The Bill Cook Foundation understands that it can help more students by working with established organizations and other foundations than by acting alone. We have asked other foundations for money. For example, we received $5,000 from the Rex Foundation, the charitable arm of the Grateful Dead (www.rexfoundation.org). Those funds were used to lay the foundation–literally–of a library for Mamma Africa—a residential school for children living in poverty located outside Nairobi, Kenya. In March, I attended the dedication of that facility. Alas, it lacked books. So we teamed up with the Good Steward Global Initiative (www.goodstewardglobal.org), a non-profit in Houston, TX. They will soon be delivering 4,000 books to Nairobi, which Mamma Africa will use to stock their library as well as provide some for a second school in Kenya that we work with, School of Angels Sofia. Our cost? $1 per book.
We have provided other foundations with needed funds to do their work. We have promised $9,000 per year for three years to Building Minds in South Sudan (www.bmiss.org). This nonprofit based in Rochester, NY is led by Sebastian Maroundit, one of the so-called Lost Boys who fled his home when he was a child and walked a thousand miles, spending a decade in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. He built a school in his home village of Mayen Abun in northern South Sudan, but families were reluctant to send their daughters. Hence, he is building a girls’s school but needs to staff it with hard-to-find female teachers and a principal. We are funding the training and recruitment. There are already more than 500 girls registered for next year. Some of the girls’ mothers showed their gratitude to the Bill Cook Foundation by presenting me with a goat when I visited last March.
We are working with Covenant House, New York, to provide educational opportunities for girls who have been sexually trafficked, and for street kids and boys being recruited into gangs in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In Bosnia and Croatia, we will soon be working with the Roma Education Fund that serves Roma (gypsy) children in those two countries. We are working with the YMCA in Mandalay, Myanmar to provide English education to rural youth so that they will be able to compete for jobs.
Other times, we work without pre-existing structures. In Myitkyina, Myanmar, a wonderful Columban nun, Sister Mary Dillon, asked us to hire a tutor to teach eight HIV+ children who receive medicine so that they are healthy but are not allowed to attend school. And we are the main support for Undugu Family of Hope in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Keyna. This summer, children there are helping to clean up areas of the slum and also have been trained to encourage people to vote in the presidential election and to accept the results of the election peacefully.
Please join in our work, and share our website and Facebook page with your friends. Consider inviting Bill to a fundraiser you organize or get him an invitation to speak to a civic organization or at a school or church. He spoke recently at a high school in Rochester, NY. Last October, he spoke at a high school in Orange County, CA; and the students raised $1,100 for the Bill Cook Foundation.
Of course, we depend on those who follow our activities on our website on Facebook page to make contributions so we can continue and expand out work. Summer is not the best season for fundraising, but it is the time we give away significant amounts of money because the school year starts in so many places in the fall. Please consider sending us a check or a credit card contribution soon.