Let's clean a river together.
HEART 2 HEART HISTORY
The Heart 2 Heart Program is a cooperative effort between Rotarians primarily in the "Heart of America" (Zones 30 and 31) and in the "Heart of Mexico" (District 4170) and The Rotary Foundation to provide humanitarian service, primarily through matching grant projects. The first cooperative effort was in fall 2004, when all the 2005-06 District Governors in both U.S. zones agreed to support a water well project in a rural town in Mexico District 4170. District Governors Olga Devlyn (District 4170) and Martin Limbird (District 6560) were the leaders of that cooperative effort, and they were also instrumental in the overall development of the international partnerships and friendships. District 6560 (Indiana) has been the leader of the cooperative efforts since 2005, and that district has done projects with District 4170 every year. Due in large part to the tremendous work and support by Patricia Vela (District 4170 Governor 2015-16) over the past decade and her visit to the U.S., many other U.S. districts have joined in the effort during the past few years, and the Heart 2 Heart program has expanded significantly.
Heart 2 Heart offers two signature projects on a regular basis. Water tank systems for grade schools have increased in support and scope, thanks to the efforts of Jose Antonio Gonzalez. The Holtz-Beahon Kidney Transplant Program has also grown significantly, thanks to the efforts of Ignacio Holtz. The Heart 2 Heart partners also annually support other projects that are developed and proposed by District 4170 Rotarians.
District 4170 is located in the central part of Mexico and includes the Mexico City metropolitan area and several hundred square miles of adjacent rural areas and communities of various sizes. Although the average size of a club in this district is relatively small (under 20), these clubs provide incredible support for their communities, devoting tremendous amount of volunteer time and financial resources toward a wide range of needs. The ongoing efforts of these District 4170 Rotarians continue to inspire U.S. Rotarians who have had the opportunity to see the results of their outstanding work.
As we move forward, an added emphasis is on finding more partners, regardless of location, who want to make a difference. Heart 2 Heart is Rotary partnerships in action!
Rotarians from U.S. districts usually make an annual visit to Mexico. The next regular project visit is scheduled for November 8-15, 2017.
WHY CLUBS AND DISTRICTS SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN HEART 2 HEART PROJECTS
- The projects serve people in need.
- The projects are designed well and usually completed timely.
- Any club or district (or individual) can participate, regardless of size of club or amount of contribution. This is an easy way for clubs (and districts) to get involved internationally.
- By working with The Rotary Foundation on matching grants, districts and clubs can multiply their contributions and provide larger projects.
- There is no paperwork for the clubs and very little work for a district (except for sponsor clubs and districts). Mexico clubs write the grants.
- Heart 2 Heart attempts to offer a variety of projects for clubs and districts to consider, either as a new venture or as a good way to expand international service.
- District 4170 is in an area that is easy to visit.
HEART 2 HEART ADVISORY COMMITTEE
In order to establish long term continuity of the program and to collectively work on current and future projects and issues, volunteers from around the country have joined to form the Advisory Committee for the U.S. partners.
The Advisory Committee members are:
- D5630 Don Peterson
- D6060 Stacey Self
- D6080 David Bixler
- D6110 Ed Hardesty
- D6190 Jerry Wall
- D6200 Richard Churchman
- D6460 Steve Hopper
- D6490 Larry Howell
- D6510 Mike Nowobilski and David Matthews
- D6540 Steve Sorenson and Roger Sims
- D6560 Tom Dusing , Judy Hagan, Brad Sexauer, and Tim Lee
- D6740 John Salyers, James Glass, and Ryan Glass
- D6760 Dick Bowers
- D6780 Jerry Wear and Ron Appuhn
- D6820 Paul Bucurel and Bill Walker
- D6880 Linda Mong
These members are available as resources for districts, clubs, and individuals.
The next regular project visit is scheduled for November 8-15, 2017.
