Becky’s Affiliated: The power of charity during a global pandemic

Helping hand

It’s a weird time in the world right now. We are approaching one year of the “new” and ever-changing “normal” and the future is anything but certain. What is important now more than ever is human compassion, kindness and offering support for those around us, especially to those who are less fortunate than we are. 

I have dedicated several Becky’s Affiliated columns and interviews to the amazing charitable work the professionals in our industry have done over the years, both in an effort to thank them but also to inspire others. Highlighting charity work makes me happy.

Just the other day I noticed this refreshing LinkedIn post of Calvin’s:

Anyone who follows Calvin’s social media is well aware of his deep passion for BitcoinSV technology, but what they might not know is that he’s deeply passionate about his charitable work too.

The Calvin Ayre Foudation or “CAF” was founded in 2005 (the same year I met Calvin, in fact!) and has been an important part of his life ever since. Today I wanted to share with you some of the projects the CAF is working on through the eyes of the Foundation’s Executive Director Corinna Delowsky, with the hope it will spread some love and inspire you and your organization in some way. 

Becky Liggero Fontana: Hello Corinna, it is such a pleasure to be talking with you today. Can you describe your role with the CAF and what do you enjoy most about being in this role?

Corinna Delowsky: My role as Executive Director of The Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF), has allowed me to meet many inspiring people who are giving back to others and those who are braving adversity. What I look forward to the most, is interacting with the children we sponsor; from the talented up-and-coming scholars and athletes, to the differently-abled children who touch our hearts with their smiles, hugs and twinkles of their eyes.

BLF: It sounds so rewarding to be able to work with children in this way. Can you share with us a brief history of the Foundation and its mission?

CD: CAF was founded in 2005 by Philanthropist and Special Economic Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Calvin Ayre, who has never forgotten his humble upbringing and his family’s difficulty with keeping up financially. We are a private and independent foundation administered in Antigua and Barbuda, dedicated to doing charitable work worldwide. We are committed to inspiring positive action in others, elevating lives, and empowering individuals and communities. Our vision is to passionately make a difference now and for the future.

BLF: Amazing. We know the Foundation is based on three pillars of giving: Emergency Response, Social Development and Education & Sports. Can you elaborate on each pillar- why are they important to Calvin and what kind of work does the Foundation do under each pillar?

CD: Calvin believes that individuals who have been fortunate enough to achieve great success in life have a responsibility to give back to those who may not be as fortunate. Our pillars of giving are in the areas he feels that CAF can have the greatest impact.

a. Emergency Response:

Even with the best laid plans, circumstances sometimes dictate that rapid action be taken. Our emergency response supports communities worst hit by natural disasters and unfortunate situations. During these eventualities, we work to help rebuild and rehabilitate those affected communities or individuals. Presently, we are heavily involved in assisting the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda during this unprecedented global pandemic by providing food for the most vulnerable. We have also contributed significantly to the health and safety of the nation’s frontline workers by sourcing and supplying personal protective equipment (PPE).

b. Social Development:

CAF has developed initiatives to uplift and promote social and economic transformation for the less fortunate, underserved individuals and communities. Through our advocacy of health and education, we achieve seeds of positive change within local communities around the world. One such example is our commitment since 2017, to the Friends Foundation – a non-profit charitable organization – where we have been financially supporting its education and specialized care and therapy program, to help improve the lives of Antigua’s differently-abled.

c. Education and Sports:

CAF is strongly committed to ensuring that deserving youths can achieve their dreams through higher education. This is one of our chief pillars, as Calvin believes that all things are possible when young people with intelligence, creativity and ambition are supported with the proper tools and foundation. For the past five years, CAF has been committed to the education of young Antiguan minds, by donating to the Island Academy Bursary Fund, which enables students from lower income households to receive a quality education. Island Academy is one of the few regional secondary schools that offer them a chance to participate in the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Additionally, our support of the Generation Next/CAF Advanced Football Academy, allows Antigua and Barbuda’s budding footballers an opportunity to earn scholarships to prestigious post-secondary institutions.

Calvin Ayre donating

BLF: Thank you for that. Clearly CAF has achieved so much in its now over 15 years, what have been some of the Foundation’s proudest achievements along the way?

CD: I believe this would be our support of the Friends Foundation. It is so heartwarming to see the impact our contribution is having on the lives of the most vulnerable in our society, which we have had many opportunities to witness firsthand. In addition to our ongoing financial support, the hosting of the annual Christmas party and visit from Santa – which has been played by Calvin himself – is a constant reminder of our social responsibility. The joy and laughter that greet us from the children during that event is priceless.

BLF: Honestly, that makes me so happy to hear. What an outstanding initative! Would you be able to share with us some of the projects and goals you have in the pipeline?

CD: Our goals are to continue to support all of our existing initiatives; including the Friends Foundation, Island Academy Bursary Fund and the Generation Next Football sporting program and completing the restoration of the West Wing of historic Government House. We are also pledging our continued support to the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda as the world navigates the global Covid-19 pandemic.

One major project that we are excited to get underway, is the Wa’omoni Cottages Housing Project in Barbuda. In partnership with the Prince’s Foundation, CAF has committed a total of US$1m to the project that will directly help families made homeless by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

BLF: Fantastic. I look forward to following your progress for sure. In the meantime, if you could send one message to our readers as to why its so important to include charity work in our professional and personal lives, what would it be?

CD: Personally, it is exceptionally rewarding to contribute to initiatives that improve the lives of others and society on a whole. I think if you are unable to contribute financially, then volunteer your time and encourage your children to do the same so they too can continue a tradition of service to humanity. We can all learn so much, develop our skills and network with others, which will also open opportunities in many other areas of our lives. Having a spirit of service, helps you to gain more insight into other people’s perspectives, and through this, we all grow.

BLF: Beautifully said, Corinna and thank you so much for sharing your time with us, your work is truly an inspiration for all.