It all began in 1983, when St. Boniface Parish—the poorest parish in a working-class section of Quincy, Massachusetts—decided to participate in a Walk for Hunger. The parishioners wanted to donate half the money they raised in the walk to the poor of Quincy and the other half to Mother Theresa’s newly-opened Home for Children in Port-au-Prince. They were told their money would be graciously accepted under one condition: That they hand-deliver it to Haiti themselves. Soon, the parishioners were off to Haiti.

early work crew at St. Boniface

Co-Founders Nannette Canniff and Father Jerry Osterman with volunteers on an early work trip to Fond-des-Blancs.

After the trip, the group, led by Father Jerry Osterman and parishioner Nannette Canniff, made a commitment to continue fundraising for Haiti. They began to travel regularly and visited the remote village of Fond des Blancs in the mountains of southern Haiti. There, after meeting with community members and learning about what the village needed most, the group decided they would build a school and a small clinic.

In 1989, St. Boniface Haiti Foundation officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Nannette Canniff became the organization’s first president. Three years later, SBHF fulfilled its goal of opening a small clinic, which they named St. Boniface Hospital. With just one room and 20 beds, the hospital began providing care to any patient who came to its doors.

Now, more than 30 years later, SBH has grown into the largest and only tertiary care center in southern Haiti. With more than 180 beds and a suite of world-class facilities, the hospital provides lifesaving and lifechanging care to more than 110,000 patients each year. SBH has more than 500 employees in the U.S. and Haiti, 98% of whom are Haitian. Since 2014, the number of patients seen by SBH has increased by an average of 35% each year, driven by our reputation and a guarantee of quality healthcare.

In 2019, St. Boniface Haiti Foundation changed its name to Health Equity International to better showcase our dedication to providing high-quality care for all who need it. We are eager to deepen our impact as Health Equity and remain committed to serving our patients, even the most vulnerable, from across Haiti.