Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP co-founder David Johnson has been a role model within the communities he has lived in, including St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, which has been his home for nearly a decade. His devotion to philanthropic work and giving back to these communities has helped many in times of need. While his monetary contributions are a small part of the work he has done, it has paved the way for relief and support in the communities he lives. In 2016, he completed a $50,000 donation to St. Croix’s Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center, supporting the facility’s Women’s and Children’s Center. He has also helped to advance education by giving to the Richards College of Business at his alma mater, University of West Georgia. His donations have allowed the college to construct a new School of Business building, provide funds for an endowed professorship of predictive analytics, and to endow a Presidential Scholarship. Most recently, Johnson jumped at the chance to help his friends and neighbors in St. Croix when a series of Category 5 hurricanes swept over the Virgin Islands in September.
Johnson originally came to the U.S. Virgin Islands from the state of Georgia where he earned undergraduate degrees in business and computer information systems from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from Georgia State University. Over the course of his career, he worked at several different privately held companies and some public companies including United Healthcare. In 2009, he launched a management consulting firm called Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP in the U.S. Virgin Islands with business partner Kirk Chewning. Located in the small town of Christiansted, St. Croix, Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP has been serving national clientele while remaining connected to the local community in St. Croix.
On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. Virgin Islands. Due to its southern location, St. Croix was largely spared devastating damage, but other islands were not as fortunate. Johnson and others at Cane Bay Partners quickly jumped in to assess the damage and provide help for the more severely affected residents of neighboring islands like St. Thomas and St. John.
Numerous Cane Bay Partners VI employees and both of its co-founders, including Johnson, have been taking part in recovery efforts and have helped to form what has become known as the “Crucian Navy,” providing a fleet of personal sea vessels to help evacuate people and transport essentials to and from impacted islands.
Johnson helped coordinate volunteers to deliver medicine, food, medical and other personnel, equipment, and other items to the devastated islands. Johnson had donated the use of his fishing boat to assist with daily aid runs.
“…We feel fortunate and we feel that we have an obligation to help those we know would help us if we were similarly situated. And even though we live on St. Croix, we are also Virgin Islanders. Those are our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, and they need our help and I know they would help us.” Johnson said of helping St. Thomas and St. John in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
As the aid efforts for Hurricane Irma were in progress, Hurricane Maria formed in the Atlantic Ocean and headed towards the Virgin Islands for a second blow. Hurricane Maria hit St. Croix hard, uprooting trees, flooding homes and ripping off roofs. Johnson and his team immediately began to coordinate an emergency aid effort for the island. They rounded up clean water and generators to deliver to the residents of the devastated island who had no access to electricity or potable water. In conjunction with business partner Kirk Chewning, Johnson officially launched the Cane Bay Cares charity. Their initial goal was to raise $1 million for the Virgin Islands to help in storm recovery. By working with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands as a fiscal sponsor, Johnson and Cane Bay Cares have transported thousands of bottles of clean drinking water to the residents. Cane Bay Cares has also shipped more than 40 generators to the islands and provided much-needed cold packs to preserve medicines that require refrigeration. They held a Christmas toy drive and worked to combat water damage by providing mold clean up kits. Currently, Johnson, Chewning and Cane Bay Cares have raised over $145,000 in individual donations for affected residents, plus about $160,000 in in-kind donations, and combined have committed to matching $200,000 personally, resulting in more than $500,000 in aid. To date, they have been able to provide more than 75,000 pounds of aid to more than 17,000 residents.
David Johnson’s assistance during the hurricanes has shown how deeply he and Cane Bay Partners care about their community and the U.S. Virgin Islands. From donating money to providing key essentials to those who continue to suffer the ramifications of the storm, David Johnson and Cane Bay Cares are demonstrating how the acts of a few good people can help a community in need.
Learn more about David Johnson’s professional work as well as his Medium blog and his personal blog. There also is a great article on the time he was “arrested” for a good cause. You can hear directly from him advice on entrepreneurship through the Cane Bay Partners’ YouTube page.