Posts Tagged ‘Yele Haiti Foundation’

Helping Haiti’s Children

Marie Jose Poux is a busy woman: the Haiti native now lives in New Orleans where she’s a hospice nurse and also owns an art gallery where she features the work of Haitian artists.  She’s also the director and founder of the Hope for Haitian Children Foundation HFHCF(HFHCF) – a nonprofit organization working to provide support and care for orphan children in Haiti.

Through HFHCF, Marie Jose operates Foyer Espoir Pour Les Enfants — an orphanage in Port au Prince, Haiti.  She travels to Haiti several times a year to bring supplies and donations to the orphanage – and was there on January 12 when the earthquake struck.

Some of the children of Foyer Espoir Pour Les Enfants

Like many individuals and organizations that were serving the people of Haiti long before January’s disaster occurred, Marie Jose’s mission now takes on (if that’s possible) greater importance and critical urgency.  HFHCF has facilitated the collection of desperately-needed supplies – enough to fill at least three 40-foot shipping containers – and last Saturday, the first container was packed and prepared by local New Orleans volunteers.  Our own partner Yele Haiti sponsored the cost of shipping the first container to Port au Prince (each container costs roughly $7,000 to ship, transport on the ground in Haiti and unload).

HFHCF is seeking support for their effort – most immediately, sponsors to help pay the shipping fee for the second and third containers full of supplies.  To learn more about the organization and how you can help, please visit their website.

Sharing Our Strength

More than a week after Haiti’s earthquake , the tragedy still remains at the forefront of our hearts and minds.  And while it’s good news that relief and recovery efforts are underway, it’s clearly not enough.  Countless reports lament the fact that critical supplies aren’t being transported or distributed quickly enough, nor reaching those who need them most.  Goods and personnel coming into the island nation remain largely bottlenecked, as Port Au Prince ’s nonfunctioning seaport and many impassible roads hinder relief efforts.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of so many challenges … but it’s also an opportunity to think creatively about how you might be able to help.

Timberland knows very little about disaster relief.  But we do know about distribution – getting goods from Point A to Point B is a critical component of our business, and so we have to know how to manage it fairly well.

Another thing we know about is making boots – and one of the primary places we do it is in the Dominican Republic , where we’ve owned and operated a factory since 1982.  Our Dominican Timberland community is 1,600 people strong, operating out of 10 buildings in the Free Zone Pisano in Santiago.

So – if we leverage our experience in managing transportation and distribution, make use of our workforce and facilities in the DR as a means of bringing supplies to the island, and then work with our existing partner on the ground, Yele Haiti – we just might be able to help get supplies into the hands of the survivors who need them most.

We tested the model  a few days ago, facilitating the delivery of 70,000 pounds of food and medical supplies from Toronto to Santiago where it was trucked across the border and into Haiti.  It worked – and now we’re committed to making the model more scalable so that we can continue to use the infrastructure and people power we already have in place to lend our strength in the best way we can.  We have the model, we have the desire … now we simply need to figure out how.

In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to revisiting the original mission of our partnership with Yele Haiti – reforestation – and hope to move ahead with our plans to build a tree nursery and provide both trees and fruit for a region more in need than ever.  For now, we are proud to have found a way to support the critical work they’re doing to bring care and relief to people in Haiti.

You can make a donation to the Yele Haiti earthquake fund by clicking here or texting the word “yele” to 501501 ($5 per text will be donated).

Warrior Wyclef

Our thanks to the Earthkeepers who came out to help us celebrate our partnership with Wyclef Jean in New York last week — we’re still recovering.  Those of you who missed it, never fear – we captured a few key moments on film:

For more information on the Timberland / Wyclef collaboration (and to register to be notified when the Yele Haiti boots hit stores), visit Earthkeeper.com .

Our Newest Earthkeeper Hero: Wyclef Jean

If a tree grows in the forest but no one is there to see it … do you still get credit for planting it?

Not according to Timberland’s board of directors, who for a long time have provided the not-so-gentle feedback that everything we do to make the world a better place matters very little if our consumers don’t know we’re doing it.  They’re not advising that we stop acting as a responsible corporate citizen, mind you – just that we need to work harder to connect our civic values with our business goals.  Fair enough feedback, which encouraged us to seek meaningful partnerships with credible voices to help tell our corporate responsibility story in a way that resonates with consumers.

Fast-forward to today, when we’re thrilled to announce a creative collaboration between Timberland and Wyclef Jean – a social entrepreneur, a humanitarian and an Earthkeeper Hero of the highest degree who has invested incredible time and effort in rebuilding and reforesting his native Haiti.  Wyclef also happens to be a Grammy Award-winning musician with fans and followers all over the world – the kind of “voice” that adds considerable volume to our story — but our collaboration runs deeper and richer than some rent-a-celebrity endorsement deal.  We’ve spent a good deal of time over the past year getting to know Wyclef and learning more about his passion for social and environmental justice — and sharing our beliefs and values with him — and we’ve come to the mutual realization that we’ve got the ingredients here for something that could be pretty powerful, and pretty good.

Central to this partnership is our shared interest in reforestation; Timberland is involved in tree-planting programs all over the world, and working with Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation, we’re going to build a tree nursery in Gonaives, a city in northern Haiti devastated by Hurricane Hannah in 2008.  Once up and running, the nursery will be managed by local farmers and trees will be sold (generating revenue with which to buy more trees) or used to reforest the hillsides surrounding the city.

As for telling the story in a powerful way to consumers, we’re going to start with what we know best: building boots.  Beginning next month, consumers will be able to purchase products from Timberland’s Yele Haiti footwear collection – made from recycled and organic materials and featuring design elements we collaborated on with Wyclef himself.  For every pair sold, $2 will be donated to Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Foundation to support the reforestation efforts.  I’m psyched about the collection; it’s a perfect proof point to a conversation we’ve been having for some time with consumers about the fact that you don’t have to compromise – you can buy a pair of good-looking shoes with a good fit at the right price and also help save the world.  The Yele Haiti footwear will allow consumers to do just that.

There are lots of other good ideas wrapped into our partnership with Wyclef – t-shirts designed by Haitian art students that we’ll sell (with a portion of the proceeds going to Yele Haiti); exclusive Wyclef music downloads on our website; other tree-planting events in the US and Europe.  Our hope is that cumulatively, all of these activities will raise our voice on the importance of community building and environmental stewardship, in Haiti as well as the rest of the world … and that by incorporating all these diverse elements – a boot, a shirt, a new music single, a tree-planting event – everyone who comes into contact with the Timberland / Wyclef Jean collaboration will find something to love, something that resonates, something that inspires them to take action with us.

Timberland makes boots, Wyclef makes music – and that wouldn’t change with or without this partnership.  But together we can make money, both for our businesses and for people and communities in need.  And we can make a difference.  This — the intersection of commerce and justice, collaborating for sustainable impact – this is Earthkeeping at its best.  We’re happy to share it with you.

Jeff Swartz
President & CEO, Timberland