Donors to St. Anthony’s Share Views On Philanthropy

St. Anthony’s Alliance (SAA) benefits from having caring donors who contribute their generous gift’s of money to help us achieve our mission of supporting life saving and life enhancing interventions.

We asked a few of our donors to share their views on Philanthropy.

Karen Lawrence

My dictionary defines philanthropy as “works or endeavor,  as charitable aid or endowments, intended to increase the well-being of humanity”. Much important charitable aid is focused on providing immediate short-term needs like food and clothing to those in desperate circumstances. While this type of giving is critical and appropriate, I find it especially rewarding to support endeavors aimed at increasing well-being over the longer term. This concept is captured in the old saying about teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime while giving a man a fish feeds him for a day. The programs of St. Anthony’s Alliance embody this approach very effectively, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to support them.

Ken Gilman and Elizabeth Szalay

To take a page from The Soul of Money, “Money is like water, it stagnates when hoarded and is life-giving when it flows“. St. Anthony’s Alliance, rather than offering handouts, affirms and supports projects that promote responsibility, self-initiative, and self-respect.

The Soul of Money —Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources by Lynne Twist, 2003, W.W Norton & Co.)

 

Lee Blaugrund

Basically, I see philanthropy as something that is part of my lifestyle. It is part of how I live day to day. In order to help people, you have to be sensitive to their needs. I usually have 10 to 15 projects that are active at a time but I have changed projects over time. Some charities just seem to lose their way. There are a couple of ways I can make a difference; I can be passive and just write a check or I can be active and get involved.

 

 

Dwight Grant

I have been very fortunate most aspects of my life, including in my financial life. That has prompted me to share that good fortune with others. As far as St. Anthony’s Alliance goes, I have been impressed with the “sweat equity” that Jim and Tes have put into it to make it work. I am not a very generous person with my time, so I try to be generous with my money.

Developing a Self-Sustaining Model for La Colorada’s Community Center

One of St. Anthony’s Alliance’s most important tasks is developing a sustainable model for the Community Center at Rancho La Colorada. This year, St. Anthony’s Alliance and the people of La Colorada took an important step towards sustainability by creating a “civil association,” the Mexican legal equivalent of a 501 (C) 3 or not-for-profit organization.

The problem was simple. In order for the Community Center to become self-sustaining without support from St. Anthony’s Alliance, it needed to become a nonprofit organization. It was built during the 1990s with donated funds and donated labor and it has become the heart of the village of La Colorada. It provides a low-cost breakfast program, scholarships, a library and public meeting spaces, but it lacked a legal way to raise funds to support those services.   An attorney in San Miguel de Allende who is an expert on forming civil associations helped write the bylaws for the civil association, which is called La Colorada Unida Para Una Vida Mejor (La Colorada United for a Better Life.)

The people voted on a president and secretary both capable women from La Colorada and a local, five-person board of directors who will be responsible for evaluating and maintaining the programs most important to the community. A separate board of directors will be recruited from outside La Colorada to raise money, host events and rally others to support the programs of the Community Center. San Miguel enjoys a large community of retired ex-patriots from the United States and elsewhere who have already served on nonprofit boards or donated money to worthy causes. In the future, a spirit of community service will sustain the Community Center.

Host of Dignitaries attend Ribbon Cutting for the Road to La Colorada

With a smooth new road courtesy of a partnership between the City of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico and St. Anthony’s Alliance the path to prosperity for The Lavender Project and La Colorada’s Community Center is a lot easier. On sunny day in late August, a host of dignitaries were in La Colorada to celebrate the new road with a ribbon cutting followed by a feast in front of the community Center.

The handsome young mayor of Dolores Hidalgo, Adrian Hernandez Alejandri, was on hand for the occasion, as were the heads of several municipal departments in Dolores Hidalgo, including economic development, roads and tourism. Also there were dignitaries from La Colorada itself: Beatriz Torres, executive director of La Colorada Community Center; Aucencio Domenzain, president of The Lavender Project; Isidro Cuellar Alvarez, an official with La Colorado; and Dr. Teresa Balcomb, a founder of St. Anthony’s Alliance.

The city of Dolores Hidalgo spared no expense for the occasion. They provided a backdrop, podium and microphone and spent plenty of time greeting and shaking hands with villagers. Each of the dignitaries spoke about the close relationship between good roads and strong commerce. Two little girls from the village were selected to hold each end of a long red ribbon so Dr. Balcomb and Mayor Hernandez Alejandri could formally cut the ribbon.

After the speeches, everyone walked or drove to the community center. While the Mayor and his associates waited for the feast to be served, they toured The Lavender Project’s sewing cooperative and soap-making facilities.   The Mayor was particularly impressed with the embroidered lavender neck pillows the women of the sewing cooperative make for sale to an international resort and spa in San Miguel de Allende.

Later everyone sat outside and enjoyed a feast prepared by the ladies of La Colorada. The delicious meal included roast pork with mole sauce, nopales (leaves from a native species of cactus), potatoes, tortilla and ice-cold beer. Everyone in the village joined in the festivities, sitting in front of the community center under an awning at white-tablecloth covered tables. The event was memorable – and not just because of the food or the speeches. It represented the first time that city officials were on hand to recognize the potential for success and sustainability that The Lavender Project represents for tourism and economic development for the entire Mexican state of Guanajuato. With public support, this private project can truly succeed.