Former president Bill Clinton accepted a $1 million check to benefit Haitian earthquake victims Tuesday night at the Pierre Hotel from CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg. Tory Burch and Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer of Theory/Helmut Lang, helped hand over the donation, which stemmed from sales of Fashion For Haiti T-shirts.
With the financial infusion from the CFDA, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund aims to build on its efforts to provide more solar-powered flashlights for practical and protective purposes to the many Haitians who are now homeless and living in camps. Undaunted by the fact that 85 percent of the country's population that did not have electricity before the Jan. 12 earthquake, Clinton said his aim is to make Haiti the first wireless country.
Having had his own boots on the ground multiple times in the past few months, Clinton described sleeping in a tent one night three weeks ago with members of the U.S. Army. During that most recent jaunt, he pulled over his caravan at a local artisan hangout and advised his eight-man band of travelers to break out their wallets for some mandatory spending.
Clearly energized by the prospect of rebuilding Haiti, Clinton talked candidly and sometimes rapidly with the fashion trio and their handlers as if they were all guests at a cocktail party. He explained why he volunteered for a five-year pledge of service, and shared some of his renewable energy and reconstruction plans for the ravaged nation. In due time, the former president aims to help elevate Haiti's standing in the world. "In the past, Haiti has either been abused, neglected or patronized," he said.
For more coverage, see Thursday's WWD.