Thursday, November 16, 2006

What rain?

For many years I have heard about the rain in Seattle. So I was pleasantly surprised when it only showered once from Father's Day through Labor Day. Lately we have been hit with a veritable deluge....more, I'm told, than the usual dreary autumn season along the Puget Sound.

But, hey, I grew up in New England! I have lived three years in upstate New York. Two years ago I slipped on ice and dislocated my shoulder. It took 6 months to recover full range of motion. I'll take the rain any day.

The last few weeks have been spent thinking about the mission of Delilah's non-profit organization: PointHope, Inc. It is named after a place in Alaska. I checked via Internet this morning - it is 10 degrees and snowing there. So, yes, I'll take the rain any day.

For those interested, here is the history of PointHope, Inc. I recently drafted this for inclusion in a business plan to manufacture blue jeans in Africa. You will hear more about this project at another time.

PointHope, Inc. was founded in 1993 by Ms. Delilah Rene. At the time, Ms. Rene was a radio personality on station WMGK in Philadelphia. She was touched by the needs of mothers with small children who were suffering due to homelessness, illness, addiction, abuse and poverty. Initially she provided food, clothing and toys to a homeless mother and child on the streets of Baltimore, MD. Soon thereafter, out of a heart driven by her faith in God, Delilah founded a ministry called PointHope.

Subsequently, Delilah personally handed out food and clothing to homeless individuals in neighborhoods surrounding Philadelphia, PA. She recruited some of her listeners and close friends to volunteer their time and to donate money. She conducted an art sale of her personal paintings raising thousands of dollars, 100% of which went to support the activities of PointHope. Among the friends she recruited for PointHope in Philadelphia were Donna Sperone and Fred Myers. Both are still members of the PointHope, Inc. Board of Directors in 2006. And both still volunteer their time and resources to support the mission and programs of PointHope.

Later, Delilah relocated to Boston, MA, from Philadelphia. Not only did she continue the PointHope activities, she expanded them. She built an addition on her home in Massachusetts to help individuals who needed a boost by giving them a place to stay. She provided a safe haven and other necessities like food and friendship. The result was often a means of escape from abusive, addictive or enabling situations.

In December 1995 Delilah was dismissed from her radio position by a station that was changing its format. Despite having a family to support and no job, she continued to give whatever resources she could muster to those in need. The following year, 1996, Delilah syndicated her nightly radio program. At first there were 12 stations. Then there were a few more and, later, many more.

Today, Delilah is on more than 250 radio stations in the United States and Canada. She has a nightly listening audience of nearly 8 million. She has also produced a number of CD’s and written a best seller called “Love Someone Today”. As her resources have grown, Delilah has expanded her personal financial commitment to PointHope and its mission. In 2005, the annual budget of PointHope was in excess of $300,000.

Over time, PointHope has enlarged its scope to include a national platform and to work internationally in reaching areas of desperate need. PointHope remains a ministry of compassion offering help, hope and healing to those in need by providing support, services and resources. The initial vision has evolved into an organization seeking to be a voice for forgotten children. PointHope seeks to raise awareness and champion the cause for vulnerable children everywhere. PointHope endeavors to circumvent denominational, racial, geographical, generational and political boundaries in the process of offering hope to people in the world who are suffering.

The national platform of PointHope relates to the programs for adoption and foster care in the United States. Both programs are weak and in need of strengthening. Delilah has advocated extensively for families associated with adoption and foster care. She has received numerous awards and recognitions on behalf of PointHope for her work in this area. Most recently, she was invited to speak on the subject of foster care at a reception given by New York Governor George Pataki in May 2006.

PointHope’s international involvement and outreach began in 2003 as a result of one refugee reaching out to Delilah for help. The refugee was based at a settlement of Buduburam near Accra, the capital of Ghana. Officially there are 42,000 people living in Buduburam, which was originally built for 4,000. Unofficially there are at least 80,000. These Liberian refugees fled their war torn country because of the very real danger of losing their lives. Many are traumatized and in poor health while some are crippled, handicapped and orphaned. Elderly widows are destitute. There is no running water or electricity. Sanitation is poor, and toilets are few and far between. There is an insufficient supply of food and water. Many children do not survive because of the contaminated water.

