Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Highlights from NPH USA!

2019 was another fantastic year at NPH USA where, thanks to the support of our dedicated staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors, and donors, there is much to celebrate! See highlights from each region, plus the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital Fund in Haiti, below!

Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region

  • We are so grateful for the continued support of our individual volunteers and ambassadors throughout the MA-NE region, including our Youth Ambassadors group and Associate Board members. As participation of our YA group expands, we have more Youth Ambassadors traveling and creating clubs at their own schools. Growth of our South Shore Youth Ambassadors has flourished at Hingham High School, Milton Academy and Duxbury High School while the initiatives of our North Shore Youth Ambassadors has grown at Beverly High School and Landmark School. In 2019, we also welcomed eight new Associate Board members and celebrated our 5th Annual Pints for Pequeños. The board also planned a new Trivia Night event.
  • In the MA-NE region, we enjoyed visits from pequeños Victor (Dominican Republic) & Jean-Francois (Haiti) who helped us create new relationships in the community and shine light on the accomplishments of our pequeños and the University program.
  • In 2019, thanks to the dedication of new Regional Board member Michelle Lavelle, we were able to expand our outreach into southern Connecticut.Thank you and welcome to the Board, Michelle!
  • Our Hingham, Duxbury, and Wayland councils each worked tirelessly to plan fun and successful events in their communities this past year. We hosted our second annual Trivia Night in Wayland and our third annual Love Without Limits and Oysters for Orphans events! And our annual event, Irish Hearts, was held on April 7 - what made this year unique was that we celebrated its 10th anniversary milestone. Irish Hearts began after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the small country of Haiti. In response to this disaster, the Irish community in Boston took notice, mobilized family, friends, and local business and held the first annual Irish Hearts. Now, in our 10th year, we are so very proud of all we have accomplished.
  • Our homes welcomed more travelers from the MA-NE region this year with fourteen Immersion trips traveling to NPH Honduras, NPH Guatemala, NPH Dominican Republic, and NPH Mexico. We are so grateful to our many new travelers this past year and to local schools and parishes including Rockport, Saint Paul School, BC High School, the Hingham Collaborative, and St. Joseph’s Church who have continued their annual trips. We are looking forward to even more growth in 2020!

Midwest Region
  • The MW Region's 2019 NPH USA Football Legends Classic Golf Outing was a major success! As guests arrived, they were greeted by our volunteers and received a complimentary Weatherman Umbrella. These umbrellas were kindly donated to the event from our emcee Rick Reichmuth, the Chief Meteorologist on Fox News Channel and the CEO and founder of the Weatherman Umbrella. Also, he is a former international volunteer at the NPH Mexico home in Miacatlán back in the 1990s. As the event’s emcee, Rick started off by expressing the reward that came with spending a year of his life at NPH Mexico. Serving as our auctioneer, Rick’s efforts contributed to bringing in a total raised of over $290,000 -- the most ever raised at this event.
  • Our Viva La Familia Gala was also a major success this past year. Many thanks go out to all who helped make it so successful this year, raising $238,000 (7% more than last year)! Our keynote speaker was the awesome Aurora Zacarias, an hermana mayor from NPH Mexico.  Aurora spoke to a spellbound audience about her difficult life growing up before NPH, the opportunities she took advantage of as a pequeña at NPH, the rewarding relationships she had with two of her sponsored godparents that continued long after she began her independent life, and her exciting professional career. At the event, John Iberle received the Midwest Region’s Corazón Award for his many years of volunteer leadership and generous philanthropy to the NPH mission.    
  • This past year, the Midwest Region conducted ten trips to NPH homes in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador with a total of 225 participants. That’s three more trips and 67 more participants than 2018! Special thanks to Near North Montessori School in Chicago for organizing at least one trip (usually two) every year since 2011. We now have a trip for Near North Montessori alumni of past trips! We also conducted our very first women’s trip that focused on the Chicas Podersosas (powerful girls) program at NPH Honduras.

Upper Midwest Region
  • The Upper Midwest Region's 13th Annual Cinco de Mayo 5k run/walk moved to a great new location this year and raised over $18,800 for our special needs home at NPH Guatemala. We also launched our virtual 5K option allowing 49 people to participate from afar.
  • 2019 marked the first Pequeño tour in recent history in Milwaukee. Students from Mexico were hosted by local families and participated in activities like touring the Brewers stadium and visiting the Mexican consulate. The trip wrapped up with an evening performance and fundraiser. In October, a supporter hosted a fundraiser for Haiti and St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital in a private penthouse suite in Milwaukee with an impressive art collection. Another first took place in Milwaukee with the first annual MKE pub crawl this past year. More money was raised for NPH children and more locals heard about NPH’s work for the first time!
  • Thanks to our generous supporters, our Celebrando a los Niños Gala had a record-breaking year raising over $500,000! Over $260,000 was raised during Fund-A-Need alone. Rose Schaffhausen received the Fr. William Wasson Humanitarian Award in recognition of over 35 years serving as the Minnesota Friends of the Orphans Executive Director and raising over 25 million for NPH. 
  • Our UPMW Region's Young Professionals board continues to set high standards, surpassing their $33,000 fundraising goal for the year by almost $2,000! Their second annual masquerade fundraiser, Dance Your Masque Off, was another great success and was held at a local Latin brewery.
  • Upper Midwest Region staff and volunteers traveled to 8 out of the 9 homes in 2019 with first-time trips to Bolivia and Peru in 2019! On our Peru vision trip, 10 people spent time with the children and also experienced the local culture with experiences like dining in a local home and visiting Machu Picchu. Many of the participants had never visited a NPH home until this trip and were touched by the warm welcome and excitement of the children. 

