Friday, December 18, 2009

C&A Sister School Program Officially Launched!

As part of C&A's Sister-School Program, we have paired up a high school in the states with a school in rural Guatemala!

After students from Peninsula High School in San Bruno raised money, Cause & Affect delivered these funds, as well as their letters and photos, to their Sister School in Patzun, Guatemala.

Agua de Dios, a small private elementary school in this indigenous region provides students with a much better education than the local public school, which is overcrowded with students and under-staffed with teachers, many of whom often miss school for no reason. Unlike the public school, which is home to a lot of drugs and violence, Agua de Dios is a safe sanctuary for the children of Patzun to learn, play and enjoy their childhood.

Upon our visit to Agua de Dios, the students thoroughly enjoyed the pinata celebration, as well as seeing the letters and photos from their California sister-school. The students will continue to correspond with each other in order to deepen cross-cultural understanding.

With the money raised, Agua de Dios will purchase 25-30 desks for their students. Hopefully, the students, faculty and parents at Peninsula will be able to raise additional funds for Agua de Dios in the near future, as the school is in dire need of more classrooms and supplies. C&A is accepting more schools to participate in the program, so please contact us for more information.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Restoring Hope After Mudslide in El Salvador

Due to an inundation of rain from Hurricane Ida, a giant mudslide barreled down the Chicontepec Volcano in central El Salvador. It gathered mass and speed until it collided with the tranquil town of Verapaz, crashing into the city and swallowing nearly everything in its path: homes, animals, cars and over twenty of the town’s inhabitants. (To add insult to injury, many of the victims had already lost their homes in years past due to earthquakes and floods that have repeatedly struck the region.)

In an effort to provide humanitarian assistance, Cause & Affect arrived in the distressed region in search of the most effective way to help.

After speaking with the local mayor and relief professionals, we discovered that most of the victims’ day-to-day humanitarian needs (food, water and medicine) were already being addressed by the government and other organizations. We were also informed that residents from outlying areas, while affected by the same mudslide, were often out of the relief loop.

1) We discovered Don Luciano Montano, an 80 year-old man whose shack had been destroyed by the torrent of mud that engulfed him and nearly carried him away to his death. El Anciano (“the old man”) as locals call him lives all alone with no savings to fall back on. Widowed and maimed by a sugar-mill accident, he has had his home destroyed by two earthquakes in years past. Today, he scrapes by on whatever manual labor he can find, a most punishing existence for a frail, elderly man.

Once we got to know this gentle soul and recognized his determination to somehow survive despite his apparent helplessness, Cause & Affect jumped into action. With the encouragement (and utter disbelief) of Don Montano, we built the old man a new house. Wasting no time, we immediately bought the supplies and called upon his helpful neighbors for their volunteered time for construction. Two days later, our hard-working and wise old friend cried as he thanked Cause & Affect for rescuing him. Most incredibly, we built the entire house (albeit a very simple one) for a grand total of $300. As you can see, Cause & Affect finds the most DIRECT form of giving with the donations we receive! I urge you to watch this inspiring 4-minute video.

2) Working in association with the local Peace Corps office, we met the Dimas family. On the fateful night of the mudslide, Dona Priscilla Dimas lost her mother, two grandmothers, her grandfather and her 8 year-old son Kevin. Her home and all her belongings were completely destroyed. Since many Peace Corps volunteers had stayed with this family in years past, Cause & Affect is spearheading a fund-raising drive amongst Peace Corps volunteers (past and present) and their friends and families to try to assist the Dimas family, as they will need to build a home in a safer part of town. We produced this video, which is being distributed through the Peace Corps network and also started the aid with a $100 donation towards food and medicine for the remaining members of the family.

Special thanks to my mentor Marc Gold of 100 Friends for leading the path in helping so many elderly people in need around the world.

Thank you for all of your generous donations - you can see the positive change taking place! To give, simply click here.

For those interested in some culinary adventures, C&A Chairman Adam Carter is a guest-blogger for, and writes here about pig's head soup.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Helping Honduran Shanty-town Without Medical Care

Honduras has the 2nd worst public health system in the Western Hemisphere. Off the northern coast on an island called Roatan, I discovered a shanty-town community called La Colonia that was founded by refugees from Hurricane Mitch that destroyed these peoples' communities over ten years ago when tidal waves washed away their homes and their farmland. Seeking to settle somewhere with higher ground and jobs, they moved to this tropical island. But life in La Colonia is a daily struggle.

and our first field report from Guatemala here.

