The Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) was founded in 2004, and is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since its inception, the Foundation has invested tens of millions of dollars in realizing its vision of building a brighter future for the people of the DRC. The organization’s co-founder is Dan Gertler, who is also Senior Advisor to Fleurette Group.
GFF funds and supports development programs across the DRC, concentrating on the nation’s poorest regions and most at-risk among the population. The Foundation’s programs are diverse, innovative and vital to the present and future well-being of the region, covering a wide range of humanitarian causes, including:
• Emergency Assistance
Partnerships & Sustainability
GFF forms partnerships and coalitions in order to maximize the resources that are allocated to meeting specific local needs. With an over-riding goal of long-term sustainability, the Foundation also facilitates collaborations between organizations, especially local agencies and governments, which are the best way to build systems that outlive the specific grants and funding streams. In addition to this, GFF partners with a number of international, Congolese and pan-African NGOs and government agencies, including: UNICEF, Operation Smile, the government of Katanga and Office of the President of the DRC, as well as a number of hospitals and special clinics.
The GFF’s funded projects are designed to empower local communities to provide a healthy and independent environment for future generations, so that the myriad of physical and social challenges facing the DRC today become a thing of the past. Dan Gertler and his family are dedicated to building sustainable infrastructures, whether in the form of new physical facilities, medical services, or educational and social programs.
Some of the GFF’s groundbreaking achievements in the DRC in recent years include:
• Establishment of a special sickle cell anemia unit at Lumbu Lumbu hospital in the Maniema Province that enables medical professionals to carry out early screening and treatment, in an effort to save the thousands of babies dying from this devastating disease.
• Sponsorship of HOLD-DRC: a non-profit organization that supports teenage mothers who have become pregnant due to rape. These young victims are rejected by society and tend to live a life of fear, poverty, repeated assaults, and disease. HOLD-DRC, with funding from GFF, has developed a comprehensive program to help these girls rebuild their lives, through medical treatment, education, employment training, housing, counselling, and confidence-building initiatives.
• Establishment of a special hospital wing in Bas Congo region, to address the special needs of women suffering from fistula, a terrible injury that is impacting women in the DRC. GFF’s funding, in partnership with Solidarity Fund African Woman (SOLFA) International, will allow the hospital to offer free surgeries to repair fistula.
Through the leadership and visioning of the Gertler Family Foundation, many communities in the DRC have benefitted from new housing, roads, hospitals, schools, and even a chance to re-connect to their rich cultural heritage in a way that instils pride and hope for the future.