Monday, January 25, 2016

January 2016 update

Hi everyone!

A fast update on many BonaResponds things:

  1. Thank you to our donors who are investing in a better world! December was our best month of fundraising ever!   It is you who give us the ability to help so many.  Without you, BonaResponds is just a good idea.  Without you, many people suffer.  Without you, there are fewer wheelchair ramps, fewer people in schools in Haiti, fewer trees, and much more.   Our, indeed my, promise to you is that we will continue to use the money in a manner that will maximize the long-run good that we can achieve!  
  2. February 17, 2016 at 7pm in The Dresser Auditorium of the Murphy Building we will be co-sponsoring with Enactus and the Pacioli Scholar program a viewing of Poverty Inc.  It is an important video that questions how charity is handled.  The short version is that handouts are not the best and that good intentions are not enough.  Watch the trailer and plan on coming.  Free tickets are available here:
  3. International Service Weekend is April 9-10!  No matter where you live, plan on being involved.  Start planning now!  Clean up a local park, help your elderly neighbor to the grocery store, organize a work day in your town/country!  Big or small together we can make a huge difference!   SIgn ups and more information will be available soon!  We want to capture 24 hours of good deeds and good work around the world!  Too often all we see is the bad news!  
  4. Our local job list is really long (too long).  The combination of being underpriced and a lack of volunteers really led to a backlog.  We can not do ramps in this weather, but are prebuilding sections and will hit the ground running ASAP.  In the interim, we do have work days planned for every weekend.  
  5. We still have approximately 40 blankets that need labels sewn on.  If anyone would like to help in this area, please let us know.  We packed 24 blankets this weekend for Roswell and the Kevin Guest House in Buffalo.  I am often asked how someone could help in this area (interestingly we get many more requests to help with Blankets than with Trails/Ramps/homes/Haiti etc)  Find places (doctors offices, chemo centers, or even churches) that we can put up “boxes” of blankets (wrapped in plastic) so that we do not mail out each separately.  Also agree to keep them full (we will get you the blankets).
  6. Jim’s Haiti trip over Christmas break was canceled due to violence stemming from their elections, but our work has picked up speed again there.  Last week we got the first of the Reforestation booklets from our good friends at Tree Angels for Haiti. Very exciting to see the booklets actually produced.  The next step is to get them distributed and work with them (and others across Haiti) to not only plant more trees but to make the program sustainable.
  7. The first round of payments out of the #BonasandBeyond program should be finished this week.  We had a long wait for the funds from SIMM.  But in total $4000 payments will be disbursed.  This is the money we and Enactus won from the Online voting contest that BonaSIMM used to give away their profits. (good thing we got them then given the way the stock market has been doing since!)   If you remember, these recipients in Haiti presented on campus on how they could make Haiti better.  Winners were a Gardening program in Gonaives, a “green charcoal” program in Leogane, a micro-loan program in Gonaives, a school program and a science kit program in Port au Prince, and partial funding for a water program in Cap Haitien.
  8. We are still trying to buy a lawnmower in Haiti for the soccer program Rochelin runs in Les Cayes.  I had no idea buying a lawnmower would prove so difficult.  Have had many people looking for one for months.  
  9. Business is needed in Haiti.  For that reason, Positive Ripples has been formed.  It is not officially part of BonaResponds but its own newly formed not-for-profit that will better enable us to make small investments in businesses.  For instance the first loan we are trying to make is to Normil in Leogane.  He has to shut down his internet cafe for 10 hours a week when he goes to get his batteries charged.  We are going to given him a 2 year loan to enable solar electric to power some of his computers.  Similarly we will be working with a Haitian group (via Emmanuel our long time partner) in Les Cayes to fund women their with smaller micro loans (our initial investment will be $1000 and students here will be helping with consulting, social media, and teaching Haitians how to create their own websites).
  10. Two different groups have asked to host volunteer camps on campus over the summer.  This is very difficult as students and faculty are largely gone.  If you have interest in being a leader for a week this summer (non paid) please let us know.
  11. We hope to announce another Bonas and Beyond program on campus for this coming September-October.  
  12. The Enactus trip I made to the Bahamas (non BonaResponds trip) has me convinced that there are many many opportunities to work with Enactus on projects near and far.  Here is a podcast of my talk with student leaders after the trip:
  13. Last and my no means least....upcoming trips. I had hoped to announce a major 10th year reunion trip this year, but I do not think it will happen.  We may go to New Orleans (spoke yesterday with Habitat that has jobs there), but getting a large number of alumni there MAY be difficult.  So, mark down the first week in March and stay tuned.  We will try to go somewhere.  Also get your passport!  POSSIBLE trip after graduation: Jamaica or Costa Rica.  POSSIBLE--cost will be about $1000 each.  Alternatively, some (a small number) could join me for a likely NON approved trip to Haiti.  

Thanks again everyone!  


Key dates:
Wed. Feb 17: Poverty Inc viewing on campus
First week of March: Spring Break Trip
April 9-10: International Service Weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 is coming to SBU!

From the BonaResponds page:

All too often charity does not work. While after a disaster handouts are sometimes needed and temporary handouts are needed in some circumstances for education, health, and other needs, what is more often needed is structural change.

As a society, we need to rethink our efforts and make is so our assistance is not just based on free "things". The poor need "hand-ups", not just "hand-outs".

Because of this, we are THRILLED to announce a February 17th showing of Poverty, Inc. on the St. Bonaventure Campus. It is a documentary you do not want to miss.

And before we anger those who do give, we will stress that this is not saying that charity does not work. This is saying that there is no single magic bullet to fight poverty and that actions (even well-intentioned actions) often have unintended consequences. For instance: giving away food may put local farmers out of business. For instance, free shoes may put the cobbler out of business.

There is a time for handouts, but that time is temporary. We need to work to make the longer-term structural changes (better education, more property rights, better legal protections) that enable the poor to use their own skills to make their lives better not just now, but for generations to come.

This award winning movie dives into the economics of poverty and what works and what does not work.

Co-Sponsored by BonaResponds, St. Bonaventure University Enactus, and The Pacioli Scholar Program this will be a movie that you never forget.
Who should come? You should. Or at least, you should come if you care about the poor and want to make things better in the long run, and are not just looking for quick, feel-good, band-aids for a deep wound.

Teachers: bring your class (extra credit?): Economics, Sociology, Theology, International Business, Political Science, and others.

Open to the public.
There will be much more on this on our blog and made available for discussions before and after the Wed February 17th 7 pm showing (in the Dresser Aud in Murphy)