Note: a version of this letter from Holland House’s Robert Kimbrell was recently emailed to supporters and is shared here as edited open letter to the industry.
Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues,
Happy holidays! I am hoping this letter finds you and your family happy and healthy. As we turn the page from 2020 to 2021, we wanted to reach out in hopes to continue the amazing work we have started over the last two years. A little over two years ago, Angela Hsu and I began working with Christina Noble Children’s Foundation to give underprivileged Vietnamese children the opportunity of education. Over that time, we have raised over $293,000 and supported more than 200 children through our Educational Scholarship Program (ESP) and the Sunshine School. We thank you for your support. It is truly appreciated by us, CNCF, and, most importantly, the children!
2020 has been a difficult year for all, but especially for the underprivileged. Helenita Noble, CEO of CNCF said it well in a recent message:
“As industry shut down across the globe to mitigate the transmission of the virus, socio-economic (setbacks) and escalating job losses have become an epidemic … for so many. The gravity of such long-term psychosocial impact on humanity is not to be underestimated. If there was ever a time in my life where the phrase ‘we are all in this together’ rings true, it is now, as consequential impacts of this pandemic do not discriminate. However, ‘we are all in this together’ is not entirely true for everyone. The stark reality is, our most vulnerable members of society are never the world’s priority in the best of times and they most certainly are not now, especially in times of great global distress compounded with health and economic distractions as those of us working on the front line have seen in 2020.”
This has been a challenging year for CNCF. Corporate funding pretty much went to zero as the pandemic exploded around the world. Children who normally provide for themselves and their families by selling gum and trinkets to tourists have had no customer base as tourism numbers have fallen off dramatically. And most recently, the Sunshine School property has been taken back by the Vietnamese government in order to provide special needs education for the medical residents of a nearby hospital.
We have worked closely with CNCF to ensure the children from the Sunshine School have been transferred to the ESP program so that they are still offered life changing education. 2021 will be a better year for our country. A vaccine is on the way, and the light at the end of the tunnel, although still a ways away, is getting brighter! We are not sure the future is as hopeful for the underprivileged kids in Vietnam. The economic impact may last much longer for these children. They need our help, so we are kicking off 2021 with a new round of fundraising, hoping to expand our ESP program as we have over the last two years. We have another lofty goal of building a kindergarten in the outlying areas of Ho Chi Minh City to give children a safe place to start their education. We also have a long term goal of trying to build a new Sunshine School in these outlying areas. These more rural areas, in which many of our factories are located, are the places that need our help most.
As we have over the last few years, Angela and I are committed to being stewards of all funds raised by the Furniture Industry for Education. We work very closely with CNCF in order to allocate each dollar of funding to ensure the greatest ROI and impact for the children.
If you are interested in donating via mail, check or have any other questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Angela at Angelas728@gmail.com
Robert Kimbrell is chief operating officer of Holland House. Angela Hsu is executive vice president of Green River Group