Today we will check in on Haiti, one year after the devastating earthquake that hit Port-Au-Prince in 2010.
Jacques-Philippe Piverger deals with money.
In his professional life, he’s managed billions of dollars in assets as an analyst in venture capital and deals extensively in private equity, hedge funds, and fixed income platforms.
However, in his spare time, he puts his money where his mouth is.
He works with The Global Syndicate, an organization of financial professionals and friends that connect currency to causes by planning and executing fundraising events worldwide. They collect funds from interested investors and impart them via grants to existing nonprofit organizations.
Specifically, he’s dedicated his time to “The Haiti Project,” the pilot initiative of the Syndicate. Piverger started it in 2008, over a year before the earthquake, after witnessing the country’s tumult over food cost during a visit to his family.
“Being there for those riots made it clear. It was inappropriate for me, and others like me, not to be involved.”
Piverger spent his childhood summers visiting relatives in Haiti, so he said it was only natural for him to feel concerned for the country’s situation. But when the earthquake hit in January 2010, he said he “didn’t have a choice” but to intensify his efforts.
When he visited Haiti in March 2010 after the earthquake hit, he felt the destruction firsthand. Some of Piverger’s extended family died in the earthquake and his mother’s house, which had been in the family for decades, was destroyed.
“It was really difficult. It hit home in a real way. It’s one thing to hear and see it on TV, but it’s another thing to touch, feel and smell it.”
Seeing the destruction strengthened his resolve, but finding solutions (and money) is difficult, even for a director of an investment house. He emphasized that Haiti’s problems are comprehensive, and that commitment is key.
“There really isn’t an end in sight. One individual doesn’t have the resources. I don’t have the resources now. Nobody does. It will take patience, resolve, and a willingness to be realistic regarding a time frame.”
The goal of his nonprofit organization is to bolster relief in Haiti’s economic, educational and health care arenas, bridging partnerships for those who want to invest in the country’s future.
Since the earthquake, he and his team have been planning extensively to “double-down” their efforts. However, based on his visits and what he’s learned, he emphasized that the first thing needed is patience.
“The one thing about our society is that it has a short attention span. We’re not able to focus. It’s going to take a long time. It’s not going to be before another four or five years that we’ll see actual change in Port-au-Prince.”
Even so, Piverger is optimistic.
“We’re implementing venture capital in philanthropy. We’ve selected a strong team of conscientious investors and we’ve paired that with strategic awareness.”
He invites others to join his team. Although they’re focused on funding, which is their area of expertise, they are also just as appreciative for gifts of labor.
“Beyond money, time is a huge asset. We’re always looking for volunteers, even if you have 30 minutes a week, we’ll take that.”
The Global Syndicate is currently promoting a book by renowned photographer, Wyatt Gallery. In “Tent Life: Haiti,” Gallery captures the sprawling tent cities that have developed since the 2010 earthquake.
Thanks for your attention.