Northwest Region
  • 2019 was an exciting year for events in the Northwest! Our Golf Classic hit a hole in one in May partnering with Cauze, a giving platform all about “unleashing your good" and local sports radio show “Cliff and Puck” on 950 AM KJR, hosted by former Seattle Seahawk Cliff Avril and local radio personality Jason Puckett, joined us live from the tournament. The annual NW Gala in November welcomed special guest speakers Miriam, Edwin, and Ana Karina Vallecillo-Betancourth, who grew up at NPH Honduras with their four other siblings. They inspired us with their story of joining the NPH family, feeling rooted in love and support, and shared their gratitude for the many opportunities to spread their wings towards their personal dreams and goals. 
  • In July, we were thrilled to have 24 donors visit NPH Honduras with the NW office. It was a wonderful, immersive opportunity to meet the children and families we support. NW Regional Board Chair, Gail Taylor, was excited for her first visit to an NPH home and found joy in spending time with a group of first graders in their Montessori class. Edwin Vallecillo, the new NPH International Director of Medical Services, led a tour of the internal clinic and answered questions about the facilities and care provided. Two of our trip members who play for the University of Washington women’s soccer team spent many fun afternoons and evenings playing with the kids. And local supporters and former Seattle Institute host family members, Tom and Katherine Boysen, delivered a large number of useful power tools for the talleres/workshops at the home!
  • We are very lucky to have welcomed our first NW Development Officer, Abbey Laninga, to NPH. Abbey is a brilliant addition to the Northwest team, bringing her fabulous energy, innovative ideas, and sheer determination to the table!
  • We are so grateful to have continued financial support from Fundación MAPFRE and other local sponsors who make the Seattle Institute program possible. This year, we welcome Abigail (NPH Nicaragua), Alexis (NPH Guatemala), David (NPH Mexico), and Jazmín (NPH El Salvador) to the NW region! We look forward to seeing the students continue to work hard, share their stories, and develop their skills throughout the coming year.
  • 2019 came to a close with a “Fireside Chat” in the NW region. It was a fun, casual evening where supporters and those who wanted to learn more about NPH joined us for a happy hour and Q&A session with NPH Honduras National Director and part-time NW resident, Stefan Feuerstein. 

Southwest Region

  • In the SW, we were excited to host an awesome spring Pequeño Tour featuring NPH Nicaragua this year - and with a brand new partner on the Phoenix portion of the tour, Fountain of Life Church. The tour went on to California, in partnership with Father Frank’s Kids where St. Isadore’s Catholic Church hosted the pequeños for a very successful visit. Before departing for home, the kids enjoyed a day in San Francisco with a boat tour around the bay!
  • We extend a very special thank you to each of our supporters who opened their homes this year by hosting an NPH House Party and allowing us to share our mission.  Whether it was California, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Arizona or New Mexico, the work and impact of NPH was shared with friends and family throughout the region to successfully inspire past donors, while also engaging new supporters.  
  • Sparked by NPH's 65th anniversary, what was previously the Faces of Hope Gala became a special 65th Anniversary Celebration for our region. The event included a new venue, Seventh and Union, with the whole evening themed around a celebration as attendees came from all over the region to celebrate with our special guest and speaker Christopher Hoyt, as well as Reinhart Koehler.  The evening included a special musical performance by Miguel Polo from NPH DR, successfully raising nearly $210,000!
  • In honor of the traditional Quinceanera celebrations, the Southwest Region hosted a trip to NPH Mexico with a group of 24 child sponsors and donors in 2019. The weekend was a wonderful celebration with so many festivities including a special ceremony where the girls wore beautiful gowns and completed a choreographed dance performance with the court. The weekend continued with quality time between godparents and their sponsored pequeños, sharing and catching up with each other. The trip ended with a visit to the Xochicalco pre-Columbian ruins where the group participated in a special hiking tour to learn the history of the site!
  • Wrapping up the year, the SW team thanks the McCauley’s for hosting a special New Year’s Eve Fundraiser to benefit the Southwest Region in Northern California!  We’re expecting over 80 guests to join us as we kick off the New Year!

St. Damien Fund
  • A major highlight of the SDPHF in 2019 was screening "The Land of High Mountains" in 7 cities and in the Napa Valley Film Festival in November, and the Palm Springs film festival in January!
  • This past year, we also had many donors go above and beyond their annual giving on the 10th Anniversary of the St. Damien Fund and at this very difficult time of political unrest and need in Haiti. 
  • We also initiated a new St. Damien Sustainers group and thank these individuals for providing monthly contributions that we can count on to support our work.
  • The St. Damien Fund also had many supporters who celebrated their birthdays and anniversaries with generous donations and/or fundraisers for the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital Fund this past year, and we are incredibly grateful for their support!