When I came here 21 months ago, I thought my days of serving on boards and helping to fundraise were over. Never did I expect those experiences to be of use here. But, I quickly met a group of people with truly “golden hearts,” who were already supplying hospital beds to abandoned elders who slept four to a room, building a chicken coop to generate revenue at a school for mentally and physically handicapped children, giving Christmas baskets of food and toys to several hundred families, and buying shoes to help kids go to school.
By the way, did you know that education here is “free,” but that the specific uniforms, shoes, and supplies required to attend can cost up to $400 per child? Because of that cost, many parents can’t afford to send all of their kids to school. Your wonderful generosity has helped so many more children to get an education – something we take for granted in North America. And, that education will help them break the bonds of poverty and live a better life. Please feel good about that!
Never have I seen such a small group of people – in this case, the Expats of Cuenca – give so generously. Not just to Hearts of Gold, but, to other causes as well. You are truly amazing!
As you know, Hearts of Gold had to “get legal” in 2013, in order to continue its work throughout the Azuay Province. The cost of doing that was 10 months of hard work, and an upwards of $5,000. Regulations required a Board of Directors (all volunteers) be formed, and that every penny raised and spent be subject to strict scrutiny. Why? Because so many Ecuadorian foundations in the past have been used to launder money or to enable the founders to siphon money into their own pockets. Thus, there are now five ministries that jointly oversee non-profit organizations.
The Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion is the principal ministry to whom we submit our financial reports on a regular basis. To insure we do everything “by the book,” the Board insisted we hire someone with expertise in dealing with MIES and the other ministries. In taking on that expense, we hired a talented and caring Program Director, Johanna Vaca from Quito, who has served us so amazingly well in so many capacities.
Taking on these new expenses and continuing to donate 100% of all monies raised to all of the charities whom we support has cost Hearts of Gold dearly. The issue is critical – Hearts of Gold cannot survive without allocating about 15% percent of funds raised to cover all the expenses we incur. This is a fraction of what non-profits in North America spend on administration. Many of the multimillion dollar charities in the U.S. (like the Red Cross) expend 70-90% of your donor dollars on their extensive staff and expensive executives. (By the way, our Acting Executive Director has donated all of her time to Hearts of Gold).
Our foundation will still give approximately 85% of all contributions to the abandoned elders in Paute, to help educate CETAP-Lucy children in Chilcapamba, to feed kids at El Arenal Foundation, to give food and toys at Christmas to the poorest of families, and to continue our Relief Fund which has saved lives by paying for emergency surgeries and critical medications.
Our board, founders, staff and volunteers are passionate about continuing the work we’ve been doing for three years. But we can’t go on without your help!
That’s why we are now asking for 266 people – just 266; less than 10% of the 3,000-5,000 Expats in Cuenca – to donate $10, $15, 25 or 50/month for 12 months. Help us, please, to keep on helping the beautiful people of our adopted country to break the bonds of poverty and live a higher quality of life. We know you care, so, let’s join hands to change more lives.
Please click on this link and share your caring heart today. Whatever you can do is greatly appreciated.
On behalf of our founders and our volunteer Board of Directors, we thank you and bless you for caring!
Stephanie V. Slavin, 2014 Chairman of the Board Hearts of Gold Foundation