Help Support our Punta Mita Fundraising Initiatives
In 2007, the Fundacion de Punta de Mita was officially established by DINE, the developer of the impressive Punta Mita development (often referred to as “inside the gates”). The idea was to start a non-profit organization which would give back to the local communities surrounding Punta de Mita (or “the village”).
DINE endowed the Foundation with a generous annual grant and hoped that new residents moving “inside the gates” would also participate to help out needy families in “the village” with educational needs, health issues and environmental concerns.
This was a glorious time for The Foundation. As the new community grew, the incoming residents were delighted to spread some joy. Initial Punta Mita fundraising efforts were the high spot of the social calendar with sell-out functions that always brought great opportunities to mix and mingle with new neighbours and old friends while benefiting those who have made this area their home for decades.
I was lucky enough to serve on the board of the Foundation during this time and got swept along with the passion and dedication of my fellow board members as we witnessed wonderful changes in the lives of many local people – adults and children alike. We initiated a scholarship with programmes for gifted children and we built a shelter for the aged community. (I will never forget the happy faces of a group of “elders” as we inaugurated their new meeting place. I “danced” with a very dapper gentleman who was confined to a wheelchair, he serenaded me and encouraged me to come back and visit “as often as possible”. I think I had an admirer but I also knew he was genuinely grateful for his new hangout spot and the fact that we had managed to upgrade him to a new, much more streamlined vehicle.)
A kindergarten was expanded and happy kids had basic facilities installed in the old school. New paint, more volunteers and meals all added to the joy of their daily lives. Turtles were rescued, garbage collected… in general lots of good was done for the benefit of all. It was a very rewarding time and the community was the perfect size to pitch in and feel the goodness that came back to them for volunteering, donating and sharing.
After a term as chairperson, I left the board. My real life beckoned and I did not, unfortunately, have the time or the energy to devote to this wonderful institution.
My term with the Foundation was a fantastic time in my life. It enriched me personally on many levels: it showed me the kindness and caring of many of my new neighbours; it made me see beyond the manicured, immaculate grounds of this beautiful place I am lucky enough to call home; it gave me a peek into the very harsh reality of life “outside the gates” and it made me realize I should not want to change this world but enhance it.
This was not my country but I was lucky enough to now call it home.
Just because I no longer actively participate in their Punta Mita fundraising efforts does not mean that the great work has stopped – far from it! The Foundation has gone from strength to strength. Whereas before it was a “local” entity, now it has grown to attain “national” status and is now regularly receiving not just financial grants from larger, national and international non-profit organizations but also recognition, aid, training and general support.
Of course, donations from local residents and visitors are still a huge and most important part of the fund-raising efforts. But through the perseverance of the recent directors and the heady goals and
relentless efforts of the current board, huge strides have been made as they grew into a more recognized player in the not-for-profit world.
This is no mean feat as the foundation, with a very small staff of 4, still relies heavily on the volunteer efforts of its supporters. Apart from the dedicated employees, the drive is coming from board members and residents who are often in the area for only for a few month of the year. This is a truly dedicated team.
One of the recent initiatives that I like very much and in which we are actively able to help at Punta Mita Rentals is tourist volunteerism. We are often asked by families with children who are visiting the area if we could set up a situation for the kids to volunteer with local communities whilst they are here. Sometimes it’s just for a few hours a day, sometimes it’s for the duration of their stay. Everybody that comes away from these experiences – parents, kids and locals – are touched on may levels. New friendships have been made, new vocations found, new barriers crossed.
If you would like to become involved with a tourist volunteer experience please contact us at Punta Mita Rentals or Lisa Shalla, the Foundation director. I contacted Lisa to learn more about the current situation at the Foundation. Here’s what I learned:
How many employees work for the Foundation? Full and part time?
4 full-time at the office – executive director, administration, communications, community outreach. We also pay part-time salaries at the Sports Center for cleaning, maintenance, Zumba and Aerobics
How much was the most recent annual budget?
What initiatives are you currently working on?
We are focusing our Punta Mita fundraising efforts towards building a community center in Nuevo Corral del Risco, next to the Sports Center. Stage II requires US $75,000. The center is underway with an initial grant from Fundación Soriana and will include a multipurpose room, outdoor kitchens, bathrooms, FPM office, and an outdoor stage with green areas.
We also have close ties to public schools and encourage people to help support their infrastructure needs, which include:
- Kinder Emiliano Zapata classroom – US $10,000 more
- Corral del Risco covering over patio for shade – US $5,000
- Prepa Emiliano Zapata repainting and sealant on roof – US $1,500
Do you need anything specific that people could bring?
- Reading books in English and Spanish
- school supplies
- art supplies
All for the community center which opens in the New Year!
What’s the best phone/email to reach you?
(329) 291 5053
Opportunities will always exist for donation giving (the organization is fully able to give U.S. tax receipts) volunteering and donations of school, medical supplies, food and expertise.
Of course, as Miguel says, this is the perfect time for gifting, so if you can sneak a little something into your suitcase it will be greatly received. Of course, checks do not take up much room at all.. and they tend to go a very long way here. Just a few ideas, in case you need them!
Lisa Bruno is a long-term Punta Mita resident. She is a frustrated golfer, party princess and proud owner of Tank and Tonica,