the m p w c Foundation, inc.  

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Transparency - definitions for purposes of this web-site and this Foundation:

We believe that transparency is critical to ensure that any observer (no matter how important or even unimportant to the individual specific charitable 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 fight this premise is more than sufficient reason to state that the requirement is, in fact, very necessary.  Too many organizations have hidden 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.  We don't offer any opinion as to whether or not individuals should or should not be paid, but we 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.  See our example of an acceptable format of disclosure on our financials-example web-page and also look at Form 990ez which even a very small SMA organization must file with IRS. 

Among the many things that should be disclosed are the:

1-relationship (and segregation of) overhead expenditures in a separately stated section set apart from mission expenditures (and these two sections should also state the percentages of each to total expenditures).
2-compensation (including fees, honorariums, reimbursements, etc., of any kind whatsoever) to organization insiders or any other non-Mexican employee or volunteer or consultant, etc.
3-the gross AND net results of fund-raising, including the total funds raised and the separately-stated costs of any significant fund raising(s)
4-any explanations that make the reader understand any inconsistencies and /or aberrations of timing, such as receipts in one year and related expenditures in another year

The above is just transparency of annual financial information.  In addition, the "open and transparent" organization should be encouraged to show, by verifiable narrative means, just what it is doing and how it is operating.  After all, with so little overlap of mission in this town, why would anything have to be hidden?  Competition is not existent except in the fund-raising aspects and the acquisition of volunteer help and even in these two competitive aspects, I would think that the persons who do volunteer and do contribute funds would be more likely to do that for the more transparent and openly honest organization.

Look around you in the world today.  A good case could be made for the theory that the lack of transparency is the root cause, or a secondary cause, or even a minor but definite part of the causes for most problems in government, in politics, in profit-making organizations, and certainly not overlooking NGO's inside and outside of Mexico.

And, as a supplementary definition, the following comes from the Founder's estate papers:

"A few more SPECIFICS about what I mean by TRANSPARENCY:   The financial statements should include, among so many other possible things, disclosure of the payments made to insiders (basically Gringos) in the form of salaries or other perks, the separation of all overhead (with details and totals) from all “mission” expenses (also with details and totals), and the expenses of fund-raising and the net funds raised by each fund-raising category, all of this presented in COMPARITIVE formats (with at least two completed years and a third future year with projected information), all of this presented in ONE currency (either pesos or dollars with the other being converted to the one currency), and all of this with footnotes for disclosures that otherwise would leave a reader uninformed without them – all in the format shown on our financial-examples webpage."

We would hope all applicants for grants from us respond to all of the above by using our templates which do everything for you except fill in your own unique information and other responses.  


The following describes a failed attempt by this Foundation at a contest in 2005 intended to promote transparency.  It is left below (online) "for the record" and nothing more.  Interestingly enough, our attempts over many years to promote transparency finally bore fruit by 2008 and starting in 2008, 100% of our grantees were well along the path to partial if not complete transparency.

These awards were offered (and distributed) in 2005.  They are no longer offered. The Lions Club (winner of a us$1,200 award in 2005) had its entry prepared by an individual that left town shortly afterwards.  As a result of a lack of continuity, The Lions Club was not able to have someone else in their organization prepare (see below for information regarding "improvements from year to year") better financial statements in 2006, which is and was the whole reason behind our offering such awards.   However, we are happy to state that the Lions Club finally, in 2009, overcame this problem and (hopefully) will remain an on-going grantee.

These awards will be made to ANY non-profit charitable organization in San Miguel (other than to our current ongoing grantees, however, see note 1 below).  

The purpose of the transparency awards is to encourage greater transparency in the presentation of financial and other information from organizations that solicit funds from the public.  We will not only grant  three monetary awards, but we will also publicly endorse organizations' transparency methods and their reporting to the public.  If that aids the organization in their fund-raising efforts, so much the better.  In addition, all award winning organizations will be shown on this web-site (see table at bottom of this page).

Rules and criteria:

contest is open to any non-profit charitable organization (other than our current grantees; however, see note 1 below) that solicits funds from the public and benefits life in San Miguel
an entry must consist of all of the following:
a complete copy of the prior year's financial statements (to be considered as your base year) and a copy of the more current year's financial statements (as a combined  entry into the contest)
a narrative section answering the following question: are these financial statements available upon request to each of the following (answer yes or no to each):
every member of your management and trustees?
all of your volunteers?
all of your employees?
any donor?
any prospective donor?
any of your beneficiaries (i.e., the objects of your mission)?
anyone else who merely asks?
All entries may be submitted on papers left in a closed envelope at Box 77A, La Conexion, Aldama #3 or (preferably, if criticism is requested) sent by email to 
consideration will be given to improvements from year to year, completeness and full disclosure, understandability for a first-time reader, etc., etc., etc.   It might be helpful to you to remember that financial statements are not numbers, but fully and consistently presented narratives (words) that are merely quantified by numbers.
awards will go to organizations that are most open in financial statements that communicate fully how they obtain funds and how they use these funds. Completeness of financial statements that show comparative information is best.  The 3 awards for 2005 will be us$1,200, us$600, us$300.  All awards will be paid on approximately June 15, 2005.
if an organization exhibits good financial reporting, it may become eligible to be an ongoing grantee without having to go through this competition each year. 
if your organization wishes constructive criticisms that will enable you to make an even better submission in the planned contest for the following year, an email entry is preferable assuming the email (and/or attachments) can be physically edited by our own judges prior to returning the edits  to you with our comments and criticisms. 
in the future, consideration for awards also be given to organizations that understand and implement our recommendations.
all entries for this year must be received by May 15th.  Any entries received after that date will be retained for our contest planned for next year (although any organization may retract such entries and substitute new entries for next year, if they wish).

As background information that will be useful to any organizations entering the competition, we suggest you click on the following links:

the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and public disclosure
why this info is even more necessary to your own organization
see IRS financials for information required to state you are "tax deductible"
examples useful in preparing financial statements for any purpose
I believe (some thoughts that went into "why this contest")
Ongoing grantee requirements - subsequent years

note 1 - the only criteria for eligibility that an organization must meet is listed on our web-page Eligibility under the heading "Each new grantee organization MUST:"  Due to legal considerations described more fully on that page, we must insist that  the first 4 criteria be met; no other criteria on that page must necessarily be met.

The awards for: the year 2005  the years 2006, 2007, and subsequent
for coming closest to our criteria for best disclosure to all constituent readers US$1,200 to The Lions Club (a) (b) in the absence of better community response, we believe that we made a mistake and this program is suspended
2nd place award US$600 to CASA this was an inadequate partial financial statement that won this award ONLY in the absence of any other real competition
3rd place award not awarded as we did not receive a 3rd entry  
Honorable mentions: none  
Invited to participate, but did not submit any information at all Patronato Pro Ninos, Biblioteca Publica, Feed the Hungry,  Mujares en Cambio (b), Casa Hogar(b), IREE, Casa de los Angeles, American Legion Auxiliary, FAI, Crescimiento  

Notes applicable to the above Table of Awards:

(a)- The Lions Club, after years of submitting inadequate statements, finally did prepare good statements in 2005.   On the other hand, C.A.S.A submitted partial statements that lacked even the barest of disclosures, and was awarded 2nd prize ONLY because there was no third entry.

(b) to the best of our knowledge, these are the only three organizations that NOW (2009) provide financial statements even though USA tax laws require such statements from all of the organizations named in the above table.



“Underpromise and Overdeliver”

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