Caring about others,
running the risk of feeling,
and leaving an impact on people
- Harold Kushman
It’s Team Effort!
Lefort Jean-Louis, Founder of Maison Fortune Orphanage Foundation
has devoted his life to improving the lives of hundreds of vulnerable children in the Hinche region of Haiti. Without his intervention, these children would remain on the streets, with little food, no education, and no love or support. He knows this first hand because he grew up part of a poor peasant family in the Artibonite region of Haiti and when someone offered him the help he now extends to others – his life changed. After attending High School he had the opportunity to be educated at Virginia Tech but rather than remain in the U.S., where he could enjoy a high standard of living, he was unwavering in his commitment to return to Haiti to give back to his country.
Jean-Louis began this quest very modestly in 2000 when he took four children living off the streets and provided them food and shelter in a small building he was able to rent from the Diocese of Hinche. In 2002, the orphanage had grown from 4 to 23 small boys. Jean-Louis earned the trust and respect of his friends in the U.S. as well as in Haiti. His exceptional stewardship is responsible for the growth of Maison Fortuné Orphanage which now includes 200+ boys and girls, and from one small building, he now oversees two campuses and an elementary school. Through Jean-Louis’ efforts and stewardship, Maison Fortuné Orphanage has grown into a beacon of hope for a brighter future for the poorest of the poor youth in Haiti.
After the earthquake in 2010 the orphanage was also used as a food distribution point and contact station for medical assistance – furthering the reach beyond just the children we serve daily. Jean Louis continues today to serve as the Maison Fortune Orphanage Founder and Director and he also serves as the President of the local Toastmasters club.
Babs Zuhowksi, Executive Director of MFOF
In May 2019, Babs Zuhowski assumed leadership of the Maison Fortune Orphanage Foundation (MFOF). Babs brings 20+ years of non-profit leadership to MFOF. She works closely with Board members, stakeholders, and volunteers to promote and nurture the ongoing programs of Maison Fortune orphanage and school in Hinche, Haiti.
As a Naval Officer’s spouse, Babs spent 21 years traveling to duty stations along the East coast; with two assignments to Sasebo, Japan, where her family lived in the town developing an appreciation for foreign culture. The Hampton Roads area has been home (on and off) to Babs and her family since 1992. They currently reside in Gloucester, VA.
Babs’ career focus has been in marketing and development. Most recently she led Portsmouth Humane Society (PHS) as their Executive Director. Under her leadership, PHS achieved No-Kill Status and strengthened its annual budget, moving from a deficit to a profit. Babs served as the Director of Annual Giving and Special Events for The Williams School in Norfolk, VA. Additionally, Babs worked to support indigent people as the Marketing and Development Director at the Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic (GMFC). While at GMFC, Babs developed a deep affinity serving human needs. Throughout her life, Babs has sought ways to advocate for people in need. She is excited to share her expertise with MFOF and to strategically advance the organization for a sustainable future.
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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3092, Chesapeake, VA 23327-3092