Ashley Furniture Homestore has donated $900,000 to three Jamaican charities through its main corporate initiative, Couch Conversations.
For its fourth year, St Andrew High School (SAHS) Foundation, Homestead Place of Safety, and Hanover Charities are the recipients.
The charities were selected by patrons who were featured on Couch Conversations, namely, Naomi Garrick, Patrice J. White, and Katrin Casserly.
Chair of SAHS Foundation, Maxine Henry-Wilson, expressed gratitude for the $300,000 funding.
The foundation was established in 2005, on the school’s 80th anniversary, to spearhead fundraising initiatives that will ensure that the school has the financial resources to maintain its legacy of providing high-quality education.
“We continue to make sure the school is able to deliver that life more abundant in all its facets,” she said, referencing the school’s motto.
Last year, the foundation had an innovative programme, where all teachers were given a grant to help offset the cost of transitioning to a virtual teaching environment.
Patron Naomi Garrick said she is pleased that the donation will go towards improving the welfare of students and teachers at her alma mater, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since we are a school that’s all about life being more abundant, when we have the abundance, we want to spread it and share it as best as possible,” Garrick said.
Hanover Charities aims to improve the health, welfare, and education of residents in the western parish.
It provides support to dozens of smaller charitable efforts, including school feeding programmes, care for the elderly, and health clinics.
Chair Katrin Casserly, an Austrian native who has made Jamaica home, lauded Ashley for assisting charities on an annual basis.
“It is one of the largest charities in the west, and we have a lot of projects and over 200 scholarship students. For us, every dollar counts, and we are very honoured and very proud that we are a beneficiary,” Casserly said.
Homestead is owned and operated by the Government and provides short-term living arrangements for girls ages 11 to 18 who are in need of care and protection.
Manager Selleann Barracks told The Gleaner that the funds will be used to improve the online learning facilities for its girls.
“Even though we are a government home, we appreciate the assistance of stakeholders who really want to pour into the lives of the ladies we serve. During COVID-19, our ladies have excelled in their exams. Some are moving on to sixth form and some to university. This donation has come at a good time as it will help us to facilitate their learning and development even more,” Barracks said.
Ashley brand manager, Suzanne Campbell-Robinson, said the company hopes to bring new patrons on board who will help them to impact a wide range of charities.
“Collectively, we continue to do our best to improve the lives of individuals and groups that we serve. As a brand that has been able to operate successfully in Jamaica, it is imperative that we play our part to continue to enrich the society,” Campbell-Robinson said.