Our Story

We are Great Shape! Inc.

and we are family.


Great Shape! Inc. empowers the children and families of Jamaica and the Caribbean by providing access to education and health care.

Our Story

On September 12th, 1988 Hurricane Gilbert decimated Jamaica. Dumping nearly 30 inches of rain, flash flooding caused 45 deaths and more than $4.0 billion USD in damages. It’s been proven that the founders of Great Shape! “create family” wherever they stand… and our Jamaican family suffered. Co-founders, Myrtle Franklin, Georgene Crowe and Gretchen Lee jumped into action in Ashland, OR. They threw a Reggae party, gathered supplies and arrived on the first plane allowed to land on the island after the storm.

Great Shape! Inc. evolved from a duffel bag charity, to leading some of the world’s largest, international, humanitarian projects. The original “Ms. Merkle” as Jamaicans called Ms. Franklin passed on in 1996, her spirit lives on in the work of Great Shape! and her fellow Great Shape! founders.


Great Shape! is an organization of international, social services. We collaborate with various community leaders, professional organizations, and schools (primary on up to universities, domestic and international). The Sandals Foundation is our number one partner, providing support for logistics, wisdom, and hospitality.


Great Shape! is service in action, including: dental care, eye care, literacy and computer training. Each of these projects equips and empowers Caribbean children and their families with much-needed health care and education.


Great Shape! Inc. is a non-governmental, 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. Founded in the U.S. (Ashland, OR), offices are based in Ashland, OR; Modesto, CA; Spokane, WA. Our Board of Directors, staff, sponsors and donors work tirelessly to forge relationships with our Caribbean partners and affiliates.