HEART 2 HEART CONTACT INFORMATION
Rotary Club of Maryville, TN (D6780)
For more information about the annual visit to Mexico, please contact:
Rotary Club of Carmel, IN (D6560)
The Heart 2 Heart partners are working toward eight global grant projects for 2017-18 and are also working on three other non-grant projects.
Eight Global Grant Projects
1. GG 1860594 Holtz-Beahon Kidney Transplant Program 2018 ($192,000, Mexico host Cuajimalpa, US sponsor Carlinville IL D6460)
We will continue our work with several partners to provide kidney transplants for young adults and teens (primarily ages 15-49) who are economically disadvantaged. This will be our seventh global grant for kidney transplants. The grant is budgeted for 64 kidney transplants at about $3,000 each. However, recent trends of hospital support and currency exchange suggest that we may be able to supply about 80-95 transplants with these funds.
2. GG 1860595 Vickie Blade Pacemaker Program ($116,000, Mexico host San Angel, US sponsor Kingston TN D6780)
The pacemaker program would fund the purchase of pacemakers and provide for the implanting and upkeep of the pacemaker into the patient that has no funds to purchase such a life saving device. There are approximately 3500 people identified who are waiting for a pacemaker who have no money to pay. Most of these people will die. The grant would provide pacemakers for 400 patients. Two hospitals will provide all services at no charge, so that the project cost is for the pacemaker purchases, at an average cost of $290 each. This would be the second year for this program.
3. GG 1754279 Education skills - basic Spanish and math ($88,026, Mexico host Vallescondido, US sponsor District 6170 AR)
This project will provide workshops and materials to improve basic education skills in an impoverished area. The host club has successfully implemented a similar project locally and now looks to expand and enhance the model and opportunities.
4. GG 1860815 Neurological center equipment and training ($44,000, Mexico host Bellavista Atizipan, US sponsor District 5630 NE club TBD)
This project provides specialized equipment and training at a center for children with severe neurological challenges and is a follow up project to a recent successful global grant at this center.
5. GG 1860644 John & Judy Germ cleft lip and palate surgery center equipment ($205,023, Mexico host Vallejo, US sponsor District 6820 MS)
The Vallejo club in Mexico has obtained space and staffing for a new cleft lip and palate surgery services in the Mexico City metro area. The grant project would supply necessary equipment for the center.
6. GG 1861159 Hospital equipment and supplies ($55,000, Mexico host TBD, US sponsor District 6780 TN club TBD)
The project would provide used but usable equipment and supplies (provided through Project CURE) at two locations in District 4170. One location will be Hospital de las Americas in Ecatepec and the other location is to be determined.
7. GG 1860645 WASH challenge pilot project ($46,251, Mexico host Ecatepec, US sponsor Greater Lake Charles LA D6200)
District 4170 wishes to establish a consistent project that brings in water and sanitation in schools, along with water and hygiene education and anti-bullying training (similar to programs being done in Central America). In essence, this matches with our vision of moving to a program where the water tank systems are combined with sanitation improvements at each target school, and thus would replace the solo water tank system program as one of our signature projects. The budget covers a handful of schools as a pilot.
8. GG 1860416 John & Judy Germ children’s cancer center equipment in District 4140 Guadalajara ($245,000, Mexico host Guadalajara Colomos, US sponsor District 6820 MS)
The Hospital Civil de Guadalajara provides services for needy children with severe cancer challenges. Their program is similar to the one at St. Jude’s in Memphis, and the two hospitals actually work together on children’s cases and on groundbreaking research. The grant project funds equipment that helps both areas. The host club will provide $95,000 cash and the host district will provide $5,000 DDF, so they are clearly very invested in the success of this project.
Other Projects (not global grants)
The Heart 2 Heart partners are considering one or more additional projects for 2017-18 that are not eligible for global grant funding.
