the  m p w c Foundation,  inc. 

FAQs
mpwcf homepage Correspondence

 

mpwcf homepage
Correspondence

As of Oct 10 2008,  we have ceased accepting new grantees  (this is permanent).  The following applies to ongoing grantees 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) and (further below) the answers to to these questions. 

  1. How do we find our way around this web-site?  Where do we find things? How much of this web-site must we read?
  2. Why do we have to do all of this work to provide you with all of this information?
  3. Why does the MPWCF require most input to be sent to them in the form of emails?
  4. Why is only one long email each year (complete with edited and continuing re-edited amendments) a format the MPWCF requires?
  5. What constitutes a request for a grant sent to the MPWCF in the form of an email?
  6. What kinds of files (regarding the MPWCF grants) should a grantee maintain, and why?
  7. Why must the grantees meet the MPWCF deadlines?
  8. Why are the initial criteria for grant requests so different from those found at other USA Foundations?
  9. Why are the MPWCF Trustees so interested in our finances?
  10. Why is the MPWCF looking for a long-term relationship with its grantees?
  11. Why should we grantees be so interested in our own finances?
  12. What should we grantees expect to get out of having our own cash flow projections?
  13. How good must the cash flow projections be?
  14. What are the required connections between years?
  15. How should reports agree with one another?
  16. Why is there such a demand on the MPWCF's part for controls at grantees?
  17. Why does the MPWCF believe that grantees need a financial system?
  18. What are some things that have gone wrong in grantee organizations like ours?
  19. What is it grantees can expect in the future should they continue to receive grants?
  20. What is this thing we've heard about "should Michael Wein die of mysterious or unnatural causes"?
  21. What will happen to this web-site after the death of the Founder?
  22. Why does the MPWCF believe that long-term plans (while not totally accurate) are important?
  23. What does the MPWCF expect in the way of future information from grantees?
  24. Don't you think your requirements are a little too strict?
  25. What are some goals that the MPWCF desires as a by-product of its relationship?
  26. What constitutes the MPWCF's definition of an open and transparent organization?
  27. What are the "constituencies" of each organization, and what is owed to them?
  28. What does the fact that an "audit" is done for our organization mean to the MPWCF?
  29. Why does the MPWCF believe that "paybacks" from our own beneficiaries to our own organization, where feasible, are appropriate?
  30. Why does the MPWCF believe that grantee organizations should always continue to look for other sources of funds? 
  31. When can a grantee organization call upon the MPWCF for management advice?
  32. What is MPWCF's philosophy regarding evaluations by and for the grantees?
  33. Are we, the grantee, too small to install the controls desired by the MPWCF?
  34. You talk about "controls" a lot.  Does the MPWCF have "controls" that guarantees its own performance?
  35. Is it possible that the MPWCF will cease offering grants to additional local organizations?
  36. When are your grants generally paid?
  37. What does your Foundation think the proper care and feeding of volunteers entails?
  38. What is this we hear about your Lifetime Achievement Awards for Volunteers?
  39. You talk a lot about transparency and continuity.  What is this?
  40. How can we (prospective volunteers) help you and your mission?
  41. How does the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) relate to all of this?
  42. What political prohibitions are caused by IRS regulations?
  43. Why doesn't your site have pictures and things that move?
  44. What if we have more questions that require long detailed answers that are not answered here (above)?
  45. What do we do if we don't understand any one of the above questions, or if we don't understand any of the below answers.

Answers to the above questions follow (as numbered above):

  1. How do we find our way around this web-site?  Where do we find things? How much of this web-site must we read? For those of you who are relatively new to looking for information on the internet, or finding things on a web-site, we have given hints (click on) for Beginners as well as directing you to a table in the middle of (and many other parts of) the  Home page as well a separate Table of Contents page, all of which have "click on" links to questions and answers and information that you are looking for.  And as to how much of this web-site must you read, you should think of any web-site as a reference library.  You don't have to read any more than what is needed to find the answers to your questions.  Refer to any of the above "webpage links" (words underlined in blue) that list various subjects that might give you the answers to your questions.
