Saturday, November 8, 2008

Philanthropy 101 in Nicaragua

Most of us come to countries like Nicaragua because we are looking to share in the simple way of life, fresh air, fresh food and outdoor eco-tourism activities or sports that Central America is famous for. We love and respect this country so much, that we want to buy a property of our own to enjoy it to the max, or better yet invest on a variety of levels.

After a couple times visiting or investing, however, human compassion kicks in and we tend to feel the need to "give back" and contribute to the economic or overall well being of these third world developing countries that have offered us so much to enhance our own quality of life. But HOW?? As foreigners, we are sometimes conditioned to think that one has to either have money or a specific philanthropic organization in order to "make a difference". This couldn't be farther from the truth. Whether it's selecting an independent organization or governmental agency that you believe in or identify with, or something as simple as bringing down old clothing or sporting equipment for locals, we can all do something to improve conditions in the countries we travel to.

At Century 21, Barry Oliver (owner of the franchise) and other partner owners sponsor local children to attend school. We also sponsor a local baseball team with uniforms and equipment, donate money for road improvements and church activities and emergency funding for projects.. I personally encourage all my clients to contribute an extra $10 or $20 when investing and making escrow transfers, that can be donated to Century 21's local sponsorship and volunteer efforts.

My first year living in Costa Rica in 2002, I became involved in an event called the Pura Vida No Pro for orphans in San José. I am still involved today. Click here for a current interview on the event in Drift Magazine, or if you are in the St. Augustine area, pick one up!

My first year living in Nicaragua, I joined the Day of Light Love Light and Melody event at La Chureca land fill in Managua. Click here for that story as well.

No matter how small your contribution, I encourage all of you thinking of living in, investing in or visiting Nicaragua to get involved in an annual charity event or contact an ex-pat organization or think about a way you can help make life better for the nice people of this country, like our friend and client Archie Newell.

Click HERE to help and get involved!