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Friday, December 7, 2012

President Obama's Remarks After His Call with Haitian President Préval

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Haitian President René Préval in the Oval Office January 15, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I wanted to just make a brief statement on the latest situation in Haiti so that the American people are fully up to date on our efforts there.
This morning I spoke with President Préval of Haiti, who has been in regular contact with our ambassador on the ground.  I expressed to President Préval my deepest condolences for the people of Haiti and our strong support for the relief efforts that are underway.
Like so many Haitians, President Préval himself has lost his home, and his government is working under extraordinarily difficult conditions.  Many communications are down and remain -- and many people remain unaccounted for.  The scale of the devastation is extraordinary, as I think all of us are seeing on television, and the losses are heartbreaking.
I pledged America's continued commitment to the government and the people of Haiti -- in the immediate effort to save lives and deliver relief, and in the long-term effort to rebuild.  President Préval and I agreed that it is absolutely essential that these efforts are well coordinated among the United States and the government of Haiti; with the United Nations, which continues to play a central role; and with the many international partners and aid organizations that are now on the ground.
Meanwhile, American resources continue to arrive in Haiti.  Search and rescue efforts continue to work, pulling people out of the rubble.  Our team has saved both the lives of American citizens and Haitian citizens, often under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
This morning, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived, along with helicopters that will be critical in delivering assistance in the days to come.  They are preparing to move badly needed water, food, and other life-saving supplies to priority areas in Port-au-Prince.  Food, water, and medicine continues to arrive, along with doctors and aid workers.
At the airport, help continues to flow in, not just from the United States but from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others.  This underscores the point that I made to the President this morning:  The entire world stands with the government and the people of Haiti, for in Haiti's devastation, we all see the common humanity that we share.
And as the international community continues to respond, I do believe that America has a continued responsibility to act.  Our nation has a unique capacity to reach out quickly and broadly and to deliver assistance that can save lives.
That responsibility obviously is magnified when the devastation that's been suffered is so near to us.  Haitians are our neighbors in the Americas, and for Americans they are family and friends.  It's characteristic of the American people to help others in time of such severe need.  That's the spirit that we will need to sustain this effort as it goes forward.  There are going to be many difficult days ahead.
So, so many people are in need of assistance.  The port continues to be closed, and the roads are damaged.  Food is scarce and so is water.  It will take time to establish distribution points so that we can ensure that resources are delivered safely and effectively and in an orderly fashion.
But I want the people of Haiti to know that we will do what it takes to save lives and to help them get back on their feet.  In this effort I want to thank our people on the ground -- our men and women in uniform, who have moved so swiftly; our civilians and embassy staff, many of whom suffered their own losses in this tragedy; and those members of search and rescue teams from Florida and California and Virginia who have left their homes and their families behind to help others.  To all of them I want you to know that you demonstrate the courage and decency of the American people, and we are extraordinarily proud of you.
I also want to thank the American people more broadly.  In these tough times, you've shown extraordinary compassion, already donating millions of dollars.  I encourage all of you who want to help to do so through where you can learn about how to contribute.
And tomorrow I will be meeting with President Clinton and President George W. Bush here at the White House to discuss how to enlist and help the American people in this recovery and rebuilding effort going forward.
I would note that as I ended my call with President Préval, he said that he has been extremely touched by the friendship and the generosity of the American people.  It was an emotional moment.  And this President, seeing the devastation around him, passed this message to the American people.  He said, "From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the people of Haiti, thank you, thank you, thank you."
As I told the President, we realize that he needs more help and his country needs more help -- much more.  And in this difficult hour, we will continue to provide it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Call with President Preval of Haiti

A description of the call between President Obama and President Preval of Haiti that was just released:

President Obama spoke for roughly thirty minutes with President Preval of Haiti this morning. President Obama said that the world has been devastated by the loss and suffering in Haiti, and pledged the full support of the American people for the government and people of Haiti as it relates to both the immediate recovery effort, and the long-term rebuilding effort. President Preval said that he has been touched by the friendship of the American people, and expressed his condolences for the loss of American citizens in Haiti. He said that the needs are great, that relief is now flowing in to the people of Haiti, and noted the support that has come from both America and many other countries from the region and around the world. The two Presidents underscored the need to closely coordinate assistance efforts among the various parties, including the Haitian government, the United Nations, the United States and the many international partners and aid organizations on the ground. President Obama underscored his commitment to supporting the government and people of Haiti through his team on the ground. President Preval closed by passing a message to the American people, "from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wall Street Journal: Cafes Brew and Praise Haitian Coffee

