Tampa, Florida From August 29 – September 3, 2017, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (SSVP) hosted their annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. This meeting provides an opportunity for national leaders to meet, vote, learn, and during this particular meeting to transition power from the current, National President, Sheila Gilbert to Ralph Middlecamp.

Dave Barringer, CEO of the SSVP, invited the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative (VFHI), the international Vincentian Family project in Haiti focusing on economic development/poverty alleviation, to hold its Commission meeting during the conference. Thus we would continue to strengthen the collaboration between the two Vincentian Family groups.  Additionally, VFHI’s Business Advisory Council, comprised of six members of the SSVP, also met at the same time. Having everyone together in one place allowed the Commission and the Business Council to meet one another, which is very important since they are both working for the same goals.

The VFHI Commission meets twice yearly to oversee the mission of the projects in Haiti. This meeting signaled further growth as the VFHI discussed branching into new ventures, voted to name the agricultural project in La Hoye, San Lazarre after the workplace of St. Vincent, and reaffirmed our mission and strategy in Haiti.

Additionally, VFHI was able to present its development and growth during the SSVP’s business meeting. The collaboration between the SSVP and VFHI, has already resulted in an aid project which assists 600 farmers effected by hurricane Mathew in southern Haiti, partial funding of the artisanal aquaculture farm in Haiti, sponsorship of school children, support of an 18-month training/skills program for women in rural Haiti, and the formation of the business advisory council.

VFHI’s Commission voted to add another member to the Commission, a member of the Business Advisory Council, Donald Kany, a 35-year financial, investment and operational advisor. Donald’s expertise will round out the educational and social service experience of the current Commission.

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