How is Comunidad organized to achieve its goals?


Comunidad functions as a ‘non-profit startup’. It is currently organized around three programs, Salud, Escuela and Infrastructura.




Why focus on indigenous people?


Because their need is so great and we can make an immediate and marked difference in their lives. As a ‘non-profit startup’, we always focus on ROI (return on investment). And while we recognize that there are needy communities in the United States, we believe that our funds and our volunteers’ time have the greatest impact in the Nativo communities. For example, we can bring potable water to a tribe for less than $10,000 and can keep a student in school for less than $150 a year. Returns we couldn’t achieve in the United States. While Comunidad has no political agenda, we recognize the special plight of the indigenous people and the conditions in which they live. After centuries of living off their native lands and trying to preserve their unique cultures, they have seen their lives and livelihoods severely compromised by the intrusions of western civilization. As in the US, the indigenous of Mexico now reside on harsh, barren land, with most tribes lacking electricity, running water, sewage systems, schools and arable land. Comunidad brings together the appropriate people, skills and funding to measurably and sustainably advance the quality-of-life of these indigenous people.




Why the focus on Baja California?


Basically, the reasons are three: need, impact and location. While we recognize the needs of the under-served in our own communities, we believe that not only is the need great in the Baja tribes, but also the ROI (return on investment) can be greater there, with even the smallest donation able to make a significant impact in the lives of the indigenous. Additionally, Baja California is easily accessible to Comunidad’s volunteers, whether they fly small planes, take commercial flights, or drive.




What indigenous tribes do you support?


Comunidad is currently providing assistance to four tribes: the Paipai, Kumeyaay, Kiliwa and Cucapa, all located in northern Baja California. As the medical and educational infrastructures of these communities improve to the point of self-sustenance, we will expand our program to other tribes in northern Mexico. Current Comunidad tribal communities include: - Cucapa - San Jose de la Zorra - San Antonio Necua - La Huerta - Santa Catarina - Kiliwa - San Isidoro - Pena Blanca - Neji - Jamao




How does Comunidad communicate with these indigenous tribes of Baja?


From a language standpoint, most of the indigenous tribes of Baja speak both Spanish and their native indigenous language. Ongoing communication with the tribes is difficult, since most of them lack phones-either land lines or mobile. As a result Comunidad’s Ensenada based liaison often has to drive out to the communities to relay information about upcoming programs and activities.




Does Comunidad have any religious affiliations?


No. While we recognize and appreciate the work that faith-based organizations do, we are determinedly non-religious. We will, however, work with faith-based organizations on projects to improve the lives of the Nativos, as long as the groups assure us that there will be no proselytizing.




How are you different from other groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the Flying Doctors (Los Medicos Voladores)?


Basically we differ in terms of scope (populations served) and the nature of our programs. Doctors Without Borders focuses on world crisis areas, such as the Balkans or Sudan. They recruit only health-care professionals and usually require a minimum of a six-month commitment. The Flying Doctors serves a wide number of communities in Mexico through “triage” trips, addressing the most pressing cases in that limited period. Comunidad focuses on the long-term health as well as the immediate needs of a select population (the indigenous tribes of northern Mexico); our goal is to establish medical and educational self-sufficiency through a wide variety of programs, from medical care and preventive education to building remote clinics and potable water systems.




Does Comunidad work with the Mexican government?


Yes, Comunidad coordinates all its activities with the Mexican government and its health care agencies. We work with both DIF and CUNA to identify and prioritize medical and educational needs. In addition, we work with Pasantes (doctors working their post-graduate community-service year) to upgrade the medical services they offer the tribes.




How does Comunidad raise funds?


We solicit funds from foundations, private individuals and corporations. Our ‘seed funding’ each year comes from donations from members of our operating committee. This money covers all administrative costs, guaranteeing that all monies donated go directly to supporting our programs.




Are any of the members of Comunidad paid by the non-profit?


No directors or officers of Comunidad receives any compensation. All trip costs are borne by the participating members. Operating expenses for Comunidad are underwritten by our Board members, so all donated dollars go directly to programs supporting the tribes. We do pay one Ensenada-based liaison on an hourly basis to communicate with the tribes and coordinate our local programs.




Who is currently on the Comunidad board of directors and what are their roles and backgrounds?


A list of our BOD members can be found by clicking HERE -




Does Comunidad provide an accounting of how it spends its money?


Yes, Comunidad provides access to a detailed accounting of all activities and money spent. For more information please contact Teresa Todd, Comunidad’s Treasurer at Teresa@bajacomunidad.org 408-977-1213 x 115




How does an individual get involved?


There are a number of ways to get involved. You can join one of our service trips-medical, educational or infrastructure. Or join our support staff: we need strong, organized people to help us coordinate our trips, track our activities and expenses, solicit donated medical supplies, travel services and educational materials. Or you can become part of our fundraising efforts- bringing us into company, soliciting matching funds or helping us find the foundations and organizations who can help fund our programs.





For more information, please contact Teresa Todd, Comunidad’s president, at: 

Teresa@bajacomunidad.org 

or

408.234.1080

© 2017 Baja Comunidad

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