Holidays and a look into our future

We at the iF Foundation want to wish all of our friends the very best this holiday season.  To our Christian friends, a blessed celebration of Jesus birth.  To our Jewish friends, blessings during your celebration of Hanukkah.  The end of the year always provides us with a chance to reflect upon the meaning of time and the meaning of life.  For each of us, every year begins with hopes and dreams and time also brings us yearly disappointments; as that is the nature of life.  None of goes through life unscathed; we cannot avoid our times of sorrow and sadness.  We will always have our ups and downs.  Thankfully we also have joys and times of abiding happiness.  Every year we have our triumphs and we have our failures.  The New Year enables and provides us with the gift to set aside whatever the pain of the year past has been and the opportunity to move on with our lives.  We cannot let our past chain us down because of whatever slings and arrows have come our way.  The New Year  is a time for a new beginning.

I am so very pleased and humbled by what lies ahead for the iF Foundation.  From our small beginnings and faithfulness to our vision, some exciting things are happening.  We have grown to a point where several larger NGO’s are giving consideration to  being our partners in Haiti.    While it would not be wise of me to mention them at this time, their interest marks a new beginning for the if Foundation that would bring many blessings to the people of Haiti and Ghana.  And that is what I long for, not institutional victory so we can boast about our accomplishments, but the deep and abiding gratitude that comes from seeing more and more people who are living in abject poverty be freed from it to enjoy life more than they ever could if we were not working on their behalf.

None of this progress would be possible without Edlyne and Magnus our country directors in Haiti and Isaiah, our country director in Ghana.  They are the ones on the ground who by their professional leadership and hard work have given us high credibility in the eyes of those vetting us to see if we are worthy of working with them.   Tremendous credit must also go to Eileen Spencer our Director of Development who quietly and effectively and with much dedication forms relationships with partners.  Finally, it goes without saying that the vision and support of our Founders, Tom and Judy Iovino,  is what sustains us and inspires us.  Tom and Judy are the ones who make all of this possible by their generosity and values to give back to others from their personal blessings.

I hope in a few more months to have some exciting news about our involvement with some people and organizations who will be a great blessing to our work.  Finally, last but not least, “Thanks” to each of you who are our partners as individuals; without you we would not be where we are.  Together we are making a difference in the lives of those so deserving and willing to work to pull themselves out of poverty.

The Rev. Canon James E. Byrum

Managing Director, the iF Foundation

3 Responses to “Holidays and a look into our future”

  1. Liz Rondelle December 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    It sounds like you are doing some good things. A couple questions: What input do the Haitians
    have in this project? Are the ground directors Haitian? Are these projects (goats, pigs etc.)
    are they like small trade schools, giving people knowledge?
    Just curious about farming in Haiti.
    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

    Liz Rondelle

    • fatherB December 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Dear Liz,
      Thank you so very much for spending some time with us. Thanks for the encouragement! All of the iF Foundation projects are founded based on what they choose to do, not on what we decide they should do. It is the only way they have buy in and an investment in the project; if it is theirs. Yes, the ground directors are Haitian, and they are terrific. Thsi work cannot be done by us here in NY. Our role is to support them. They have earned the respect of the haitian community because they live and work with and among them. They are not trade schools or training schools they are private business ventures where they determine what business to start. We work with them to develop a business plan and then we provide the start up capital. The loans are from $750 to $65,000 in size. Interesting that you ask about trade schools, because we are currently working on a project submission that will become a training project for raising goats. Two veterinary students from the University of Pennsylvania are working on submitting a proposal for a grant that will establish a goat producing farm. The submission will take place in February of 2012 and is an important step in the possible provision of veterinary care to the animals in Haiti which are in such great need for it. Animals are often the source of livlihood for people in the developing countries, so good care is important.

      Thanks again Liz for such insightful and thoughtful questions and a blessed holiday season to you and all whom you love.

      Fr. B

      • Giovanni March 21, 2012 at 11:11 am #

        Tony,Thank you for making a dactinse disaster become so real and alive to me. It’s easy to turn off the TV and close the newspaper and not think about what’s going on in Haiti; but seeing you live and in action made it real to me and understanding its right in my backyard. It was amazing seeing little children smile in such despair. God bless for giving of your time, sending hope, and leaving your family behind to attend to others.

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