Small Grants Giant Outcomes

 

 

It doesn’t take a million dollar grant to deliver incredible change. It just takes you.

Orchid never set out to raise a lot of money and it was born of a simple creed: “Give away all the money raised and follow the gift into the hand of the needy”. That principal has never changed and the outcomes of that simple philosophy have surpassed even our wildest imagination. Every year we participate in programs brought to us by familiar and new philanthropic missions around the world as  well as here in the U.S. all of which are focused on making the lives of people in great need a little better. The focus can be on many challenges including education, healthcare, housing, Christian outreach, job creation, hunger alleviation, poverty remediation or in the case of Experiment Albania’s recent reaction to flooding in Albania, disaster relief.

The recent $500.00 grant that was sent to help a community in Albania was nothing in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars distributed by well established and critically important large charitable organizations around the world but I would argue it’s impact was just as significant. The reason  is that it was focused on a challenge no one else noticed and on families who’s lives are just as important as anyone’s on the planet including our own. Thanks to Orchid supporters like you those lives were made a little better and those familes are feeling a weight lifted off their shoulders. For them we might as well be “World Vision”.

What that money purchased was simple and re-cycled:

Second hand furniture (chairs, couches, PC, TV, mattresses, wardrobe) and Clothes (scarfs, gloves & hats) and some Christmas presents for the children of the affected community.

It proves that next to nothing can amount to next to everything and that not unlike the five loaves and two fish its a story of compassion for a people we don’t know but whom we should care deeply about and be determined to share a little of what we have with.

 

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What would you do with 2.3 Million Dollars a Day?

 

Reprinted from Len Morris and Media Voices for Children

Imagine a sudden windfall. You wake up one morning and have the power to distribute $2.3 million dollars a day in charitable donations in your own hometown. Through your newfound philanthropy, you can help people access health care, feed the hungry, house the homeless, support community non-profits. The choices are limitless and they are yours to make.

BUT WHY EXACTLY $ 2.3 MILLION A DAY?

Because, according to Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsive Politics, that’s the amount the financial sector has spent every day from January 2015 to June 2016 on lobbying Congress and on campaign contributions. In all, the financial industry has spent a remarkable $667 million dollars on lobbying and influence peddling in Washington over the past fourteen months while contributing over $798 million dollars to politicians’ campaign coffers, an astounding 1.4 billion dollars spent to influence laws and regulations that will preserve their position at the top of the American economy, that breaks down to $2.3 million dollars a day spent to employ almost 1900 registered lobbyists to protect the status quo and give finance the upper hand in public policy.

I can assure you, America’s financiers aren’t spending money on lobbyists to help improve the lives of American citizens, but in a massive effort to weaken or repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform act of 2008. Without this law and the regulation it imposes, they can and will continue to take unreasonable risks with depositor’s money and if they fail, as they did during the financial crisis, they will once again turn to taxpayers pick up the tab. The last time that occurred, the bailout cost over 16 trillion dollars and the crisis wiped out millions of jobs, the retirements of tens of millions of people, generated record home foreclosures and small business failures, while taking the global economy to the brink of free-fall. Even today, a billion people continue to live in poverty having never recovered from a crisis manufactured by the unregulated greed of the financial sector. 400 million of those are children.

Now, almost ten years later, the financial sector continues to pay its executives outsized fees, salaries and bonuses and is using lobbyists to manipulate and game the system to escape paying their fair share of taxes.

Do you remember an ancient TV show from the 1950’s called The Millionaire? It was among the top ten most popular TV shows for 5 years and over 200 episodes, precisely because the Millionaire, an anonymous donor, was generous and changed the lives of every-day people.

The idea was simple. The Millionaire, whose face we never saw, anonymously gave a million dollars to working people, like the local milkman or a striving teacher.  His secretary would present the check on his behalf and we would watch to see how the money transformed the future of the lucky recipients.

As you might expect, not every recipient made good use of the money, a reminder that money is a powerful driver of human nature and can bring out the worst in people. However at the heart of The Millionaire was an appealing premise: wealth has a responsibility to the community which nurtures it and generosity is its own reward. It made for good TV.

But today’s lobbying by the financial sector is starkly real. Just for a moment, imagine you’re the millionaire looking to help others less fortunate and to improve your own hometown.

If it were up to me, I’d scale up housing vouchers and mental health services for veterans. I’d eliminate homelessness by expanding the availability of Section 8 housing vouchers. I’d renovate abandoned property and convert it into supervised halfway houses for mental health and addiction recovery programs. I’d provide food for the 400 families in my community that needed help to feed their children last winter.

I’d move to expand and improve school lunch programs and continue the meals during school vacations, as children eat daily, not just when school is in session.

I’d offer low-cost daycare for working families and student-parents and I’d expand Pre-K education and Head Start programs. I’d assign more social workers as case- workers to help move families from welfare to good jobs and have them work closely with the families to keep track of their progress and help cut red tape. This is actually an idea taken from Paul Ryan’s poverty program.

