the m p w c Foundation, inc.
this page contains additional detailed comments and reasons for current status of "potentials"
To start with, this Foundation was formed to promote the welfare of local Mexicans, chiefly women and children, and created with a secondary goal of promoting openness (transparency) and continuity in the mission and operations of local charitable organizations. This became our reason for being. You can read more about all of this at various pages on this web-site, but especially, the pages on our beliefs, our goals & mission, our by-laws, and transparency as well as continuity. A new page, about an old subject, was recently added at History that tells the overall story of our history.
We believe that transparency is critical to ensure that any observer (no matter how important or unimportant to the organization itself) can easily understand just what the organization in question is doing and how it is doing it. The mere fact that so many organizations in this town had been fighting this premise is more than sufficient reason to state that the requirement is, in fact, very necessary. Too many organizations were hiding the facts that they are paying more and more of their participants to do what was previously unpaid volunteer work. As a result of this, their mission is being shortchanged. I don't offer any opinion as to whether or not individuals should or should not be paid, but I fervently believe that the facts should not be hidden. The hiding always leads one to wonder, just exactly WHAT is being hidden and WHY is it hidden. Interestingly enough, we do not ask for financial statements that are any more difficult to create or present than is asked by the USA IRS for any organization that says it is USA tax deductible. This is further defined on the transparency web-page.
We further believe that a plan for continuity of mission, operations, training, etc., should also be in place at the earliest possible moment for any organizations that professes to want to accomplish their mission. We have observed, since arriving in this town in 1993, that too many organizations, founded by good people, lose their way when the second, third, fourth or later generation of volunteer management takes over. Promises made become promises not kept so many times. Anyone, be they volunteer, contributor, beneficiary, or merely an observer lacks the assurance that what the organization is doing today, may not be what it does tomorrow. This is further defined on the continuity web-page. Our own experiences with the lack of continuity appear often below and may explain just why we think written policies and procedures (the crux of continuity) are so important.
With the above in mind, specific information for use by our own successor trustees is shown below. Please note that ever-changing decisions of ever-changing management for many local organizations is partially what drives us to our insistence on continuity:
The Biblioteca - the only problem we have with this organization, which does huge amounts of worthwhile work in our community, is their lack of continuity. We have personally made (in many cases, written) agreements with them wherein both of our organizations had specified responsibilities. We accomplished ours only to repeatedly find that later newly elected officers ignored (or were just not aware of) the written promises of the previous officers. For a 55 year old organization, time has long since passed wherein outsiders are still unable to judge for themselves whether or not they can count on present (albeit temporary) management to do what they say they will do when outsiders commit to do their part in any plan for the future. As a result of this, we arranged to implement our desire to make grants ONLY directly to the Biblioteca's Stirling Dickinson Scholarship Fund and not to the Bibilioteca as a whole. However, after a few years of this direct to SDSF contributions, this latter idea finally was discarded as our 2007 grant to the SDSF was made to them after they promised to provide financial statements within two months after the grant. Even after repeated reminders and the passage of an entire year, no financial statements have ever appeared. We will no longer make grants to this organization.
The Orphanages - at least five times over the years, we had contacts with individual gringo sponsors (who also worked as volunteers at the various orphanages) who promised us that they would attempt to obtain the minimum information that we required to make grants to the orphanages. Every time, the sponsors returned to us with the answer that they were not able to obtain any such information. I am reasonably sure that the organizations are running ethically and honorably but our charter requires us to promote openness and transparency and these organizations appear to be the antithesis of this. For 2008, we finally received what we were waiting for, but only from Casa Hogar Santa Julia. However, after Santa Julia had become an ongoing grantee, once again they stopped responding (because of their problem with continuity).
Cruz Roja Mexico - we have never been able to find out anything about the organization; absolutely no transparency exists here. Of course, there is no reason to suspect that anything is wrong with this organization. They just do not meet our own requirements.
