There’s An Art To Giving

Don’t screw this up, you could be hurting good causes

Most North Americans want to help. They want to help the locals get ahead, get good health care, a good education, in short they want everything for the Mexicans that they are gifted with themselves. That includes being kind to the country in the form of the preservation of Mexico’s abundant natural resources as well as their number one resource: The people. But what should you do? The needs seem overwhelming. And where do you physically put any aid? In the hand of your gardener, your housekeeper, or even your waiter? Some people begin and end there because that’s all they know. Others of us don’t try this at home, they give to the professionals who vet the recipients. There is an amazing number of organizations who spend full time directing aid to the best places, insuring charity donations stretch far.

The biggest and most professional of these is the International Community Foundation, (icfdn.org), which acts as an umbrella organization for other, smaller, and very worthy efforts. The ICF is run out of San Diego with offices in La Paz. ICF Seeks to increase health, education and environmental grantmaking to local organizations to strengthen society and create sustainable communities. The International Community Foundation is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 33-0457858. All donations are tax deductible.They create lasting improvements in education, health, and the environment in Mexico, as well as better managed marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They take the donor’s intent seriously and take care of what you give to them. They have the tools to make good decisions based on their local expertise, and they can usually do this way better than the caring person with the donation. Also, they share these resources and knowledge with smaller, often less experienced local charities.

So if you want to say, support the environment, the International Community Foundation has a partner that works toward that goal. The Baja California Waterkeeper Fund supports ten individuals (waterkeepers) working throughout the Baja peninsula who organize efforts around clean water and healthy communities. These Baja Waterkeepers monitor more than 75 watersheds and coastal areas of the Baja Peninsula. In Addition to publishing these results, they also build resilience in their communies by leading workshops, beach cleanups, youth leadership and surveillance efforts to help protect the beauty of Baja. Your program officer for environment is marisa@icfdn.org / 619-773-2120.

One of the most important roles the Waterkeepers play in their communities is monitoring water quality. The results are published in a free online swim guide. This data is important for public health and local livelihoods like fishing and tourism. They are currently seeking $500,000 to protect Baja’s coasts and watersheds.

Don’t give a damn about the environment? Of course you do, but say you have a bigger interest in women. ICF can channel your giving efforts to Centro Mujeres who’s mission is to advocate for the human rights of women, youth and seasonal migrants in this state. They provide women’s health care and work to empower women. Centro Mujeres works through community programs, direct services, research, and advocacy, including sexually transmitted disease prevention through condom distribution and teen clinics, and the rehab of children who have been sexually abused.

Centro Mujeresfounded in La Paz 1994. In its first two years, Centro Mujeres offered counseling in family planning, AIDS education and reproductive rights education. But they have expanded to meet the acute needs of a growing community. Through their efforts the public school system no longer expels pregnant teens, and the state congress now classifies domestic violence and sexual harassment as crimes. 95% of their operating budget goes directly to programs.-directors of this program are Mónica Jasis, MD, MPH, PH.D. and Teresa Shields. Phone  612 12 23342. Website is www.proaci.org.

So, now that you know about the International Community Foundation and just two of their dozens of programs, why would you ever drive out to the barrio and try to be a good guy? Let these professionals help you be a better good guy.