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund supports the COOPCAB Haitian coffee cooperative through its loan to Root Capital, a nonprofit fund that lends to small and growing businesses in Haiti. COOPCAB manager Robinson Nelson is helping bring Haiti's premium Blue Forest coffee to cafes and restaurants in the U.S.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Grant to Strengthen Haitian Healthcare Sector

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Announces $1.8M to Strengthen Healthcare Sector

Grant will help to decentralize, upgrade, and standardize Haiti's medical education
WASHINGTON, DC – The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund today announced a $1.8 million grant to the Boston-based nonprofit Partners In Health to support its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante in a program that will make long-term, sustainable improvements in the scope and quality of Haiti’s healthcare and medical education sectors. The grant will be used to launch a residency program for family practice physicians and a certification program for auxiliary nurses at the public hospital in St. Marc supported by Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante.

 “The earthquake and cholera outbreak have only heightened the healthcare sector’s challenges,” Clinton Bush Haiti Fund CEO Gary Edson explains. “The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s three-year grant for Zanmi Lasante’s work is an investment in Haiti’s human capital. It will provide training for critically needed family practice physicians and auxiliary nurses at l’Hôpital Saint Nicolas, the chronically understaffed public hospital serving 220,000 St. Marc residents and, ultimately, the 1.5 million people of the surrounding Artibonite region.”

Additionally, Zanmi Lasante will leave a lasting legacy for the nation’s public health system by upgrading and standardizing auxiliary nurse education, creating a first-ever certification program to be replicated by other medical training centers throughout Haiti.

Amplifying the impact of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s grant, Partners In Health will match the funds more than one to one, and will work closely with the National Faculty of Medicine and Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population.

Today’s announcement is an example of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s support for projects that provide both humanitarian assistance and economic opportunity, helping Haiti “build back better.”

“This grant represents an invaluable investment in the decentralization and long-term, sustainable reconstruction of Haiti’s health system,” said Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It will enable Zanmi Lasante and Partners In Health – working in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Health and national medical school – both to improve the quality of care for the people of St. Marc and to train a new generation of healthcare providers to deliver comprehensive, community-based care in even the poorest and most remote places.”

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded after Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, when President Barack Obama asked former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to head a fund aimed at easing the suffering of the Haitian people while laying the groundwork for “building back better.” The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund initially responded to the catastrophe with millions in humanitarian relief. By the time the Fund began independent operations in May 2010, it transitioned to primarily serving its longer-term mission of sustainable reconstruction efforts designed to promote jobs and create economic opportunity, enabling Haiti to chart its own successful future. To date, the American people have entrusted the Fund with more than $53 million from 200,000 individuals, supporting innovative programs that help Haitians to help themselves. To learn more, visit

Partners In Health

Partners In Health (PIH) works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality healthcare to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital healthcare services in Haiti for more than 20 years, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services across the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite Valley. For more information please visit

Zanmi Lasante

Zanmi Lasante (Haitian Creole for “Partners In Health”) was founded in 1983 to provide health care and social support to a destitute squatter community of peasants displaced by a hydroelectric project in central Haiti. Today, Zanmi Lasante is the largest healthcare provider in Central Haiti, serving an area across the Central Plateau and Lower Artibonite regions. Since the 2010 earthquake, Zanmi Lasante has been working with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population and the National Medical School of Haiti on plans to sustain medical education in the short-term and to improve it over the long-term. Among its efforts, Zanmi Lasante has taken on 15 medical residents whose training was disrupted by the earthquake, allowing them to continue their training at various PIH facilities. The organization has also completed more than half of the construction of a 320-bed teaching hospital in Mirebalais that will open its doors in January 2012. Learn more at