1. Wheelchairs ($60,000)
The Heart 2 Heart partners are working on a continuing basis with the Toluca Suroeste club and World Access Project to purchase three container of 200 wheelchairs for $90,000 for disabled children and adults with severe economic hardships. The refurbished wheelchairs are not just the same kind in different sizes. They are multiple varieties, designed to meet a wide variety of individual needs. The World Access Project program not only offers wheelchairs, it offers crutches and other devices to help mobility. Zone 30 clubs will be challenged to fund one container, Zone 31 clubs will be challenged to fund a second container, and District 6780 will be challenged to fund a third container.
2. Naucalpan community center computers ($10,000)
The Las Torres Satelite club has worked with the municipality of Naucalpan and the INEA (National Institute for Adult Education) to establish a community center for educating and training adults who have not completed their high school education and are functionally illiterate. The US clubs have been asked to provide the computers and peripherals to help complete the center.
3. District 4140 school renovations ($10,000)
We will be working with our new D4140 partners in Tlaquepaque to help with some renovations (painting and roof repair) in local grade schools.
Five Global Grant Projects
The Heart 2 Heart partners submitted five global grant projects and completed two non-global-grant projects for 2016-17. The current total for all five global grants is $470,409.
All 26 district in Zones 30-31 are partners in the global grant projects this year. In addition, District 5630 Nebraska has continued as an additional project partner. The US districts contributed $176,452 in DDF to these grant projects, and The Rotary Foundation supplied $202,647 in matching funds for these grants.
1. GG 1745052 Holtz-Beahon Kidney Transplant Program 2017 ($192,000, Mexico host Cuajimalpa, US sponsor Pikeville, KY D6740).
We will continue our work with several partners to provide kidney transplants for young adults and teens (primarily ages 15-49) who are economically disadvantaged. This will be our sixth global grant for kidney transplants. The grant is budgeted for 64 kidney transplants at about $3,000 each. However, recent trends of hospital support and currency exchange suggest that we may be able to supply about 85-90 transplants with these funds. The grant was approved on April 18, 2017.
2. GG 1641800 Equipment and training for midwives in indigenous areas ($77,400, Mexico host Pachuca Plata, US sponsor Kentland IN D6540).
This project will prevent disease and asphyxia by training 437 midwives in how to use penguin suction device to save lives. The midwives deliver the majority of low income infants born Mexico. The 437 midwives will touch thousands of families and will be available with equipment to deliver and save newborns. The funds would be used to purchase the penguin suction device, masks and one thousand reusable able bags. These bags can be reused up to 20 times. The grant was approved on March 24, 2017.
3. GG 1743667 Vickie Blade Pacemaker equipment and surgeries ($116,000, Mexico host San Angel, US sponsor Carmel IN D6560).
Through this humanitarian service project, the Rotarians of District 4170 Mexico will be working with Heartbeat International, the National Institute of Cardiology Ignacio Chavez, and seven other Mexico hospitals to provide implantation of 400 pacemakers to individuals who do not have the economic resources to obtain these life-saving procedures. The project also provides important training to medical professionals in the field. These implantations not only save lives, they save families, as often the recipient is the home’s primary source of employment income. This project is in honor of Vickie Blade, who dedicated her life to service as a teacher who provided inspiration, support, and life lessons to thousands of children. The grant was approved on April 28, 2017. All twenty six districts in Zones 30-31 contributed financially as partners in this project.
4. GG 1745049 Tortilla and bread making machines for community center ($49,000, Mexico host La Villa, US sponsor Grand Island Sunrise NE D5630).
The La Villa club has been daily providing free breakfast for almost 200 very needy children in an attempt to help keep them in school. The club has great plans to expand the existing space to a three level complex that would provide other community services such as computer training and life skill workshops. The proposed project calls for purchase and installation of one tortilla making machine and one bread making machine. These machines could feed the children and would more than pay for itself by producing extra food that could be sold inexpensively to the community neighborhood. The grant has been submitted but not yet approved.
