A Message from the KBI’s New Board Chair

Long-time board member Lucy Howell took on board chair duties in January, and reflects on the unique role of the KBI at the U.S.–Mexico border.

Lucy Howell visiting Tumacacori in Southern Arizona. Photo by Mary Byrne Hoffman.

Lucy Howell visiting Tumacacori in Southern Arizona.
Photo by Mary Byrne Hoffman.

The Kino Border Initiative is a very special place operating in the midst of the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border.  The faith and gratitude of the thousands of migrants passing through the KBI, many of whom have endured indescribable hardships, remain a constant inspiration to staff, volunteers, donors and board members. Human dignity is restored with the offering of basic human necessities—food, clothing, minor medical treatment, and shelter for women and children. Most importantly, migrants receive spiritual nourishment through the pastoral care given by the Jesuits and the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist.

I am deeply grateful to my predecessors, Jane Lacovara and Luis Parra, for guiding the KBI through its early years. The bi-national board meets three times annually, alternating between Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona. There are five committees chaired by members of the board: Finance (Frank Scerbo, Esq.), Development (Dora Vasquez), Governance (Steve Haydukovich), the Ad Hoc Building Committee  (José Luis Cuevas) and our newest committee, Advocacy (Bernadette Ruiz, Esq.). The Finance Committee, under the guidance of past chair, Roger Cook, played a key role in developing the budgeting process and financial oversight.

The board is most appreciative of the quality and dedication of the KBI staff led by Father Sean, including two recent additions—Deacon Javier Fierro, Associate Director, and Joanna Williams, Director of Education and Advocacy. 2015 was a busy year: 79 groups visited KBI in addition to 63 immersion groups. The KBI raised $1,000,000 and hope remains that land will be purchased and construction will begin for the much-needed building. Remarkably, the majority of KBI donors will never visit the KBI (over 40% are from outside Arizona), but support its unique mission because of what they see online and in social media.

Thank you for your support and confidence in the KBI Board. We are deeply aware of our responsibility to ensure that the KBI has the resources, leadership and oversight to continue to fulfill its mission.

I can be reached at LucyHowell801@gmail.com.

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The Role of Advocacy

Establishing advocacy committees in the U.S. and Mexico to promote humane, just and workable policies for migrants is the latest in the KBI’s strategies to support migrant families, keep them safe, and create conditions in which they can thrive.

At a September 2015 congressional staff briefing, Father Sean shares the results of the recent study from the KBI and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. Photo from Ignatian Solidarity Network.

At a September 2015 congressional staff briefing, Father Sean shares the results of the recent study from the KBI and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S.
Photo from Ignatian Solidarity Network.

Immigrant aid organizations and human rights groups work for legislative reform and social justice all year long, but the month of February, Ignatian Family Advocacy Month, is a chance to reach out to Catholics and other concerned individuals, provide information about migrant issues, and call upon them to affect legislative and cultural change on behalf of migrants struggling with family separation, fleeing violence, and encountering legal and economic obstacles.

For the Kino Border Initiative, advocacy broadly takes the form of story and data collection from migrants who come to the comedor and shelter; extensive reports on abuses of migrants and the border situation; educational presentations; collaboration with other organizations that support migrants; and testimony at congressional hearings and visits with government leaders. At a one-on-one level, KBI staff and volunteers counsel and assist migrants in navigating the many legal and administrative problems they face, such as contacting relevant agencies, obtaining necessary documentation, reporting abuses, and identifying ways to reunite with family members.

