Andrew Grene, an Irish citizen, lost his life in the earthquake in Haiti, where he had been working as a Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations. He was the sole Irish fatality in the earthquake, which claimed 250,000 lives. In response, Gregory Grene (Andrew’s twin brother) who resides New York and Tim Perutz, the twins’ childhood friend who lives in the UK, set up the Andrew Grene Foundation (AGF), with the aim of helping the Haitian people through education and microfinance. The effort was launched in Cavan, Ireland where the twins grew up and where Andrew was laid to rest.
For the past seven years, the AGF has worked to ensure that goals originally set out have been reached and the foundation continues to thrive.
In August 2011, just 18 months after the earthquake, the Andrew Grene High School was opened in Cité Soleil, the poorest part of the poorest city in the Western Hemisphere, where previously no high school existed. The school is now in its sixth academic year, and is full to capacity, educating 320 students from 11 to 19 years of age on a full time basis. The headmaster, Ricot Pierre, has continued to encourage his students and staff, and ensure that the very best exam results were achieved at the end of each school year. The AGF also opened a microfinance branch in the south of the island, which now has 1,600 women enrolled in an education program, equipping them with microloans to bring them and their families out of poverty.
In recognition of the Foundation’s dedication to the people of Haiti, Irish charity Haven have honoured the Foundation with the William Jefferson Clinton Goodwill for Haiti Award. Specially endorsed by the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, the award recognises extraordinary individuals who have shown outstanding leadership in the area of personal philanthropy and who, through their giving, have made a remarkable difference in bringing about sustainable social change in Haiti.
The award will be presented to Gregory Grene and Tim Perutz, co-founders of the AGF on Saturday 21st January 2017 at the annual Haven Haiti Ball at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin 4. Both Gregory Grene and Tim Perutz will be in attendance on the night and available for photos and further information.
«There is no real means of «coping» with a loss like that of my twin brother,» said Gregory. «What we have done is to create something that can stand in its own place, to grow something beautiful in the honour of the beautiful person we lost. We hope to channel the memory of Andrew and love into a dream that Andrew would have shared, a dream of assisting the Haitian people to attain the kind of self-sufficiency and hope that they deserve.»