Estimated duration
5 years
Estimated total value
HAITI; United States
Fondation Enfant Jesus; HOK; Miyamoto International; DeMatteis Organization; U.S. Green Building Council

Project Haiti: Orphanage & Children’s Center


In 2011, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) together with its project partners, HOK (St. Louis, MO) and Adaptive Building Solutions (Ann Arbor, MI), committted to building an ultra-green orphanage and children’s center in Port au Prince, Haiti. The Project Haiti: Orphanage & Children’s Center will serve as a visible and replicable model of green, sustainable, resilient building practices, and also provide services directed for Haitian orphans. Once completed, the new high-performance facility will be owned and operated by the Fondation Enfant Jesus, and will provide for the immediate health and emotional needs of orphaned children, while offering a safe and legal pathway to adoption. Specifically, the orphanage and children’s center will offer nutrition services, healthcare including rehydration and vaccination services, counseling for parents including family planning services and a life-plan evaluation, education and skill development, and a comprehensive residential program.


Project Haiti: Orphanage & Children’s Center will be both a safe and loving refuge for the orphans of Haiti and a global, replicable model of applied resiliency through green building. What began as a day-long meeting of top green building practitioners from all corners of the globe at Greenbuild 2010 has turned into a real-time project which incorporates the immediate, mid-term and long range development needs of the Del Mas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince while incorporating green job training, green technology transfers and education in sustainable building operations and maintenance.
With the addition of the global architectural firm HOK as a project partner, HOK’s design team has incorporated its own distinct design and sustainability best practices to ensure that Project Haiti enables an adoption, healthcare and educational program that meet the emerging needs of Haiti.
Fondation Enfant Jesus (FEJ) will own and operate the building post-construction. FEJ owned the land and the existing orphanage onsite, which was condemned after the earthquake, and provided the services mentioned above in the previous orphanage. Post-construction they will resume these services with an expanded capacity due to the new efficiencies and accommodations as provided by the USGBC project. FEJ operates two additional orphanages in Haiti that focus on the material living conditions of orphans and destitute children and has a strong and well-known reputation for excellence both in Haiti and with out-of-country adoption partners. For adoptions within the United States, FEJ works collaboratively the Chicago based Adoption Link.
The building will be designed to achieve Platinum certification under the LEED Green Building Certification system. Additionally, the building will be designed to meet the following five criteria:
1. The building will provide a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment for children, based on optimizing natural light and ventilation, expandable to schools and other facilities.
2. The contextual environmental design, renewable energy, water treatment and waste processing strategies are pillars of a zero impact strategy that ensures the building is a net resource contributor to the broader community, and are completely replicable.
3. The building is a showcase for future Haitian development that respects the local culture and climate, is cost effective and durable, resilient to resource disruption and weather, rapidly constructible and inspirational.
4. The building may begin a dialogue of commerce between Haitian craftsmen, traders, entrepreneurs, bringing a new opportunity for industry and development.
5. The building is a teaching tool for local architects, contractors, and students on how to build and operate sustainably and adapt the LEED rating system to the local environment.
Prior to launching the construction phase of the orphanage as a CGI commitment, the project partners have achieved the following milestones:
November 2010: Project Haiti design charrette at 2010 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Co-convened by USGBC and LendLease Corporation;
February 2011: Formal launch of fundraising drive: Total Goal: $850,000 cash with an additional $150,000 in-kind material/product donations;
June 2011: Architectural design partner selection: HOK (pro-bono);
July 2011: Total non-in kind pledges received/committed to date: $444,000;
Post CGI Commitment Timeline:
September 2011: Announce Construction Phase Commitment at CGI;
September 2011: Projected fundraising goal of $600,000;
September 2011: Land cleared of existing condemned orphanage debris/rubble;
October 2011: CGI Commitment announcement at Greenbuild Toronto at USGBC Haiti Earth Resiliency Summit;
December 2011: Projected fundraising goal: $700,000;
March 2012: Projected fundraising goal: $850,000;
April 2012: Projected fundraising goal: $1,000,000;
April 2012: Construction begins;
March 2013: Project Haiti: Orphanage & Children’s Center operational
USGBC is confident based on its experienced U.S and Haiti based project partners that the design and construction phase of Project Haiti will be a resounding success. A partial list of partners is below:
HOK (St. Louis, Missouri)
Adaptive Building Solutions (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Lend Lease Corporation (Sydney, Australia) Sponsor and co-convener of Greenbuild Design Charrette
Philippe Leon, Domus Architecture (Haiti)


This USGBC commitment seeks to address a multitude of issues currently facing Haiti, including access to pediatric healthcare; orphan security, adoption and placement; as well as a retraining of Haitian workers in sustainable building practices. USGBC will address these issues through the design and construction of a LEED Platinum orphanage and children’s center, which will be owned and operated by the Port au Prince-based Fondation Enfant Jesus (FEJ). FEJ is a non-profit, non-denominational Haitian organization that was founded in 2003.
Through the design and construction of this orphanage, USGBC will provide a global, replicable model of high performance green building practices for a country that prior to the earthquake had no building codes and standards to speak of.
USGBC, which announced the collaborative design meeting at the 2010 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago (in partnership with the Lend Lease Corporation and Adaptive Building Solutions), is the primary funder of Project Haiti and is the primary project manager for this commitment. It is expected that the orphanage and children’s center will be operational by the first quarter of 2013.

Progress Update

July 2017

The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center is under construction with rebar already in place and concrete pouring underway. The commitment makers’ general contractor is targeting completion in late September/October with a grand opening celebration target of the first week of December.

Partnership Opportunities

USGBC continues to seek funding for this important project for the people of Haiti.

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.