In September, the KBI board established two advocacy committees, with members in the U.S. and in Mexico, charged with extending these activities and working together to advance goals on both sides of the border. In the U.S., those goals are (1) monitoring deportations to insure that night-time drop-offs at the border do not occur; (2) reducing family separation in the deportation process; (3) reducing physical abuse of migrants and promoting access to medical care; and (4) working toward fewer barriers to protection for migrants, through means such as asylum. In Mexico, the priorities are (1) reducing violence against migrants; (2) increasing access to justice for those crimes and abuses; and (3) engaging the Catholic authorities in Nogales as a collaborator in educating about, promoting and defending human rights. While these objectives have always been a part of the KBI’s advocacy mission, the new committees can provide greater oversight and implementation in pursuing ways to achieve them and chart progress as it’s made. In the words of Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams, “Our advocacy work is an imperative because responding with love to our brothers and sisters who come to the comedor each and every day requires working to change the structures that create such hardship.”

Advocacy extends the KBI’s mission and the principle of accompaniment from Catholic social teaching into the public realm to garner support for humane immigration laws. When one accompanies another, it is an act of empathetic companionship, played out not only by being present when someone is in need, but also by showing up in any number of ways—volunteering, writing letters, donating, offering prayers—to promote the common good and the rights and dignity of all. This spirit of accompaniment is at the heart of advocacy because working for immigration reform incorporates these convictions and social teachings into the legislative and cultural fabric, and makes compassionate treatment of newcomers the law—and standard—of the land.

For more information, read and share the following reports, co-published by the KBI:

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Up Close: The People of the KBI

Larry Hanelin, KBI Photographer and Donor 

Tucson radiologist Larry Hanelin supports the KBI with his photography, time and donations. Photo by Rosemarie Hanelin.

Tucson radiologist Larry Hanelin supports the KBI with his photography, time and donations.
Photo by Rosemarie Hanelin.

When students from Brophy College Preparatory took to the migrant trail during their October 2015 KBI immersion, Larry Hanelin was right there with them. Instead of a water bottle, he brought along his trusty Nikon D4s. That’s what he carries whenever he heads to the KBI, and over the past two years he has visited the comedor, women’s shelter, border fence and streets of Nogales a half-dozen times, all to document the migrant experience and the work of the KBI.

Larry has spent his life with images—examining them as a radiologist with a specialty in nuclear medicine, and making them as a photographer. You could say he inherited this tendency toward the visual, and his vocation and avocation along with it, from his father. Larry’s dad took up radiology while stationed as an internist at Tucson’s Davis–Monthan Air Force Base back in the 1940s, when imaging technology was brand new. He also spent time photographing family vacations and other events, once renting darkroom equipment to develop and print on his own after a trip to Maine. Eight-year-old Larry marveled as the image bloomed on the white paper gliding back and forth in the developing tray. In his teens, he brought an old Brownie to his first away-from-home job as a waiter at Glacier National Park, and a love for capturing images was born.

Though he left his photography activities for a few decades, Larry pursued his interest in medicine, a direction inspired by his father’s livelihood and a desire to help others. As he related a childhood story of throwing a fishnet to save a drowning boy, on that same influential Maine vacation, he observed, “I often seemed to be around when someone needed help.” He went on to pre-med studies at Tufts University, medical school at UCLA and post-graduate studies at UCSF. Practicing in various parts of the country, he’s been a radiologist for over 40 years, currently at Radiology Limited in Tucson, and his tenure as well as his dedication have made him one of the local experts in the field.

Still, the photography bug remained. Sixteen years ago, when he returned to his Tucson birthplace, Larry took up the art form once more, now completely redefined by digital technology. He was ready to explore his creative side again, took some classes, and practiced shooting for dance and theater companies until he gained the skills and confidence to photograph professionally. On days off, evenings, and weekends, he took on wedding, portrait and business projects, which is how he arrived at the KBI comedor one March morning in 2014, to take pictures for the annual report.

