Office Staff Takes on Challenge to Build Homes in Haiti

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 24, 2011) — A large piece of cardboard, with cartoon-like images of a curvy street and houses made of pastel fabric is not something you’ll see in a world-famous museum. But this work of art, affectionately referred to as "the neighborhood," is so much more. It represents compassion, creativity, and the desire to make a difference in the lives of people three time zones and 3,000 miles away.

American Capital Group, located in Irvine, Calif., is an equipment finance company that has been in business since 1995.  ACG leases computers, trucks and capital equipment to other businesses.  Looking for a way to give back, the company decided to change its mission statement during a leadership team retreat last year.

American Capital Group employees stand next to "the neighborhood," a poster
of four Haitian homes the company funded.

"Our mission is to deliver innovative equipment financing solutions that enhance the lives of our customers, employees and community," said Burke Wiedel, a Controller, with ACG.  

It’s the ‘community’ portion of the statement, he says, that led them to Food For The Poor and the goal of raising enough money to build 20 homes for families recovering from the Jan.12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"Our Chief Executive Officer, Carl Heaton, is a devoted Christian and desires to partner with Christian run organizations that help others in their areas of need.  So the task was to find a charity with a high percentage of funds that go to its services. After looking at numerous charities, ACG’s President, Josh Splinter, chose Food For The Poor because of the incredibly high percentage of funds that go to actual services, and the impact of providing homes to struggling families," said Wiedel.

ACG has paid for the construction of four houses, which are represented in "the neighborhood." The staff of 21 employees meets regularly, and for certain thresholds in leased equipment funded, a portion of a house goes up in the "the neighborhood." The foundation is added at threshold 1, the walls at 2, and the roof is placed on the house at 3. Then a check for $3,200, which is the cost of a home in Haiti, is mailed to Food For The Poor.

"It’s amazing what a team of people can do when they set their minds and hearts toward helping others in need," said Angel Aloma, Executive Director of Food For The Poor. "We cannot fix the problems in Haiti by ourselves, but I am so proud to say hundreds of families have been relocated out of the tent cities thanks to the loving generosity from people like those at American Capital Group."

Food For The Poor, the third-largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian agency provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.

For more information, please visit

Wanda Wright
Food For The Poor
Public Relations
954-427-2222 x  6079