My life’s journey has taken me to foreign and domestic lands where not everyone has the same opportunities I have. One of my pivotal moments came in 1991, in the deepest part of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. There, I met one of the indigenous Tarahumara and started to exchange some ideas with him. At one point, he looked over to a man in the distance and whispered to me, “That man, he is rich.” I turned and looked at the man he was pointing to. At first glance, the man didn’t appear to be rich. I thought, he isn’t wearing expensive clothes or carrying anything of value on him. In fact, his clothes are just as tattered and dusty as the other inhabitants of the canyon. So I turned back to my new friend and asked him politely, “What makes that man a rich man?” The response was so simple that it shocked me into a completely new reality and definition for my own life. He responded, “That man has a horse.” It was obvious that I had a lot to learn about value and meaning and gratitude.
Another of those pivotal life moments came to me as I was walking in one of the villages on the outskirts of Antigua, Guatemala. I saw a man whom I knew to be a good husband and father of three small girls. I had seen him earlier in the day about four miles from his home. He was with his entire family when I saw him then. Now, hours later, he was walking home alone. I asked him, “Where is the rest of your family?” He responded, “I put my wife and the children on the bus but I wanted to save some money, so I am walking home.” The cost of the bus fare was the equivalent of 16 cents (U.S.). Again, my perspective on life, on my income, on my spending habits, all received a not-so-subtle realignment.
The Ronald and Helena Macklin Family Fund was created with the aim of making significant contributions to villages of underdeveloped countries. The fund is nondenominational and is not tied to any political philosophies or governments. Administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the Macklin Family Fund is supported by people who share the sentiment of giving to those less fortunate. The fund is a vehicle for daily demonstrations of gratitude and thanksgiving.
The fund currently provides financial assistance to United States-based 501(c)(3) public benefit (nonprofit) organizations serving the economically disadvantaged in Guatemala and Honduras. It is currently also funding university education scholarships for deserving students in New Jersey.
I spoke at the Conference on Honduras 2006 . View my presentation on implementing a job placement program that prepares the economically disadvantaged to obtain stable incomes. The program was successfully implemented in Antigua, Guatemala. My talk described the roadmap to be followed by a local NGO or group of motivated and committed individuals who want to bring a similar job-creation program to the equally deserving people of Copán, Honduras.