Charitable Giving: Giving Back This Holiday Season
Editor’s Note: Longtime readers know that Wealthy Retirement and its publisher, The Oxford Club, take investing seriously…
But we don’t believe it’s all about stocks, bonds and options.
In fact, often, the most valuable investments you can make are the ones you make in your community.
So today, we’re featuring an update from former Oxford Club CEO and Executive Publisher Julia Guth. In it, she talks about her passion project: The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic in southwest Nicaragua.
Southwest Nicaragua is a place of tremendous beauty, but sadly, it is less developed than its surrounding areas, with about 35% of its residents living on less than $5.50 a day.
This widespread poverty is one of the reasons Julia co-founded The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic back in 2004. It’s located near an award-winning resort and development, Rancho Santana, where many Wealthy Retirement readers and Oxford Club Members own homes and vacation.
The Clinic plays a critical role in helping the communities of the southwestern coastal region. It provides the only emergency response service in these remote areas, and it is a lifeline for thousands of patients.
It’s this time of year – when we’re taking stock of our own blessings – that we need to reach out to help others.
Please take a moment to read Julia’s update on the Clinic below, and if you feel so inclined, please consider donating HERE.
– Rachel Gearhart, Publisher
In 2004, I founded a unique organization located in the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
This charitable organization – The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic – is a model, gold star nonprofit supporting hundreds of families living in impoverished, rural areas of southwestern Nicaragua.
Our professional and highly resourceful teams have a positive impact on countless Nicaraguans in need – and they do it with a super-low annual budget.
I challenge anyone working in health centers around the world
to make the kind of impact
our team does working with so little…
Consider that we run a team of 28 full-time and part-time professionals, including four doctors, five nurses, two ambulance technicians, visiting specialists, a diabetes counselor, a program director, nutritional experts, two pharmacists and an accountant…
The members of our team operate a medical facility 24/7 that also provides clean water filtration and distribution, medicine storage, community organic gardens, education, and outreach clinics.
Plus, the Clinic operates the only emergency response service in the region and is well equipped to navigate the steep dirt roads throughout the area.
And the Clinic does it with a total budget of less than $680,000 a year!
This team is blessed to have the oversight of two outstanding professionals…
Dr. Hazel Ruiz, fluent in English and Spanish, is the first doctor in her family. After graduating from medical school, she started at the Clinic as a clinical physician. She was promoted to Chief Medical Director for the Clinic in 2015. She founded the Clinic’s Diabetes Club to educate and support those in the community suffering from the disease.
Dr. Gokhan Mamur (“Dr. Han”) is an esteemed pediatrician who has served as the medical coordinator for the U.S. president and the secretary of state. He has worked in Level IV neonatal intensive care units, helping major global development organizations and fragile communities around the world. He joined the Clinic as our CEO earlier this year.
Our dedicated Clinic team sees an average of 20,000 patients a year. The team provides emergency response and pediatric care and treats respiratory illnesses, heart issues and much more. We supply an average of 14,340 gallons of water a year to schools, and we support over 5,000 people a year with health, education and nutrition.
I hope you agree…
It is an amazing accomplishment
to be able to help so many
with so little.
Given the mounting need in this part of Central America and the experience of our reliable team, there is so much more the team could do if it had more funds.
Recently, the Nicaraguan team presented the board of directors with inspiring, thoughtful plans for more equipment and expanded services.
But we can’t make it happen without more funding. Any amount you can donate today will go directly toward the team and our programs, helping families in the region improve their health and well-being.
But right now, what is at the top of our team members’ wish lists is getting their Clinic home – the main facility where they travel to work each day – in respectable shape again.
Our Clinic buildings are in very poor condition, having taken the brunt of several major hurricanes and tropical depressions. The roof and walls of this “safe harbor” for many in the region have been devastated by the wind and rain.
Right now, we are seeking funds to help repair, fortify and modernize our Clinic facility.
Urgently, we need $20,000 to fund the new plan’s Stage One… the repair stage.
And we’ll need another $100,000 in a capital campaign to fund Stage Two: modernizing our facilities with new beds, X-ray and ultrasound equipment, and storage facilities for medicines.
And we always need more funds to continue supporting our high-quality, professional team and healthy living programs.
Most families who live in this region reside in far-from-ideal conditions. They share two-room tin shacks – often without clean water – and live on dirt roads, which result in a lot of dust and mud. Many have chronic health problems as well, like diabetes, heart conditions, obesity and asthma.
The Clinic has come a long way over the past two decades. Beyond providing urgent and preventive care to the community, we also have programs to engage families in healthy eating. As part of these programs, families participate in community gardens and receive nutritional education. We distribute clean water and take our team on outreach programs to hard-to-access areas to distribute medicine and conduct health exams. We also provide children with uniforms, backpacks and nutritional packs, which help them stay in school.
Many kids in the surrounding 15 Nicaraguan townships don’t go to school past the sixth grade, and some don’t go at all. Young people in Nicaragua are lucky if they can get on a career path that takes them beyond doing manual labor for very little income.
Yet recently, thanks to generous donors, not only have we been able to motivate and support 61 kids to stay in school, but we have 48 in university, with four recent graduates!
