Charities OK despite economy

| 31/07/2014

(CNS): Despite the downturn in the world economy over the past six years, some charities in the Cayman Islands are thriving. Apart from community spirit and corporate citizenship, certain factors seem to determine whether charities do well in Cayman, with the overwhelming cause for donor loyalty is a relationship to the cause. For instance, cancer charities reported seeing an increase in funding and donations during the past several years and Victoria Grey of the Cancer Society beleives this is because everyone knows of someone or has been directly affected by cancer.

“As it relates to donations, we cannot say that we have seen a drop and actually we find that more people are donating. Having said that, I really do feel it is because of the cause,” she said. She explained that in her opinion the public is responding to the disease and its indiscriminate onslaught on humanity in recent times.

“Just as an example, with regard to how people are being affected, in the last five or six months, we have been seeing younger and younger patients, especially with breast cancer. And it seems the younger the person, the more aggressive the cancer.”

She pointed out that it has become more important than ever to get screening, which costs roughly $150 and explained that some donations are used to avail less fortunate people of these kinds of opportunities.

“When we receive donations, some come with specific instructions. The rest we use to offer pap smear, prostate and stool screening, as well as mammograms to individuals with little to no insurance. There are certain requirements to qualify though and some are undisclosed so that these programmes are not abused.”

At Meals-on-Wheels, which has been serving the indigent and bed-ridden in Cayman for over 17 years, the story was also encouraging, as Beulah McField shared what the last nine months have been like: “I must tell you that last year we were close to closing our doors in September. We were really wondering but in the midst of that, we found that what we were really having was a PR issue because once people knew that we were struggling, the support was overwhelming.”

McField said she felt the operation was now at a place where they could operate with peace-of-mind.

“We have been able to increase our operation’s capacity, as well as improve our facilities in the midst of hardship,” she said, adding that the organization also has a new Board, with new ideas and they are communicating with new people all the time.

“Charity is essential to society’s dignity,” noted McField, who added that it is important to remember those less fortunate and not to assume that a charity is doing well and can do without your support.

At the Rotary Central of Grand Cayman, the story was similar. Immediate Past President Noude Dreyer said, “We are very fortunate in that we have two well established sources of fund raising. The first is the Music Extravaganza, which has taken place for over 18 years now and the public – thankfully – have always supported, though this year, I must say, was the first time we had a little downturn in ticket sales. However, we still cannot complain.”

The other project Rotary Central is responsible for that helps the charities bottom line each year are the bus shelters, which give shelter to commuters on public transport and depict various advertisements for revenue.

“We can continue our work as a result of these two things. In fact, recently we won the two top awards for service in District 720, which includes 10 other countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, BVI and St. Maarten; and that was partly as a result of our fundraising, which in turn allowed us to support many projects,” he said. Dreyer indicated that he was aware, however, that some clubs were having trouble.

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Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There are some folks who receive the Government assistance cheque of about $500 and they have returned to their Country of orign and their cheque goes to an account in Cayman for some friend to collect and forward it to them. Also the seaman hand out. I feel that if they return to their Country then they should not be eligible for it. All of these grants should be looked into, and Immigration can give some assistance as to how long they are out of the Country.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Writer "hooligan" is the correct spelling! The bearer of this title is infact "a ruffian, who are tough or rowdy, and "rowdy" bears the title of being rough, disorderly and noisy".  I think the appropriate word to describe these people are "disorderly" add the word "conduct, now there you are "disorderly conduct" put the two words together, and every country in the world has a right to arrese you for "disorderly conduct".  Which includes, music playing next door that you cannot sleep, on the street the tum tum noise you have to turn off your morning news,  black tinted car glasses that if you are hit by these cars while speeding and on the phone you cannot even trace the vehicle, and please have extra eyes because every taxi bus stop on the main road without indicator, not to mention the black suth puffing into your a/c. I often wonder where are the police when the public needs them, the more jointers to the Force the less service for the public. Oh God! what has happened to Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Just try to remember where you left your meds, and we can work through this together.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am against anything that increases costs for the charities. How is the government going to keep them "honest" with more regulations when it cannot keep its own house in order.

