Tag Archives: Haiti

Already a Leader, Deborah Santana Turns Her Heart Global

One my newest favorite people is Deborah Santana.  This is a woman filled with truth, soul, kindness.  It radiates from her inner core, her smile, and her clear eyes.   When she speaks, it is a woman speaking of a sincere, caring love for herself, for the world, and for each being she encounters.  I loved our recent dinner together!  She is seeking the truth for herself and everyone.

Then… just add the icing. She is a writer…holds workshops to help people find their own humble power and place  in the world… and encourages all.  She loves and nurtures her three children.  She has won awards, is an amazing businesswoman, and despite some tough personal challenges, she is a survivor, and one willing to help people through what she’s learned from her journey.

Now imagine that Deborah Santana takes it a step further. She doesn’t have to.  And she does… she has extended her care beyond her immediate circle, her community, her family, this country.  She is involved globally, and allows herself to get right into the heart of the challenges.   At this point, I am not going to relate more…for you should just read for yourself, her empowered, loving, realistic, pained but rising words below. 

Deborah Santana
Not a Spoon or a Pot

There are no crosswalks in the small town my friend visited in Haiti.

Beside a road, she met a woman with seven children who sleep together

           in a one room hut.

One pair of pants, one shirt each – no other possessions –

          not a spoon or a pot;

No picture frames, no photos, no beds, no schoolbooks,

          no bus fare, no earrings, no school.


When summer comes, the children go to the countryside to pick mangoes.

I imagine then they are able to eat more than ears of corn

         Roasted on a dirt pit outside.


Maybe then they smile, their fingers pulling back thick green mango skin,

          eyes widening at the sight of soft orange mango flesh.

Startling first touch of fruit to lip,

Teeth biting and tiny mango hairs stuck between,

Sweet perfumed juice running down chins like mercy.


Similar to my experience in Peru, Deborah sees the challenge of poverty upfront…

If you are interested in supporting the Daraja Academy, which Deborah is creating a film about, please donate or volunteer.  It’s a superb effort in Kenya!

Here is more about Deborah.  She is a remarkable woman who has changed the world through music and philanthropy, all across the world.


An Interview with JD Lasica – Haiti and CSR

Last week I had a great conversation with JD Lasica on his Social Causes show on Blog Talk Radio.  You can read about it on the SocialBrite blog, where you can also listen to the interview, or read the transcript.  Here are a few excerpts from the transcript:

On giving to Haiti:

I think one of the key points is that sometimes we have sort of this go-to, default of going through a maybe larger organization, or well- known brand; and what we need to actually look at is what are the organizations that can be the most helpful locally, on the ground, who know the local relationships, know how the local country operates. And so what we strive to do at UniversalGiving and what we encourage you to look for is try to find organizations that are either very focused on serving in a crisis; they know to how to respond to a crisis. They’re used to working in very tough pressure situations; they are used to responding and understanding how to best meet the local needs. They know the landscape; they know the geography. They know where the local resources were or did exist. So there’s not just a large organization coming in blindly. So we really try to gear towards local organizations who have those relationships.

On defining “corporate social responsibility”:

I think that Corporate Social Responsibility is really a company being able to manage the positive results that are necessary to grow their company and marry that to making an impact within the community. Corporate Social Responsibility is this sense of – it’s not even really necessarily a responsibility. It should be referred to as a business objective. It’s almost “Socially Responsible Business Objectives” rather than a responsibility because it really is an important part of their business and their operations that affects: 1) their bottom line goals and 2) also the community. So “responsibility” can be a little misleading because truly a responsibility is more, “Well you should.” This is really a “You should because it meets the bottom line and also benefits the community. So I almost want to change it to “Corporate Social Bottom Line Objective Which Serves the Community.”

On Cisco as an example of CSR:

I think one of the companies that has done a really great job with this is Cisco. First of all, let’s point to some of the positives that Cisco has in place that could be emulated by other companies. First of all, they’ve got – and this is hard to do sometimes, JD – but they’ve got strong support from the CEO and from the executive office. So John Chambers supports their CSR efforts. He is often at volunteer opportunities. He actually flew down to Mexico earlier this year to talk about the importance of technology and education, focusing on education and made some speeches to that effect. And Cisco actually put in some very strong resources in Mexico and Latin America. But first of all, of course they do build Cisco’s business, but secondly – and equally important – they help engage Mexico and other Latin American partners by helping them with education and technology in philanthropy and volunteerism.

So first of all, you’ve got this headquarter involvement by a CEO, which is very important. And second, you’ve got business units, the foundation and community relations, backing up John Chambers, which is just wonderful. So there’s actually an execution arm. So at Cisco there’s a very strong community relations department and then public benefit investment that helps disburse grants as well.

On sources for more information on CSR:

First, you can definitely go to our homepage, and at the bottom right-hand corner it says “Corporate Services,” and you can find out more about CSR there. The second is that there’s a great organization called CSRWire. And they have a lot of press releases and information about companies. They’ve been around for quite some time and they just do wonderful work, so I would definitely recommend them as well. Another one that I think—two others that I think are very positive, would be The Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthopy, run by Charles Moore, and also the Center for Corporate Citizenship , run by Brad Googins. So those provide some helpful resources to people, and people are also welcome to contact me, if I can provide them with any more resources.