenses tinted with empathy from suffering endured.    Brian Concannon, human rights attorney and champion of long-oppressed Haitians, [Read more…]

September 1, 2011

  The 2010 Report from Giving USA, which measures philanthropic giving from the U.S. by sectors and recipient types, noted a 15.3% increase in giving to International Affairs in 2010 — the largest increase of any sector — whereas overall giving rose by only 3.8%!  Since 2008 total global giving from the US rose 18.8%.  [Read more…]

    In an open-air pavilion on land donated by the municipality of Leogane, Haitian parents and children moved miniature cardboard houses and paper trees to mock-up the design for a new model community funded by donors to Habitat for Humanity and Architecture for Humanity and to be built by their own hands.  Modifying the [Read more…]

August 31, 2011

  While shelter is undeniably one of the most urgent needs in Haiti, little large-scale progress at repairing damaged homes or building permanent housing has been seen since the earthquake.  While myriad transitional home models have been proposed — from plywood huts to plastic snap-in-place igloos —  the intractable problem of verifying land ownership and acquiring new land for [Read more…]

August 30, 2011

  Imagine crossing a border in labor.  Pregnant Haitian women without access to birthing care — in a country with one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world — stream across the border to give birth in the Dominican Republic where health care is free and accessible, so reports Lauren Gilgen [Read more…]

August 29, 2011

  Katie Fillo, a staff nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital for the past seven years, traveled to Haiti in July with staff from MGH’s Center for Global Health.   At Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti, where lay nearly 300 cholera patients, Katie learned from Haitian nurses how to rapidly assess the critical needs of patients who [Read more…]

August 28, 2011

  Join Partners in Health staff for a presentation by Director of Construction, Jim Ansara, to learn what you can do to lend a hand in Haiti.    September 1, 2011 6 PM – 8 PM Boston Beer Works (112 Canal St, Boston, MA 02114) Appetizers will be served.  For directions or RSVP, go to the event page. [Read more…]

The labyrinthian conduits for aid to Haiti after the earthquake have been nearly impossible for non-experts to decipher – until now — thanks to the clear graphics and succinct summary provided by Haiti Justice Alliance in a three-part series of blog posts launched on August 23.  The Minnesota-based organization directed by Nathan Yaffe filed a [Read more…]

Can you imagine facing a hurricane with only a tarp? Whereas my family prepares today for the onslaught of Hurricane Irene under a solid roof on a hilltop, more than 600,000 Haitians are still bracing through hurricane season in steamy, flimsy, cloth pockets.   After seventeen months, why have only 50,000 of the original 1.5 [Read more…]

Amidst this summer’s national debt crisis inflated by partisan politics, most Americans have faced a debt crisis of their own.  New immigrant groups, including Haitians pursuing the American dream, easily become strangled by American debt in a society where one-third of all wealth is controlled by only 1% of the people and the other 99% [Read more…]

August 8, 2011

  As one who helps fund in very modest ways global development and humanitarian assistance, I am privy to appeals from all corners on behalf of people in desperate situations.  Never before have I heard as much desperation in the voices of my colleagues, as I do today from those trying to raise awareness about [Read more…]

August 2, 2011

  One of the first questions I ask when considering supporting a disaster relief effort is, “With whom do you collaborate?”  No one NGO, not even the most mammoth, can address all dimensions of a crisis single-handedly.  Likewise, foreign NGOs can not create lasting solutions with a savior mentality; they must consult and empower local [Read more…]

  Honestly, I am SICK of disasters.  I never expected to be a Disaster Response funder.  I have begun to feel beleaguered by the onslaught of catastrophes from all corners, by the images of bony mothers and babies with parched lips and blank stares, and confess I struggle to remain atuned to the far-away devastation [Read more…]