  4. Anonyanmous says:

    This is such a beautiful documentary, it is my wish that all Caymanians will watch this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6I6L8b6mQs

    Have a nice day and much blessings

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is good to hear. However, I feel that every organisation that wishes to receive donations from the public should be registered and produce & publish annual accounts. This should apply accross the range of organisations: churches, charities, sports clubs, etc. These accounts do not have to be audited but simply signed off by EVERY member of the board of that organisation for that year. If they are willing to put their name & signature to the published accounts that will be good enough for me. If something goes wrong then we all know exactly who was responsible. If this production & publishing of accounts is not done then the registration allowing the organisation to collect donations can be removed and we know not to donate.

    If doing this registration process annually is too much then at least every 3 years. The published list of registered charities can simply be on a government website where we can all see and review the signed annual accounts they provided. If any donation or expenditure over $1000 has to be listed individually then we can also keep an eye on issues of illegal activity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn't this already the law for charities? With the exception that the accounts are not made public but submitted to a government office that reviews them? 

  6. Anonymous says:

    To the Chairs of local charities and member-supported organisations:

    Years ago, in a fair experiment, we put together a spreadsheet of all the local charities and member-supported charities and divided our healthy professional dual-income non-tax deductable household philanthropic budget evenly amongst them.  In subsequent years our household and corporate donations have typically only gone to those that were organized and intelligent enough to:

    a) Acknowledge donation – ie. demonstrate signs of life and common courtesy

    b) Add us to their dbase/mailing list – and maintain us beyond the donation year

    c) Invite us to their annual fundraiser so we that maybe we could buy a table and/or give them more money.  Shockingly, many, many did not?!?

    d) Remind us to renew our annual pledge or membership – again, vast majority had not thought to keep track.

    We found that some charities on island are run like private social clubs, rather than as instruments of philanthropy.  Hopefully these groups read this and reassess their priorities. 

    Bravo to all those who thanklessly volunteer their time.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Charities provide the services that would otherwise often be unavailable and need community and corporate support. This is not rocket science.

    There are however an excessive number of charities fighting for a slice of  limited pie in Cayman. The generosity in this country is staggering but with so many hands out, it results in a case of "too little to too few."

    If a charity cannot afford to keep proper books, in some fashion, that are at a moment's notice accessible to a governing body then they should not be allowed to operate. They are taking needed funds from other charities that are willing to make the necessary effort to be transparent.

    Due dilligence should not be up for debate when asking the public for money. If it's too much work to be transparent, then stop asking for donations.

    Charity "burn out" is happening here, as every day, every weekend, we are solicitied for multiple galas, raffle tickets, etc etc. In the end all charitites lose as people get frustrated and annoyed. There used to be some class to fundraising and now it's a free for all. The charities bill will help to resolve the unprofessional chaotic approach to fundraising that has evolved.

    Charities are born out of need and goodness of heart. They do still however need to be treated with smart business practice. People wont keep giving if they don't know where their money is going and that it is being used as it was intended.

     

  8. pmilburn says:

    No mention of the good work the Red Cross is doing?They need the publics support just as the other above mentioned do.All these Charities are vital to the well being of our communities and I encourage everyone to support your favourite one as they all need help.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I was going to comment, but why bother?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad to know the Cancer Society is blooming dispite the low flow in the economy. I wish I could do more for this worthy cause. Who knows who is next to need help for a family member during those sad times. I deeply feel the Humane and Cancer Societies are two organisations that should be supported by the entire island.  I also think there should be yearly accountability and checks and balances should be made known to the public. Surprisingly, I have never seen a headline wherein a church has donated to either of these two organisations. Every corner in Cayman is a church, every roadside someone is selling fruits/plants etc. Isn't this illegal? Do these individuals have a Trade and Busness license to operate on the shouder of the government roads? I heard New York just passed a law that no more churches are being built in the Bronx, these same set of people do the same in Cayman and the government is giving a blind eye to this corruption and none of the money stays in the country. Even to the nice neighbourhood in Beach Bay now produce are sold by the road side, what a shame!  When will true bloodied Caymanians take back their country and satisfy with the bear necessataries from a  weekly salary . I am sick and tired of seeing our streets being delappadeted by these 3rd world hologons. Clean up our streets, our roadside, and some yards with old cars and garbage. Bring back Cayman to "the good old days". Thanks and God bless these islands!

