No, you are not reading an old post from January. Our partnership year is reviewed annually at our partnership meeting in July. This year it was hosted by the lovely folks at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, and it was a huge success. Over 60 people in attendance, including our Priest in Charge, Pere Jean Madoche’ Vil and the Medical Director of the Bill Rice Clinic, Dr. LaPointe Saintange, both who traveled from La Gonave for the meeting.
Now, meeting notes are deadly things to read for most of us. But, before you close this, please consider some of the amazing accomplishments of this year:
Contributions to the partnership exceeded $500,000 for the first time ever with 22% of the giving coming from individuals.
We have a beautiful new logo and are ever so close to rolling out a new website thanks to the hard work of our Communications Committee.
Administrative expenses continue to be less than 2% because we are an all volunteer organization. That means $.98 of every dollar you donate goes directly to the people of La Gonave in the form of salaries and programing.
The devaluation of the Haitian currency has made it possible for our teachers to receive a raise for the first time in 7 years.
Dr. LaPointe Saintange reported that the Bill Rice Clinic has nearly doubled the number of patient encounters this year and he hopes to increase that number by 50% in the coming year. Many of these people are being seen in remote clinics which takes health care and prenatal care to the villages.
In reports from several committees we learned that the micro-finance program has expanded to new villages and with a matching grant we hope to add 3 more communities by early fall of 2016.
For the first time we have a comprehensive evaluation of water needs and existing water systems in all 10 communities with plans to increase access to water in the coming year.
In October, 2015, we received $9,000.00 from a young 16 year old who visited on a medical trip in June. Through Indiegogo he raised enough money to treat 75 children in our Children’s Nutrition Program and to date has supported all of our work in that area.
With hard work from our relatively new board we have seen a move towards a more unified partnership where services are distributed with parity to even the poorest communities. The concerns of these communities are the concerns of the entire partnership. And, for the first time ever, beginning in September we will attempt to pay all teachers on a regular basis and not just as money comes in from the US churches partnered with those communities. With inflation being rampant in Haiti, dependable paydays and the teachers’ raises will have a huge impact on many of the families on the island. Money in the hands of our teachers helps their families, and is passed along to their neighbors who are busy growing food and providing goods and services.
It was truly moving to be in fellowship with partners who go back 20 years as well as partners who have come into the partnership in the last 5. Often in non-profit work change is hard and factions develop. To a person, the focus was on what is best for the people of La Gonave, first, and then on what was best for the partnership.
Whether you are in the partnership in a formal way, partner with us as another NGO, or you are one of our valued individual donors, you can be proud of what your contributions have accomplished. This partnership is hard at work and what it does matters, not just for the people in our 10 communities, but to all the people of La Gonave.
In closing I want to share with you a document that the board produced this year. It is a statement of how we strive to do our work, as well as a public statement to our donors, partners, and friends about how we endeavor to treat you. We feel that it is not enough to just talk a good game. We want to strive to be leaders in the cause of social justice and good development work. This is our promise to ourselves and to others, and, as always, thank you for being part of this important work. We exist only because of your generosity.
For the Partnership