Number of loans the Fonkoze bank has made to the rural poor
income in Haiti.
of Haitians live in rural
Giving back may be this man's greatest success story.
written by Gary Greenberg
David Hoffman retired at age 50 after making a fortune developing oceanfront properties in South Carolina. But the part-time Boca Raton resident is hardly living a life of leisure. Hoffman, 62, puts in long hours volunteering as the executive director of Raising Haiti. The charitable foundation funds work and provides tools to rural Haitians so they can build better lives for themselves.
In 2010, an earthquake destroyed much of the Haitian town of Fondwa; last October Hurricane Matthew battered it. Hoffman, who studied film at the University of Southern California in the 1970s, produced the 2016 documentary"Father Joseph," profiling a priest's work to restore Fondwa.
"One of the things that attracted me to his work is that, for 30 years, he's been engaged in a grassroots movement of lifting up the rural poor," said Hoffman.
Father Joseph chose the town of Fondwa to use as a model for empowering 570 other impoverished Haitian communities. The first task was building a road to get there. A primary school followed, along with a radio station, orphanage, health clinic and community center. There's even an accredited university for agronomy, veterinary science and business management.
He also founded Fonkoze (Shoulder-to-Shoulder), a bank specializing in micro-loans that now has 45 branches and 1,000 Haitian employees. "I was very impressed with Father Joseph when I met him," said Hoffman. "His vision is impressive. His accomplishments are impressive and his tenacity is impressive."
To watch the "Father Joseph" documentary, visit: Netflix.com/title/80113805.
Pick up your copy or visit the website
1718 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 201 • Washington, DC 20009
PO Box 21624 • Washington, DC 20009
phone: (202) 800-7077
Raising Haiti Foundation is an authorized business name for Association of the Peasants of Fondwa, USA Inc., a District of Columbia 501(c)3 charitable entity.