Atrocious economic conditions, a lack of educational opportunities and medical problems have left the 4,000 residents of La Colonia mired in poverty. With scant resources from the government, the people here are left to fend for themselves. Sanitation is absent, schools are overloaded (only 1 in 4 kids here go to school) and the only public health clinics are severely overcrowded and under-manned. Imagine going to a clinic without running water or any medicine!

Fortunately, an American nurse named Miss Peggy Stranges, while down in Honduras in 1998 doing humanitarian work after the destructive Hurricane Mitch, recognized the need and acted upon it. What started as a make-shift operation in her kitchen has grown into the two-story Clinic Esperanza addressing pediatrics, maternal health and more. Over 250 foreign volunteers (such as doctors from the states) volunteer at the Clinic annually and the only paid employees are Hondurans, such as the two Honduran doctors, nurse and dentist on staff. Much of the medicine is purchased with World Health Organization (WHO) discount or donated from foundations. Many supplies are donated by tourists that come through Roatan (famous for its gorgeous beaches and coral reefs) but due to the recent political crisis, tourism has been down, which is what led to the current shortage. We are confident that the holidays brings more generous foreigners to aid the clinic.

Having helped rebuild homes after the Hurricane back in 1999 while living in Guatemala, I was saddened to see people still victimized by this storm a decade later. Fortunately, Cause & Affect was able to make a difference. We learned about the current shortage of respiratory and diabetic medicine, so we delivered a $1,200 Micro-Grant to allow them to purchase these needed medications. Be sure to watch the video to see personal accounts about the importance of this clinic for this downtrodden community - their words speak louder than mine.
Thanks to all of our donors - as you can see, your money goes a long way!
To make an on-line donation, simply click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tackling Malnutrition in Guatemala

Guatemala, a stunningly beautiful country renown for its volcanoes, picturesque colonial cities and rich cultural heritage is beset with a wide variety of social, economic, educational and health problems. One of the most serious issues is malnutrition, as the country suffers from the third highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world, ranking below only Yemen and Afghanistan. For a country with such fertile land, this sorry statistic speaks volumes about the level of corruption, inequality and uphill fight faced by this country’s poor population. This problem is especially acute amongst Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan population, which make up over half of the country’s population. Due to their political exclusion and economic marginalization, over 75% of these Mayan people live below the poverty line, and as a result, often have trouble feeding their children. The ridiculously high fertility rate here does not help matters; without access to family planning or contraceptives, indigenous women give birth to an average of over 6 children and half of Guatemalan women are mothers by the time they reach 19 years of age!

Though it requires decades to reverse these worrying trends, Cause & Affect Foundation is committed to using our resources to create positive change today in the most direct manner possible. C&A Founder Adam Carter spent the last month volunteering with several children’s hospitals and non-profit organizations in the country and decided upon a course of action.

First, we worked alongside a local center that provides food and shelter for homeless families that have nowhere to turn and no other source of nourishment. A local contact has agreed to further assist this shelter by providing breakfast for the 80 -100 people that visit on a daily basis. (This comes to $600 a month or $20 a day, which is about a quarter per meal).

Second, we assisted Casa Jackson, a clinic for malnourished babies from the region. Babies suffering from malnutrition are referred to the clinic by social workers, orphanages or parents unable to provide enough food for their babies. Babies are brought in and treated for their ailments and put on a nutritionally-balanced diet, being fed twelve times a day to regain their strength. Once they have overcome their malnutrition, they are returned to their families, who are them counseled about proper nutrition and childhood rearing. In assessing the project’s needs, we were alerted that the clinic was in dire need of 4 items: powdered milk, diapers, an industrial blender (to make the formula) and a food processor (to blend fruit and vegetables). Cause & Affect immediately went to the market and purchased all four for a total of $500.

Thirdly, we traveled to the remote rural Mayan communities surrounding Lake Atitlan. In association with Feed the Dream and Los Amigos de Santa Cruz, two NGO’s that do amazing work addressing pre-natal nutrition and care, feeding centers and community gardens, Cause & Affect came face-to-face with families in dire need of help, such s the ten children that were orphaned when their mother recently died in childbirth. We discovered that there is no system in place for families like this facing food emergencies to obtain assistance in a timely manner. In order to address this pressing need, we created the Cause & Affect Emergency Malnutrition Fund with a seed grant of $500. Our local partners at Los Amigos de Santa Cruz will be distributing powdered milk, fruit and vegetables to these especially desperate families and reporting back to Cause & Affect on their progress.

By tackling the pressing issue of Guatemala’s malnutrition from three angles, we have shown just how far a small amount of money can go. In this case, we accomplished the three objectives with only $1,000.

