The tsunami sucked them out of their beachfront bungalow and hurled them into the raging sea. As the surging waters battered her with debris, Nemcova’s pelvis was shattered, breaking in four places.
Atlee simply disappeared.
Nemcova somehow overcame the agony and clung to a tree for eight hours before she was rescued.
One year later Nemcova set up the Happy Hearts Foundation - here's the "About Us" section of its website.
Founded in 2005 by Petra Nemcova in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Happy Hearts Fund works to restore hope and grant new opportunities to children and communities affected by natural disasters. By the beginning of 2011, Happy Hearts Fund had rebuilt 50 schools in Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Peru. To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the tsunami, Happy Hearts Fund will open its 100th school by the end of 2014.
In 2011 Ms Nemcova attended the Clinton Global Initiative’s membership meeting in Manhattan. Members, who must be invited, pay $20,000 in annual dues, largely for the yearly gatherings, where charity founders and entrepreneurs get to network with world leaders, corporate executives and wealthy donors. At the meeting, Ms. Nemcova signed a memorandum of understanding with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank to finance schools in Haiti. The development bank has also donated to the Clinton Foundation — just over $1 million — and it partnered with Mrs. Clinton’s State Department after the earthquake to create an industrial park in northern Haiti.
Fast forward to the Clinton Foundation's 2014 Annual Report and you'll see this photo and caption. You could be forgiven for thinking the Clintons had done some real work and spent real money in Haiti, couldn't you?
The school was built through a Clinton Global Initiative hey! Beauty.
That page is from the same annual report in which the Clintons take the credit for Australia's aid to Kenya's forest carbon accounting scheme.
Sadly and predictably the Haitian example is no better. Six schools were built and funded in part by the Happy Hearts Foundation and another donor Digicel. Here's the New York Times with its report of the actual Clinton Foundation contribution:
One of those schools, operated by the Haitian group Prodev, was featured in the Clinton Foundation’s most recent annual report as ‘built through a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.’ The Clinton Foundation’s sole direct contribution to the school was a grant for an Earth Day celebration and tree-planting activity.” [New York Times, 5/29/15]
Tree planting. Hard to imagine how you'd knock over half a mill in that.
So back to where this started for Ms Nemcova who was pretty keen to get some value from the $20,000 she paid to go to the Clinton's soiree in 2011.
On behalf of her Happy Hearts Fund, she wrote to Mr. Clinton inviting him to be its honoree in 2011. She received a polite knockback and her first introduction to no pay, no play.
So Happy Hearts tried again in 2013. Ms. Nemcova sent a formal letter of invitation in July, asking Mr. Clinton to be the primary award recipient at a Happy Hearts gala on Nov. 4, 2013, celebrating Indonesia. Mr. Clinton’s scheduler replied with a cordial rejection — ‘Regrettably, he is committed to another event out of town that same evening’.
Eventually the no pay no play message sank in:
New York Times: “Happy Hearts’ Former Executive Director Believes [Bill Clinton’s Payment] Was A ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ Which Rerouted Donations Intended For A Small Charity With The Concrete Mission Of Rebuilding Schools After Natural Disasters To [The Clinton Foundation].”
Former Happy Hearts Executive Director: “The Clinton Foundation Had Rejected The Happy Hearts Fund Invitation More Than Once, Until There Was A Thinly Veiled Solicitation And Then The Offer Of An Honorarium.” “The Clinton Foundation had rejected the Happy Hearts Fund invitation more than once, until there was a thinly veiled solicitation and then the offer of an honorarium,” said the former executive director, Sue Veres Royal, who held that position at the time of the gala and was dismissed a few weeks later amid conflicts over the gala and other issues.” [New York Times, 5/29/15]
Once the pay to play penny dropped there was apparently no further drama in securing Bill as part of a guest list that was a who's who of the beautiful people in New York.
Here are some photos of the 2014 affair which raised a little over $2M with a cost to stage the event of about $300K. By most accounting standards and the common decency that most of us share, that would leave about $1.7m for the charitable purposes of the Happy Hearts fund.