5. GG 1746265 Learning to Learn ($36,009, Mexico host Mixcoac, US sponsor Alliance NE D5630).
The Mixcoac club has been operating a weekend workshop program that literally teaches students and their parents about how to learn – school subjects and also some basic life skills. The grant would enable the club to train more workshop leaders and greatly expand the number of students and parents served. The grant has been submitted but not yet approved.
Two Non- Global-Grant Projects
The Heart 2 Heart partners completed two non-global grant projects for $21,180 (international share).
1. Wheelchairs ($15,000)
The Heart 2 Heart partners worked with the Toluca Suroeste club and World Access Project to purchase one-half of a container (100 wheelchairs for $15,000) for disabled children and adults with severe economic hardships. The refurbished wheelchairs are not just the same kind in different sizes. They are multiple varieties, designed to meet a wide variety of individual needs. The World Access Project program not only offers wheelchairs, it offers crutches and other devices to help mobility.
2. Toluca school expansion phase 2 ($6,180)
The Heart 2 Heart partners contributed $6,180 to complete the second phase of the Toluca school expansion from the prior year. This phase supported the completion of a space for a learning center. The project was completed in late October 2016, and the Heart 2 Heart traveling group conducted a site visit on November 7, 2016.
The Heart 2 Heart partners are working on eight global grant projects and three non-global-grant projects for 2015-16.
Eight Global Grant Projects
Twenty districts in Zones 30-31, along with District 5630 Nebraska, have partnered to work on eight Global Grant projects. The total for all eight grants is $580,629. The US partners will contribute DDF of $192,858 for these grant projects. The Rotary Foundation will provide $270,407 in matching funds for these projects.
1. GG 1633889 Kidney transplants for disadvantaged young adults and teens ($156,000, Mexico host Cuajimalpa, US sponsor Franklin TN).
We will continue our work with several partners to provide kidney transplants for young adults and teens ages 15-29 who are economically disadvantaged. This will be our fifth global grant for kidney transplants. The grant provides for 52 kidney transplants at $3,000 each. The grant was approved in June 2016. As of September 23, 2016, 13 transplants had been completed.
2. GG 1637833 Bathroom and sanitation improvements and renovations in grade schools ($80,000 plus, Mexico host Tlalpan, US sponsor Gothenburg NE).
One of our on-going projects is for water tank systems in 31 schools. The local government will also be adding rain-collection systems in these 31 schools. The bathrooms themselves are in varying conditions but all need expansion and/or renovations, so we are targeting as many of these 31 schools as we can afford to fix, so that we can say the water and sanitation challenges for all these schools will be completely addressed. The condition of the facilities varies greatly from school to school. The grant was submitted in late June 2016 and is still under review by The Rotary Foundation.
3. GG 1531566 Neurological assessment equipment and training GG 1531566 ($45,000, Mexico host Bellavista Atizapan, US sponsor Lexington NE).
The project is designed to identify and treat neurological problems in very young children and infants. This grant has been approved, and the project is well underway. Project completion is scheduled for November 2016.
4. GG 1531850 Hospital equipment and training ($40,003, Mexico host Zona Rosa, US sponsor Bearden TN).
This hospital is a large regional public hospital (serving over 1.5 million uninsured) that we have worked with before. This project includes purchasing ultrasound equipment and providing training for such equipment. The grant has been approved and the project is well underway.
5. GG 1634520 Hospital equipment and training ($39,000, Mexico host Ecatepec, US sponsor Bearden TN).
This hospital is a large regional public hospital (serving over 1.5 million uninsured) that we have worked with before. This project includes purchasing craniotomy equipment and providing training for such equipment. The grant has been approved and is underway.
6. GG 1634523 Documenting migrant children ($137,126, Mexico district is the host, US sponsor Knoxville Volunteer TN ).
The project involves setting up the infrastructure and first recipients of a program that will provide accurate and legal documentation for migrant children who do not have access to health care or education in Mexico. The grant was submitted in the spring and is awaiting TRF approval.
