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Marist Bulletin - Number 238


First Year Update on the Marist Tsunami Fund and its Activities

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We are presenting today a summary of an excellent report prepared by our Bureau of International Solidarity (BIS) concerning the “Marist Tsunami Fund” and its activities. The complete report can be found at: www.champagnat.org

The Tsunami Fund
On January 4, 2005, Br. Seán Sammon wrote to our provinces and their apostolic works, communities and friends, asking everyone to come together in an act of solidarity at the level of the Congregation. He called for contributions to a special fund to be set up by the General Council to assist our Brothers in India and Sri Lanka with the recovery efforts getting underway in their countries.
The response to Br. Seán Sammon’s special appeal has been phenomenal. As of February 14, 2006, the Fund totals

$1,181,216.81 US

Directly administered by the General Council, the Tsunami Fund is managed by the General Econome. BIS helps the Council, the Econome, and our brothers in India and Sri Lanka coordinate, analyze, and report on the projects proposed for funding.
Disbursements from the fund to date:
$ 293,683.45 US

A description of the projects we have supported through the Tsunami Fund follows this section of the report. For a more detailed list of the various projects we have funded, please refer to the Fund’s financial statement in the annex of this report.
Subtracting the total disbursed until now, the Fund can support tsunami-related projects for the next four years amounting to
$ 887,533.36 US

From the outset this Fund has been intended primarily for “reconstruction and recovery efforts” and “ongoing assistance” for tsunami relief, particularly after media outlets turn away and the world loses interest in the tragic events of December 26, 2004. Money presently in the Fund will be disbursed over the next four years “as needs surface.” After that time, the Congregation will place whatever remains in a special fund for children.
Disbursements from the fund are made based on formal project proposals presented to BIS by the Marist brothers in Sri Lanka and India. Project proposals up to $5,000 US are treated as a micro-project and follow the review, allocation and accounting procedures similar to those that govern the Institute’s micro-project program. Project proposals over $5000 US are treated as a major project and follow the procedures regarding review, allocation and accounting similar to those established by the General Council when ad-intra disbursements are made from the Congregation’s 20th General Chapter Solidarity Funds. This includes a review of the proposal by the Economic Affairs Commission which in turn makes recommendations to the General Council for making decisions on funding.
Adhering to the guidelines governing the Fund can take time, and decisions can take longer than anticipated. Given the urgent needs that led to this special appeal, this is unfortunate. However, keeping in mind that the Fund exists primarily to support post- emergency and recovery projects, the General Council, the General Econome, and BIS see the deliberative process that goes into making funding decisions as a prudent one. In addition, their wanting to be good stewards of the Fund and implement its carefully-thought-out policies and procedures helps maintain the trust of those who have contributed to the fund.

A Sincere Word of Thanks…
The tsunami of December 26, 2004 and the incredible destruction and grief it brought to the lives of tens of thousands of survivors has left us all mystified and humbled. For those directly affected, it will take years to overcome the sorrow, fear and sense of hopelessness that many of us witnessed through images in the media. For many, healing will come slowly, if ever.
Those of us who watched this crisis unfold in its early stages searched desperately for ways to reach out and extend a helping hand. “Hold on!” we cried. As the waters returned to the sea and the world stood in utter disbelief at the destructive forces that nature had set loose, a genuine sense of solidarity took over. It was spontaneous.
In the name of Br. Seán Sammon, our Superior General, of the General Council, the Bureau of International Solidarity, and our Brothers directly involved in relief efforts, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who contributed to the congregation’s Tsunami Fund. Your generosity in support of this special appeal has been a source of comfort, hope and encouragement for countless children and families in our schools and community centers in both India and Sri Lanka. Over the next four years, our Brothers in these countries can continue to count on this fund to meet the tsunami-related needs of their people.
Much as we would like to, it is simply not possible to name everyone who contributed to this special appeal. People all around the world – individual Brothers and communities, apostolic groups, students, former students and friends of the Brothers, schools, colleges and universities, businesses and service organizations – have contributed to the fund through numerous campaigns initiated by Provinces and Districts throughout the Congregation. In acknowledging the following Administrative Units that contributed to the Tsunami Fund, we want to also express our gratitude to all those individuals who donated to these campaigns:
Afrique Centre Est/Central East Africa, América Central, Brasil Centro Norte, Canada, Compostela, Cruz del Sur, Europe Centre-Ouest/West Central Europe, Ibérica, L’Hermitage, Mediterránea (including Italy, Lebanon, and Syria), Melbourne, México Central, México Occidental, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norandina, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa María de los Andes, Sydney, and the United States of America
We thank also those individual persons, contact Brothers, development and fundraising offices, province-sponsored NGOs, and organizations of solidarity within these Administrative Units that were involved in organizing and coordinating these local campaigns. Special thanks to:

SED-Spain and all its delegations; the USA Province Development Office, including Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY; Marist Asia-Pacific Solidarity-Sydney; Marist Solidarity Office-Melbourne; and Brothers Heinrich Schamberger and Teofilo Minga
Thanks to the Provinces, Districts and Sectors that made direct contributions to Sri Lanka and India during the early days of the crisis, as we here in Rome were working out the protocols for Brother Sean’s international appeal:
Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, and Pakistan
Thanks to those international donor agencies that have contributed to the Congregation’s Tsunami Fund, those that have donated directly to specific projects in India and Sri Lanka, and those that have supported various recovery projects of their own, using our channels of communication – we have been happy to help you help others:
Missio-Munich (€37,682.66), Aiutare i Bambini-Milan (€24,000), Caritas-Liechtenstein (€50,000), Red Cross-Liechtenstein (€300,000), and Coeur en alert (CHF 2500).
Please forgive us if we have inadvertently failed to mention your name or your contribution for our ongoing relief efforts in Sri Lanka and India. We regret any oversight. Your gift is deeply appreciated. Without your help, we could not have accomplished what we have done so far and hope to do in the next 4 years.

Thank you!
Br. Dominick Pujia
Director, Marist Bureau of International Solidarity

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