When Haiti’s deadly earthquake hit on Jan. 12, 2010, Renee and Bob Parsons knew they wanted to help.
The couple had no connection to the devastated country, had never visited it and did not have the slightest idea which charity they could support.
Then the Parsons came across Hope for Haiti, a small organization running an education and healthcare program in the southern area of the country. It was located in the city of Les Cayes, outside the earthquake zone, but its doctors, nurses and teachers were all Haitian, and more importantly, Renee Parsons said, most of the money it collected went into helping the communities it served.
“We felt that of all the organizations we had looked at and the research we had done, Hope for Haiti had the most significant impact; that the dollars could be leveraged for the people that they serve directly as opposed to administrative costs, advertising,” she said.
So Renee, who was working as the community outreach person for GoDaddy, the internet domain registrar and web hosting company that her husband founded, wrote her first grant. It was for $500,000.
Now almost 10 years later, Parsons and her husband are multiplying that gift through their own charity, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, and are giving Hope for Haiti $3 million over the next five years to help support its mobile clinics and other healthcare initiatives.
“They are boots on the ground, they’re in the communities that they serve and very much invested in them,” said Renee Parsons, who has since visited Haiti three times since the quake to see firsthand the work the organization is doing.
She describes the visits as life changing.