7. GG 1637837 Whole school education project for the 31 water tank sites ($46,500, Mexico host to be determined, US sponsor O'Neill NE).
This project would provide education, literacy, anti-bullying, sports development, vocational training for leadership skills and for values and human development in 31 grade schools. The grant should be submitted by October 2016.
8. GG 1638231 Daycare for children in market trash area ($37,000, Mexico host Paseo de la Reforma, US sponsor Florence KY).
Mexico City has a large market area that is open daily. Young mothers (usually teens) work in the trash area of that market, sifting through for recyclables that they can sell. Their infant children do not have access to daycare because they are under age 6, leading to illnesses and no preschool preparation. The local government will provide space and staffing for a daycare center for these children under 6, and Rotary will provide the set up equipment, supplies and materials as well as initial training for the daycare workers. The grant should be submitted by October 2016.
The twenty Zone 30-31 partner districts for 2015-16 include the following:
D6040 D6510 D6760
D6060 D6540 D6780
D6080 D6560 D6800
D6110 D6580 D6820
D6190 D6690 D6840
D6200 D6710 D6880
Three Non-Global-Grant Projects
Twenty three District 6780 clubs and the Parkville Missouri club have partnered to work on three important projects that could not be funded by global grants.
1. Girls shelter computer training ($8,000). We provided computers and peripherals for a computer lab in 2013-14 and started a computer training program in 2014-15. The second year of training will help establish the base for a certification program (to help make the girls more employable when they leave the shelter). The project is fully funded and is underway.
2. One of the five Toluca area clubs is continuing its expansion of a nearby grade school. US portion of the cost is $18,000. The project is fully funded and is underway.
3. District 6780 clubs and individuals have contributed $2,500 to buy books for the Otomi school in Pahuatlan.
The Heart 2 Heart partners have started seven global grant projects and has completed three non-grant projects for 2014-15. 16 of the 26 districts in Zones 30-31 have partnered this year to make these global grants a reality.
RELATIONSHIP WITH FURMEX
During 2014-15, Heart 2 Heart established a partnership with FURMEX. FURMEX is a not-for-profit organization that works with other non-profits and charities and Rotary clubs in Mexico to do humanitarian work. Rotarians in Mexico comprise most of the organization’s leadership. Since many of the smaller clubs in Mexico do not have club accounts, it is more financially to work with a formal and experienced organization to do projects. FURMEX charges a 3% fee for each project (3% of the total project budget) but also can contribute up to 25,000 pesos (about $1,600 USD in current conversion). Therefore, Heart 2 Heart gets accountability and another financial partner, and the Mexico clubs have more incentive to consider smaller projects.
Seven Global Grant Projects
1. Kidney transplants for young adults and teens. We work with several partners to provide kidney transplants for young adults and teens ages 15-29 who are economically disadvantaged. This grant project has been approved, and the project started in late May 2015.
2. Equipment for a rural school. We have partnered with a North Carolina district to provide equipment and training for a remote mountain area school with an indigenous population. The government is providing a new structure that will really help, and that construction is well underway. This project was approved in April 2015 and should be completed by August 2015.
3. Mediation training. This is a peace and conflict resolution project that will provide training for qualified counselors and legal assistants to help provide service for economically disadvantaged families. The courts cannot handle all the potential conflicts between family members and between neighbors, and most folks cannot afford legal help. This grant project was recently approved and should begin in July or August 2015.
4. Solid Rain. This project is a pilot program to supply poor families in arid areas with an opportunity to grow vegetables year round for themselves and to sell for supplemental income. The technology involves capturing water in globules (similar to that used in florist shops and even diapers) and mixing with soil in garden plots so that the plants can take the water as needed. The concept has been tried in that area successfully with small fields. Despite continuing efforts to make this happen, once again the grant has not been filed. While in Mexico, we established a final deadline date that passed. Because we had funding already secured, we needed another project.
