The Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) is committed to helping address the needs of vulnerable segments of the Congolese population.
Since its creation in 2004 the Gertler Family Foundation has invested millions of dollars in health, education, infrastructure, emergency assistance, cultural and other projects in Kinshasa, Katanga, Kasaï-Oriental, Orientale and Sud Kivu provinces and elsewhere throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Through the hospitals, health clinics, schools, homes and more the GFF has built and the medicine, food, clothing, clean water, school supplies and other assistance the GFF has provided, the foundation has helped change the lives of countless Congolese living in major cities and remote villages with limited access to basic health care services, children and adults born with facial deformities, inter-city children born HIV positive, youth and adults living with HIV-AIDS, orphans, the disabled, families stricken by natural disasters, and so many others.
The Gertler Family Foundation health programmes addressed the lack of access to basic health services, malnutrition, facial deformities, HIV-Aids, malaria and other endemic diseases prevalent in the DRC. The Gertler Family Foundation has built hospitals and medical centres, provided medicines and other medical supplies, hired expatriate specialists and trained local staff for the sustainability of its programmes.
• The Gertler Family Foundation and its partners refurbished and provided state-of-the equipment to the hospital in the eastern DRC city of Kisangani, Province Orientale. The 120-bed hospital meets the needs of healthcare services for children, who represent a significant portion of the population of Kisangani, yet are without access to adequate healthcare.
• This signature Gertler Family Foundation project helps address the high mortality rate among children aged 0-16 years by providing basic and specialized health care.
• The Gertler Family Foundation hired renowned South African medical doctor, Dr. Andre Hattingh, to manage all aspects of the hospital, following standards used in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere in the Western world.
• The Gertler Family Foundation partnered with Mapon Development, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) affiliated with DRC Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, to build a 40-bed hospital in Kindu, Maniema Province.
• The Gertler Family Foundation also provided state-of-the-art equipment, which a team of expatriate and local specialists and technicians installed and hired a medical director and an administrator to manage the Centre for two years. Prime Minister Matata officially opened the Centre in March 2013.
• The Provincial Government of Katanga constructed the Hôpital Général de Kipushi in 2011.
• The government’s leadership inspired the Gertler Family Foundation to help improve healthcare access to the 115,000 residents of Kipushi, the tens of thousands of other Congolese who live in the District of Haut-Katanga and Zambians who live across the border.
• In July 2012, the Foundation purchased state-of-the-art medical equipment for the hospital.
• In 2011, the Gertler Family Foundation partnered with Operation Smile, an international organization that provides free surgery to treat facial deformities.
• An initial sponsor of annual Kinshasa missions, the Foundation organized and secured all of the funding for Operation Smile’s first ever Lubumbashi mission in late 2012. The Gertler Family Foundation’s sponsorship has helped provide facial reconstructive surgery for more then 300 Congolese during 2012 alone.
The Gertler Family Foundation’s work in the health sector extended far beyond building and equipping hospitals and health centers. The Foundation has also supported projects that directly affect the most vulnerable of the Congolese population, including:
Every year, the Gertler Family Foundation donated medicine and food to this remote Centre that cares for malnourished children. The Foundation also donated a 4x4 utility vehicle so the Centre can transport seriously ill patients to larger centres and hospitals and to reach sick children in remote villages.See media gallery
The Gertler Family Foundation partnered with Kimbondo to help them care for the nearly 800 abandoned children who live at the orphanage in Kinshasa. Many of the orphans also have physical and mental disabilities, The Foundation provided Kimbondo with bi-annual supplies of medicine and food and in 2012, funded the purchase of equipment and supplies for the Kimbondo Hospital’s new blood transfusion unit.
The Gertler Family Foundation made a three-year commitment (2012 – 2014) to contribute funding to Project CHIRPA to help defray cost of pediatric cardiac surgery to Congolese. Belgian specialists performed the surgeries every year. CHIRPA also strengthens the technical capacity of local surgeons, offering vital training to establish a well-equipped platform for the sustainability of the program.
A core belief of the Gertler Family Foundation is that investing in education is an investment in the future of the DRC. The Foundation’s education programs focus on the overall development of vulnerable children and young people throughout the country. The Foundation’s community-based education programs included building schools, sponsoring housing and education for orphans, funding literacy projects for young woman and girls who are victims of sexual violence and a number of other educational programs.
Lycee Français Blaise Pascal is one of the DRC’s top schools. Gertler Family Foundation funding helped restore deteriorated sections of the school, build entirely new sections, equip a new computer lab and more.Watch full video
The Gertler Family Foundation got involved at L’EP 3 et 4 Binza to help create an environment conducive to learning at a school in a state of total disrepair. The Foundation funded new roofing, reconstruction of exterior walls, other general maintenance and the purchase of new school benches for the school, which serves a particularly poor Kinshasa neighbourhood.