Since then, Larry’s images have graced KBI reports, newsletters, brochures and web pages, helping to convey the breadth and urgency of the KBI mission through compelling imagery. After several visits to Nogales and profoundly moved by the KBI’s work and the plight of the migrants, he decided to donate his services and time. “Though I’ve worked in medicine where people are very dedicated to serving,” he says, “I’d never in my life run into people like the nuns, priests, staff and volunteers in Nogales who extend themselves to people who are in so much need. They are absolutely tireless, day in and day out, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Larry lives in Tucson with his wife Rosemarie, who is also active as a KBI volunteer and donor, serving on the Tucson fundraiser committee last fall. Theirs is a blended family, all of whom have been motivated to work in service-oriented professions—his two sons are both radiologists, following a family tradition, and his daughter works for the Stanford University Alumni Association; Rosemarie’s son is a surgical resident; and their daughter is currently applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology.

Larry considers his work with the KBI to be part of a larger spiritual journey. Walking with Father Pete and the Brophy students on the migrant trail; learning more about the migrant experience from Joanna’s presentations; mingling with the migrants in the comedor and at the shelter; driving around Nogales with Father Sean to take pictures of the fence; on one occasion, feeling woozy after a hot and wearying 5-hour shoot with almost no water, taking a fall as he crossed back to the U.S., and being helped to his feet by a stranger—these experiences have been transformative. As Larry reflects, “It’s life-changing, seeing the goodness in people and how we help each other.” That sense of connection and compassion is alive in Larry’s photographs, too, and have helped to communicate the reality of the border through powerful imagery, and to change the hearts and minds of those who view them.

Larry and Rosemarie Hanelin, enjoying some R&R together in Tucson.

Larry and Rosemarie Hanelin, enjoying some R&R together in Tucson.

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Immigration in the News

This month, our news line-up covers the latest on January’s immigration crackdown, President Obama’s 2014 executive actions, and the impact of Flint’s water crisis on undocumented families as well as a few articles that highlight the work of the KBI.

President Obama embraces restaurant owners Lilia and Carlos Yepez, after speaking about his executive actions on immigration at the Casa Azafran, a community center in Nashville. (December 9, 2014)

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KBI February Announcements

Support the KBI by lending your voice to our advocacy efforts, or by attending the KBI Fundraising Dinner in Phoenix this month.

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  • February is Ignatian Family Advocacy Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about the need for more humane immigration policies sponsored by Ignatian Solidarity Network. Pope Francis’s visit to Mexico later this month will also highlight the gravity of the migrant crisis. And at month’s end, Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams will be representing the KBI in a delegation to Washington, D.C. To add your support to these efforts, sign their letter to Congress at http://ignatiansolidarity.net/ifam/. And watch this inspiring YOUTHFest2016 video of Joanna speaking about the Kino Teens and other young volunteers in the KBI’s work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJHClCbKgyY. Your voices are a vital part of making immigration reform a reality.
  • There are still some tickets left for the Sixth Annual Kino Border Initiative Dinner in Phoenix on Saturday, February 20, 2016. If you can’t join us, we hope you will consider making a donation to support the KBI’s ongoing efforts at the border and beyond. For more information about the dinner, please call Darci Haydukovich at 602-467-8825. To purchase tickets or make a donation, go to: https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/2016-kbi-annual-dinner-reservation/.
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Message from the Holy Father

For the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees on January 17, Pope Francis calls for mercy and compassion in his annual message.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Bull of indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy I noted that “at times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives” (Misericordiae Vultus, 3). God’s love is meant to reach out to each and every person. Those who welcome the Father’s embrace, for their part, become so many other open arms and embraces, enabling every person to feel loved like a child and “at home” as part of the one human family. God’s fatherly care extends to everyone, like the care of a shepherd for his flock, but it is particularly concerned for the needs of the sheep who are wounded, weary or ill. Jesus told us that the Father stoops to help those overcome by physical or moral poverty; the more serious their condition, the more powerfully is his divine mercy revealed.