Monday, December 3, 2012

Design and Retail Giants Visit with Artisan Partners in Haiti

Terry Lundgren, Martha Stewart, and Fashion Designer Rachel Roy Travel to Haiti to Explore New Products with the Artisans Rebuilding Haiti One Craftwork at a Time

On July 27, 2011, lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart, fashion designer Rachel Roy, and Terry Lundgren, Chairman & CEO of Macy's, Inc., will travel to Haiti to meet with artisans in Haiti, which is still working to recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

These giants from the US design and retail world are coming to Haiti to see the creativity driving the country’s reconstruction. Artisans in Haiti create jobs and generate income by linking Haiti’s handmade culture to export commerce. Artisan entrepreneurs from across Haiti will meet the US delegation in the small village of Croix-des-Bouquets where they will share their work. Lundgren, Stewart and Roy will offer the artisans advice and ideas on developing new products.

Macy's has been selling Haitian products for nearly a year through Fairwinds Trading, supported in part by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which aims is to promote jobs and economic opportunity. Macy’s purchases from Haiti already employ 450 artisans countrywide.

In May 2010, The William J. Clinton Foundation convened a meeting of leaders from more than 40 American businesses, Haitian artisan organizations, and local and international nonprofits and funders, where they committed to form long-term partnerships between Haitians and international retailers. BrandAid and Fairwinds Trading formed a plan for Macy's to commission Haitian handicrafts, which the retailer began selling in its stores and online during the 2010 holiday season. Orders for these products are still continuing.

“The Clinton Foundation is proud of the evolution of this partnership,” said Laura Graham, the chief operating officer of the Foundation. “It has made a real difference in the livelihoods of the artists and artisans whose work is sold in the United States, and it has brought new and exciting products to consumers here.”

Terry Lundgren summarizes the relationship between Macy’s and Haiti: “Macy’s is so pleased to support Haiti by buying the country’s beautiful artisan wares. In working with the Haitian community, our vendor base becomes more diverse, and this new perspective inspires us to be inventive and flexible in incorporating newer, smaller, fascinating suppliers into our network. Our relationships in Haiti also show how retail can change the world; with a little planning and a little effort, we can open up opportunities for people largely excluded from global commerce. The resulting income has a profound impact for artisan families and a ripple effect in their communities.”

Mr. Lundgren is also the current board chair of the National Retail Federation.

Willa Shalit, CEO and founder of Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s partner in Haitian commerce, comments, “Haiti is a rare instance in world history of a country rebuilding itself economically through arts and crafts. A diverse group of the most sophisticated American designers have been attempting to work in Haiti, despite the incredible challenges, because of the powerful, unique artistic spirit and expression of the Haitian people. Every bit of design input makes a huge difference. The commitment of companies like Macy’s is revolutionary.”

Haiti is a profoundly creative place, with vibrant paintings, metal work, beaded voudou objects, and other art, everywhere. The large number of artist and artisan entrepreneurs in Haiti is acknowledged with the Creole saying, "Art feeds millions."

The group will also be meeting with women survivors of violence working to curb abuse in Haiti.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Grant Strengthens Female-Run Businesses in Haiti

New Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Grant Will Strengthen Female-Run Businesses in Haiti

Support Will Reinvigorate Haiti’s Oldest Microfinance Institution
WASHINGTON, DC – The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund continues to nurture economic opportunities for Haiti, today announcing a grant to a unique Haitian microfinance institution. The $850,000 grant to Fonds Haïtien d’Aide à la Femme (FHAF) will help put this institution on a path to financial recovery, and allow it to continue to provide loans to women throughout Haiti.

Haiti needs business capital to rebuild, and FHAF has demonstrated a deep commitment to providing microfinance for small and growing businesses. For twenty-nine years, this women-created and women-led institution has provided loans to thousands of female micro-entrepreneurs in both underserved rural and urban areas of Haiti. The earthquake shook FHAF both physically and financially. Its headquarters in Port-au-Prince collapsed, and it lost substantial equipment. As FHAF works to rebuild, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund will provide resources for FHAF to restructure its business so it can be a strong, successful lender again.

