Ten years ago, on a hot April day, Dick and I sat along the river in Siem Reap, sipping a beer after a long day of work with our partners at AHC. All around us there were kids playing and dozens of firetrees in blossom. Firetrees, also known as Flame trees, are typical all-around Southeast Asia and often grow in school courtyards and along roads and rivers in towns, countryside and forests.
When Dick got sick in 2016 we planned a restructuring of the Richard P. Haugland Foundation that would focus on two equally important priorities: ensuring that the education work done in Thailand by Starfish Education would continue and be financially secure through a dedicated endowment and that our ability to support social purpose organizations in Southeast Asia would become even stronger with the development of a larger team based in Asia.
When I finally decided to relocate all our assets to Asia I started thinking a of a new name for the Trust, and I went back to that day with Dick in Siem Reap. That had been a great day and I am fond of that memory. Firetree Trust will combine all we do as partnership funders, education innovation advocates and through other initiatives and our connecting and sharing work.
I have made it my mission to ensure it clearly reflects all the good that Dick’s generosity and my colleagues hard work will achieve.
Needless to say, every time I a back in Siem Reap I make sure to have a beer along the same river. There will be firetrees and, as always, Dick will be there too.