  2. Why do we have to do all of this work to provide you with all of this information?   We agree that it is a lot of work, but in the spirit of the transparency that we believe is missing from too many San Miguel charitable organizations, and what we are trying to promote among all SMA organizations, we discuss this in great detail on our web-page called why this info 
  3. Why does the MPWCF require all input to be sent to them in the form of emails? As a Foundation with only one part-time volunteer person doing all of the administrative work, we require input efficiencies from our prospective grantees when they send us grant requests for our review.  We find that email is the only manageable way to receive, and process, and review, and then edit and respond, and then finally re-process final grant requests.
  4. Why is only ONE long email each year (complete with edited and continuing re-edited amendments) a format the MPWCF requires?  By assuring that the annual grant request is no more than one (howsoever very long) document, with all attachments (from you) and requests (from us) for additional information and replies to those requests ALL ON THAT ONE document (including all comments/notes/replies sent by either of us), both senders and receivers save considerable time in the review for grant process.   Otherwise, many different pieces of paper (or emails) tend to lead to losses or temporary misplacement of information.
  5. What constitutes a completed request for a grant sent to the MPWCF in the form of an email? One (with all  comments, attachments, notes, questions, replies, all retained intact) email document with all information necessary, all in one place, all responses numbered in the same order and numbering system as the original was numbered, one separate document for each grant year (our fiscal grant year is July 1 to June 30). Information may be submitted for special narratives (either on the email itself or in attached MSWord formats) or for numerical information (only in Excel spreadsheet attachments),  In addition to this email, a paper annual certification is also required at the very end of each annual grant request process.  You should also read checklist (summary)
  6. What kinds of files (regarding the MPWCF grants to us) should each grantee maintain, and why?  Just as we keep files of our correspondence (in and out) with you, we expect that you will keep copies of your correspondence with us (both in and out).   This is so that neither of us have to "re-invent the wheel" each and every year, and referrals to prior years' discussions (complete with complete prior quoted Q&As and comments) would be sufficient.
  7. Why must the grantees meet MPWCF deadlines?  Although we try to plan for all contingencies and attempt to give all parties sufficient time to fulfill all needs that any of us might have, the MPWCF's trustees meet only once a year (generally in late February) and all grant requests or other information required by the Trustees MUST be available for the trustees before the date of that meeting, which meeting date is normally just a few weeks (this interim time is needed by our one-person administration staff to review all input and prepare recommendations for the Trustees) after the date (the deadline) set and specified in all instructions regarding grant requests.  More information is at our Calendar <click here for more information
  8. Why are the initial criteria for grant requests so different from those found at other USA Foundations?  Just as San Miguel is so different from most other towns and cities in this world, the organizations that request grants from the MPWCF are equally different.  As a result, our criteria reflects these differences and our personal needs to address them.  The ONE thing that we have in common is the need for COMPLETE financial statements disclosing the financial operations of the grant requesting organization.
  9. Why are the MPWCF Trustees so interested in our finances?  One of the greatest problems we've encountered in our reviews of various organizations in town is their lack of controls over their own finances.  We are not talking about theft (although that, too, could be a problem, especially since poor financial controls allow that to happen quite easily) but rather just about the lack of  knowledge of what the organization has done, where it is going, and how it can get there.  Without good financial controls, each organization has a tougher job than it might have with such controls in place.  As we anticipate that even the smallest grantee will be receiving annual grants in excess of us$25,000 (the largest grantee will receive in excess of us$50,000 each year) shortly after the Founder's demise, the Founder insists that all grantee organizations prove NOW that they will be able to handle such sums of money in a responsible manner.
  10. Why is the MPWCF looking for a long-term relationship with its grantees? We require that WE have confidence, growing confidence at that, in the financial abilities of our grantees!!  Therefore, as it is our intention to increase the amounts of the annual grants the longer we continue with our relationship, the more we are interested in knowing that the grantee organization can control its own destiny, that it knows what it is doing, and that it knows what is necessary to get there.  There should be few questions that can't be answered quite quickly by a grantee organization in possession of good financial practices.
