Over the past few months, there seems to be a string of corruption reports or mismanaged money from large organizations, ranging from the FIFA officials accepting bribes, the Clinton’s getting $500,000 for speaking engagement fees from non-profit fundraisers, and the reports of the American Red Cross receiving $500 million dollars for earthquake aid with many questions as to where it was spent. (To see that article, click here) In light of this information, I wanted to openly share with all of you how Many Hands for Haiti spends its money, as everyone needs to be aware of how dollars are spent.
Over the past years, we have worked hard to do some “out-of-the-box” thinking to cover our costs, to ensure as much money as possible can go to helping people make God real in a broken world. We have so many wonderful volunteers who give their time, dedication, and servant-hearts to our organization. From January 2015 through June 11, 2015, we have had over 10,000 hours of volunteer time given to us. Simply amazing, as it gives me and our staff strength to keep going. So with that, I want to make sure we give everyone all the information they need to keep giving and serving well, knowing that the organization you are supporting is doing all it can to make God real in a broken world.
MH4H Financials It was with great joy that I recently received our 2014 990 tax return, which details out all of our income, expenses, and administrative costs. In that, I was very happy to see that Many Hands for Haiti had an administrative cost percentage of only 6.5%, which is unheard of for an organization our size. What that means – for every $1.00 given to Many Hands for Haiti, $0.935 of that dollar goes towards programs that help make God real in a broken world. The benchmark for administrative costs for non-profits is 33%. World Vision, for example, has an administrative cost of 15%. The American Cancer Society has an administrative cost of 41%. I am not pointing out these examples to cast negativity towards those organization, rather to give you a benchmark of how crazy low our number is. With that said, we do know we need to spend more on administrative costs in the years to come, as we are growing and this growth cannot be maintained with the current staff. We have to add people, as we are all stretched way too thin for sustainability.
Now, onto this current year’s financials. For year to date 2015 (June 11, 2015), MH4H has received $443,438 in donations and gifts-in-kind. We’ve sent $252,882 in cash into Haiti to be used for various projects in farming, education, spiritual development, medical, sewing programs, and home rebuilds/cement floors. As well, this pays our Haitian staff in Haiti. We detail later in this email what has been accomplished this year with this money. We’ve received $111,727 of gifts-in-kind, all of which are in Haiti. A majority of this is food, of which is given to families, schools to feed children, and an orphanage. We also run mission teams from the US and this is part of our overall mission. We’ve spent $108,136 on airlines, hotels, trip insurance, and vehicles for teams, which is a hard cost we can do nothing about and it is part of the programs. We’ve paid $75,605 in salaries for MH4H staff. I, Tim Brand, raise my own salary and the people who give towards that are doing so willingly. Christi and Craig Gabhart raise their entire salary and people are giving directly towards that – and all their time is spent in Haiti leading and directing our programs. All the Many Hands Market salaries get paid from the money they raise at the store. Sara Anderson’s time is 100% dedicated to our education programs and those programs don’t happen without that position. The Mango Tree runs completely separate, with it being supported by itself. The new start up Mango Tree store in Oskaloosa came from its own business resources, not from money donated to Many Hands for Haiti. We’ve purchased $35,000 worth of Haitian goods to resell at our stores, which provides jobs to many Haitians. You should hear the stories from our Haitian business partners on what this provides to the people. We’ve also given $6,000 to local non-profits and people in the Spencer area. As you can see, for year-to-date we are spending more money right now than we are taking in as an organization. And that is okay, as we’ve been blessed to do so, with reserves and money given previously that now can be deployed with confidence in Haiti.
Color Blast Truck One of the more visible projects and questions we get is, “Where is the truck that we helped fundraise for with the Color Blast last year?” This is one that I want to address publicly. Last year, the Color Blast ended up raising just short of $10,000 when expenses came out. This amount was a wonderful amount and it beat our expectations for the event. The truck we were looking at in Haiti was around $45,000, so we were well short of that number to purchase that truck outright from this event alone. But, the bigger reason we didn’t move forward with purchasing, is we determined that owning a truck is not the best use of our resources. In the past, the truck has been a major point of friction among the staff, as it became a status symbol for Haitian staff workers rather than a tool used to glorify God. It also became an easy target for fraudulent expenses by staff members, as they would “get gas” or “fix the truck”, when in reality, they were pocketing the money. Those staff members are no longer part of MH4H, but we want to keep this from happening in the future. For the time being, we (myself, board, staff) all believe the best use of our resources is to rent trucks from locals, that way we don’t have to have the problems with 1) staff status symbols of who gets to use it 2) fraudulent charges and falsified expense reports and 3) repairs, insurance, and maintenance in a foreign country, where organizations typically get taken advantage of by people who fix vehicles. We feel confident that the money raised for a “truck” is going towards vehicle use, but just in a better, more efficient way than owning a vehicle.
A snapshot of what we’ve done in 2015 Now, here is a small snapshot of what God has done through our organization in 2015:
- Paid for all expenses incurred for 300 children to go to school with 4 different primary schools
- Gave 360 backpacks, of which 110 were filled with school supplies, to school children at two schools
- Supported numerous VBS and after school programs
- Feed over 750,000+ meals to school children, families, orphans, and hospital patients
- Conducted pastor training for 21 “bush” pastors, who do not typically receive training
- Countless prayers with families, in their homes or at the hospital
- Daily devotions and time of prayer with our staff
- Conducted 2 day leadership and spiritual training with 75 Haitian leaders
- Financially supported Valiant Women’s program for 100+ women
- Hosted an afternoon healing prayer ministry time
- Gave away 20 Bibles and Creole songbooks
- Purchased motorcycle for remote pastor work, given to local congregation
- Planted 1,300 banana trees for farming purposes, using and paying local labor
- Planted 14 gardens in homes, for families to harvest and benefit
- Purchased and distributed 20 female goats to families
- Drilled 140 foot clean water well, to supply needed water to farming initiatives and community
- Installed 21 cement floors in home around Pignon
- Rebuilt 5 homes for homeless or needy families
- Dug and built 1 latrine for a family
- Paid for little girl to receive medical treatment for cancer
- Lined up and paid for special needs child to receive physical therapy
- Paid numerous children’s bills at the hospital to receive medical attention
- Graduated 20 women through Sewing Hope program
- Given away numerous cloth diaper, sewn through our Bundled Bottoms program
- Purchased $35,000 worth of Haitian goods to resell in the U.S.
- Purchased 4+ acres of ground, to be used for educational and agronomy programs
- Purchased and moved 2 shipping containers, to store food for feeding programs
- Purchased 3 motorcycles, to be used by staff to perform ministry work
- Sent 143 short-term trip members to cross-cultural serve in Haiti
- Given $6,000 away to local families and non-profits
We don’t say any of these things to pat ourselves on the back, but rather to show that money can be spent wisely in Haiti. It isn’t a lost cause, but it does matter which organization to support. There are also other good organizations doing great work in Haiti. We continue to be extremely humbled by the generosity and support we receive from individuals, families, churches, corporations, and institutions from around the country. May God continue to bless you as you bless others. And ALL this is only a result of God’s anointing with our work. For we can only do things through Christ who gives us strength. In Him, Tim Brand Executive Leader, Many Hands for Haiti