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Sunwest Bank Charitable Foundation Fights Slavery in Ghana


The Sunwest Bank Charitable Foundation has committed up to $800,000 over five years to fight child slavery in Ghana, $400,000 of which will fund the construction of a shelter this year that will house 60 rescued children. The remainder of the donation will fund the operation of the shelter over the next five years.

Built in partnership with the Washington DC-based Hovde Foundation and local non-profit organization Challenging Heights, this shelter will be the sixth "Hovde House" in Africa and Latin America, most of which provide housing and comprehensive care to street children.

Challenging Heights is provides education and advocacy for former child slaves, as well as rescue and rehabilitation to children currently enslaved. Its founder, James Kofi Annan is himself a survivor of child trafficking and slavery, having been sold by his father into work as a child fisherman at the age of 6 until he escaped at age 13. Recently, Annan resigned as a manager at Barclays Bank of Ghana to devote himself full-time to Challenging Heights' mission. In 2010, James and his team rescued nearly 200 children from slavery.

Through the Hovde House project, former child slaves will be offered a transitional home while they are provided medical treatment, counseling, education, skills training, and other rehabilitative support as they seek to reintegrate into their families and communities.

The Sunwest Charitable Foundation was established by Sunwest's Board of Directors in early 2010 to foster charitable giving and support worthy charitable endeavors within the Bank's community, as well as throughout the United States and other areas of the world in need of humanitarian and economic support. The Bank's Board of Directors authorized a founding contribution of $2 million to the Foundation. At the end of 2010, the Board approved an additional contribution of $500,000.

In addition to supporting this international charity, The Sunwest Charitable Foundation has been a major supporter of local charities throughout Orange County, San Diego and Flagstaff, Arizona.