In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Kirk Chewning and Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP have been a constant presence in ongoing recovery efforts. Cane Bay Partners VI, LLLP was founded by Chewning and Johnson in June of 2009. The company specializes in the financial services industry by assisting clients who require sophisticated risk management models, debt collection businesses who need liquidation models, and portfolio management companies who seek consultation. Kirk Chewning’s business experience includes a rich history of consulting, technology, banking and marketing research. He has served as a founder and developer of several technology startups including some that have grown to well over 100 employees.
Numerous Cane Bay Partners VI employees and both of its co-founders, including Chewning, have been taking part in recovery efforts and have helped to bring aid to St. Thomas, St. John and the British Virgin Islands; while helping to evacuate and house displaced residents after Irma. Then, when Hurricane Maria ravaged St. Croix, he and his team stepped up in a big way – chartering two large planes for evacuations and coordinating the distribution of more than 75,000 pounds of aid.
Kirk Chewning has a long history of working to assist the territory in roles like Vice Chair of Junior Achievement and partnering with organizations like the Roseway/World Ocean School and Lutheran Social Services. However, building a non-for-profit distribution and delivery team in the wake of the hurricanes has been a new experience. Using the team’s management expertise, Chewning quickly realized that being successful would require far more than simply writing a check. As a result, Chewning and his business partner, David Johnson, set up the Cane Bay Cares Initiative operations campaign. Working with their team, they established an organization to cover fundraising, procurement, accounting, shipping, receiving, distribution/needs assessment, and marketing for the initiative. Partnering with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, they set a goal of raising $1 million for recovery efforts. With the money raised, Chewning and Cane Bay Cares brought in relief supplies and assisted in the rebuilding efforts on St. Croix, the home base for their business. As of this writing they have raised over $145,000 in individual donations and have assisted in distributing approximately $160,000 worth of in-kind gifts, and committed to a $200,000 match coming personally from Chewning and Johnson, combining to over $500,000 in relief.
All of the monies donated to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands for the Cane Bay Cares initiative are tax-deductible and will go to assist the people of St. Croix. Chewning and Johnson are encouraging everyone who can to make a cash donation to the fundraising campaign. Chewning stresses that no financial contribution is too small or too large and urges everyone to take part. The Cane Bay Cares drive has already resulted in 800 people receiving solar lights, 44 community groups receiving generators and residents getting potable water. In total, more than 17,000 residents have received direct aid and more than 75,000 pounds of supplies have been sent to St. Croix through Cane Bay Cares. The initiative is pairing with the St. Croix foundation to place tarps around the island, supplying residents with mold and remediation kits and working with Project Promise and the Botanical Garden to run toy drives for impacted kids. In addition, they hope to reach far beyond the relief and recovery efforts directly following the storms by developing educational programs for students whose schools were condemned after the storms.
Chewning himself has been very vocal about how severely St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands were devastated by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria and has noted that recovery efforts will take both time and money. He has promised that although the residents of the islands are still suffering, he and the Cane Bay Cares team are committed to continued assistance and rebuilding efforts. By working with the EDC to raise awareness of the islands, Chewning has garnered the attention of publications such as the Miami Herald and hopes to ensure that the recovery efforts remain relevant.
Beyond the larger efforts of his organization, Chewning and his wife, Leah, have provided a safe haven for several mothers and their children from other islands whose homes were destroyed as a result of the first storm, Irma. They have donated their money to additional relief efforts throughout the islands in an attempt to assist as many people as they possibly can. Their efforts have shown their devotion to their community and a commitment to the greater good.
Chewning and his team are deeply saddened by the damage that occurred to the islands as a result of the storms and are working tirelessly to help the people of St. Croix get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
You can learn more about Kirk Chewning through his personal blog and his professional blog. You also can view Chewning’s Cane Bay Partners biography. Chewning’s LinkedIn page highlights his extensive business experience, and the Cane Bay Partners YouTube page highlights his personal accomplishments.