What happens to the money that I give Forging Futures and does the money get to where it is supposed to go in one piece? “At the end of the day we are accountable principally to ourselves but to others as well. Any trust that comes our way is the result of how we have conducted ourselves. Our lives are really all that belong to us. How we live determines who we are.” Wise words from Cesar Chavez, Community Organizer and Labor Leader.
Some years ago, I was on the balcony of a house in Leogane. Children were playing a game on the concrete sidewalk below. I was holding one banana and eating a second when they saw me. I called to them: Eske w vle yon fig? Do you want a banana? Stupid on my part. They ran to me as I threw the banana toward them. One boy, Jemsen, was wearing shower slippers — standard wear for many Haitians. Running to catch the banana, he slipped on the wet concrete and he fell, hitting his head on the concrete. A haunting sound I will never forget. It was all my fault. When will I learn that one cannot throw food at poor people?
Forging Futures is an accredited Non-Profit 501(c)(3). Forging Futures is also a small non-profit — one of the many reputable organizations which attempt to leave a positive contribution in a particular place on this earth with and for a particular community. How do we earn and keep your trust? How can you be sure that the donations you make for the education of the children in Leogane benefit these very children? All good questions! Non-profits are not immune from abuse. In fact, far from it. Exercising proper stewardship is our responsibility and our pledge. Sending money to very poor nations presents a unique set of challenges that require vigilance. It comes as no surprise that the many millions sent to Haiti after the earthquake never reached those who lost everything. Only 10% of the aid reached the Haitian on the street.
How does Forging Futures operate? Our primary client is The Partnership Program of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, a participating member of the Episcopal Church in the United States. It is a frontline organization responsible for the education and nurture of over one million Haitian citizens. It encourages cultural and social service exchanges even more than financial donations. In fact, an infallible guarantee that funds will be utilized to maximum benefit depends on how well we know, care for and trust our beneficiaries.
~ We give our financial assistance to the Schools. Not to individuals in Haiti. It is true that designated leaders in Haiti administer the funds, but only after an audit. Those designated school leaders must requisition the funds for stated and specific purposes that can be verified.
~ Two American banks process our funds before any transfer to Groupe Sogebank in Port au Prince, Haiti. These funds are always designated for a specific purpose. The Partnership Program in the Diocese of Haiti is notified that the funds have arrived and are now available for use. Our designated school administrators are notified, and the funds wired to the Sogebank Branch in Leogane.
In the end, a non-profit like Forging Futures depends on the integrity of those who work within and through it. Our donors believe in us and believe in our commitments. They support the causes we support because, frankly, they love us and love what we do. We do what we do in their name. Without that trust and love, we would not exist.