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A Spotlight on the Retail Orphan Initiative

In today’s blog, we’re highlighting our Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Theatro, Verlin Youd and the good works of the Retail Orphan Initiative, or “RetailROI.” Because, not only is Verlin the SVP of Sales at Theatro but he also happens to be an all-around good guy. He is active in his local community as well as the retail industry community, including the RetailROI and their efforts in Haiti.

This past Wednesday night was the annual Gala and Dinner for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) in Washington D.C.; the annual gathering of legislators, policy makers, foundations, experts and supporters of orphans in the US and globally. At the event, thought leaders and those making a real difference in the lives of children are recognized for their great work. Our very own Verlin Youd was there as well as part of the RetailROI delegation, helping to build awareness and support for RetailROI, along with supporting others who are making a difference for orphans and children at risk around the world.

To support Verlin’s tireless effort with the RetailROI, we wanted to highlight the great work done by Verlin and more importantly, RetailROI. Verlin is a firm believer that those who are successful and have means, should feel a duty to find a way to assist those who don’t yet have those same opportunities. And so it was, that ten years ago, a few luminaries in the retail technology industry (including Verlin) got together and with the encouragement of the then CIO of Target, Paul Singer, decided to create a retail industry centric organization to provide support for orphans, adoption and at-risk children/families. The result was the creation of The Retail Orphan Initiative or RetailROI, a 501c3 foundation, focused on engaging members of the retail industry community to raise funds and provide expertise to assist with this global effort.

Verlin served as a founding member of RetailROI’s advisory board and has helped secure corporate sponsorships from SAP, Motorola, IBM, Verizon, and others. Years back when Verlin lived in Haiti, serving as a missionary, he developed a strong bond to the people, country, and language. Not surprisingly he’s been passionately involved in the work RetailROI has carried out in Haiti since the beginning!

Today, in addition to projects in 14 other countries, RetailROI has sponsored a number of projects in Haiti, supporting orphanages, schools and a very impressive and innovative project called MBOHaiti where there is a combined orphanage with family based living arrangements, best in class school (K-12) with trained staff and computer lab, working hotel/restaurant, working farm, water desalinization plant, local area soccer program and basic medical treatment facilities! MBOHaiti is nearing the completion of the multi-stage build phases and is designed to be fully self-sustaining. The hope is to replicate the same approach at other locations in Haiti. RetailROI understands that real lasting positive change comes from enabling children to get out of poverty, contribute to their community, and become leaders and supporters of themselves and their family.

Did you Know?

Globally, there are a staggering 143 million orphans

and another 300 million children who are at risk of being orphaned.

Want to help?

Companies or individuals can take any (or all!) of the following steps:

  • Join RetailROI and provide mentors locally and abroad.
  • Get hands on and participate in a RetailROI trip!
  • Encourage your employees to sponsor and participate personally in RetailROI sponsored projects.
  • Raise Funds – donations from companies and individuals, setting up matching grants, and creating programs like “Round Up for Orphans” where shoppers can round up their purchase total to the nearest dollar with the additional funds going to RetailROI.
  • Provide funding that goes directly to aid for orphans across project in 16 countries, including the U.S.
  • As an organization, provide support for employees who adopt including time off and grant programs.

The Impact is real and lasting!

  • RetailROI has raised over $10 million with an extraordinary 94%+ going directly to in country aid.
  • Retail ROI sponsors projects in 16 countries: US, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sudan, China, Haiti, Malawi, Uganda, Congo, Honduras, Nepal, India, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Kenya and South Africa.
  • Retail ROI has made a daily difference to thousands of children worldwide, including supporting over 270 adoptions.

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