On our radar has been a large water project in conjunction with WASRAG and CONAGUA, the Mexico water authority, to provide water and sanitation to four rural communities near Oaxaca. We have now reallocated our funds for solid rain to this project. This grant project should be submitted soon.
Mexico D4170 will host the project as a district project. Lafayette, North Carolina is the US sponsor club. The total grant is for $200,000, and the total project budget is $1,000,000. With the Mexican government supplying 80% of the funding, the “bang for the buck” for Rotary is extremely good. Our contribution supports our friends in D4170, makes new friends in D4195 and in North Carolina and California, helps D4170 with their DDF for other Heart 2 Heart projects, and gets us involved with an important major project with reduced risk and responsibilities.
5. Cleft lip and palate training and surgeries. The project will provide additional training and increased surgeries for cleft lip and palate challenges in a poor area about three hours from Mexico City. This grant project has been submitted and reviewed, and we expect approval after Mexico answers some follow up questions.
6. Autism center equipment and training. The project will expand equipment and training for a hospital that serves as the lead training center for autism professionals for the entire country. Training opportunities will be increased and many more children will be served. This grant project was submitted on June 30, 2015.
7. Lindavista school (project in memory of D6080 DG Michael Beahon). The Lindavista club has been working with a grade 1-6 school in recent years. The club worked with the community to get the local government to add new library and classroom space to the terribly overcrowded school. Now equipment and other needs have arisen. This grant project would look at a “whole school” approach, where we would address needs to fill the new library and computer room and classroom, to put new chairs in some classrooms, to replace worn and costly white boards with new chalkboards, and to provide materials for “readers corners” (now required by the government but not funded). Additionally, the project will provide educational workshops to address school bullying and ways to improve citizenship and tolerance. Funds for extracurricular equipment such as music are part of the workshop planning. This grant project has been submitted and reviewed, and we expect approval after Mexico's recent answers to TRF questions are further reviewed.
Three Non-Global Grant Projects (all completed)
1. Computer training for a girls shelter (year one of two)
2. Solar panels to heat water for an orphanage
3. Water pumps for a remote mountainous area (serves 10 communities that now each get water one day out of ten)
The U.S. Heart 2 Heart partners pursued two new Global Grants, one for kidney transplants and one for a water tank system project with a new host Mexico club (Tlalpan Golf) for 2012-13. District 6060 (Missouri) was a new U.S. partner and sponsored both projects.
The global grant proposal for the kidney transplant project was for 28 transplants, with a total Global Grant of $103,600 and a total project cost of $257,600. There are eight U.S. districts (6060, 6780, 6110, 6880, 6560, 6200, 6040, and 5890) currently partnering on this project. The Rotary Club of Cuajimalpa is the host club in Mexico D4170. The Rotary Club of St. Louis, Missouri is the host club in U.S. District 6060. The grant proposal was accepted by The Rotary Foundation in late November 2012 as Global Grant 26222. The grant application was approved on April 5, 2013. The project started in early June 2013 and was completed in March 2014. Over 40 kidney transplants were performed with this grant.
The current proposal for the water tank project is for 31 water tank systems, with the total Global Grant and project cost of $108,500. There are nine US districts (6060, 6780, 6110, 6450, 6460, 6560, 6040, 6510, and 6200) currently partnering on this project. The Rotary Club of Tlalpan Golf is the host club in Mexico District 4170. The Rotary Club of High Ridge, Missouri is the host club in U.S. District 6060.The global grant proposal 1416319 has been submitted and is under review by The Rotary Foundation.
2012-13 GIRLS SHELTER PROJECT
The Parkville, MO and Maryville-Alcoa, TN clubs worked with the Tlalpan Golf, MX club to provide seven computers, software, and computer stations at the Fundacion Clara Moreno y Miramon girls shelter in Mexico City. Parkville Rotarian Michael Hobbs and his wife Lucile generously donated the funds for the purchase of the computers and all the necessary software and peripherals. The Maryville-Alcoa club sponsored the computer stations and printers.
