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Medical Benevolence Foundation launches $10.5 million Haiti initiative

Rebuilding a hospital, school, church and maternity and child center are among plans

July 6, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS

The Presbyterian-related Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) is partnering with a Pittsburgh group on a $10.5 million project in Haiti, MBF’s executive director said Tuesday.

The Rev. Will Browne said the Houston-based organization will work with the City of Champions for Haiti on the expansion and reconstruction of Hôpital Sainte Croix and other ministries in Léogâne supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti. Browne made the announcement at a breakfast sponsored by MBF and the PC(USA)’s International Health and Development Office, held in conjunction with the 219th General Assembly (2010).

The diocese is a longtime Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partner. Léogâne is near the epicenter of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January.

The first phase of the project will include reconstruction of the hospital building, a new hospital wing and a guest house. A new elementary school, a church and a maternity/child center are anticipated in subsequent phases.

The City of Champions for Haiti was formed in the aftermath of the earthquake. Browne said this group of business leaders and physicians helped Dr. Chip Lambert, an MBF staff member who lives in Pittsburgh, ship three planeloads of medicine to Hôpital Sainte Croix.

The City of Champions for Haiti will take the lead role in fundraising. MBF, a validated mission support group of the PC(USA), will participate in fundraising efforts and coordinate construction under the terms of a covenant with the Diocese, Browne said.

Presbyterians have contributed more than $10 million toward earthquake relief in Haiti through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Some of those funds have been used at the Hôpital Sainte Croix with the cooperation of MBF and the International Health and Development Office.

Haiti is one focus country of the International Health and Development Office, its coordinator the Rev. Bob Ellis told the breakfast audience. While the office has involvement in many countries, Ellis said Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Sudan have been identified as focus countries. These countries, he added, were chosen based on their high level of needs and the priorities of partner churches.

“We don’t want to be redundant or competitive” with partner churches, Ellis said. “But we want to help our partners engage in their ministries.”