The Fund’s grant supports a variety of measures to reenergize FHAF. It will help hire and train Haitians for key director positions, as well as update the lender’s technology system. It will also provide the capital for FHAF to continue providing loans to its best clients. Concentrating on these important adjustments will help furnish FHAF with the resources, knowledge, and capacity to thrive again.

“By reaching out to women through small business loans, we are also reaching out to her suppliers and customers in the community,” explains Henrietta Holsman Fore, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund board member and former USAID Administrator. “Research shows that these microloans mean more than just invigorated businesses and empowered women, they also mean invigorated communities with education for children and health care for families. FHAF places a high value on pulling women into the Haitian economy, and it deserves the opportunity to succeed.”

The grant incorporates valuable mentoring and strategic expertise from Nodus Consultores, an international consulting firm that specializes in strengthening financial systems for small and growing businesses in developing countries. Nodus and FHAF have worked closely to reimagine FHAF’s potential, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s grant will bring this vision to life.

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded after Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake, when President Barack Obama asked former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to lead a major fundraising effort to assist the Haitian people to “build back better.” The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund initially responded to the catastrophe with millions in humanitarian relief. By the time the Fund began independent operations in May 2010, it transitioned to primarily serving its longer-term mission of sustainable reconstruction efforts designed to promote job growth and economic opportunity, and enabling Haiti to chart its own successful future.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Appoints Board of Directors and CEO

NEW YORK, NY – The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF), established by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to raise money for Haiti relief and recovery efforts after the January earthquake, has appointed a Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer to manage the Fund’s operations.

The six-person board will provide policy guidance and oversee the Fund’s strategy and processes, while monitoring fundraising and cash disbursements to relief organizations operating in Haiti to ensure full adherence to the Fund’s mission and vision.

The CBHF board members are:

Laura Graham, a former Clinton administration official and Chief Operating Officer for the William J. Clinton Foundation, who will serve as a Board Co-Chair.
Joshua Bolten, former White House Chief of Staff to President Bush and currently a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, who will serve as a Board Co-Chair.
Bruce Lindsey, a former Clinton administration official and currently Chief Executive Officer of the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Dr. Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, a professor at Vanderbilt University, a partner at Cressey & Company in Chicago, and Chairman of Hope Through Healing Hands.
Henrietta Fore, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development under President Bush and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Holsman International, an investment and management company.
Alexis Herman, former Secretary of Labor during President Clinton’s administration and currently Chief Executive Officer of New Ventures, LLC.
Gary Edson, who served as Deputy National Security Adviser in President Bush’s administration, co-led the development of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and led the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation to fight global poverty, will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the CBHF. He is currently Chief International Officer at The Case Foundation.
"We are pleased to appoint a board of bipartisan, distinguished leaders whose experience in past disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts will ensure the effective operation of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and the strategic allocation of its resources to have the greatest impact on the lives of the Haitian people," President Clinton said. "Their service and dedication will help President Bush and me continue to support the people of Haiti as they build back better in the months and years to come."

"I am pleased that such a distinguished group of individuals has agreed to serve," said President Bush. "I thank them for donating their time and talents to this worthy cause. This group will ensure that our fundraising efforts remain strong, and that the money is spent on successful programs that build a better future for the Haitian people."

Board members will serve three-year terms and will not receive salaries for their services to the Fund. The Board will hold regular meetings as well as an Annual Meeting as part of the management of the CBHF.

In the aftermath of the earthquake on January 12, President Barack Obama asked President Clinton and President Bush to raise funds for immediate, high-impact relief and long-term recovery efforts to help those who are most in need of assistance. In response, the two Presidents established the CBHF to respond to unmet needs in the country, foster economic opportunity, improve the quality of life over the long term for those affected, and assist the people of Haiti as they rebuild their lives and "build back better."

To this end, CBHF is working with and supporting the efforts of reputable 501 nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations. To date, more than 200,000 individuals have donated over $36 million to CBHF, and in the first month, the Fund allocated $4 million to such organizations on the ground as Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide US, Haitian NGO Gheskio, International Medical Corps, and Project Medishare, among others, to provide immediate relief and long-term assistance in the form of medical care and supplies, mobile clinics, water purification, hygiene kits, education assistance, and recovery supplies for hundreds of thousands of earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Saint Martin and Martissant.