Here’s how it all started…
On the evening of January 12, 2010, just before 5 p.m., 15 miles outside of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the Earth trembled. A violent 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck, sending tremors across the Caribbean. In 35 seconds, Haiti was forever changed. 220,000 people lost their lives, countless more were injured, and 1.5 million people were instantly homeless.
Within hours, Sean Penn assembled a team and mobilized a dynamic network of doctors, emergency workers, and government officials to take immediate action. It was supposed to be a two-week aid mission to drop off supplies and help doctors provide urgent medical care. Not long after those two weeks passed, Penn had formed the beginnings of what would become CORE to manage the largest displaced persons camp in all of Haiti.
Over the years, CORE (then known as J/P Haitian Relief Organization) remained in Haiti, coordinating relief efforts fueled by local Haitians to recover, rebuild back better than before, and empower communities to be prepared for future disaster. Our work continues in Haiti today with local Haitian staff working to rebuild and reimagine communities every day.
After mobilizing quickly to support Haiti following another devastating disaster in 2016, when it was struck by Hurricane Matthew (Category 5), CORE expanded its mission to bring community-focused relief to underserved populations in the wake of disasters across the Caribbean and into the United States.
In 2020, that same ethical imperative to save lives and support the most vulnerable and marginalized communities drove CORE to fill gaps and provide urgently needed COVID-19 relief in the United States. By 2021, CORE’s efforts had expanded worldwide to Asia and South America and included operating one of the world’s largest vaccination sites at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
As CORE continues to respond to the world’s most pressing crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the 2021 earthquake in Haiti’s Southwest, to Hurricane Ida in New Orleans and floods in Brazil, to the dire humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Haiti will always be at the heart of all our efforts.
It’s where we began and grew. It’s where we learned that crisis relief and recovery require a willingness to go where others won’t. That to help, to truly make a difference, you have to listen and learn. That there’s only one way to fight a crisis. Together, as a community.
The lessons and the inspiration of Haiti and every community in which we have worked are what drive us every day to lead the charge for a better tomorrow.