Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Digicel Foundation has seen unprecedented growth and change over the past year as efforts were doubled and the amount of funding for projects and resources was also boosted. The foundation is determined not only to continue but to expand its work in the core areas of special needs, community development and literacy.
The foundation paid tribute to its partners and stakeholders at a Partner Appreciation Brunch yesterday at Digicel's downtown headquarters.
With the assistance of partners and the support of staff and volunteers, thousands of persons have benefited since the foundation's launch in 2004. According to Samantha Chantrelle, executive director, it is the strength of an organisation's partners that decides how efficient and effective it can be.
"The dedication, drive and commitment of our partners have enabled Digicel Foundation to better carry out its projects in a way that positively contributes to the development and growth of communities across Jamaica. We look forward to continued collaboration on future endeavours as we remain committed to the development of our nation," Chantrelle said.
To date, the Digicel Foundation has invested more than $16.5 million in the areas of literacy, special needs and community development. In 2012, the team invested US$1.75 million in 108 projects directly impacting more than 47,000 people. In addition, noteworthy achievements include the awarding of a grant from the United States Agency for International Develop-ment (USAID) to expand the foundation's enrichment programme over the next three years; the completion of the first Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk in aid of special needs and the pilot 'Back to Roots' grass-roots initiative aimed at supporting effective entrepreneurship within community organisations.
"Successful public-private partnerships such as this one with the Digicel Foundation is a core tenet of USAID's new way of doing business. If we are to successfully leverage our resources, we must develop these partnerships which will assist the Ministry of Education to achieve the goal of 100 per cent literacy by 2015," said Denise Herbol, mission director of USAID.
The Digicel Foundation 5K race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 26. Proceeds will be given to 11 special-needs schools and organisations.