Giving close to home

Local needs outweigh tourism potential for real-estate developer.

By Cindy Dashnaw

The Kiwanis Foundation of Jamaica can build a service center on land worth millions of Jamaican dollars, thanks to an immigrant’s generosity.

Giusseppi “Pino” Maffessanti, a longtime member and president of the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay, donated the land in Unity Hall to see a dream come true: the creation of the Kiwanis Foundation of Jamaica Western Regional Kiwanis Service Centre. The land is on the northwest coast of the Caribbean island near Montego Bay, a major port for cruise ships.

A real estate developer known for his philanthropy, Maffessanti came to Jamaica from Italy in the early 1950s with his mother. They joined his Italian father, who had settled in the island nation after being a prisoner of war during World War II. Today, Maffessanti runs the construction firm his father created. 

Maffessanti donated the land to the Kiwanis Foundation of Jamaica in 2007 and recently granted official title to the organization. He has made similar generous gestures in the past, once subdividing land he owned and giving parcels to 32 families. Maffessanti earned the Order of Jamaica distinction in 2018 for his contributions to the construction sector, social development, welfare and philanthropy.

Foundation President Abdon Campbell and Montego Bay Kiwanis Club President Teisha-Ann Pinnock led the title-granting process and were on hand to accept the document. Under the terms of the agreement, the Service Centre will include facilities for Kiwanis clubs to hold meetings, functions, training sessions and sponsored community activities. In addition, the Centre will be required to generate income to sustain itself. Groundbreaking is not yet scheduled.

This story originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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