Delilah has personally visited the refugee camp in Buduburam on three different occasions. On each visit she has become more resolute to provide resources to help lift these people, especially the children, out of their poverty. In short, to give them hope. PointHope has purchased 22 acres of land in Buduburam for a school, an orphanage or children’s home and recreational areas for constructive youth activities. A medical clinic has been established, with a licensed physician on duty, to provide health education, capacity building and preventative medicine.

PointHope, Inc. was reorganized in 2004 to become a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Approval was granted by the IRS in May 2005 (EIN 20-1216129). As such, donations to PointHope are now tax exempt for federal income tax purposes. PointHope is eligible for a wide range of governmental and non-governmental grants that will be of assistance in carrying out its mission.

A few words about the name PointHope: During the summer of 1993, Delilah tried to break up the monotony of a long summer spell, consisting of sweltering heat and oppressive humidity, by “staging” her show from a place called Point Hope, Alaska. She located a tiny 6-square-mile spit of land on the Arctic Ocean at the furthest northwesterly place in the continental United States. The Eskimo name for this location is “Tikeraq”, meaning “Point of Hope”.

The show was not actually broadcast from Alaska. But Delilah had most of her listening audience convinced that the radio station had sent her 4,500 miles away to escape the summer heat. For many generations, native Eskimos in Point Hope have survived in the harshest conditions imaginable, living in ice houses in 50 degree below zero temperatures. They did so mostly by fishing, hunting and trading.

The program that evening was very entertaining, as Delilah’s nightly show often is, but the thought of people living their lives in peace and happiness despite unimaginable obstacles gave Delilah great inspiration and admiration for all people seeking to overcome life’s challenges. If the people of Point Hope in Alaska can make the best of their situation, she thought, then why can’t the rest of us accomplish the same?

Sometimes all someone needs is a little boost to get things back on track. The boost might be financial, a place to gain respite, basic necessities like water and shelter, or simply the encouragement that comes from knowing that somebody else cares. PointHope was founded with these thoughts in mind. At the time, the right name for organization seemed pretty obvious. Thus, PointHope was born.

Former PointHope Executive Director Andrew Caple {left} with the organization's founder, Delilah, and current E.D. Michael T. Bell at the 2006 PointHope Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Mission, Vision & Core Values

The Mission of PointHope is to create a healthy, loving community for every child. In accomplishing this mission, PointHope seeks to identify, equip and champion initiatives that create nurturing environments for children wherever they are. This is so that the most vulnerable receive assistance that cultivates independence; the capacity of local communities are built to deal with the challenges facing children; and, the governmental, educational and religious sectors are mobilized and engaged for cooperative action.

The Vision of PointHope is a voice for forgotten children, advocating healthy communities for every child.

The Core Values of PointHope are as follows:
- Involvement with discernment
- Always fostering stability through authentic relationships
- True transparency in all matters of business
- Ten year vision and planning horizon
- Never fail to communicate
- Effective deployment of resources
- Fostering capacity to transform communities out of dependency cultures
- Systemic solutions
- Partnering and collaboration that honors the sharing of success
- Working alongside established local efforts, where possible

Governance & Organization

PointHope, Inc. is a non-governmental organization organized in the United States as a public charity. It was formed in the state of Pennsylvania in June 1993, reorganized in the state of Texas in August 2004, approved as a charitable organization exempt from federal and state income taxes under section 501(c))(3) of the Internal revenue Code in May 2005. PointHope was re-incorporated in Ghana as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the Registrar-Generals Department, registration number G.16.716 dated 17th November 2005 as Point Hope Ghana. Point Hope Ghana was also registered with the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare, No. D.S.W./2721 on 2nd February 2006.

The corporate offices of PointHope are located at 10010 14th Avenue SW, Seattle, Washington (USA) 98146. The phone number is 206-766-9700 and fax number is 206-766-9704. The web address is .

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