• Glenn Wilson
    I've seen some comments lately on local social media that suggest one should not donate to charities. They suggest that if you want to help, do so only through direct personal acts of kindness and not through a charity.

    Charities can scale and provide sustainable services that individuals usually can't. Let's look at the organization 100 Women Who Care and their last three winners.

    100 Women Who Care have almost no overhead and pass through the money they raise to other local charities.

    Our mission is to reach out and help our community with 100+ to each contribute $1,000 pesos four times a year, that’s a goal of $400,000 annually, to local charities. All charities and organizations up for consideration must be in the San Miguel area. The idea is to keep it local and have an impact that we can see in our community. If $1,000 pesos is too steep for you each time, bring a friend or friends and join as a team.100 Women Who Care

    In April 2019, the winner of over $100,000 pesos was Casa Hogar Mexiquito a local boys orphanage. Now, you could visit a child there, maybe bring him a book or a cookie. Or bring them all books or cookies. But, all of the books and cookies you could provide are no substitute for an orphanage. You could adopt a child, but that is a bigger commitment than most are willing or able to make.

    The winner in July 2019 was EdCaminos.
    Edcaminos is a free after school program located in Independencia. We serve children ages 6-13 helping with homework, working to improve their grades, exposing them to arts and culture and learning some English.

    We serve up to 25 children per day. Our tutors are local high school and college students. We are a small grassroots program that makes a difference in the lives of our students and their families.

    You could personally tutor a child or help an organization like EdCaminos that helps many children on a regular basis with many areas of education and enrichment.

    The most recent 100 Women Who Care winner was Mujeres en Cambio.
    In 2018 Mujeres en Cambio gave 1,738,010 pesos in scholarships to 187 girls from 46 villages in rural San Miguel.Mujeres en Cambio
    They are making a wonderful difference in a way that I, as an individual, could not.

    There are children needing medical and dental care in the SMA area. I am not a doctor, nurse or dentist. I don't have a car. I am in no position to directly help kids in el campo with medical care. But Patronato Pro Niños can and does.

    Caminos de Agua creates sustainable rain water catchment systems for rural villages, among other things. As an individual I could provide some garrafones of safe drinking water, but this charity provides real, sustainable solutions to communities.

    Centro Infantil de los Angeles "is a nonprofit organization that provides free, quality daycare and preschool education to children with the greatest need in San Miguel de Allende, México. Our center affords working parents the comfort of knowing their children are fed, nurtured and can learn in a safe, caring environment as they work to make a better life for themselves and the community as a whole."
    Another example of a charity providing a great and needed service that I, as an individual, could not equal even for one child.

    Feed the Hungry SMA: "We currently provide more than 4,000 meals every school day to students in 36 disadvantaged communities. For many children, this school lunch is their only meal of the day.

    We also provide food to 7 charities that serve orphans, the elderly, and the disabled."

    These are just a few examples of charities offering much needed help in ways impossible or difficult for most individuals to replicate with personal, direct acts of kindness. I just scratched the surface, feel free to add your own examples in comments.

    I am not opposed to individual, direct acts of kindness. They're great. But, for those who can, consider leveraging what you can accomplish by giving to or volunteering for local charities. And to maximize the benefits of your gift, do your due diligence and select organizations most in tune with your values.

    Filed under Charities.

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  • Glenn Wilson
    This post from three months ago seems relevant again in light of some current conversations on local social media based on inaccurate and malicious innuendo aimed at all local foreign run charities. If you do not know what I am referring to, count yourself lucky.

    By the way, the next 100 Women Who Care is Monday Jan 20.
  • Ira Goldman
    very well said
  • Patronato Pro Niños
    Well said! At Patronato Pro Niños we welcome visits to our facility and out to the rural communities to see the work we do. The best thing for anyone interested in the work a charity does is to visit the place, request to see the annual report and get informed about the way the contributions are put to work. Nory Contractor, Executive Director
  • AfroAllende
    So true. I've been told, as well, that it's much better support organizations that help the homeless, for example, than donating to the homeless directly. Whereas the money provided directly may be squandered, the homeless support organizations provide meals and beds. (This was in America, but the point is these organizations intimately understand community needs and serve them.)
  • Jonathan Brown
    One of the things which attracted us to San Miguel was the community spirit. We have been involved in several of the charities mentioned above both in volunteering and in providing funds for their operations. When we have guests one of the first recommendation we have is to go to the Patronado Pro Ninos tour - the guides go through a rigorous training. We've also been on some of the special tours (the one at Christmas gave us a clearer understanding of the season in San Miguel). Thanks very much for your summary. Nory Contractor is spot on about requesting information from charities you want to support. PPN and Centro Infantil and Feed the Hungry - three we have supported - are more than willing to supply information to potential donors or even people who want to learn more. Jonathan Brown
  • Sherry Harper
    Well said my friend - I knew you could give the facts more eloquently than I.
  • Bev Brinson
    Thank you for this response. For those of us involved in multiple organizations, it is painful to see negative comments by individuals who have their own agenda. Many times the comments are almost laughable to those of us involved in the great work these fine organizations do, but it isn't funny. I don't like to see the organizations divert attention from such important work. However - I believe the truth always comes out in the end.
  • Dylan Terrell
    Well said. Thank you very much, Glenn. Caminos de Agua, like most if not all SMA organizations, runs a very lean operation. We rely heavily on volunteers, and our staff makes heavy sacrifices daily to achieve or mission -- from sleeping in the lab to babysit an important study to working 12 hour days on weekends to support a community in building a rainwater harvesting system. We operate with complete transparency. Our annual reports explain our programs, finances, and how we use our resources, and for any supporters who would truly like a deeper level of understanding, I would be happy to schedule a time to go through our finances in detail. We feel very lucky to be a part of the nonprofit culture in San Miguel -- a community that has been so supportive of helping our organizations make an impact in the numerous social and environmental issues we confront in the region. We never take that for granted. Dylan Terrell, Executive Director, Caminos de Agua.
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