New Leadership At Haiti Outreach Program

Sacred Heart Cathedral News

Hello, Haiti Outreach Supporters and Friends,

In early January, I willingly volunteered to take on an active role in the Haiti Outreach Program’s leadership. Having been involved for over a year, I found this effort to be of great interest and opportunity personally.

The Haiti Outreach effort began in 1999. Through the efforts and sacrifices of so many individuals over the years, the accomplishments are remarkable. The results of the volunteers’ efforts and the fantastic generosity of the donors have made this Program a somewhat complicated effort. I observed that Haiti Outreach has been such a success and grown so much that it required nearly a full-time resource to guide it to the next phases of success. I believe I can help in that effort.

My wife Eileen and I retired to Knoxville in 2018 from Indiana. I was a Regional President at Dover Corporation, running a fairly large business. Eileen attended UT and was a Head Majorette. Our daughter Cassidy also lives in Knoxville and was a Head Majorette for the UT Pride of the Southland Band; thus, one of the keys reasons Knoxville became our retirement destination. Our daughter was married to her husband, Tyler, at the Cathedral in 2018, one of the first weddings to occur after it opened. Tyler works for Bank of America, and he too is involved, serving as the Treasurer of the Haiti Outreach program. Needless to say, our commitment to Sacred Heart is strong. We also have a son that resides in Chicago.

We have structured the outreach program with five committees: Medical, Education, Marketing, Grant, Donor Relations, and Affiliate Parish Relations. Each committee has a chairperson and a working committee that focuses on programs to create funding. On an annual basis, this organization receives donations exceeding $150,000 to help fund a medical facility, pay for teacher salaries and pastoral staff such as priests and sisters. 100% of the donations make it to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Historically, we have a group of medical professionals who travel to Haiti’s remote parts annually to give back to those in need. These medical professionals, I observe, have this extraordinary calling to make a difference in the world. It’s rewarding and an inspiration to watch their sense of personal satisfaction by being involved and sharing their gifts.

2020 was a challenging year, of course, due to Covid, and considering we were unable to do a medical banquet, one of our larger fundraisers, we have a lot of ground to make up. Still, we had a few fantastic donors step in and provide assistance far beyond expectations. We are grateful for what you did.

For 2021 our primary goals are to exceed prior year donations by at least 20%. We want to work closely with other Catholic Parishes in the area. We want to build our organization with more volunteers with unique talents and a passion for helping those in need. We are always seeking out volunteers that would enjoy helping our cause and would even like to visit Haiti when the political landscape there improves for travel.

Thank you for such a warm welcome to Knoxville; we love all that it has to offer.

Blessings,

Matt Webster

https://www.haitioutreachprogram.com/