July 31, 2011

    Disasters typically breed quixotic, momentary interest and intervention, a global Attention Deficit Disaster Disorder as Dr. Paul Farmer discussed with Ray Suarez on the PBS News Hour. Rather, massive disasters require a prolonged investment of attention, resources, and true guts, seen no more clearly than in the complex rebuilding of Haiti.   Discussing [Read more…]

July 28, 2011

Analyzing recently released Wikileaks diplomatic cables concerning Haiti, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs published yesterday an analysis shining a spotlight on three areas of US interference in Haitian affairs:   “The U.S. tried to undermine Haiti’s oil deal with Venezuela in order to protect the vested interests of U.S. oil corporations. “Under the Obama administration, the [Read more…]

To date only 38% of the money pledged by donor countries in May 2010 for Haiti’s reconstruction has been sent and only 10% of the total aid conveyed to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund has been spent on the ground in Haiti.   The Center for Economic and Policy Research published yesterday an analysis of the annual report [Read more…]

July 25, 2011

  When the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2011, it shattered much of Haiti’s national teaching hospital, including the nursing school, burying 100 students and faculty within it.  This devastating loss when Haiti needed her healers most compounded Haiti’s preexisting weaknesses in training health professionals.  The deficits were not due to a lack of talent, [Read more…]

July 22, 2011

  USCIS Office of Public Engagement will hold a teleconference on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. EDT to answer questions regarding the process of registering for Temporary Protected Status under the re-designation as well as the process of re-registering under the extension. To participate in the teleconference contact the Office of Public Engagement at and  note “July [Read more…]

July 20, 2011

  Chelsea Conaboy of the Boston Globe reported on June 15 that one doctor and five nurses “from Massachusetts General Hospital will head to Haiti Sunday to help the staff at Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, north of Port-au-Prince, as the country responds to another surge in cholera cases…   “Team leader Grace Deveney, a [Read more…]

 Photo Credit:  PAHO/Bernard Meus   Why have cholera cases in Haiti skyrocketed this spring, after a slower rate early in the year?   In addition to suspecting widespread spring rains and floods, which spread contaminated feces in the surface water, groundwater and waterways, the June newsletter from the World Health Organization (WHO) notes other factors: [Read more…]

July 19, 2011

  Back in crisis mode after the first wave of cholera swept Haiti last fall, Partners in Health and staff from its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante went from treating 3,932 patients at its clinics this April to a staggering 14,425 this June. Andrew Marx explains:  “The reason for this spike is simple. Flash floods—a [Read more…]

July 17, 2011

    I have started reading Dr. Paul Farmer’s new book, Haiti:  After the Earthquake, released this week with the press coverage it deserves.  Someone needed to write this book and no one better than Paul Farmer and his colleagues, who have examined their own experiences after the earth broke, through the lens of Haiti’s brutal history. [Read more…]

Principal Lynn Black and Laura Hartman of the Zynga Game Network at the school

Jacky Poteau, Director of FATEM, a community development and educational organization in the Mirebalais area of Haiti’s Central Plateau, has unveiled on Facebook today the principles of a new school for Haiti.  L’Ecole de Choix (EDC) is developing an English-language school with teachers and students modeling character and mutual respect. L’Ecole de Choix (EDC), the [Read more…]

July 7, 2011

  Yesterday Jacqueline Charles reported on scathing critique of Haitian President Martelly’s second choice for Prime Minister, Bernard Gousse, leveled during his tenure as the Minister of Justice and Public Security from 2004-2005 during the interim Haitian government after the second ouster of President Aristide. “He resigned a year later amid mounting international pressure over his [Read more…]

July 6, 2011

June 6:  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – President Michel Martelly designated Bernard Honorat Gousse to be the next Prime Minister of Haiti. He communicated his decision to the presidents of both chambers at a final meeting Monday night. The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Sorel Jacinthe, made the announcement. Bernard Honorat Gousse was born and raised [Read more…]

