International Community Foundation Working In Baja California Sur

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Many of the expats who have chosen La Paz as our part-time or full-time home are eager to give back to our adopted community. But we don’t always know where to start.

Fortunately, the International Community Foundation (ICF) has over 25 years of experience serving as a bridge between donors and over 70 Mexican nonprofit organizations working to make our region more healthy, stable, and sustainable. ICF’s expert Program Officers work directly with local leaders and organizations doing environment, education, health, and community development work. Together they assess and identify the most pressing needs and identify strategic solutions. Then they pursue and channel funding for these important causes.

For U.S. donors, ICF has a comprehensive perspective of the philanthropic field and will work with you to discuss your interests and passion, and connect you with a local organization working to achieve those goals. When gaps are identified, ICF has also invested in new initiatives and incubation of organizations, thanks to their generous donors. In short, ICF helps to ensure that your donations are being used effectively and for the causes that you care about.

The grey whales have arrived earlier than normal and are already in good numbers at Bahia Magdalena and we’re already running day trips to get on the water with them!ICF not only serves as a philanthropic advisor, but also helps to foster personal relationships between donors and grantees, so that you can receive reports about, and even witness, the impact of your donations. For example, from March 27-31st, 2017, ICF will be leading an exclusive excursion to Laguna San Ignacio, where participants will meet the leading conservation and whale experts who founded the Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance, which successfully protected this region in perpetuity to ensure it remains a pristine habitat and birthing place of the gray whales. Contact Eliza Brennan to join this tour at: eliza@icfdn.org.

ICF also supports donors interested in organizing and hosting fundraising events in Baja, which is a unique and impactful way to build community with like-minded neighbors. In November 2016, ICF Board Member Jackie Meyer, hosted a reception at her residence in La Paz to showcase the important work being done by Centro Mujeres, a local nonprofit which has been advocating for women and human rights in Baja California Sur for over 20 years. Centro Mujeres was founded in La Paz in 1994, in response to the unmet community health needs and human rights violations against women and youth, offering counseling, family planning, HIV/AIDS education, and reproductive rights education. Today, the organization advocates for policy reform, embarks on public awareness campaigns, and continues to offer services directly to women, youth and migrant workers in order to improve the quality of life for all.

Meyer opened the event at her home with the following message, “Many of us from the United States and Canada take for granted our human rights, especially when it comes to our health. Sadly you will hear today how many of those rights are not fully protected here in Mexico.” The two founding co-directors of Centro Mujeres, Teresa Shields and Monica Jasis were present to share the history of Centro Mujeres, but the highlight of the event was the moving presentation by a program participant who is a survivor of domestic violence and has successfully turned her life around thanks in large part to Centro Mujeres’ programs. Centro Mujeres has also played an important role in changing policy and legislation in Baja California Sur, through various activities such as educating newly-elected lawmakers, which ultimately resulted in the April 2016 reform of the state penal code and penal procedures code, as well as the passage of the state “Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence”, guaranteeing immediate protection orders for women and children who are victims of violence. Recently, Centro Mujeres has been leading a public awareness campaign through radio and social media to inform women about their rights and ensure that the legal reforms are fully implemented. For more information or to donate visit: http://proaci.org/.

This is just one of many critical issues that ICF is addressing through its donors and partners on the ground. By inviting her neighbors and other fellow Pazeños to a casual evening reception, Meyer was able to do her small part to foster meaningful giving while also raising awareness and inspiring change in her beloved La Paz community. To get involved with ICF and their other local partners visit: www.icfdn.org.

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