In our time, migration is growing worldwide. Refugees and people fleeing from their homes challenge individuals and communities, and their traditional ways of life; at times they upset the cultural and social horizons which they encounter. Increasingly, the victims of violence and poverty, leaving their homelands, are exploited by human traffickers during their journey towards the dream of a better future. If they survive the abuses and hardships of the journey, they then have to face latent suspicions and fear. In the end, they frequently encounter a lack of clear and practical policies regulating the acceptance of migrants and providing for short or long term programmes of integration respectful of the rights and duties of all. Today, more than in the past, the Gospel of mercy troubles our consciences, prevents us from taking the suffering of others for granted, and points out way of responding which, grounded in the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, find practical expression in works of spiritual and corporal mercy.

In the light of these facts, I have chosen as the theme of the 2016 World Day of Migrants and Refugees: Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy. Migration movements are now a structural reality, and our primary issue must be to deal with the present emergency phase by providing programmes which address the causes of migration and the changes it entails, including its effect on the makeup of societies and peoples. The tragic stories of millions of men and women daily confront the international community as a result of the outbreak of unacceptable humanitarian crises in different parts of the world. Indifference and silence lead to complicity whenever we stand by as people are dying of suffocation, starvation, violence and shipwreck. Whether large or small in scale, these are always tragedies, even when a single human life is lost.

Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all. Don’t we all want a better, more decent and prosperous life to share with our loved ones?

At this moment in human history, marked by great movements of migration, identity is not a secondary issue. Those who migrate are forced to change some of their most distinctive characteristics and, whether they like or not, even those who welcome them are also forced to change. How can we experience these changes not as obstacles to genuine development, rather as opportunities for genuine human, social and spiritual growth, a growth which respects and promotes those values ​​which make us ever more humane and help us to live a balanced relationship with God, others and creation?

The presence of migrants and refugees seriously challenges the various societies which accept them. Those societies are faced with new situations which could create serious hardship unless they are suitably motivated, managed and regulated. How can we ensure that integration will become mutual enrichment, open up positive perspectives to communities, and prevent the danger of discrimination, racism, extreme nationalism or xenophobia?

Biblical revelation urges us to welcome the stranger; it tells us that in so doing, we open our doors to God, and that in the faces of others we see the face of Christ himself. Many institutions, associations, movements and groups, diocesan, national and international organizations are experiencing the wonder and joy of the feast of encounter, sharing and solidarity. They have heard the voice of Jesus Christ: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:20). Yet there continue to be debates about the conditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants, not only on the level of national policies, but also in some parish communities whose traditional tranquillity seems to be threatened.

Faced with these issues, how can the Church fail to be inspired by the example and words of Jesus Christ? The answer of the Gospel is mercy.

In the first place, mercy is a gift of God the Father who is revealed in the Son. God’s mercy gives rise to joyful gratitude for the hope which opens up before us in the mystery of our redemption by Christ’s blood. Mercy nourishes and strengthens solidarity towards others as a necessary response to God’s gracious love, “which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). Each of us is responsible for his or her neighbour: we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live. Concern for fostering good relationships with others and the ability to overcome prejudice and fear are essential ingredients for promoting the culture of encounter, in which we are not only prepared to give, but also to receive from others. Hospitality, in fact, grows from both giving and receiving.

From this perspective, it is important to view migrants not only on the basis of their status as regular or irregular, but above all as people whose dignity is to be protected and who are capable of contributing to progress and the general welfare. This is especially the case when they responsibly assume their obligations towards those who receive them, gratefully respecting the material and spiritual heritage of the host country, obeying its laws and helping with its needs. Migrations cannot be reduced merely to their political and legislative aspects, their economic implications and the concrete coexistence of various cultures in one territory. All these complement the defence and promotion of the human person, the culture of encounter, and the unity of peoples, where the Gospel of mercy inspires and encourages ways of renewing and transforming the whole of humanity.

The Church stands at the side of all who work to defend each person’s right to live with dignity, first and foremost by exercising the right not to emigrate and to contribute to the development of one’s country of origin. This process should include, from the outset, the need to assist the countries which migrants and refugees leave. This will demonstrate that solidarity, cooperation, international interdependence and the equitable distribution of the earth’s goods are essential for more decisive efforts, especially in areas where migration movements begin, to eliminate those imbalances which lead people, individually or collectively, to abandon their own natural and cultural environment. In any case, it is necessary to avert, if possible at the earliest stages, the flight of refugees and departures as a result of poverty, violence and persecution.

