Another Year of Giving Generously
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Another Year of Giving Generously

Grand Circle and OAT travelers donate nearly $775,000 to Foundation sites in 2012

According to CNN, Americans are among the most generous people in the world. And according to Grand Circle Foundation, no one is more generous than Grand Circle and OAT travelers. In 2012 alone, donations from our travelers have reached nearly $775,000, supporting 140 projects at 74 sites in 32 countries. More than 9,800 individuals have given on their own initiative, in increments ranging from $5 from a non-traveler inspired by a travel photo exhibit to six-time travelers who donated more than $20,000.

The projects supported by these generous travelers have been similarly wide ranging. Some donations have promoted education through the purchase of books, desks, and school supplies and the funding of scholarships. Many travelers have been inspired to help with entrepreneurial enterprises, such as the Sinamune Disabled Children's Orchestra in Ecuador, a women's embroidery cooperative in Israel, and "The Chicken Project" in Tanzania. Others have been inspired by environmental issues, such as establishing an eco-compost system, using sandbags for construction, and supporting conservation research and education.

No matter which project benefits, our donors have heartfelt reasons for their generosity. When Mark and Naomi Hughes of Hamilton, Virginia, visited a Tanzanian school in 2007, they recognized that something as simple as a bicycle could change the children's lives and give them an opportunity for secondary education that might not exist otherwise. They have used Naomi's dog-grooming business to raise funds for bicycles ever since, donating $20,855 this year alone.

The plight of Tanzanian children who have to walk miles to and from school every day also touched the hearts of Sue and Rick Jayroe of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Upon their return home, they engaged their church, the Lutheran Church of the Master in Troy, Michigan, in providing the $10,000 needed to build a kitchen and a sheltered dining area at the Njia Panda Primary School, so the children could enjoy lunch at school rather than having to make that roundtrip twice each day.

Yvonne and Michael Fuchs of Tehachapi, California, had a similar response upon their visit to Njia Panda and were inspired to make their own donation of $5,000 to the school.

Kristina Tester was only 14 when she was inspired to raise funds to help her peers at a primary school in Zimbabwe. Now a student at Harvard, she continues her efforts, raising $6,800 for a scholarship for Zimbabwean schoolchildren this year.

And for Grand Circle associate Ricky Regan, the memory of his daughter, Alison Mae Regan, lives on through good works performed in her name through Grand Circle Foundation. This year alone, the Ricky Regan Ali Mae Memorial Fund has raised $6,160 toward projects in Tanzania, Ecuador, and Thailand, for total donations of nearly $14,000.

These are just a few of the thousands who have given not just of their wallets, but also of their hearts to people in other lands. We are deeply grateful to them and to all those who give back to Grand Circle Foundation sites around the world on their own initiative or simply to choosing to travel with Grand Circle and OAT.

Featured in our December 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.