I’d expand programs in the arts from kindergarten through high school, support Special Olympics and special needs programs. Where I live, there’s a marvelous program that helps disabled children take riding lessons with amazing, transformative results!

It’s cold where I live and the cost of heating oil is the highest in the country, so I would offer heating assistance to those that qualify by income. I’d make health care more accessible with more clinics, no co-pays, particularly affordable dental and eye care and I’d screen all school-age children for hearing and vision issues. I’d expand meals on wheels and offer home health aides and nursing services at reasonable and subsidized prices to those with medical conditions that confine them at home.

I’d want the programs I fund to be run by local people and organizations that live in and understand my community and I’d expect them to work closely with our state and federal governments.

Unfortunately, the financial sector isn’t going to voluntarily fund social work at this level. They’d rather spend the money on a lobbyist or to curry favor with a politician, so rather than wait for them to do the right thing, I support the idea of a tiny tax on financial transactions, which would reduce empty speculation and trading that doesn’t benefit anyone in the real economy.

A tiny tax on all forms of financial transactions would be paid primarily by the 10% who own or control 80% of the American economy. It would tax all forms of financial transactions at miniscule rates, but, given the size of the American economy, the amount of money that would be generated would be tens of billions of dollars that could then be invested in ourselves: our children, parents, students, neighbors – our communities.

We don’t have to imagine $2.3 million a day, we could actually make it happen.

A financial transaction tax is a simple, tested and progressive mechanism for raising revenues to meet the chronically under-funded needs across our country.

Let’s give the U.S. financial sector the chance it richly deserves to do its fair share.

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Our School in Jaipur is nearly Finished.

You have made tremendous progress since we started in 2012. Once just a flat plain of sand and now a real school making a world of difference. Orchids of Light like you helped drill the well, build the security wall and furnish the building. Now we are only $55K away from finishing phase 2 of the project. The first phase of construction of the Stars of India building was completed in May 2016, and the facility is currently used to run a Christian youth camp for the Bhatt children.  The youth camp is a great success; the children are thrilled and blessed.

  
We can help finish the second phase of construction as soon as we have more Orchids that step up and make a difference. Can you be one of them? It just takes the heart you have and the will of love to make it possible. Here’s what you build:

1.  The basement which will be used for kids indoor games, specifically for times when it will be to hot to play outside.
2. Principals office
3. Staff office
4. Library
5. Rest room attached laundry room.
6. 3 Class rooms

Join me and complete another Orchid project that will stand and transform lives long after we are gone. With God and together we can do all things!

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Giving Tuesday Campaigns

Giving Tuesday starts our 2017

2017 Starts with Giving Tuesday on November 29th. On that day all donations will be shared among three ongoing campaigns. They are:

* Funding for Path of the Heart Children’s school hot lunch program

* “Goats to School” program at Shepherd Hood Ministries in Kenya

* Blankets and Supplies for flood victims at our mission Experiment Albania

Any amount helps and 100% of your donation will be sent to these three missions

Thank You and God Bless

 

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Hoping for a flood of love for Mahanaim

It’s easy to see why our dear friend Milton Torres and Mahanaim Barranquilla has reached out to Orchid this month for help. The mission is literally underwater. It happens every time the rainy season arrives here on the north west coast of Colombia in Barranquilla. When it floods here the buildings become virtually useless as most have earthen floors and even the ones that don’t are impossible to work in. I witnessed this first hand in 2011 and now Milton has reached out and asked for our help to complete the work we began in 2016. Milton writes:

Dearly beloved brothers, Rich, family and Orchids of Light Foundation.
May the Lord continue working His favor with much grace, love and mercy upon each of you, your family and activities.
Dear brother, thank you very much for your attention to our reports and requests, thanks for letting us touch your open door. That is a very big blessing for us. The Lord listens to you as you listen to us. Thank you!!! God allows us to honor each person in some way through the support of his right hand. Thank you!!!
We know that the budget is high, but it is what it takes to finish raising the infrastructure of the institution in the area that is affected by the entry of rain water during each rainy season.Our request is now urgent and we hope Orchids can help.
Brothers and Sisters of Orchid, your help and support and your desire for us is a miracle that we know comes from the hand of God through you.
I thank God, for your generosity towards us and I know that no contribution is small and that all add up to a total of great importance and each comes from prayer to material assistance.

The love that we have already professed feeds us. Thank you!!!

We love you very much!

Milton

The total cost that remains to raise all the buildings above flood level is only $5000.00. Here in the U.S. it would cost ten times that amount. Orchid needs your help to end  the flooding at this most amazing mission. Will you join with us and help send a flood of love and relief to Mahanaim and be the answer to their prayers for assistance? 

Thank You and God Bless

Rich and The Orchids of Light

 

 

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