23 Jul Weiss Scholarship Foundation – Newsletter Issue 01
Welcome to our first newsletter and thank you for signing up! Since 2011, with the help of a lot of people, we have awarded forty-two full four-year high school scholarships to children from Dago, Kenya. This is a village where few had ever gone to high school. Four of these students are now attending University. Thanks to all of you who have helped thus far.
Since my brother, Bunny, came with me to Kenya last year, we have decided we want to make this an organization that will be able to help a lot more Kenyan children. We want an enduring scholarship foundation so when our days on earth are over, the work to help these children will continue.
In that spirit, a few months ago we were granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS. Since our start, we “piggybacked” on Village Volunteers out of Seattle to be our own non-profit. None of the success we have had would have been possible without the tremendous help of Village Volunteers and their Founder and Director, Shana Greene. We thank them for getting us to this point with all their hard work and passion to make our world better.
Now that we are our own non-profit and have a great new web site, courtesy of Paragraphs LLC, no longer will the donations go through Village Volunteers. We will now take donations directly and this will allow us to keep a bit more of each donation.
We have put together a Board of Directors (see our new web site) and are working hard on putting together vision and goals for the future and what we need to do to make this vision a reality. We have a mission to positively touch the life of every child in Dago, and then beyond.
Our plans for the future have brought about changes to help us get to where we want. Our new name is “Weiss Scholarship Foundation”. However, all this work is still in memory of my parents, Bernard and Elsie Weiss. We have a new logo, web site, tag line and email address. There will be more improvements to come. We are working hard to have a consistent marketing approach to create a brand people will know, respect and trust. We are not leaving behind the values that have got us to this point. We are simply building on these values so we can help more children.
In addition to awarding high school scholarships we are reviewing the opportunity to begin awarding vocational/technical/nursing school scholarships. Also, we are looking at many other ideas to help improve the lives of these children, improve the Dago Primary School and the entire village.
We have built this largely on donations of under one hundred dollars. If you are one of those people, please know we greatly appreciate this and hope each year you will continue to give whatever you can. In recent years, as we have grown, our average donation has gone up. To get to where we want to be, we need to get more people who are able and willing to donate larger amounts of money. However we will never forget our roots of small donations from many people.
Also, we will never forget another thing that has brought us success. We are much more than just an organization that raises money and then awards scholarships. We will continue to remain an important part of these children’s lives. We will review all of their report cards and exchange letters and pictures. These children and their parents and guardians know us and we know them. Our students will always know we care about them as human beings, have high expectations for them and will work hard with them so they can reach their full potential in life. We have a very special bond. We also meet with the parents and guardians on a regular basis.
To make sure we keep doing what has made us successful and since we cannot always be on the ground in Kenya, this past January we hired our first employee, Ernest Opiyo. Ernest graduated last year from University to be a teacher. Bunny and I spent a lot of time with him last year and decided we wanted Ernest to be our first employee—the Mentor/Coordinator for the program. We were thrilled when he accepted. He is on the ground every day doing what I do when I am fortunate enough to be there. He spends quality time with the students at their school and with the parents and guardians. He sends me reports twice a month on the work he is doing.
So, as we go through this transition, we want you to come along with us. I guarantee you it will be an exciting ride and one that will do a great deal to make our world a better place. If you have helped in the past, we hope you will be able to continue to help. If you have not been able to help in the past, we hope you will consider doing so now. Many employers will match donations to non-profits. Please check to see if your employer matches because your donation can then double.
Also, please tell friends and family about the work we are doing and ask them to help. To reach our goals, we need many more people to donate whatever amount they can. Of course, all donations are tax deductible.
We are always looking to share our story by speaking to community groups, places of worship, service organizations, etc. If you would like to arrange a presentation, please contact me.
If you have not read my book about all of this work, “Just Give Them A Hug…And The Rest Will Be Easy”, please go to Amazon or iUniverse to purchase the book. All proceeds go to the Weiss Scholarship Foundation.
We are always looking to get word out in the media about the Foundation and the Dago children. If you have media connections and can help in this regard, please contact me.
If you have questions, comments, ideas, suggestions, etc. please get back to me. The more people who give us input, the better we will be.
We do this work because we believe in Empowering Children to create a world where every child has the opportunity to get a great education.
Weiss Scholarship Foundation 425 Jackson Avenue,
Naperville, IL 60540