How is Hermandad financed?
Hermandad is generally supported by voluntary contributions. Hermandad while modest in size, traditionally has had a broad base of support. Our primary source of funding is from private and public institutions and individual contributions of friends who are committed to helping low-income peoples overseas.
While these sources are not as plentiful as during the years of the Alliance for Progress in Latin America, they have come from the U.S., Canadian, and Japanese governments, the United Nations World Food Program , the European Union, and the government of the Dominican Republic. Corporations such as GTE, Oxford Resources, Chase Bank, Sara Lee, American Airlines, Dominican-American Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, Rotary International, the International Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Riverside Church, and Knights of Columbus, The Sisters of Charity of Nova Scotia, and Fund For The Poor, Inc. have supported these efforts.
Project profiles and grant proposals are developed and submitted to funding sources, and if approved, projects are implemented, monitored, and evaluated, and the lessons learned are integrated into our ongoing programs.
We are results orientated, yet respect the cultures in which we are working. We assess with the rural peoples their needs and work with them to meet these needs if they are within our competencies. Networking with other groups and agencies at the grassroots level and in the U.S. and Canada which complement our activities is a high priority for us. Project related income to sustain village projects into the future are built into our activities as are revolving loan funds, seed banks, and loan programs of building materials. These reinforce the self-help nature of our programs and encourage low-income farmers towards self-reliance.
What is sustainable development?
Sustainable development for Hermandad is achieved by offering the poor communities we serve with opportunities for growth and improvement, even after direct assistance is discontinued. Projects are seen as a means of people gaining self-esteem, self-reliance and a better standard of living. This long-term ideal implies ready access to human, technical and financial resources. Only then is development sustainable.
For Hermandad, a clear example of this sort of future-directed development was its participation in the formation of Al Campo. Al Campo is a multi-community Dominican non-profit group formed to address shared issues of health and prosperity in the poor regions Hermandad has served. Click here for more on Al Campo.
Why overseas development? Don’t we have enough problems in our own country?
This is probably the most difficult but most important question that one can ask about this work. We could say; “charity begins at home but most certainly does not end there”. We could also say; “overseas development leads eventually to foreign trade thus helping the U.S. and global economy”. It would also be true to respond; “unless we help people where they live, our boarders will continue to be over run by undocumented immigrants justly searching for opportunities to make a better life”.
We personally feel all these are valid responses in our self-interest but there is an additional reason which we have not forgotten; the promise the US government made to Latin America and the rest of the developing world in the person of its President, John Kennedy, at his first inaugural address and later when the Alliance for Progress was set up to assist Latin American development beginning in the 1960’s. “To those people living in the huts and village of half the globe striving to break the bonds of mass misery, we (the US) pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves for whatever period is required. Not because the “communists” are doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right.”
To further paraphrase President Kennedy – this is truly God’s work on earth, which we have freely chosen to make our own. While we have forgotten this promise in our time, rest assured it has not been forgotten in the minds and hearts of the poor of Latin America and the Caribbean nor can it be when you face poverty, hunger and disease on a daily basis.
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