  11. Why should we grantees be so interested in our own finances?  With or without any help from this Foundation, the organization with knowledge of their own finances will accomplish their mission more efficiently, more quickly, better and faster.
  12. What should we grantees expect to get out of having our own cash flow projections? An organization with a good cash flow projection, for example, can know how much cash is (and just when it is) expected to be available for things that they need.  Their fund raising activities and their expenditures will not provide as many surprises as they would without a decent cash flow projection.  
  13. How good must the cash flow projections be?  As good as is possible, but it is important to remember that without a written cash flow projection, you are actually making bad estimates anyway, albeit with zeros estimated in every category.  An attempt at a good projection that turns out to be a not-as-good-as-expected projection is still better than none at all. 
  14. What are required connections between years? When financial reports are prepared, the ending point (results) of any period MUST agree with (and be) the beginning point of the following period.  For instance, if you are reporting on cash in and out, the final result at the end of any period, be it a month or a year, will ALWAYS be the beginning point of the next period.  This reconciles, or connects, the two years.  For illustrations of this, click on examples.  You should remember that even if you made an error last year, this year will begin with that erroneous ending amount and this year will present (disclose) the amount of that error that corrects the last year number to a more correct beginning number for this year.
  15. How should reports agree with one another? They should be comparable.  For instance, the same detailed categories for both inflow of cash and outflow of cash should be used period after period after period.  There should always be a very good reason when these categories change (and even then, the prior period should be restated if a material change has taken place).  And reports might best be prepared on a comparative basis with, for instance, this year's results compared to either (or both of) last year's results and/or this year's budget (or forecast).  For illustrations of this, click on financials-examples.  If any of this answer is not clear, please be sure to email and ask us for further information.  You may email us at mpwinsma@gmail.com but only during July 1 to  January 10th. 
  16. Why is there such a demand on the MPWCF's part for controls at grantees?  We currently have plans for whenever our Founder's (Michael Wein's) life ends, to use the greatly increased endowment (now somewhat more than us$2,900,000) of this Foundation to pay significantly higher annual grants to each of our (at that time, current) grantees.  Since the monies will be so much higher than the grantees are used to getting from us prior to that time, we wish to be sure that these additional funds are used according to procedures and processes and yes, controls, that are in place prior to that time.  Of course, it is very important to realize that  point #17 below impacts upon this, also.  Lastly, it is also important to remember that the trustees will only be allowed to continue grants of any size to organizations that have already met our continuing requirements.  While the trustees may, under some isolated circumstances, select new grantees after the Founder's death, these new grantees will be getting very minor grants.   The previously selected on-going grantees on the other hand will be participating in annual grants from the annual income of a portfolio with a minimum value of us$2,900,000, and probably much higher than even that.
  17. Why does the MPWCF believe that grantees need a financial system?  No organization, no matter how small (even a one person household) can control financial transactions of almost any size without some sort of financial system appropriate to its size and funding.
  18. What are some things that have gone wrong in grantee organizations similar to ours?  We have witnessed, in this very town, organizations that have no idea of where their monies went, how much money they have at any one time, what money they need (and when they need it), how they can continue with plans that are based on wishful thinking, and so many other similar organizational flaws.  It is comforting to think of yourselves as benevolent angels, but even angels must have something that connects them to reality and not just to their dreams.  This concept does not even contemplate fraud as a problem, but since the town is changing and the monies involved are getting much greater, this will very possibly be a problem in some unknown organization at some time in the future.  Remember, none of us reading this (written in 2007) even knows who will be the management of some of these organizations as they probably have yet to arrive here in town for the first time.
