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.
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.