There is much need around the world begging for our attention and financial support. I am pleading with you today to not forget what is happening in the Americas… in our own backyards.
The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic is a proven nonprofit that so many rely on to better their lives and strengthen their own local communities.
Our team knows that every cent employed to operate the Clinic comes from the generosity of donors. Our team members feel a deep sense of responsibility to be there for their neighbors, as they have been through many crises… including the pandemic.
I am so proud of these professional Nicaraguans and the community leaders who work closely with the Clinic.
They really deserve more.
They desperately need funds immediately to improve the Clinic’s home base. This is a well-located, safe-haven facility that has stood the test of countless storms and flooding, as well as general wear and tear. The time has come for us to help them fix and update the Clinic facility – a place of refuge, recovery, aid and pride.
But lots of work needs done, and that costs a lot of money – especially now that inflation has ravaged the economy there.
Today I’m asking you to help save the Clinic’s “home”… to better someone’s health in this wonderful (yet poor) region of the world. You can help so easily with your donation.
By donating today to our Roberto Clemente Health Clinic, you will help fund the repairs and renovations of the Clinic, as well as the Clinic’s programs and personnel.
We’re looking to raise at least $20,000 to help in Stage One of our building funding, and The Oxford Club has graciously offered to match donations up to this amount, with a matching deadline of December 31.
Let me give you a few more real-life examples of how our Clinic uses your contributions to have a direct and exponentially life-enhancing impact on families…
- A little boy named Andy came down with serious pneumonia. His family contacted the Clinic during the night, distraught by his poor breathing. They live in a remote neighborhood on a notoriously bad road – made even more dangerous because of the rainy season. The family did not have their own vehicle. Our team, in our emergency response vehicle, was able to get there through the mud, traveling over 9 miles on this almost impassable road. The team was able to stabilize him and get him to a hospital.
- Dave Fessler, my former colleague, was visiting Nicaragua. His life was saved after a serious surfing incident. He wrote me, “I’m most thankful for this small medical clinic in the southwest corner of Nicaragua. The Clinic’s emergency vehicle transported me from the beach to their facility. There, the staff administered intravenous fluids and other procedures consistent with a spinal cord injury. Were it not for their quick actions and for them following proper protocols, I wouldn’t be able to write you today.”
Now that same facility that helped stabilize Dave and prepare him for a medevac is worn out and in need of dire repair, as the photos in this letter show.
We have the plan and the budget; we just badly need the funds. And as I’ve mentioned, our annual budget is amazingly small for what this team accomplishes.
But now it’s no longer enough.
As our Dr. Norlan Villareal said…
The restoration and expansion of the infrastructure of The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic is very important given that it provides us with greater protection against natural disasters. It gives us security to continue providing medical care in the event of hurricanes and earthquakes, since we live in a region at high risk of floods, storms and earthquakes. It is also important since it provides security and spaces for coexistence with patients. In times of rain and drought, patients sometimes have to wait in areas under a tent where there is no comfort or safety.
Here is another especially moving example, this one from Program Coordinator Enmanuel, of how donations are used and critically needed to sustain our programs.
Renaldi Mora Peña is 7 years old. He lives in the Cuascoto community with his parents. He has two brothers and one sister. He was born with congenital health problems – chronic gastric reflux and brachial plexus palsy. He was included in the Padrino Program when he was a 1-year-old, and the Clinic has supported him with his medical needs thanks to the help of a generous donor. We have provided vitality and high-quality medical attention, as well as educational and nutritional support through the years. Renaldi has improved his life. He is a fun and active little boy full of dreams. Currently he is in first grade in elementary school.
I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting the communities of this region of Nicaragua. They so badly want to have a healthier life. And many do, thanks to help from The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic.
A tremendous amount of change has happened since we opened our doors in 2004.
- Schools are getting clean water.
- Kids are going to schools when they previously could not (because they didn’t have uniforms, backpacks or shoes).
- Medicines are getting to families who live in remote areas and normally can’t access a clinic.
- Emergency services are available 24/7 in an area with no nearby hospital.
- Families are learning how to grow their own food.
- Senior citizens are learning how to manage their diabetes and heart conditions.
There is much more we could be doing, with your support. All our programs would be expanded to cover more families, and our building and equipment would be upgraded, allowing us to provide better pediatric and diagnostic care.
I’m asking you… please, in this giving season, with all the trouble in the world today…
Please keep this impoverished, fragile region so close to us in your heart and mind. Please consider The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic as one of your supported charities.
We are a donor-supported 501(c)(3) incorporated in Maryland, so your donation is 100% tax-deductible. We’ve become an integral part of why the people in this part of Nicaragua continue to strive for a better life.
I couldn’t be prouder of our Clinic team. Our team members deserve a better facility and equipment. So does our Nicaraguan community.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update on our Clinic. Your donations will be used efficiently and professionally, going where they are needed most. You can make a positive and life-changing impact in this region right now.
My best to you in these times,
Julia C. Guth
Chair of the Board
The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic
P.S. A reminder that the deadline to get your donation matched is December 31, 2023. The Oxford Club is providing matching funds of up to $20,000 for this giving season. Please donate soon so your donation qualifies for this 100% match.
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