  19. What is it grantees can expect in the future should they continue to receive grants? We expect (and can pretty much guarantee) some things to happen that impacts on our grants and on our grantees.  First, that our own income will increase somewhat every year and therefore, we expect to increase our eventual endowment  somewhat each year.  We may also expect certain organizations not to be able to continue to meet our criteria for grants.  As a result, there will be fewer organizations sharing "the still bigger pot".  Finally, we also know that at the time of (anything but an unnatural) death of our Founder, we will receive a huge influx (at least 250 times as much) of additional funds and, therefore, our endowment will increase exponentially and the grants will increase similarly (very conservatively, by at least 20 times as much) each year.  Our Foundation has been guaranteed an endowment of us$2,900,000 at very minimum, with a great possibility that this minimum will be exceeded by a considerable amount, perhaps us$5,000,000, or perhaps even more.  Any such endowment will throw off annual income at a conservative 8% over the years.   All of this additional income will be distributed annually as grants.   Click on founders will for more on this subject as well as information regarding our funding and our investment history.
  20. What is this thing we've heard about "should Michael Wein die of, or be harmed by, mysterious or unnatural causes"?  There is a provision in the Wills and Trusts (the Estate documents) of Michael Wein that should he die or otherwise be harmed in any way that is not considered natural causes, much of what would still be the endowment bequeathed to this Foundation will first be applied to the apprehension and prosecution of the person or person(s) responsible for such acts.   No one (charitable organization or malevolent individual) will prosper from actions to "speed up the course of nature" and that includes any person, organization, or other category of malcontent.  This clause is intended to help protect his life and body until nature does what nature does by itself.   For more on this, click on founders will
  21. What will happen to this web-site after the death of the Founder?  We have planned for this in the fact that the web-site will remain "as is" and that the ONLY changes to be posted to the web-site will ALL be shown on the subsequent changes page specifically intended for that purpose.
  22. Why does the MPWCF believe that long-term plans (while never totally accurate or perfect) are important?  While each organization should do its best to make accurate estimates of its future transactions, there will always be unexpected events with unexpected financial ramifications.  A good estimate is based upon good information about prior events modified to become estimates of future events.  Even while it is impossible to be accurate, good estimates (with ongoing re-evaluations as actual events occur) that are compared to actual events, will enable any organization to notice problems (and do something about the problems) much quicker than if they had no such estimates to compare to reality.
  23. What does the MPWCF expect in the way of future information from grantees? We expect our grantee organizations to consider us as partners in their missions.  With the management and financial consulting background of our Founder and Trustees, we can be of help to all grantee organizations.  Should they have management problems or questions, we would expect to aid them in their solutions.  The sharing of the problems and the questions would enable us to help them before the problem gets out of hand.  See more information about what we offer at no cost at services, grants of management aid  It should be noted here that this service will not be available after the incapacity or death of the Founder as this was what he was expert at and was the source of his own fortune.  He offers it as a free service as long as he is available to provide it.  However, this service is pretty much lacking now (2012 and later) with the deterioration in the health of the Founder due to the Shocker.
  24. Don't you think your requirements are a little too strict?   Well, if you look at  http://www.give.org/standards/implementation.asp  and then look at OUR version of it at  BBB & public accountability, you will see that we hugely reduced (by about 90%) the normal requirements a grantor requires of its grantees.  We did this because we realize how difficult it is for you to do what we require, but you must also realize that we are working with you on a long trail that is intended to lead to a distribution of huge sums of money to each grantee, every year, forever.  You might also notice that we are providing you (and any other reader) all of this, and more, ourselves on this open, transparent, web-site.
  25. What are some goals that the MPWCF desires as a by-product of its relationship? We hope that the grantee organizations get to be better managed, better controlled, and most proficient in accomplishing their missions.  We also hope that the grantee organizations can satisfy other potential benefactors by being open and transparent and law-abiding (notably with reference to USA tax laws governing deductibility of contributions to their organization) in a way that fosters confidence on the part of the potential benefactors.  See also beliefs   See also financial information required by IRS
  26. What constitutes the MPWCF's definition of an open and transparent organization?  We believe that, where possible, all organizations desiring funds from those who might contribute to a worthy cause, will feel that they owe their benefactors as well as all of their own constituents ongoing visual security in the knowledge that those funds are being used as the fund-raising organizations promise.
