Clinton, Bush fund helping Haiti businesses ends

Clinton, Bush fund helping Haiti businesses after earthquake ends this month

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund that was created in the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake nearly three years ago will cease operations at the end of this month, an executive for the organization said Friday.

Meg Galloway Pearce, vice president of marketing and communications, told The Associated Press that the nonprofit created by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will terminate on Dec. 31 because it will have spent all the $54.4 million it raised from businesses, organizations and individuals.

The group will no longer accept donations or proposals.

"We never intended to be an ongoing operation," Pearce said by telephone. "Now that the money is gone, we step back."

The money raised was released in the form of grants, loans and equity investment, and went toward the investment in more than 50 private enterprises such as vocational schools, artisan groups and the hotel industry.

Pearce and several board members will visit Haiti next week to follow up on the status of projects supported by the fund. They will attend the opening of a high-end hotel called the Royal Oasis, a 10-story hotel that will include an art gallery, three restaurants, a commercial bank and shops.

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund awarded the project a $2 million equity investment, along with $275,000 to the Oasis Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the hotel that seeks to raise the standards of the country's hotel industry by training workers.

The Washington, D.C.-based fund was formed shortly after the 2010 earthquake at the request of U.S. President Barack Obama, who asked the two former presidents to lead private fundraising efforts initially for relief and then for long-term reconstruction projects. The goal was to wean Haiti from aid dependency and help develop the country's private sector.

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