It isn’t often that a burgeoning IT company can feel blessed to play a part in providing for impoverished and at-risk children around the world. Sam Shrefler, Chair of Love and Grace Ministries and Vice President of Software Engineering at Candoris, says that, “…Candoris is very much a part of God’s plan for children in Haiti.” He reflects on the many ways that Love and Grace provides for Haitian children largely due to donations received directly from Candoris.
Serving others is at the heart of Candoris, a technology solutions provider whose core purpose is reflected in the values of humility, unity, truth, innovation, respecting family, impacting others through servanthood and giving, and in always doing the right thing. From the top level down, it is focused on a goal greater than itself; it is focused on helping people in need, particularly children. Candoris partners with various nonprofits through time and monetary donations, including Love and Grace Ministries, a nonprofit that provides caring homes for boys in need in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Love and Grace was founded in 2009, just a few months before the devastating 2010 earthquake. After the earthquake, needs skyrocketed and the opportunity to aid children grew exponentially. The organization grew to not only provide a home, but a ministry that supplies boys with food, medicine, and access to education and tutoring. They are a faith-based ministry, and leaders encourage the boys to grow into educated, Christian gentlemen through daily devotions.
In 2014, Candoris president and founder Stephan Van Der Ploog and his wife, Mel, visited Love and Grace’s base in Haiti. The great demand for basic life necessities for so many children was apparent, and it convicted them to sponsor a child and pledge that their company would be dedicated to not only helping the Haitian children, but other innocent children in need all around the world. Candoris became Love and Grace’s first corporate donor in 2015.
That same year, Haitian law changed and demanded that at the age of 18, a child can no longer be served in orphanages. In order to continue providing for these at-risk boys, Love and Grace purchased a home called “The Bridge” for older boys to move into and attend vocational school or college. The Bethanie Foundation was also started, through which three communities were constructed in outskirt towns in order to provide schools and places of worship where they otherwise wouldn’t exist. The primary community is called “Galilee”, a town with no running water or electricity, and named after the Biblical town whose people were marginalized. In Galilee, a tiny one-room schoolhouse and nine staff members provide access to education for 400 students who fervently desire it. A monthly donation from Candoris has kept their doors open for the past few years. It was recently determined that if a kitchen could be built at the school, meals could be provided to children who otherwise wouldn’t eat during the day. Candoris heard the need, and determined that the extra funds needed was the exact donation opportunity that a fruitful year’s work should go towards.
Ministry in Haiti has grown from one orphanage with five boys at the establishment of Love and Grace in 2009, to establishment of the Bethanie Foundation that encompassing Love and Grace, The Bridge House, and the various communities and schools. Candoris continues to support these ministries, and doubled their monthly donation amount at the beginning of 2018. Corporate giving has inspired individual Candorians to give. “As Candoris employees learned about Love and Grace and about how their company was supporting these at-risk children in need, hearts have been opened, leading to individual sponsorship of children,” Sam says. “Through exchanged letters, periodic updates, and Love and Grace’s efforts of fostering close relationships, sponsors become their child’s family. Many children keep photos of their sponsors under their pillow.” Sponsorship is a precious opportunity for people to provide for not only a child’s physical needs, but emotional and spiritual ones as well.
As we fully enter into the new year, we want to take a moment to celebrate how a corporate mission to servanthood and giving can extend to impact staff involvement for a noble cause. Cheers to doing a world of good for others in 2018 and beyond.
Written by Laura Pugliano, Cooperative Genius