  27. What are the "constituencies" of each organization, and what is owed to them?  The varying constituencies of each organization, in our way of thinking, include your own mission's beneficiaries and your benefactors, your volunteers, your directors or trustees, and your employees, as well as other possible constituencies such as members, customers, tax authorities and the like.  We believe that each organization owes each constituent the open and transparent communication that good financial statements provide.  As a result, when and where necessary, each constituent may come to his, her, or its own conclusion about the organization and how it is operating.
  28. What does the fact that an "audit" is done for our organization mean to the MPWCF? Our experience with both Gringo AND Mexican organizations in this town have led us to discount normal grant request packages and use instead our own method of evaluating potential grantee organizations.  A CPA or a CP or any other form of accountant may (or may not) be useful to you, IF you feel you need one, but is not necessary for us. We can make our own evaluations based upon our own methods which we trust more than outside auditors (here, and in the USA, as witness the Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals). And we've already experienced the invalid "audits" that other local organizations feel they've undergone. Their audits were generally done for the purposes of Hacienda, which is more interested in "auditing" that all taxes are paid. We don't rely upon THAT need.  We are more interested in HOW the organization handles its financial assets and HOW the assets are used (in so many different ways) to cause the organization to accomplish its mission and goals, quite a different viewpoint from Hacienda's (and whatever audit Hacienda desires).
  29. Why does the MPWCF believe that "paybacks" from our own beneficiaries to our own organization, where feasible, are appropriate?  We believe that our grantee's grantees (such as a student in a scholarship program) should have some responsibility for "pay-back" even though we appreciate the difficulty in expecting each grantee to do so.  We believe that (for example) students who study and graduate as a result of an organization's aid, should give something back (be it future service, in the discipline that he/she studied, or even small amounts of money if and when the graduate succeeds in his/her profession).  We would be happy to discuss various ways that this can be accomplished in your organization, tailoring this idea to the needs of each organization and each grantee's grantee.  
  30. Why does the MPWCF believe that grantee organizations should always continue to look for other sources of funds?  We believe that alternative plans should always be considered well in advance of their needs.  There is always a possibility that our Foundation might run out of funds (extremely doubtful, but certainly possible), or has a change of priorities (again doubtful but times change), or any other contingency could occur.  But, even more of a fact is that the Trustees of this Foundation do not want any grantee to rely solely on us.  Each grantee should continue to consider and find other sources of funds.
  31. When can a grantee organization call upon the MPWCF for management advice?  Any time a grantee organization has any management problem that is even slightly beyond their abilities to solve, we are here, as part of our commitment to all of our grantees, to consult and direct you towards a solution.  We have more than 40 years of financial and management consulting experience in so doing and there are very few problems that we have not previously encountered and have already experienced both the pros and cons of any possible solution.   Click on services, grants of management aid for more information.  It should be noted here that this service is slowly being phased out as the health of the Founder diminishes each year.
  32. What is MPWCF's philosophy regarding evaluations by and for the grantees? Each grantee organization should have a plan that includes a method that tracks the performance of their own organization, their own programs and/or its participants. This tracking should define clearly their main objectives and obstacles, and any plans to become somewhat more self-sustaining than at present.  This plan should also enable anyone to evaluate the effectiveness of their plan and its methods.  If a grantee organization won't commit to measure their return on our Foundation's investments in them, our grants may just disappear similarly.
  33. Are we, the grantee, too small to install the controls desired by the MPWCF?  No, because these controls can be implemented in the smallest (even 1-person) organizations.  If you have any doubts or questions about that, we are willing to help you solve your problem.
