The Mark & Trina Ramsey Foundation's mission is to creatively inspire those in need by addressing fundamental health & wellness, education and life skills development around the globe.
Our programs include building wells and assisting with food, clothing, schools, supplies, formal education and sustainable life skills training for children & adults.
literally transforms lives!
Check out our most recent donation updates by visiting us on Facebook.
Our philanthropic philosophy is based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We strongly believe that adults and children alike must have their fundamental needs met before they’re truly capable of developing & creatively leveraging their innate skills and talents to best serve their families, communities and the world at large.
To this end, through on-site research & a thorough assessment process, we develop relationships with like-minded individuals residing in the specific areas that we passionately desire to support. Together, we work toward our goal of "fulfilling our world's ocean of needs, one drop at a time."
In-keeping with Maslow’s Model, once fundamental survival needs are met in a given community, we expand our contributions by means of education (health & wellness, reading, writing, math, technology, creativity development) and other forms of community service so that both children and adults can CO-CREATE a realistic path toward their own sustainability (gardening, skills development, higher education, participation in community development projects and the like).
MOST IMPORTANTLY (after the actual work itself, of course!), our driving principle is to be the non-profit organization that we've always dreamed of - a charity where 100% of any tax-deductible donation designated for a specific program goes directly to that program. This means that if $200 is donated to have a well built, that's exactly where all of the money goes and WE (Mark & Trina Ramsey) cover the administrative expenses through our own personal donations.
DREAMS really DO come TRUE!
Riding into 2021 together!
With parents barely making ends meet, bikes are a luxury, yet desperately needed, as they can mean the difference between kids attending or NOT attending school! In most cases, ONE bike enables TWO children to become educated & thereby breaks the poverty cycle.
A mere $50 donation covers the cost of supplying a child with NOT ONLY a bike, but also a basket, bell AND the platform on the back that enables their siblings or friends to come along for the ride!
Supplying Care Packages
Food Survival Kits
This program is designed to assist carefully screened Cambodian families facing dire circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each $50 donation will enable 10 families to each receive a care package to help them survive during these trying times. These "Survival Kits" contain the following basic food items :
A big step toward breaking the cycle through knowledge
Many Cambodian children living in rural areas don't have the ability to attend school because they lack the ability to get there! While bike donations are a start, during the rainy season, the dirt roads become so muddy it's virtually impossible to venture out, especially when the distance between their village homes and the nearest school is 5 km or more (~1.5 hour walk each way).
In order to bridge this gap, MTRF works with local organizations to facilitate the construction & on-going support of educational facilities.
Please click HERE to expand the minds of children!
Contributing School Supplies
Essentials Needed for Each Child!
These children have parents that struggle to feed and clothe them, so school supplies are considered a luxury! They are in need of everything from pencils and notebooks to paper and books. Your donation of $36 will cover a year's worth of supplies for a student attending our new school in Cambodia.
Please help us break the cycle of poverty by supporting our efforts to educate these children in need! CLICK HERE to make a difference in a child's life.
Distributing School Uniforms
Without them, children cannot attend school!
The Cambodian public school systems require students to wear uniforms in order to attend classes. When families cannot afford these mandatory uniforms, the children stay at home & often begin working in rice fields with their parents, thereby continuing a cycle of poverty.
MTRF doesn't want a uniform to stand between a child & the education they deserve! A small, $30 tax-deductible donation can enable a child to do BIG THINGS!
Please click HERE now to help us make that happen!
Where there's a well, there's a way!
These wells enable families to:
* readily access fresh drinking water
* more easily wash clothing & eating utensils
* ensure proper hygiene through regular bathing
* more easily prepare food
* water gardens
These fundamental needs can be met by a $200 tax-deductible DONATION and best of all:
"IT'S THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING"!!
So many ways to help!
About a decade ago, we visited Cambodia for the first time and had a deep desire to return to make a difference through donations & doing volunteer work there.
So many needs existed -- we didn't know where to start!
Fortunately, quite serendipitously, we found ourselves in a position to begin this process by providing water wells, while also addressing other fundamental survival needs. Please click here to learn more.
Exploring new ways to make a difference in 2021!
Volunteering on a service mission in Kakelao, India was both inspirational and transformative on many levels. In addition to touching the lives of the students/villagers, our desire to expand how we could be of service in India escalated to new heights. To that end, we've continued to further our efforts to make a difference in other villages in India.
Taking it to the next level
Our trip to Yamoransa in Ghana with the Yale Alumni Service Corp, (YASC) endeared us to the villagers and their effusive, joyful & loving spirit. Our moments of teaching, assisting with the establishment of a library & making technology available to the villagers inspired us to continue our support there and in other parts of Africa.
In the future....
During our global travels, we've been exposed to extremely fundamental, yet unmet needs in developing countries. These experiences prompted us to raise awareness by taking actionable steps to make a difference through both donations and direct, personal involvement, when & where appropriate.