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to add redicclious!

    • Anonymous says:

      I too would like to say a big thanks to the cancer Society and Ms Beulah Mc Field for the wonderful help that they are giving to this Country. Also to mention two quiet givers that alot of us do not know about. Namely the Presbytarian Church who for many years has worked with the Youth and also gives out nice meals to the very needy on a weekly basis. Then there is Hurleys whois so generous to the needy likewise. You never see a picture in the papers nor the TV but they do achieve alot. Ms Zoe from the Presbytarian church has been a Lady Theresa in this Country for many years not asking for nothing in return and likewise her sister Ms Kay Kay. May God bless you all.

    • The Bare Necessataries Of Life says:

      "I am sick and tired of seeing our streets being delappadeted by these 3rd world hologons"  Seriously, stick to short Anglo-Saxon words in the future if you are going to vent your prejudices, as then people will just think your are stupid, rather than ingorant, illiterate and stupid as they would after reading this post.  Unless a "hologon" is derived from a sci-fi movie and there are aliens in Cayman. 

      • Anonymous says:

        On the other hand, that high dudgeon rant with all it's errors and attitude gives such a colourful image, I'm saving and memorizing it for future use!

        • Anonymous says:

          "It's errors"?  That is where your credibility fell apart.  Now please come down from your high horse and we can start some junior high grammar classes for you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Too much free cash. Don't give money to any charity that won't open its books to you.

    And beware of charity leaders with new cars. Particularly those that get government grants.

    • Caymanian / says:

      Then what do you want???   Socialism???  Certain things need funding or we will have a crisis in Cayman. Look at the humane society to take care of cats and dogs. Believe or not, if we don't fund, taxpayers will have to be force to ensure environmental health standards. And I think whatever government does, it doesn't do as well as a private entity.

      • Anonymous says:

        An American I presume?

         

        I understand you all believe Socialism is a dirty word…

      • Anonymous says:

        How about placing your expeneses online for some trasparancy. Who knows, if people see that thier money is actually spent on helping people out, and its not just a fun-night for the rich who are ashamed of how much money they make, you might actually increase your funding.

      • Anonyanmous says:

        The Humane society???? a club for expats walking dogs for point to attain PR/Status.  Back in the 1980 and 90s the Humane Society was a place where citizens and residents went with pleasure to assist with animals in need.  God bless those that help without alterior motives. 

         

  12. Charities Bill says:

    Always good news to hear about success in charity, thank you. The proposed Govt Charities Bill has been delayed, but could still spell disaster for local well meaning groups.

    While we agree there needs to be checks and balances and perhaps a watchdog system to insure all charity work is above board and not to fuel terrorism (the stated basis for the Charity Bill in LA) the proposed reporting requirements would force small charities to pay a full time Administrator and submit $$ costly annual audits and that " cost of business" is beyond most groups.  As it stands the Chairty Bill would shut down operations for over 50% of small charities.

    Instead of the mountain coming to Mohammed, and all 100+ charity groups jumping through hoops, why not simple registration with detailed annual paperwork requirements including bank statements and all financials and (1) Govt inspector?  Again, our MLAs are trying to solve a problem of policing philanthropic endeavors with over legislation and over thinking where one decent forensic auditor hired to reviews all registered charities would do?

    Again, thanks for the good news. Nice to hear people are giving and good work is being done!