Press Release – (New York, NY) November 13, 2017 – After more than a decade of providing relief to those who have been impacted by natural disasters, today, All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund, which was founded by supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova, merged to form All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response, which will work to efficiently and effectively address the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disaster. The merger goes into effect today.
After surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Nemcova founded Happy Hearts Fund in an effort to rebuild safe, resilient schools in disaster stricken areas. Since 2005, 171 schools have been rebuilt in 10 countries around the globe. All Hands Volunteers was founded by David Campbell, a former technology CEO, in 2005 to provide relief to residents in areas affected by natural disasters in the U.S. and around the world. Since then the team has grown to 100 disaster experienced staff and is augmented by the hundreds of volunteers engaged daily.
Nemcova and All Hands CEO David Campbell met briefly in Pisco, Peru, where they were both assisting the community after the 2007 earthquake. They reconnected after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and since then partnered together to provide a faster and more effective long-term response to help communities affected by devastation. This partnership model yielded greater results because it provides not just a first response, but a smart, long-term response. Happy Hearts Fund and All Hands Volunteers complement one another, and together, All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response will have a greater impact and broader reach in communities in great need, which are often forgotten after natural disasters.
“Since 2005, I have devoted my life to helping communities rebuild after natural disasters and I am thrilled to combine forces on this next chapter with David, who has made the same commitment since founding All Hands Volunteers,” said Petra Nemcova, co-founder, All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response. “Over the last 12 years I have seen the same pattern where children and families are forgotten for years after a natural disaster, with no homes or schools. We have seen one natural disaster after the next over the last few months and it is a strong reminder that we need to increase our efforts and respond faster and in more resilient ways in this time of need.”
By listening to local communities, and deploying the unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, All Hands and Hearts will rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure. One of the organization’s core values is “Smart Response,” focusing on response, recovery, resilience and renewal in all aspects of their work.
“The missions of both Happy Hearts Fund and All Hands Volunteers are alike in so many ways,” said David Campbell, co-founder All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response. “Both work to help provide relief to individuals, children and families around the world, and together we will be able to maximize our resources to create a more efficient outcome. Petra’s friendship and partnership throughout this journey has been unwavering and I know there are great things ahead.”
Typically it takes more than five years for communities to rebuild after natural disasters, but when All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund partnered after the 2015 Nepal earthquake, they were able to combine forces and open the first safe, disaster resilient school after such great devastation, within a year and a half. The organizations once again partnered earlier this year after the 2017 flooding in Peru and used key learnings from Nepal to accelerate their process. Their first safe disaster resilient school in Peru opened its doors on November 10, 2017, just seven months after the flood. This demonstrates the power and capabilities of these two organizations when working together. All Hands and Hearts can rebuild safe, disaster resilient structures quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
On the heels of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, All Hands and Hearts have deployed immediate response teams in the Florida Keys, St. Thomas and Texas. All Hands and Hearts made a two-year commitment to rebuilding homes and schools in Texas and throughout the Caribbean and Virgin Islands thanks to partners like Taube Philanthropies and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
All Hands and Hearts current impact numbers as a result of the merger**:
**Combined total from both organizations
Together this new organization will offer Smart Response to those reeling from disasters both domestically and internationally. To learn more, please visit www.allhandsandhearts.org.
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