Prior to establishing our foundation, we spent over two decades volunteering &/or contributing to a variety of charities, some of which include:
American Cancer Society (including "Dreams Come True"), MS Society, Women Helping Women, Maui Food Bank, Kidney Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Maui Community College, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, ACORUS Women's Shelter in Prague, International Women's Association in Prague (IWAP), Grace, American Heart Association, Fort Worth Museum of Science & History...
Most recently, we participated in the Yale Alumni Service Corps (YASC) on-site service trips in Cuba (2017), Ghana (2016) and India (2015). Our direct exposure to working with small villages in need through one-on-one interactions with school children, teachers & local villagers was life-altering!
It is the culmination of these experiences that serve as the foundation of our foundation!
Secretary / Treasurer
Mark's educational background includes a BA in Computer Science, an MBA, & a PhD in Applied Computer Science. During his 30+ year career, he traveled the world while overseeing the Business Analytics & Optimization consulting and services team for IBM.
Mark has been involved in developing & teaching courses at several universities, served in the role of Chief Data Officer at both Samsung Mobile and GSK and is currently a consultant to numerous organizations with the objective of transforming their use of data as a strategic asset.
Mark was a board member for the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History, and is currently on several advisory committees & boards, including the International Society of Chief Data Officers, University of Arkansas at Little Rock CDO program, and the MIT Chief Data Officer program.
Trina's educational background includes a BS in Information Science and a MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. During her career she served as VP, International & VP, Custom, among other roles, at a global web-based training company. She also contributed to sales & marketing departments in computer services, hardware & software companies.
After retiring from the corporate world, Trina served as a board member for the Maui Food Bank & in a variety of capacities while volunteering for numerous charities. While living abroad in Prague for three years, she held a leadership position in IWAP and wrote several articles and poems that were subsequently published in their magazine, The Bridge. Trina is continually exploring ways to express herself creatively & enjoys donating her works to help raise money for charitable causes.
Every twist & turn along Trina's journey has contributed to the development of the diverse skills required for this passionately embraced endeavor!
Contributors that aid us in establishing a strong foundation
We are currently in discussions with like-minded corporations, firms & organizations that are interested in working together in support of our vision.
Many corporations & firms offer a "Charitable Donation Matching Program." Please CLICK HERE to learn more.
A fluid group contributing in their own unique ways
The need for volunteers in a number of capacities varies throughout the year and shifts based upon the villages we're assisting and the programs that are best able to address their needs. For example, prior to a scheduled service trip, there may be a need for volunteers to collect & sort through clean, gently used clothing, or pursue donations of books, school supplies & the like.
After clicking on the item(s) I wish to donate, how do I complete my transaction?
We apologize if you're experiencing any confusion! Once you've made your selection from the donation options located in the DONATE NOW section of our website, simply click on the shopping cart. On PCs and laptops, this is located at the very bottom of the navigation tabs on the left-hand side of our website. On mobile devices, it's located in the upper right hand corner. After clicking on the shopping cart, you will see prompts to help you complete your transaction via credit card. Shortly thereafter, you'll receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) foundation and we'll get to work on putting your donation to good use! Prefer to donate via check? Please send email to: [email protected]
When you say that 100% of our donations go directly into the programs specified & you cover all other expenses through your own donations, what does this mean?
Here’s how it works: When you donate $200 via paypal, we actually receive an amount lower than $200 (because paypal charges a processing fee). We cover that processing fee through our own donations, thereby bringing the donation amount back up to the full $200 that’s needed to cover the cost of digging/installing the well. This ensures that every penny you donate goes directly to the cause! We make further donations to cover all other administrative expenses that we incur to operate this foundation, which include, but aren’t limited to legal & accounting fees, administration, wire transfer & banking fees, postage, travel, website, marketing, service fees and other related expenses. Additionally, our personal donations cover larger, one-off programs (such as the first aid kits in Cambodia, cookers for the schools in India, etc) as well as the launching of new pilot programs, such as our bike distribution program. This approach enables us to use our OWN donations while we measure the success of these programs; once we have measurable/positive results, we’ll then feel comfortable accepting donations from others to help support these new initiatives.
How can a “company charitable matching program” increase our donation to MTRF?
Many corporations/firms offer an employee benefit that includes matching donations their employees make to 501(c)(3) charities (up to a certain dollar amount per year). Typically, the employee completes an online form, as directed by their HR department, and the specified charity receives a check from the corporation matching the amount that their employee donates. MTRF greatly appreciates these additional “matching donations” and has benefited tremendously from our supporters taking those few extra minutes to leverage their investment in our programs! Please take advantage of this generous corporate benefit & spread the word to your fellow co-workers!
What are the general donations used for?
