The BCD Travel Foundation and the Crown Goodman Family Support the School through 2020, Enabling Positive Future for Haiti’s Poorest Children
Mirebalais, Haiti – L’Ecole de Choix (The School of Choice) today announced it has received two five-year matching challenge grants that will help fund the school through 2020, as long as the school raises matching amounts each year. L’Ecole de Choix (Choix) is a private, non-profit elementary school in Mirebalais, Haiti that provides high-quality, trilingual education from grades one through six to children living in extreme poverty. The Crown Goodman Family (Chicago) renewed its earlier three-year commitment to Choix. In addition, the BCD Travel Foundation, the giving arm of BCD Travel, a global market leader in the travel industry operating in 110 countries, awarded a separate grant.
“Both funders share our passion, commitment and philosophy when it comes to education and the role that it can play in ending the cycle of poverty. We are grateful and honored to be part of their philanthropic families,” said Professor Laura Pincus Hartman, founder and board chair of L’Ecole De Choix, and Director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy at Boston University. “This endorsement is significant for us but does not alleviate our need for contributions. In fact, it intensifies it. With this funding commitment for the next five years, we have to match these grants, so fundraising is more important than ever. Also, being on the ground in Haiti for five years now, Choix has become an integral part of the community. Our students and their families rely on us for more than just academics. To them we are hope, we partner with them for a better future.”
The Crown Goodman Family has been a partner to Choix for the past three years and is extending its original matching challenge grant to coincide with the BCD Travel Foundation grant.
Support from the Family and all other contributions made over the last five years has established a solid foundation for Choix. In addition to the funding grant, The BCD Travel Foundation has committed to additional activities, such as organizing service trips for BCD’s more than 11,000 employees.
“Our support of L’Ecole de Choix is a reflection of our core values as an organization—one that encourages and enables our people to make a difference in the lives of our customers and our communities,” said Leslie West, senior vice president of BCD Travel and board chair of the BCD Travel Foundation. “Our foundation looks for ways to take our passion for helping others beyond just serving customers to improve the lives of people around the world, with an emphasis on helping children.”
About the School of Choice Education Organization
L’Ecole de Choix (or Choix, pronounced “schwa”) began instruction in October 2011 and currently educates 180 children from grade one through six. Its physical structures were originally funded through the players of Zynga.Org; however the school’s current and ongoing operations are supported entirely through individual contributions to the School of Choice Education Organization, a US 501c3. The vision of Choix is to develop Haitian leaders to lead Haiti and the world. The school provides a trilingual education – with a focus on leadership development and communication skills – to children living in the deepest conditions of poverty in Haiti, while affirming their individual dignity and autonomy. The fundamental operating principle of Choix is that education is a right, not a privilege, but one that comes with a responsibility to ourselves, to our communities and to our country. Choix believes in the paramount sustainability of education, and that by providing children access to a high-quality education Choix is helping to develop the next generation of Haitian leaders, empowering them to shape their own future, strengthen their communities, create their own choices and, ultimately, change the world.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and only 90 minutes by plane from the United States. Eighty-five percent of the country’s 9.7 million people live on less than $2 a day. The country has an average literacy rate of 53% and only half of school age children are able to attend school. The 2010 earthquake destroyed almost 50% of the nation’s schools and devastated the three main universities in Port au Prince, making a bad situation even worse. Ninety percent of the schools in Haiti are operated by private entities, such as religious institutions, non-profits or other international organizations. Fewer than 30 percent of Haitian youth graduate from 6th grade, which also causes a dearth in qualified teachers.
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