Alfalit International Literacy Program: In March 2013, the Gertler Family Foundation funded a literacy program in partnership with Alfalit International, an international organization engaged in improving literacy and preschool education. The Foundation’s contribution helped print teacher manuals and more than 5,000 schoolbooks to teach young woman and girls who are victims of sexual violence how to read.
The Gertler Family Foundation’s support of sports, music and other cultural programs has contributed to the well-being of Congolese citizens and social development of communities. The Foundation also supported numerous social projects in Kinshasa and other areas of the DRC.
The Gertler Family Foundation fully renovated the Hospice Saint Pierre’s kitchen, latrines, washrooms and warehouse and provided 16 living units with new beds, bureaus, linens and other furnishings for the residents. The Foundation’s contribution also helped complete construction of new living units, enabling the hospice to care for an additional 12 residents.Watch full video
The Gertler Family Foundation fully supported a home for eleven orphan boys at SOS Children’s Village. The Foundation began its partnership with SOS Village International by sponsoring the construction of one of the Village’s homes and sponsoring a “family” of orphan boys. Every year, the GFF provided funding that covered all aspects of the boy’s lives and pays the salaries for their “mothers,” who care for them a round the clock.
FRIPT PROJECT (FRIPT standing for Increasing the reliability, Rehabilitation and Strengthening of the SNEL Production and Transmission infrastructure):
• KCC provided $450 million financing for this project. The various worksites and work included in this project are making 450 MW available. Dan Gertler’s trusts had a participation of 31% in KCC, meaning that over $130 million were invested by the businessmen.
• The FRIPT is one of the largest public-private partnership projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
• The Project includes the rehabilitation of infrastructure of the Nzilo power plant as well as that of Inga 2, the full rehabilitation of the West dispatcher, and a strengthening of the direct and alternating current transmission to increase the capacity that can be carried from 500 to 1,000 MW over the 1,700 kilometers between Inga and Kolwezi.
”We are committed to building a future in which the DRC can feed itself. Kitoko is just the first step in establishing food security in the DRC.”
Fleurette senior advisor and GFF co-founder, Dan Gertler
Funded by the Fleurette Group in 2012, the Kitoko model is the first of its kind in the DRC to invest in high-tech vegetable and fruit production. It also sought to address the country's chronic food shortages and advance its agriculture and economic development by equipping Congolese with the tools and skills needed to become self-sufficient in food production. Importantly, the Kitoko model is also seeking to demonstrate sustainable commercial farming in the DRC is a commercial reality.
More than 70 percent of the population works in agriculture in the DRC, where only 10 percent of the country's 80 million arable hectares are under production.
The 1,482-acre Kitoko Food Farm, a joint project of the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) and Fleurette Group, established modern, sustainable farming techniques that help families and communities overcome debilitating food deficits and become self-sufficient. The program provides farmers with practical, hands-on training, seeds, farming tools, irrigation systems, fertilizers, and assistance in getting their crops to market.
Using cutting-edge farming and management techniques and technology, the Kitoko Food Farm – located about 30 miles outside of the capital of Kinshasa – was designed not only to help the DRC combat endemic hunger, but to provide communities with jobs and better lifestyles.
Kitoko model was planned to operate in a cooperative, kibbutz-style system that ensures maximum support and sustainability. Development plans called for construction of a primary school, health clinic and housing for 60 families by 2014. The farm, which employed 100 Congolese, was projected to produce hundreds of tons of peppers, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and other vegetables, supplying local markets with fresh, high-quality produce at prices significantly lower than the cost of imported food from outside the DRC. Kitoko’s employees and managers had plant, grow and harvest using the latest in agricultural technology and farming intelligence, creating the foundation for a new Agriculture Research and Development Center producing vital local knowledge provided to farming ventures throughout the country.
With social, agricultural, educational and financial components, Kitoko was a pioneering pilot project for private investment in international food security efforts in Africa. It is designed to be commercially viable, environmentally sustainable, and easily adaptable to other communities.
Regrettably, since December 2017, the Gertler Family Foundation has had to stop its activities due to the impact of US sanctions. This has had a devastating impact on the Foundation’s ability to maintain its support of the Congolese people.
Despite the restrictions placed on him, Dan Gertler’s commitment to the Congolese people has not wavered.
Dan is currently engaged in a new charitable venture to support charities in the DRC in the ﬁght against COVID-19 in particular, but also other humanitarian causes in the DRC.
For example, Dan was recently inspired by how Israel had implemented an efficient and rapid drive-through testing process in Tel Aviv and worked with Israel's Magen David Adom (MDA) to replicate this in Kinshasa between May and July 2020.
Most recently, in October 2020, Dan financed the funeral for the late Mwimba Makiese Texas with whom he has worked in the past