Not all executives find the time to help the needy, but John Keane, president of the Keane Insurance Group in St. Louis, frequently visits Haiti to aid the orphanages and communities devastated by the 2010 earthquake, and is currently taking doctors and other health care providers to the orphanage, Village de Vie, which his company raised funds to build and run.
In early 2009, Keane established a charitable group as a way to give something back. “I originally established Keane Charitable Group in order to facilitate our charity golf tournament,” Keane said, “We were looking for a way to give to causes close to our hearts.” The golf tournament, an annual 5K Race, and many other events now jointly benefit the Haiti Orphan Project (HOPE), Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the local Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Scholarship Fund.
When Haiti suffered devastating earthquakes in January 2010, Keane met with former minister Les Prouty (now HOPE director) and others to determine the needs in Haiti and to decide whether or not the Keane Charitable Group could help meet those needs. After visiting Haiti and meeting with Haitian pastors and with leaders of the Global Orphan Project, Keane decided to launch HOPE – an initiative aimed at benefiting orphans and abandoned children.
“The plan was to identify a church in Haiti and partner with them to build an ‘orphan village,’ which consists of housing, a school, basic medical care, and a church,” Keane said. But fundraising is only half of Keane’s involvement with Haiti’s damaged communities. On their most recent trip, HOPE brought medically trained personnel to offer services to the orphans of Village de Vie (Village of Life) and the surrounding community.
Jonathan Thornsberry, M.D., of Springfield, MO, who accompanied HOPE to Haiti in July explains, “Mostly we were providing basic medical exams and treating minor wounds and skin infections in children of several orphanages. We did have the opportunity to treat some of the surrounding village children, in particular some with secondary infections related to a chicken pox outbreak.” Thornsberry had spent six months in Haiti as a child when his family did veterinary mission work in the early 1980's.
HOPE also brought Trauma Nurse Lindsay Jarrold from Cincinnati. “Even though motivation and resilience are abundant in this community, many resources are needed throughout Haiti – anything from educational to structural to medical to love,” said Jarrold. Both Thornsberry and Jarrold shared enthusiasm about returning to Haiti in the future. “I am excited to continue helping HOPE develop a program to provide medical care on their trips,” said Jarrold.
“The initial intention for HOPE was to find a way to integrate what we do as a company with a mission in Haiti, focused on orphan care,” Keane said. “After building the orphan village the next step was the establishment of a medical clinic that could draw from our client base of doctors.” The Keane Group specializes in medical professional liability insurance for physicians. “We plan to provide medical services every trip going forward with the hope of eventually building a permanent clinic that can be staffed full time. We are essentially there.”
The operations of HOPE are funded 100% by The Keane Insurance Group and the John Keane family, enabling 100% of all donations and funds raised to go to orphan care and the mission of HOPE. In addition, Keane has subsidized trips for over 25 of his employees so they can also be involved in the effort.
HOPE’s next trip to Haiti is scheduled for October, when Prouty will lead another team, including medical personnel, to Village de Vie. “The first goal is to honor and glorify Jesus Christ,” Keane said. “Second is to bless and help the children of Haiti.”