July 5, 2011

On June 10 Haiti Grassroots Watch reported on another stunning lack of cooperation and example of duplication of efforts in the reconstruction process.  Working with students from the Journalism Lab at the University of Haiti, Haiti Grassroots Watch issued a three-part expose on competing schematics for the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince:  one by the Prince Charles Foundation [Read more…]

July 3, 2011

On June 24 Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman interviewed the authors of a report summarizing previously secret diplomatic conversations and interventions into Haiti by the U.S., E.U. and UN over the seven years from April 2003 – February 2010.  “Drawing on almost 2,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables on Haiti released by WikiLeaks, a partnership between The Nation magazine [Read more…]

July 1, 2011

Two days ago Billy Shore, Founder and President of Share Our Strength, wrote in the Huffington Post about the irony of one billion dollars in federal funds going untapped by our fifty states because we haven’t enrolled all the children eligible for federally-mandated nutrition programs.  At the same time this money lies right under our noses, a [Read more…]

Hunger. In the “Land of Plenty,” over 21 million low-income children receive their main daily meal through free school lunches.  When school’s out, typically 14.7 million won’t get these free meals, simply because they don’t know how to sign up for them or where to find them.    It’s a hunger gap.  And there is no reason for it.  The federal [Read more…]

“While the relationship between donors and “doers” has been a hot topic since the dawn of philanthropy, there seem to be too few conversations in which donors and doers come together to explore these issues face to face.”  So begins Jim Coutre’s reflections on an unusual “Doers and Donors” Dinner conversation between those who do [Read more…]

In June another $400,000 in grants were released from the Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation to 15 organizations in Haiti and 6 in Boston serving the Haitian American community.  Guided by a Grantmaking Committee of Haitian American leaders and an Advisory Council of 35, the Fund supported primarily Haitian-led efforts to strengthen rural livelihoods [Read more…]

Summer floods, broken water trucks, stalled supply shipments, and elections can not stop the resolve of hundreds of Haitian workers building the largest, most advanced hospital in Haiti.  The walls of the main building are largely up.   The public hospital being built under the auspices of Partners in Health is 50% complete.  See photos of progress since last September’s [Read more…]

June 22, 2011

Yesterday the United Nations issued an appeal to governments to suspend all involuntary returns to Haiti, given the precarious conditions that continue to persist in the Caribbean nation 18 months after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.“Despite the recent elections and ongoing reconstruction efforts, Haiti, weakened by the earthquake, cannot yet ensure adequate protection or care especially [Read more…]

Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), delivered his first podcast from the World Justice Forum in Barcelona, Spain yesterday.  The forum has drawn leaders from myriad disciplines to highlight how “the rule of law is essential for creating communities of equity and opportunity throughout the world.” Brian comments, [Read more…]

June 18, 2011

Members of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG), a coalition of approximately 30 US-based human rights and faith-based organizations, is circulating a letter to members of the US Senate to support HR1016, a bill to strengthen reporting and oversight of the use of US aid to spur a just, equitable reconstruction process in Haiti. HR1016, [Read more…]

June 13, 2011

In the aftermath of the earthquake, it has never been more urgent to restore “food sovereignty” to Haiti; namely Haitian farmers’ capacity to grow enough to feed their families and all the country’s people without necessitating imports. A petition entitled a “Call to Save Haitian Agriculture,” and dated May 14, has garnered the support of leading peasant organizations [Read more…]

June 12, 2011

Over 16 US-based human rights organizations comprising the Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) are circulating a letter to members of Congress protesting the forced eviction of homeless persons from tent camps in Haiti. June 10, 2011 Dear Member of Congress, We are deeply disturbed by the recent camp evictions that have taken place under the guidance [Read more…]

Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston will graduate on June 17 its second class of Haitian nationals with project management and construction management skills.  Forty Haitian citizens from the private and public sectors will have completed 80 hours of instruction from Wentworth professors and leaders in the construction industry in topics such as Contract Formation, Financial Management and Bidding [Read more…]