The complications from the Future Vision Pilot procedures and guidelines led to a decision by the current U.S. district partners to limit the number of Global Grant projects that were pursued in 2011-12 to just two projects. However, the partners intended to increase financial support of the projects that were chosen and to encourage new partners.
The kidney transplant project was resubmitted (following its initial rejection in 2010-11) and approved as Global Grant 25280 in Fall 2011. District 6650 (Indiana) was the U.S. sponsor district. The project was written to provide for 21 transplants, the first of which was done in December 2011. The total Global Grant is for $88,200, and the total project cost is $193,200. Due to dollar conversions and increased contributions from patients' families, 39 transplants were conducted with the grant, which was completed on January 23, 2013. Three U.S. districts (6560, 6780, and 6200) partnered on this project. The Rotary Club of Cuajimapla was the host club in Mexico District 4170. The Rotary Club of Carmel, Indiana was the host club in U.S. District 6560.
The water tank system project grant proposal, which will supply 60 water tank systems, was submitted on June 27, 2012. District 6200 (Louisiana) is the U.S. sponsor district. The grant proposal was numbered by The Rotary Foundation as Global Grant 26072 on October 16, 2012 but was not developed. The grant proposal has been re-numbered as Global Grant 1414613 and was approved in April 2015. The total Global Grant and project cost will be $210,000. Five U.S. districts (6200, 6560, 6780, 6040, and 6760) partnered on this project. The Rotary Club of Ecatepec is the host club in Mexico District 4170. The Rotary Club of Greater St. Charles, Louisiana is the host club in U.S. District 6200.
The Future Vision Pilot program began in 2010-11, and its impact on Heart 2 Heart was both immediate and ongoing. Mexico District 4170 was selected as a Future Vision Pilot district, but most U.S. partner districts were not selected as pilot districts. This forced all the districts to work together through other Future Vision Pilot districts in order to complete Rotary Foundation matching grant projects, using the new Global Grant procedures and guidelines. District 6560 (Indiana) and District 6200 (Louisiana) served as the U.S. sponsor districts on five proposed new Global Grant projects. The new Global Grant applications proved to be a challenge for our partners to complete to the satisfaction of the Rotary Foundation, and only one project was approved during the year.
The water tank system project for schools in the Ecatepec area was approved by the Rotary Foundation as Global Grant 25211. The project provides a water tank, two filtering systems, and three water dispensers to 40 schools. Mexico has nine partner clubs providing support for the project. The total Global Grant and project cost was $139,840. The project is complete. Seven U.S. districts (6560, 6780, 6040, 6460, 6510, 6200, and 6760) partnered on this project. The Rotary Club of Ecatepec was the host club in Mexico District 4170. The Rotary Club of Danville, Indiana was the host club in U.S. District 6560.
District 6560 (Indiana) completed several TRF humanitarian matching grants in the years preceding the Future Vision Pilot program. These grant projects included kidney transplants, several water tank systems, several used ambulances and fire trucks, and school computers. Districts 6460 and 6510 (Illinois) partnered with them on some of these projects. D6190 (Louisiana) also sponsored one new ambulance. Rotarian Claude Johnson (Crawfordsville, Indiana) worked tirelessly for several years to help provide used ambulances and fire trucks, some funded through matching grants and some funded locally.
During 2008-2010, District 6780 (Tennessee) partnered with four different U.S. districts (6560, 6040, 6460, and 6510) to complete TRF humanitarian matching grant projects for infant radiant cradles and craniotomy equipment for a hospital, kidney transplants, a new ambulance, used fire trucks, and water tank systems.
The water tank system primarily consists of a 10,000 liter water tank that is connected to a school’s internal plumbing system to supply water to faucets for drinking (includes a filtering system) and to bathrooms for toilet flushing and hand washing. Each school’s plumbing varies, and often the Rotarians and school parents have to rework (and add to) the existing plumbing to accommodate the new water system. The school size for the recipients of Heart 2 Heart tanks to date ranges from 600- 1700 students per school (with an average of 1,000), and the tanks have all been placed in grade schools.