As we say, “Find a CAUSE & AFFECT a change. It’s that simple.”
Special thanks to Phi Theta Kappa’s Illinois Region - their contribution was well-spent!
Please visit website and blog for more information of make an on-line donation here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cause and Affect Assists Chicago Inner-city Music Program

Cause & Affect launched their first state-side initiative by supporting the P.A.U.S.E. Program, which provides music instruction for Chicago inner-city public school children in a wonderfully-run after-school project. P.A.U.S.E., which stands for Positive Action Using Self Expression works with teachers from Chicago's New Music School to teach these young eager students with music instruction. "Music inspires so many of our children to reach their highest potential, however budget cuts in inner-city schools often prevent students from learning anything about music." Cause & Affect has helped provide supplies for the students from Rock Prep School (located in Austin neighborhood) and is working with local partners to provide more support as the kids are very excited about their musical future. Their rendition of "Mary had a Little Lamb" was sensational! We will check back with progress report with a follow-up visit in the spring.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rockin' Wrigley Tour Fundraiser

Cause & Affect founders Adam Carter and Tim Summers hosted
our 1st Annual Behind-the-scenes Private Tour of Wrigley. The event was a blast and we raised great money for Cause & Affect in the process! Our donors loved hanging out in the Cubs' clubhouse and dugout. Apps & drinks at Rockit Bar & Grill were great as well. Special thanks to Billy Tokyo for donating his amazing Wrigley print.

C&A Multi-Media Benefit a Super Success!

Many thanks to all our 150 friends that made Saturday's Multi-Media Benefit such a huge success for Cause & Affect! We raised nearly $2,000 for the projects we will be supporting in Latin America, which means out little "night out" will drastically improve the lives of those less fortunate. That's what its all about! Thanks to all bands, volunteers and participants, including Jesse Golfis, Christophe from Molotov Kartel, Justin Santora and Lee Greenwich Clothing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

C&A Chairman Leads Micro-credit Symposium

Adam Carter addressed an auditorium of attentive students as the Keynote Speaker at the College of Lake County's "Step Out of Poverty" event on September 15th. In his speech, Adam briefed students and faculty about the origins, importance and logistics of micro-credit in the world today, which has allowed millions of people to pull themselves out of poverty by providing them with access to credit to start a business. Cause & Affect partnered with the college, the Phi Theta Kappa chapter, the Latino Alliance and a local women's group to raise money to fund a micro-credit loan for a group of women entrepreneurs in rural Guatemala. Adam will travel there in October to deliver the funds for the micro-credit loan in association with SHARE Guatemala. Adam was joined by Cause & Affect founder (and College of Lake County Alum) Tim Summers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

C&A Chairman as Keynote Speaker

Adam Spreads Cause & Affect Message as Keynote Speaker at Academic Honor Society Regional Convention

Speaking to a few hundred college students at the Phi Theta Kappa's Regional Convention, Cause & Affect Chairman Adam Carter showed his documentary from his African humanitarian trip and explained to these eager college students the ways they can single-handedly improve their communities and the world around them. Many thanks to the organizers and attentive students! He has already planned a fundraiser with the Lake College PTK Chapter for September, an event that will finance a micro-credit loans for Guatemalan women entrepnreneurs!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Adam Aids Benefit to Prevent Human Trafficking

Cause & Affect Chairman Adam Carter spoke about his foundation's efforts to address the human trafficking epidemic that results in 800,000 people being illegally transported across international borders every year. The Chicago Mosaic "Traffick Jam" raised money for successful organizations that are addressing this worrying problem in countries such as Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam. Adam and the rest of the panel of speakers provided first-hand accounts of this practice as well as practical solutions to curb the practice. Many thanks to our friends that came out to support the cause!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cause and Affect Soft Launch Soirèe

The soft launch of Cause & Affect Foundation recently took place at our spring soirèe at Primitive Gallery here in Chicago. Thanks to all of our supporters, our pre-launch fundraiser was a huge success. The music of Opposition Party was incredible, and the delectable treats and cocktails did not disappoint. Guests were able to see Adam's documentary that recounts his African humanitarian trip and were also entertained by magicians and tarot card readers.
Special guest Marc Gold, who is Founder of 100 Friends and Adam's mentor, was also in attendance, fresh from his appearance on NPR's Worldview program, in which he mentioned the exciting news of the launch of Cause & Affect Foundation!

Thank you all for your donations and attendance - the funds raised will undoubtedly create very positive change for hundreds! It is wonderful to see old and new friends unite behind this wonderful cause. See you soon!