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MAPS 2014-2015

MAPS 2014-2015

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…MAPS will have made a total of 57 microloans through Kiva. Wow.  It turns out that this has been the best kind of journey: our process of figuring our what MAPS is all about has been full of twists, turns, successes, challenges, and, of course, cupcakes.

When we first started MAPS, we were not totally sure of the scope or reach of our work.  Would this be about learning to give? we asked ourselves.  How can we make our giving last? What do we want to learn in the process of giving and fundraising?   It felt like we were creating MAPS from the ground up every single day.

Our first year, we spent much time and energy throwing ourselves into fundraising.  We figured that we needed to make money to support women through micro-lending, and cupcakes seemed like a logical solution to pacify the hungry bellies of MHS girls while raising necessary funds.  We made about 800 cupcakes that first year.  That’s a LOT of butter and sugar, and a ton of elbow grease!  We learned so much…about fundraising, about how to properly fill a cupcake liner, and about the great power of our Miss Hall’s community when we throw our back into causes we care about.  It was a whirlwind.   We started the Horizons micro-grant that first year and gave three small gifts to three sites in the Berkshires.

Our second year, we raised $1000 for water.org, continued to bake, and had the chance to ask ourselves really important questions about our mission as philanthropists.   What kind of causes do we want to support? we asked ourselves.  How can we vary our approach and keep our community interested and involved in what we do?  That year we baked about 600 cupcakes, had our first Instagram sale, got involved with Dig Pink, learned about water.org, held an auction of gifts and favors donated by faculty, and gave our second round of micro-grants to Horizons sites.  We wrote a ton of blog posts (we welcome comments!).  We tweeted (follow us!).  We made a Facebook page (“like us!”). By the end of the year, we accomplished so much, but were completely exhausted.

This year, our approach has been different.  Instead of running headlong into fundraising, we have been careful and selective about how we are funneling our energy. We have done one cupcake sale, baking a total of 200 cupcakes.  We have continued our Instagram sale and nearly doubled our profits, and we have just announced our third round of mirco-grants to the MHS community.   Instead of thinking about how we will raise money for our next round of micro-loans, we are asking ourselves how can we maximize our efforts and collaborate to support our community?  What are we trying to learn from this experience?  Instead of breathlessly planning fundraiser after fundraiser, we are helping other groups promote their events and initiatives, we are collaborating with other groups to come together to educate our community about important issues pertaining to girls’ education.  We are working in teams.  We’re trying to figure out how to use our blog in meaningful, helpful ways.  We ditched Twitter.  Our Facebook page is still out there (you can still like us!).  The nature of our work is changing, and it feels like we are growing in important ways.  We are learning to think of ourselves as entrepreneurs and not fundraisers, and  we are learning how to better support ongoing work at MHS.

We MIGHT make cupcakes again this year for old time’s sake.  After all, what is spring at MHS without the sweet scent of buttercream in the air? But one thing is for sure: we know now that MAPS is more than cupcakes.

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During our Horizons today, we had a strategic planning session. We talked about our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a group, and also our MAPS experience in the past five months. We figured out how we want to proceed in the Spring semester, and shared our concerns and accomplishments with each other. This conversation helped us work better as a group and organize a more complete and structured plan for our future.

We are also forming a plan for our next fundraiser to accomplish our goal for our Water.org Project. We are still looking for more instagram submissions (send them to MAPS!). They will be printed out, displayed in the Sunroom, and sold after Spring Break. See you then!

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Water.  Everyday, it affects our lives when we cook, take showers, and go about routine activities.  We think of it as inconsequential, a resource that it always available, yet in the developing world it is a paucity.  Across the world, over 3.5 million people die from water related complications annually.
This year MAPS, Mira’s Alliance for Philanthropic Sustainability, wants to help demolish this problem through Water.org. “Water.org is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.” (water.org) MAPS became very interested in studies concerning water when we learned that women are greatly affected by this water crisis. When their basic needs are not met, these women shoulder the responsibility of keeping a village alive with water.  They are unable to attend school, or improve their lives, because of this responsibility.  It creates a cycle that MAPS is determined to halt.
We found that Water.org was the best match for us in terms of transparency and sustainability. Water.org’s total revenue as of 2009, when it was first established, was $5,945,270. Expenses including the program, administrative, and fundraising totaled to $5,213,647, with the program expenses being the majority. Excess amount for the year was $731,623. The Net assets totaled $2,792,389. (Charity Navigator.org)
MAPS is planning to raise $5,000 to donate to water.org so that a well can be made in a foreign country that we will announce in the upcoming weeks. With the money we donate, Water.org will use that money to train local villagers to build and sustain the well, creating jobs and providing an entire village with clean water which will decrease the number of people who die yearly from water related issues across the world.
MAPS will start reviewing and researching various organizations to continue educating our community to a more transparent and sustainable philanthropy effort.

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Besides our microlending and microfinancing projects, MAPS decides to take on a new project on Water.org! We want to help provide access to safe water supplies in third world countries. This will also alleviate the burden of women searching for domestic use of water everyday and allow them to focus on other important things in their communities. Our goal is to raise enough money to build a well this year. Through Water.org, MAPS will be monitoring the building project and follow their work. We believe in this cause because we value the importance of clean and safe water, and its sustainable effort in improving quality of lives around the world.

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During our second session, we met with Jaime Peters, the Electronic Communications Manager at Miss Hall’s School, to discuss ways to improve our social networking skills. Keep an eye on our twitter, facebook fan page, and blog, because we are going to make some improvements!

We also concluded our first cupcake fund raiser of the year. It was a great success! We made $271 in profit, and this money will aide women around the world to develop their business via Kiva.

We are currently working on a new MAPS promotional video. It will be premiering during morning meeting soon so stay tuned!

Check out our new feature at https://mapsmhs.wordpress.com/maps-microloan-map/ to follow MAPS’s loans throughout the year and don’t forget to like us on facebook and follow MAPS on twitter!

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...and here is another!

Lorenza is a butcher shop owner in Mexico who needs money to buy more meats, sausages, creams, and cheeses.

Lorenza is 24 years old. She is a single mother of three children. They are named Abelardo, Abraham and Amairani. The three of them go to school and the oldest is in the seventh grade, and the middle child is in the fifth year of primary school, and the youngest is in her second year of pre-school. She has sold meats, sausages and cheeses for 6 years. This will help her to support her children getting a profession.

“I am thankful to FRAC and the Kiva donors for trusting me and offering me their support,” said Lorenza.

This is MAPS’s 23rd $25 loan since we’ve established ourselves last year!

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