One highlight of this project is the cooperation and effort required of and made by all the stakeholders. The government agrees to pay for the truck delivery of at least one tank full of water per week (and our understanding is that more frequent water delivery can be obtained as needed). The school works out the schedule for the construction, and educates the teachers to work with the children on improved hygiene. The parents take primary responsibility for building the concrete base for the tank, for educating their children on improved hygiene, and for replacing the filters as needed (about every six months). The local Rotarians arrange for the construction and delivery of the tank, train parents and school officials on routine maintenance, assist with installation and plumbing, and take responsibility for repainting the tank’s interior every five years. The Rotarians will not install a tank in a school unless the local government, local parents, and local school officials can make the necessary commitments.
The company that makes the tanks can produce about four or five of the 10,000 liter tanks per week. A typical tank is primarily steel, weighs about 2200 pounds, and has an expected life of 30-40 years or more (depending on the average quality of water in the tank and the average quality of maintenance). Plastic tanks are not used because they are subject to more damage and vandalism, can be easily moved if empty, have a shorter life span, and can weaken with harsh weather.
A water tank system costs about $3,500.
The Holtz-Beahon Kidney Transplant Program is a cooperative effort between three private hospitals in Mexico, Mexico District 4170, U.S. Rotarians and other partners, the Ayudar Foundation of Mexico, and The Rotary Foundation through global grants to provide life-saving kidney transplants for young women and men, generally aged 15-49. Grant program recipients all have a high financial need and are not eligible for the federal government medical program. The program goal is to “save a life a week” by funding at least 52 kidney transplants per year.
Kidney (renal) failure is a more prevalent problem in Mexico than in any other country of the western hemisphere, due primarily to genetics and diabetes. Poor water and sanitation, poor diets, and lack of education in Mexican society all contribute heavily to the problem. Mexico has the world’s largest percentage of young children who are obese. As a result of all these factors, a relatively high number of children and young adults have kidney problems and need transplants. There are literally thousands waiting for donors and/or financial support, and the number of cases is expected to skyrocket as the population continues to grow. The Mexican public hospitals can provide kidney transplants through some of its facilities, but usually that process will take one to five years or more, which in most cases is too long to wait for the patients that we serve.
The transplants are done in three hospitals (one in Mexico City and two in cities less than 100 miles away) that are among the best kidney transplant facilities in Latin America. The doctors are absolutely top notch. These are the doctors and hospitals that the wealthy use, and yet these medical professionals are willing and anxious to also serve people in need.
The financial numbers are truly amazing. With great support from the lead kidney doctor (Dr. Mario Cardona), the hospital partners discount their fees drastically and negotiate with families and the Ayudar Foundation in Mexico so that the targeted average price to Rotary is $2,500 per transplant (based on current exchange rate of approximately 20:1). Recently the actual average cost to Rotary has been around $2,000 per transplant.
The doctors are willing to do two transplants per week under the program if it could be funded and if the right qualified patients could be found. Many potential recipients do not follow through for a variety of reasons, often related to either a lack of a viable and/or willing donor or an unwillingness to demonstrate any attempt at a minimal financial commitment. Organ donation is a relatively new concept in Mexico, so almost every kidney transplant requires a living donor, usually a close relative.
Mexico Rotarian Ignacio (“Nacho”) Holtz and other members of his club work tirelessly with the hospitals to screen potential recipients and donors, as well as to provide logistical support for the families and the hospitals for paperwork follow up and transportation, both before and after surgery. The Mexico government does provide medications for all patients after surgery.
The kidney transplant program is named after Nacho Holtz and District 6080 PDG Mike Beahon, who passed away from kidney-related illness in 2014. The program name recognizes the connections between Mexico and the U.S. that has come together by the inspiring spirit and Rotary service of Ignacio Holtz and Mike Beahon.