NEW YORK – Increasing Verizon's support for Haitian reconstruction, the company has announced that Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation, will join the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund as executive in residence, effective Jan. 17, for one year.
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded after Haiti's Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, when President Barack Obama asked former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to lead a major fundraising effort to assist the Haitian people to "build back better."
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund initially responded to the catastrophe with millions in humanitarian relief. By the time the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund began independent operations in May 2010, it had transitioned to primarily serving its longer-term mission of sustainable reconstruction efforts designed to promote job growth and economic opportunity, empowering Haiti to chart its own successful future.
Verizon was among the first corporations to respond to the crisis in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there in January 2010. The company and its employees initially donated more than $1.2 million in direct relief. In November 2010, the company donated an additional $100,000 in response to the cholera outbreak. The combined contributions of Verizon employees and the Verizon Foundation have topped more than $1.3 million.
Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said, "We are proud to partner with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. By providing a talented leader such as Patrick to serve as executive in residence, we are showing Verizon's continued commitment to efforts that can help ensure Haiti is restored and rebuilt on a strong and sustainable economic foundation."
Seidenberg continued, "Patrick has been a forward-looking and innovative leader for Verizon and its foundation, and we applaud his willingness to contribute his extraordinary abilities for the next year to Haiti and its people."
Gary Edson, CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, said: "Patrick brings energy, commitment and passion, as well as critical strategic alliances and considerable experience. We are grateful for this invaluable resource and for the vision we share with Verizon -- a vision of a new Haiti with Haitians producing and exporting to thrive rather than depending on aid to survive. This is a great example of informed corporate citizenship that will help Haiti as it creates its own story not just of help, but of hope."
Gaston will serve as a senior advisor to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, with responsibility for leading a broad outreach program to increase awareness and support from major donors, corporations and foundations. He will serve as a key spokesperson for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and will help develop strategy and opportunities, as well as build a network of relationships among key stakeholders, including members of the Haitian Diaspora.
Gaston said: "The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has a unique mission of economic empowerment that aims to rebuild both the lives and livelihoods of Haiti's citizens and leave a legacy for generations to come. As a Haitian-American and as a representative of Verizon's unique corporate ethic and responsibility, I am eager to contribute to this important mission, and I am honored to be given this opportunity to serve."
Gaston joined a Verizon predecessor company, New England Telephone, in 1984, and held various leadership positions in operations, marketing and human resources. He was appointed executive director of strategic alliances in 1995, and served in that role until his appointment as president of the Verizon Foundation in December 2003. During his tenure as president of one of the 15 largest corporate foundations in the U.S., he has directed $525 million in Verizon's philanthropic investments to drive positive social change in communities nationally and internationally.
Gaston was the architect of Verizon's $40 million philanthropic initiative for K-12 education, Verizon Thinkfinity. He also has been responsible for expanding a focus on domestic violence prevention throughout the corporation. He has been named one of the top 100 most influential African-Americans in corporate America (Savoy Professional Magazine, 2008) and was named CR Magazine's Corporate Foundation CEO of the Year in 2010.
Gaston's replacement at the Verizon Foundation will be announced later.