Port-au-Prince, June 10 2011 – Why hasn’t reconstruction begun in downtown Port-au-Prince, the area of Haiti most savagely hit by the January 12, 2010, earthquake? Why are there still tent cities surrounding the National Palace? Why is planning conducted and decided behind closed doors, with secret contracts nobody sees? Why are the beneficiaries – the capital’s [Read more…]

June 1, 2011

     Project Coordinator John Chew overlooking excavation at Mirebalais Hospital site.  Photo credit:  Tony Crece, Operation Blessing Every evening at sunset, Mirebalais Hospital Project Coordinator, John Chew, hikes the rocky hill that overlooks the site of Haiti’s biggest construction project since the January 12th earthquake to witness the fruits of his labor. Oftentimes, he’ll [Read more…]

Announced in a press relase today, Wednes­day, June 1, 2011, the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) filed a com­plaint with Haiti’s National Pros­e­cu­tor against Del­mas Mayor Wil­son Jeudy for illegally evicting approximately 1,000 homeless people from three camps on public property in his community last week.  About 300 grassroots activists organized by Bri Kouri Nouvel Gaye delivered the petition with BAI at [Read more…]

From a press release from Haiti Liberte, the journal announces that it will begin publishing in its June 1 edition “1,918 secret diplomatic cables about Haiti from U.S. Embassies around the world.”  The cables were obtained by WikiLeaks.  To read the articles see: . According to Haiti Liberte, “the cables cover an almost seven-year period [Read more…]

Amnesty International is calling upon Haitian citizens and Friends of Haiti to protest a wave of forced evictions of homeless persons from encampments on public land in Delmas.  The raids were executed by municipal agents and Haitian National Police without prior notice or recourse. As recorded by Amnesty International, journalists, and numerous human rights organizations, on May 23 [Read more…]

May 31, 2011

ActionAid, with an office in Haiti and in Washington, DC, reported on last week’s apparently government-authorized, unannounced destruction of three camps for Internally Displaced Persons in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince.  …Camp members were forcibly removed and even beaten…as police destroyed their tents and belongings. No compensation or transportation was offered. No strategic plan or next [Read more…]

Beverly Bell posted on May 27 about the horrifying destruction of three IDP camps in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince last Wednesday — a heartwrenching harbinger of what may be more violent actions to come. Read excerpts below. The action has provoked an outcry from Haitian civil society organizations, US human rights activists and members [Read more…]

May 26, 2011

  In his Huffington Post blog Jonathan Lewis highlights The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation and its focus on the power of philanthropy by those who live outside their countries of birth — known as Diaspora Philanthropy. Read the full article here. Jonathan C. Lewis is the Founder/CEO of the Opportunity Collaboration, a global [Read more…]

 The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation recently announced 21 new grants — 15 for Haiti and 6 for Haitian Americans in Greater Boston — a total of $400,000. To date the Haiti Fund has granted out $785,000 to 41 organizations. Reviewed by a Grantmaking Committee comprised of Haitian American leaders and experts in [Read more…]

I hear the same question echoing through the conversations, the meetings, the social gatherings where Jim and I meet with colleagues and friends. They say, “But how can we help Haiti? The issues are too thorny; the government is paralyzed…” It’s a question that haunts me. But after fifteen months’ of listening and learning, and [Read more…]

May 25, 2011

Activist and Journalist Beverly Bell warns the world to not be too sanguine about the inauguration of President Michel Martelly and his plans to reinstate a Haitian army. “We may soon look back on this period in Haiti with greater appreciation. Amidst the world-historic levels of death and suffering from last January’s earthquake, citizens have [Read more…]

I am not Haitian. I can never be an expert on Haiti – only a learner. I cull articles and profile leaders and organizations in my quest to understand the strengths and the challenges that my Haitian friends face daily. I personalize what I learn to internalize it, to make Haiti my own, while remaining [Read more…]