Public opinion also needs to be correctly formed, not least to prevent unwarranted fears and speculations detrimental to migrants.

No one can claim to be indifferent in the face of new forms of slavery imposed by criminal organizations which buy and sell men, women and children as forced labourers in construction, agriculture, fishing or in other markets. How many minors are still forced to fight in militias as child soldiers! How many people are victims of organ trafficking, forced begging and sexual exploitation! Today’s refugees are fleeing from these aberrant crimes, and they appeal to the Church and the human community to ensure that, in the outstretched hand of those who receive them, they can see the face of the Lord, “the Father of mercies and God of all consolation” (2 Cor 1:3).

Dear brothers and sisters, migrants and refugees! At the heart of the Gospel of mercy the encounter and acceptance by others are intertwined with the encounter and acceptance of God himself. Welcoming others means welcoming God in person! Do not let yourselves be robbed of the hope and joy of life born of your experience of God’s mercy, as manifested in the people you meet on your journey! I entrust you to the Virgin Mary, Mother of migrants and refugees, and to Saint Joseph, who experienced the bitterness of emigration to Egypt. To their intercession I also commend those who invest so much energy, time and resources to the pastoral and social care of migrants. To all I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, September 12, 2015,
Memorial of the Holy Name of Mary

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Pope Francis’s Visit to Mexico

On February 12, Pope Francis will embark on a 6-day tour of Mexico, visiting 6 cities. On this trip, the Holy Father is expected to speak about several issues that he has focused on throughout his papacy—economic justice, drug-related violence, the rights of indigenous peoples, and immigration. His visit includes a cross-border Mass in Cuidad Juárez, on the U.S.–Mexico border, and coincides with the start of the primary season in the U.S., where immigration issues have been divisive and our leaders have failed to address immigration reform effectively or with compassion for the struggles undocumented immigrants face.

Pope Francis in Philadelphia on his September 2015 visit to the U.S. Photo by Jeffrey Bruno/Creative Commons.

Pope Francis in Philadelphia on his September 2015 visit to the U.S.
Photo by Jeffrey Bruno/Creative Commons.

Pope Francis announced his travel plans on Our Lady’s feast day, December 12, and he will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the country’s patron saint, where he will offer Mass. Referencing the Jubilee of Mercy as the focus for the coming year, he said, “To her we ask that this jubilee year becomes a sowing of merciful love in the heart of the people, families, and nations. That we become merciful, and that the Christian communities learn to be an oasis and a source of mercy.”

Starting in Mexico City (where he will stay, making day-trips to other destinations), Pope Francis will meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, address government leaders and Catholic bishops, and visit a pediatric hospital. In San Cristóbal de Las Casas, close to the Mexican-Guatemala border, he will celebrate Mass, meet with community leaders among the large indigenous population and then gather with local families in a stadium there. In Morelia, where drug-related violence is rampant, the Pope will meet with youth groups and conduct a Mass.

In Ciudad Juárez, another site of violence where drug-related murders have claimed the lives of tens of thousands, Pope Francis is expected to address this brutality as well as to speak about the plight of migrants and refugees. As Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, the neighbor city of Juárez, points out, “Pope Francis’s visit will undoubtedly call attention to the many realities that are lived on both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border, particularly the plight of so many migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries, in search of better lives for themselves and their children.” While in Juárez, the Pope will visit a prison, meet with workers, and offer Mass in the Benito Juárez Stadium, a venue that holds 220,000 people.

