Freeport, Bahamas – The Grand Bahama Children’s Home has had two very busy, challenging years – beginning with rebuilding the homes that house their children, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, with the Grand Bahama Port Authority, followed by the global COVID pandemic that brought delays in the rebuild and in the return of the children. These challenges, of course, have brought significant financial strain and concern, necessitating a reevaluation of what survival looks like for the Home in a post-Dorian and Covid world. Thankfully, donor groups have shown a tremendous interest in the Home – not only in our rebuilding efforts but in assisting the Home by providing new buildings and vehicles, staff training and a full-time therapy program, and helping establish a network to build sustainability in uncertain times.
SBP, well-known in The Bahamas for their bright yellow ‘light bulb’ shirts, seen repairing many homes for those in need, showed up after Dorian to assist the Home. The SBP team brought with them a wealth of disaster recovery experience in clean up, rebuilding, mold remediation, and international funding support. They have also been assisting the Home with charity development support, generating GoFundMe donations and other support among its network, site inspections, and, just last month, donated a minivan to the Home for the children as well.
“SBP’s overall mission is to reduce time between disaster and recovery,” said Zack Rosenburg, CEO, SBP. “Upon learning of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home fate at the hands of Dorian, we simply had to act. We’re delighted that the children have finally returned home and that we were able to help. What could be more important than supporting children to live in a safe and caring environment where they can thrive?”
SBP recognized an opportunity to help the Home with similarly aligned benefactors and, in turn, introduced the board to Kate Rose, Chairman of the Kate & Justin Rose Foundation (KJRF), who wanted to impact the lives of the home’s children with therapy and support – something the Board had wanted for many years. The KJRF fundraised over $700,000 earmarked to fund and develop a therapy programme, to run over a 5-year projected schedule with an onsite therapist, along with a staff training program, for the 40-year-old facility.
“The Kate and Justin Rose Foundation is committed to supporting these children who have been through so much in their young lives,” said Kate Rose. “Providing therapy is the first step towards clarifying some of the main issues facing the Grand Bahama Children’s Home and its children, and ultimately encouraging these children to thrive going forward.”
It was via this connection with the Roses in The Bahamas that the third donor, the One Bahamas Fund, joined the team and immediately bridged a funding gap to speed up the rebuild as well as finance the construction, by Spartan Builders, of a much-needed separate laundry and storage facility, due to be completed by Christmas 2020. In addition, SBP has stepped in to provide walk-in refrigeration and industrial laundry facilities and replace the generator lost in Dorian. This all will help the Home more efficiently operate and manage inventory at the same time.
The One Bahamas Fund was set up as a partnership between Albany’s community, parent company (Nexus Luxury Collection), Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake, and RBC to help The Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian. “The Grand Bahama Children’s Home was One Bahamas Fund’s first major project, with a with a committed donation of $300k,” noted CFO of Nexus, Jamie Winner. “It has been truly rewarding seeing the Home being built back better, both physically as well as operationally, with the tremendous help of all stakeholders.”
One Bahamas has also purchased a new bus for the Home and is slated to build a new therapy building in the new year. This addition is a great relief to both the Government of The Bahamas and the Board, who are expecting to house more children at the Home, which takes care of children, who are wards of the Government, from Abaco, Bimini, and Grand Bahama.
“If you can say there is a blessing from Dorian, these donors would be it for us,” said Mrs. Jean Hivert, GBCH Treasurer and Board Director. “Funding has always been a major challenge for the Home and, after Dorian, we knew we would need more help. This, of course, has been made all the more the case with COVID – these are very difficult times for everyone,” she explained.
“SBP has been there from the beginning,” said Sarah Kirkby, GBCH Board Director. “SBP helped us raise funds via a GoFundMe account and introduced us to international donors who were able to assist us and are still helping keep our doors open. We know reaching out to our local community is so difficult with so many in Grand Bahama struggling to survive. With this incredible team behind us, we can provide for our children in ways we had not been able to before,” added Kirkby.

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