Two friends leveraged their strengths six years ago and now hundreds of sick and neglected children in orphanages around the world are living better lives.
In 2010, Michael T. Meltzer, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management, saw his friend, Maya Rowencak, feverishly struggling to buy and ship supplies to help orphans in the Philippines (and later, Ukraine). Having recently lost her mother, she was moved to help children who were also missing a mother’s love, choosing the two countries that reflected her parents’ heritages.
Michael drew upon his experience in business development for non-profits and offered to create a 501(c)3 for her.
He did so and the growth and impact of the charity took off. For example, from 2012 to 2014, funds raised rose from $57,000 to $260,000.
The charity’s major programs are:
- Monthly sponsorship of a specific child for clothes, food, and tuition.
- A “Guardian Angel” fund to pay for private caregivers and therapists.
- “Margarita’s Hope,” a fund for special formula for kids who can’t digest solid food.
- An emergency medical fund for procedures such as surgery or chemotherapy.
“Literally, lives are being saved by having access to a little bit of money and love,” said Michael, who serves as board chairman and treasurer. “It’s something we Americans don’t quite understand.”
Michael won this year’s Global Community Impact Award for his work with Maya’s Hope. As he accepted the award, he took special care to acknowledge the impact that Maya herself has had on the organization and on him. “Maya works tirelessly day after day, night after night, on behalf of each and every one of these children. Every one of them has a story, and every one of them has value,” he said. “I can’t thank Maya enough for giving me the opportunity to be part of this unbelievable community.”