At the current time, we are/will be using the general donations toward our school building program, uniform/supplies program, food program &/or other ST or LT programs that address additional needs that we identify through our on-going interviews and assessment/analysis process.
The price of these wells seems rather inexpensive - how is this possible?
Our local partner has been involved in overseeing the installation of 1,000+ wells over the past several years & focuses on efficiency. These family-sized wells are constructed within a two-day period. DAY 1 involves hand-digging ~30 meters down into the water basin; on DAY 2, the concrete base is poured around the hand-pump & allowed to set prior to making the well available to the family for use.
The bases of these wells are larger than I expected - why?
During the rainy season the land around the wells can get muddy; therefore, the bases of the wells are designed with multiple uses in mind, one of which is hygiene. The large, edged base keeps mud out, while retaining sufficient amounts of water for bathing and washing laundry. This water is also used for cooking, drinking, watering gardens, oral hygiene and washing cooking utensils, thus having this large, edged base is the most practical way to construct these wells.
Why are you putting in dedicated wells for each family versus a large well for the community?
After observing the use of community wells in India, Africa & Cambodia, we feel this is the most effective approach on a number of levels. The dedicated wells are safer, much more hygienic in terms of bathing/clothes/cooking/drinking and can best facilitate a family’s ability to develop personal gardens, given their proximity. While some families live near others, many are spread further apart, which would make it difficult to continually transport buckets of water to the homes from a large community-center well. In the case of the former, families sometimes share wells until funding becomes available for their own personal wells. This is contingent upon assessments as to whether the families are working toward sustainability (planting gardens, etc), thereby justifying the prioritization of a personal well versus a shared well.
How does the optional well banner dedication process work?
Wells are often dedicated to celebrate special occasions & holidays or to honor the accomplishments or memory of a loved one. When making a contribution for a well, the donor can provide well banner customization details in the notes of their paypal transaction or simply respond to the Banner Customization email they will receive, typically within 24 hours of MTRF’s receipt of their donation. Once the dates/photo/optional flag details are submitted, a well banner mock-up is emailed to the donor for review. After the banner’s approved, well construction begins.
What’s the process for determining who receives wells and when?
Our local team conducts personal interviews with families, the village chief, the school and other community members in order to assess needs. Single-parent families, those with physical hardships/handicaps and families that demonstrate a strong desire to be involved in sustainability projects (such as developing gardens for personal use & resale income) are given higher priority.
Once the well donation is made, what is the completion time-frame?
Typically, between 1-3 weeks, depending upon receipt of dedication/customization details, banner feedback turnaround, whether it’s during rainy season or not and the existing queue. Once the well’s constructed, pictures are taken & emailed to the donor within ~24-48 hours. If your well dedication is in recognition of an event or occasion that is time sensitive, a dedication certificate can be created for presentation to the honoree prior to the well's completion (please allow 48 hrs. for this request).
When is the rainy season?
Rainy season in Cambodia runs from May through October; however, this can vary widely from year to year. Unfortunately, 2020 has been one of the worst rainy seasons in decades!
I like the idea of donating year-round - do you have an automated monthly donation program?
We are currently developing a program whereby you can contribute a specified amount each month via your credit card through our website’s online donation center. Should you wish to make a monthly donation prior to our formal launch of this program, please send us an email.
Why did you choose the area of Hyderabad to begin your work in India?
We’ve known our local partner there for close to 20 years, our goals/objectives/philanthropic philosophies are in alignment and we’ve personally visited the schools with which they’re involved. We’ve met the teachers, board members and trustees of these schools, as well as interacted personally with the students themselves. We’re confident that every dime we invest in these initiatives will be wisely spent toward accomplishing our mutual goals, which currently involve addressing health, wellness & education needs.
The needs there appear to be unending! The thought of families struggling to address the most FUNDAMENTAL need of obtaining fresh water - something so many people take for granted - has motivated us to invest our time & resources there initially. We’re pleased & privileged to be working closely with a partner/team possessing such a depth of knowledge & compassion, not to mention a 15+ year track record of implementing numerous sustainability programs in the area.
Why are you focused on donating overseas rather than providing aid in the US?
Our philanthropic model is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Thus, we feel passionately compelled to initially address the extremely fundamental needs of providing access to water to those in need and nourishment to children suffering from anemia & malnutrition. While we’re on-site & observing these needs first-hand, we can examine how best to address enhancing education and developing sustainability programs. While we recognize that these extreme needs also exist within certain pockets in the US, these challenges aren’t nearly as prevalent as they are in Cambodia & India, due to the many governmental programs that our federal tax dollars support here in America.
Do you have a Facebook page?
Yes,please visit us on Facebook here. We enjoy sharing photos of well and mosquito net donations, and our "in lieu of flowers" net bouquet dedications. We also share links to our blog posts as they become available. We're always appreciative of your LIKES/SHARES and COMMENTS, as they help us to get the word out about our programs!