Ex-Banker Sets Sights on Haiti
Building Bridges to the Future will try to replicate the success it had in Indonesia
--by Patrick Smith
New York, New York:
Retired Marine Midland banker Sara Henderson founded her nonprofit, Building Bridges to the Future, after a trip to tsunami-ravaged Indonesia. Now, the 68-year-old banker turned disaster-relief volunteer has her sights set on Haiti.
Launching the nonprofit was her first foray into volunteer work. “I was always one of those people who ‘gave at the office,’ ” she recalls. But her skills as a merchant banker came in handy when it came to pulling together all the different elements of the project.
“As a banker, you know where the money is,” Ms. Henderson says.
Ms. Henderson’s organization built 51 houses, for $3,100 each, in a destroyed village in the province of Aceh, which had lost four-fifths of its population. It helped residents set up a dairy and an agricultural cooperative. It also gave simple bookkeeping lessons. “I think what we’ve done is replicable, possibly in Haiti,” says Ms. Henderson, who splits her time between Indonesia and New York, where her 10 grandchildren live.