Helping Haiti

Last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti gave multimillionaire philanthropist, James Ansara, of Essex, MA, a chance to do more than just write a check. While he wrote some checks, and large ones at that, Mr. Ansara did much more. Days after the quake hit, he was up to his elbows in rubble, repairing generators with his own hands and restoring power in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. He keeps going back, week after week, in a bid to bring world-class health care to one of the world’s poorest countries.”I think it’s really one in a million who are personally invested” as Ansara is, says Bill Shore, executive director of Share our Strength, a Boston-based antipoverty organization with projects in Haiti. “Generally, we might be successful in getting [donors] to make a trip or two to a place like Haiti … or New Orleans, after Katrina. But for someone to go down there on a weekly basis since January [2010, as Ansara has] is remarkable.” Ansara, a construction magnate who retired early, brings a rare combination of personal wealth, practical skills, deep experience and – perhaps rarest of all – a willingness to provide hands on help.

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