Feed the Hungry - While we have an ongoing relationship with FTH, a change in management occurred some time ago and the newer management decided that our requests for transparency was not something that they wish to comply with. This remained true even though one of our own Board Members (who is also a Board member of FTH) has agreed that this is something that FTH should be doing and he agreed that our requests are appropriate. However, with a change of management, starting in 2011, FTH accepts that they will be not receiving any grants during the Founders' remaining lifetime, but they also promised to start the grant process once again from the beginning in order to catch up with all of the other current grantees who have been involved with our evolution for years now. If they manage to accomplish that (both the transparency and continuity processes) then they will begin to receive 30% grants (similar to Jovenes Adelante's) after the Founder's death and that will continue as long as they continue to meet our requirements.
Patronato pro Ninos - We have, from the very beginning, found this organization refusing to provide anything remotely approaching transparency even after we informed them that their refusal to provide some specific information was in direct contradiction to what IRS said they must provide to anyone requesting it. Coincidentally, Stirling Dickinsen, Jack and Luisa Velte, among others, founded this organization and were the direct personal inspirations that culminated in Michael Wein's founding of this Foundation, the MPWCF. However, in a mysterious coup, PPN's original founders were removed from their non-paid volunteer administrative positions at PPN some time around the year 2000 and the mission and the methods of operation were changed by succeeding generations of new administrators. The last of the original founders, Luisa Velte, told us that she was actually removed from PPN's operation as they intended to, and did, follow a new direction. PPN will not ever be approved by us. We wish them well and feel assured that they will do well without us.
Rotary Club - Midday - Our relationship with this organization seemed to be on target again but once again, their turnover in management allowed things to fall through the cracks. Twice before, we expected to be able to continue with our original agreement with them. But as of the end of our fiscal year, we had not received the promised information. We are not able to continue in this hit and miss method that effects the planning of both of our organizations. We will not be certifying them.
SMA Online Newsmagazine - this was a free, online newspaper, not dependant on local advertising and beholden to no one but its readers. We were the originators of this news publication. It was intended to be useful to, and used predominantly by, resident expatriates. Our mission was to enable anyone who had anything to say, a forum to say it, to bring to our readership original information which they would have difficulty reading anywhere else in this town, to be fair to all sides in all controversies by providing unlimited space to all parties, to be independent of all pressure groups, especially local advertisers, to create, whenever necessary, a dedicated op-ed page for issues effecting this community, and to evolve in scope as new events warrant. Unfortunately, we found that readers wished to read it (the web-site had some 8,000-plus visits in the earliest few months of its operations) but the readers were not contributing sufficient current information as we requested that they do (because we originally offered only to do the time-consuming publishing, but we did not have any personnel which could be required to create, write, or edit). The concept of the paper, still online at online newsmagazine was that it could only survive if we acted solely as publisher (we still had to process each article and upload it to our website servers) and that no editor, no internal writers, no other support, could be supplied by us. After the initial burst of help, the outside support was not sufficiently forthcoming. See, this is what happens when we, ourselves,had continuity problems.
USA's American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and Rider University - these are the two "default" organizations that will receive grants or part or even all of our endowment if there are not sufficient local organizations approved. In addition, if the future trustees of this Foundation do not comply with the requirements of the Founder's Will, these organizations are to receive the endowment that otherwise would remain for the benefit of local grantees. As to why these organization are the "defaults", the Founder said "I wished to leave approximately 1/3 of my estate to San Miguel organizations that offer Mexicans, chiefly children, a break at a formative time in their lives. But, if for reasons explained on these pages, these organizations will not cooperate with their own constituencies (see FAQs for definition) in the most basic of ways (transparency and continuity, for instance), then I will still be pleased to provide the same (or part of the same) bequest to the two default organizations. First, there is Rider University (founded in 1860-some 150 years ago), which awarded me a full 4-year academic scholarship when my own parents could not otherwise afford to pay for any post-high school education and without which I believed I had few alternatives, and to whom I feel eternally grateful for what I have attained in life due to this education. Secondarily, if there is anything I believe in, it is free and unedited speech. The ACLU has, since its inception about 100 years ago, spent its time, money, and efforts battling for all (good or bad people, rich or poor people, strong or weak people) who wished to say what they wish to say, beatific or horrendous, smart or stupid, and the ACLU's fight goes on."
“Underpromise and Overdeliver”
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