Mexico, a country with the second largest Catholic population (92%, according to Vatican statistics), is an apt destination for the pontiff on this, his twelfth trip outside Italy and fourth to Latin America. His visit will draw critical attention to issues of drug-related violence, social justice and immigration reform. Wherever he goes, his itineraries and speeches address the most urgent concerns for Catholics and people of conscience—how to help those most in need—and he continues to be one of the world’s greatest champions of human rights.

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Experiencing the Border

In October, ten students from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix along with two of their teachers participated in a KBI weekend immersion at the border. They served meals at the comedor, visited the women’s shelter, attended lectures, and walked in the migrants’ footsteps along the border trails. The experience never fails to move those who take part and participants leave with a greater understanding of the reality of the border. Here is a photo essay of some moments from their trip. Many thanks to Larry Hanelin for these images. If you would like to schedule an immersion trip, please contact KBI Director of Education and Advocacy Joanna Williams at jwilliams@kinoborderinitiative.org or 520-287-2370.

The Brophy students arrive at the comedor to help serve the breakfast.

The Brophy students arrive at the comedor to help serve the breakfast.

Sister Alicia leads everyone in a hand game that helps lift spirits and brings people together.

Sister Alicia leads everyone in a hand game that helps lift spirits and brings people together.

Father Sean speaks to the migrants, with Sister Engracia and Sister Alicia.

Father Sean speaks to the migrants, with Sister Engracia and Sister Alicia.

A Brophy student serves seconds.

A Brophy student serves seconds.

The students and migrants with Joanna at the comedor.

The students and migrants with Joanna at the comedor.

Hearing migrant stories firsthand is one of the most informative—and moving—parts of spending time at the comedor.

Hearing migrant stories firsthand is one of the most informative—and moving—parts of spending time at the comedor.

KBI staff member Mariana Serrano Reyes and a visiting student take on the dishwashing duties.

KBI staff member Mariana Serrano Reyes and a visiting student take on the dishwashing duties.

On the sidewalks of Nogales, Sonora.

On the sidewalks of Nogales, Sonora.

Food and flags in Nogales, Sonora.

Food and flags in Nogales, Sonora.

Crossing a a bridge near the border.

Crossing a a bridge near the border.

At the border fence, Joanna talks to the students about the migrant experience.

At the border fence, Joanna talks to the students about the migrant experience.

Sharing dinner and stories about the day at one of many taco trucks.

Sharing dinner and stories about the day at one of many taco trucks.

Father Peter Neeley, S.J. introduces the students to the migrant trail.

Father Peter Neeley, S.J. introduces the students to the migrant trail.

Students carry water bottles for their short desert journey, a much abbreviated but eye-opening example of what migrants endure for days or weeks.

Students carry water bottles for their short desert journey, a much abbreviated but eye-opening example of what migrants endure for days or weeks.

On the migrant trail.

On the migrant trail.

Altogether outside St. Ferdinand’s in Arivaca, where the students attended a Mass celebrated by Father Peter Neeley, S.J. (fifth from the right).

Altogether outside St. Ferdinand’s in Arivaca, where the students attended a Mass celebrated by Father Peter Neeley, S.J. (fifth from the right).

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Immigration in the News

Immigration in the News

As we move into the new year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans to deport thousands of Central American families who were not granted asylum, back to the violence from which they fled. That story and other immigration news are listed here.

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KBI January Announcements

This month, we ask our supporters to lend their voices to an effort to stop the immigration raids that have escalated this month. And we also bring good news about the KBI’s latest fundraising numbers.

  • Stop the Raids: Please support the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States in their effort to send a strong message to Washington—Stop the recent immigration raids targeting Central Americans! For more background and to find the contact information for your Congressional representatives, go to this link and enter your zip code: http://cqrcengage.com/jesuit/app/onestep-write-a-letter?0&engagementId=156093
  • 2015 Fundraising Goals Surpassed: The KBI is pleased to announce that the preliminary fundraising total for 2015 is more than $1,000,000! We also had over 350 new donors this past year. Many thanks to our dedicated donors and supporters! We could not do this important work with you!

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