  34. You talk about "controls" a lot.  Does the MPWCF have "controls" that guarantees its own performance?  Yes, we do, as it would not be fair for this demand to be one-sided.  And,  since the Founder can only physically guarantee promises during his lifetime, he has arranged for many legal controls over the trustee's actions after his demise.  There is more information regarding this at the trustees link and more still under founders will.  One provision that ensures continuation of the Founder's wishes in his Will can be read by you at the very bottom of founders will (written in larger print and in the color red) that ensures that there will be outsiders' independent reviews of the Foundation's operations after the Founder's death to help guarantee continuity of the Founder's wishes. 
  35. Is it possible that the MPWCF will cease offering new grants to additional local organizations?  Yes, that is possible.  It is our intention (and IRS regulations require us to do this) to use 98% of our available income each year in the payment of grants.  But, any time we do not have our full complement of local grantees in compliance with our published requirements, we may have some otherwise undistributed money left over. Therefore, at first we will continue to look for new grantees, so as to use the balance of the money as intended.  And, later after we acquire "our full complement", there will be some organizations that fall by the wayside for any number of reasons.  At first, we would hope that they could be replaced.   But, yes, we do desire to cease our annual solicitation for new grantees as soon as we are able to do so (i.e., when we have our "full complement").  Our 2004 contest on transparency indicated a temporary additional need for new grantees at that time and needs such as those will disappear sometime in the future as well.  And, as of 2009, no new grantees are being solicited and although this may change, it is our intention to "go with our current grantees and add no more"
  36. When are your grants generally paid?  Click here to see our Calendar
  37. What does your Foundation think the proper care and feeding of volunteers entails?  We think that the proper use of volunteers saves so much money that can otherwise be used on your mission.  We have some ideas for you to consider if you click on volunteers.
  38. What is this we hear about your Lifetime Achievement Awards for Volunteers? You can read all about this at lifetime achievement
  39. You talk a lot about transparency and continuity.  What is this?  Our most important requirements are transparency and continuity only because we noticed, way back in 1996, that these two essential ingredients were lacking in almost all SMA organizations.  We define what they are and why they are so important at the pages for transparency for continuity.
  40. How can we (prospective volunteers) help you and your mission? We have listed certain of our needs on the help us page.
  41. How does the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) relate to all of this?  The IRS has granted this foundation its highest accreditation, better than most Private Foundations usually receive.  We are classified as a Public Charity, not a Private Foundation, and we are eligible for the highest (50% of adjusted gross income) tax-deductions possible.    However, this means that we must follow certain very stringent regulations in order to keep this valued designation.  For example, we may not make grants to certain types of grantees (like individuals, or to organizations that themselves process and pass on the grants to other organizations) and we must make grants only to certain other types of grantees (who do the evaluation of individual prospective recipients who would ultimately benefit from their own grants or services provided).  For more information on how IRS restricts our Foundation, click on IRS information    On the other hand, for more information on how IRS impacts upon you, the grantee, see IRS Narrative
  42. What political prohibitions are caused by IRS regulations?  Under the US tax law, organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the 
    Internal Revenue Code that are exempt from federal income tax are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.  While that prohibition revolves around any candidacy, local laws also prohibit us from getting involved in political matters involving Mexican politics as well.
  43. Why doesn't your site have pictures and animations that move?  Our site is designed to be as efficient as possible for your web browser to load, and to be usable by everyone possible. When we first started to build this website, we discovered that pictures and other graphical elements were astonishingly large and took a disproportionate amount of time to load. In addition, we have designed our site to be navigable by retired and other older sight-impaired persons using readers, and this is easier using text elements
  44. What if we have more questions that require long detailed answers that are not answered here (above)?  You might wish to look at the Correspondence page where some new questions and their answers are inserted to deal with just this problem.  And if you don't find answers there, look at the question and answer immediately below this.
  45. What do we do if we don't understand any one of the above questions, or if we don't understand any of the answers?  Please be sure to ask us for more information.  The best way to ask is to copy (the above question or questions - complete with its identifying "number") and then paste them into an email to us (at  mpwcfoundation@gmail.com), followed by your own specific question about each of them.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Underpromise and Overdeliver”

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