We all know that 2020 brought situations and events that we did not expect. Everyone had to adapt in some way to staying at home more, changing plans, virtual school, wearing a mask, etc. For non-profits, The Council of Nonprofits provides this list of links from each U.S. state with information about how the pandemic is affecting nonprofits. Virginia’s link shows that an average of 68% of nonprofits in the state were experiencing or anticipated a decrease in donations, earned revenue, and long term financial stability. We share Virginia’s link because Project Esperanza is registered with the state of Virginia.
Amazingly, the opposite has been true for Project Esperanza. The bar graph below shows our gross income over the past 10 years. The numbers slightly differ from our 990 IRS reports available at GuideStar because our tax year runs from October to September, whereas this graph reflects the calendar year.
What is even more remarkable is that since 2014, 20-35% of our income has come from the volunteer program. The volunteer program was basically non-existent in 2020, making our successful income even more amazing.
In summary, here are some of the achievements we have made this year. We have:
- Provided our students’ families with four hearty food distributions, helping them to get through the challenges of the pandemic.
- Provided the opportunity for each of our students to ride a horse as part of an educational farm summer camp led in small groups. This has turned out to be an amazing reward motivation, something we’ve been experimenting with for years in an attempt to raise standards and motivate better attendance and higher achievement.
- Provided a severance to teachers and employees who we did not have work for during a period of months.
- Developed and printed new learning materials and implemented a strategy to allow for individualized education plans, specifically in math and reading.
- Fundraised to pay a downpayment of $38,000 US on a building for Colegio Costambar, which is where we send our top students to high school. We have also been able to help in renovating the building. This was an incredible team effort all around!
- Started a small computer lab at the school in the Padre Granero school and have introduced our students to online learning, computers, and computer science. This is something we are excited to grow on!
- Divided Padre Granero students into morning and afternoon sections, providing special attention for our overage students in the afternoon. (Afternoon school has been put on hold due to covid.)
- Renovated the Padre Granero school quite a bit, redoing the roof which was rotting and leaking, redid the kitchen, divided classrooms up to the ceiling for better noise blockage, installed ceiling fans, and more!
- Provided the Padre Granero school with new desks for students and teachers!
- We are in the process of improving the sanitation at the group home, building a septic tank and bathroom with flushing toilets, as a human compost toilet has been utilized since 2016 when we built.
- In addition to continued commitment to the youth and young adults in our care, (young adults bridging to independence), we have taken responsibility for a newborn baby (now 3 months old) who was saved by one of our previous group home members.
- Partially fundraised for a necessary surgery for one of our previous group home members. This fundraiser is still in progress.
- Helped pay for the emergency knee surgery of one of our teachers’ sons.
- Provided documentation support for some of our beneficiaries. This is also still in progress.
- Became one of less than a handful of schools functioning in person during the 2020-2021 school year in Puerto Plata, with students attending between 2 and 5 times per week.
- Provided support to a school in Haiti. This school is impressive but has large needs and we are so pleased to have been able to provide some support to them this year!
Wow! It’s exciting to reflect on all of 2020’s blessings. On a final note, 42% of our 2020 income came from a series of donations from one person who first got involved with Project Esperanza volunteering in late 2019!! She is a Canadian woman who wishes to remain anonymous. She gave at this level without even the absolute security of a tax deduction, as we are still in the process of registering as a charity in Canada. Although she wishes that her name remain anonymous, she does want one name to be celebrated and receive the honor for this wonderful news. That name is Jesus Christ.