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Thanks for visiting our website and learning about our charity that helps children in China stay in school.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Unexpected Good News

Unexpected Good News

I have recently found out that China has announced that countryside children under 15 will have free tuition from now on. This is great news. All of our primary Blessing Hands Children will now receive free tuition from the government, but we will still be supplementing their textbooks at $10 a child and providing special help in Yao minority areas where children need food and clothing in order to stay in boarding school.

I am offering money back to any spring semester supporters who were only interested in younger students. Otherwise I will apply the tuition help to older poor high school students in Yangshuo and Qinzhou, China. This new tuition policy of the Chinese government only applies to countryside children.  Big city children will still have to pay tuition as before. Blessing Hands will now turn to the needs of countryside children in Yangshuo and Qinzhou who are over the age for lower middle school and will receive no tuition help from the government under the new policy.  There are five higher Middle schools in Yangshuo and some of those students will still need tuition help.  At 15 many of them are tempted to drop out and go to work to support their families, since they no longer receive any help from the government. The Qinzhou area has many higher middle schools in both the country and the city areas.

Great News

Great News

A grant of $25,000 has be given to Blessing hands for the spring and fall semesters of 2006. Founding Family Charitable Foundation located in Nashville, Tennessee is partnering with us. They are also offering to match any funds sent to their address by Blessing Hands donors. I am quoting their letter below so that I will tell it exactly right.

“Also, beyond the initial $25,000: We will match another set of funds you receive from your donors, who know your work and want to help, up to $12,500. That is, if you can get contributions for up to $12,500,we will match $12,500 for another $25,000, making a grand total of $50,000. This needs to be from other donors, and does not include your personal contributions, or your family members' contributions,to the work. It does not have to be new donors, however; existing donors can be informed of the matching funds, and if they write their checks to Founding Family Foundation, and mail to 1004 Rodney Dr, Nashville, TN 37205-1018, we will match their funds. …. For instance, if you have a donor who writes a check to Founding Family Foundation for $250, we will send them an acknowledgement/ appreciation letter for tax reporting purposes noting their contribution of $250, then we will write a check to Blessing Hands for $500. This applies to any donations received through December 31, 2006. Incidentally, they should probably put a sticky note on their check, or tell us in an attached note, that their contribution is for Blessing Hands. We all have a mutual love for China and its people, and we are excited to be able to work with you and benefit from your knowledge and experience.”

You can read more about the mission statement of Founding Family Charitable Foundation at www.foundingfamily.org. They give grants to people who want to adopt Chinese children and cannot afford the fees. They also want to help children all over the world. Blessing Hands is blessed to be partnered with them.

You can see Sara Rummage (center) and Nina Ottinger listening to the presentation Anna Liu and I prepared for FFCF. Anna had prepared a powerpoint presentation about Chinese schools for an eariler meeting, and it was easy to merge her information with pictures from Yangshuo and Qinzhou. Anna is the head English teacher at Number One Middle School in Qinzhou, China. She administered a summer English camp I taught in in 2004. She and I prepared the Qinzhou proposal together, and her school and the rural middle schools around Qinzhou will receive some of the grant for the poor countryside children there. Blessing Hands is already growing beyond one area of China. Someday we hope to be in Taiwan and Honduras helping children there.

Foundation Presentation

In this picture you can see Nina Ottinger's lovely Chinese daughter. John Rummage had joined the group by the time this picture was taken. He is married to Sara and is their chief fundraiser. He worked for other foundations before starting the Founding Family Charitable Foundation. The foundation has offered to help Blessing Hands with a brochure to explain our mission, and my son, Ross Cutts, has offered to help us with a web page. I also intend to get incorporated in Kentucky in the near future. Incorporation as a charity is also in our plans. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Proposals presented

Sara Rummage, Nina Ottinger, and Helen Derryberry are listening to our Blessing Hands proposals. Helen is my old college roomate from my days at David Lipscomb College in Nashville. It was Helen who forwarded Blessing Hands information to Sara Rummage. Sara wrote and asked me questions about Blessing Hands which I delightedly answered.

Only later did I realize that she was from a foundation and had a reason to be asking questions in such detail. When she told me her board was meeting and would consider funding Blessing Hands, I said to myself, "What board is she talking about. " I looked at the information at the end of her e-mail, and only then did I find that she was from Founding Family Charitable Foundation (FFCF). I was going to see my father in two weeks and would pass through Nashville, so I made arrangements to stop by and give them our proposals for helping the children in Yangshuo and Qinzhou with tuition.

I taught middle school teachers in a summer English camp in Qinzhou in 2004 for four weeks. Many of the teachers there give from their meager salaries to help the countryside children at their schools who need money for tuition. The children there need tuition help in the higher grades just like they do in Yangshuo. Ann Liu, who was the director of that summer camp, came to Morehead State University to be a visiting scholar in the fall of 2005. I asked her to help me include the countryside children of Qinzhou, Guangxi, China in the proposal as well as the Yangshuo children. Her wisdom, knowledge, and friendship was invaluable in drawing up the Founding Family proposal. Posted by Picasa