Solidarity Foundation Helps the Puerto Vallarta Families at the Dump

Drake University Newsroom
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April 6, 2016

Adilene, age 29, sews handbags at a nonprofit in Puerto Vallarta. Prior to working in the program, she worked at the city dump. She joined the Solidarity Foundation in hopes of buying a home for herself and her two children.

Eric Kinman, GR'15, founded the nonprofit Solidarity Foundation as the culmination of a class in Drake's Master of Business Administration Course.

Installing windows in their homes. Buying a second bed, where children can sleep apart from their parents. Paying for basic medical care, or arranging funeral services for a lost loved one.

For those families who live near the city dump in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, even the most humble of these goals have traditionally been out of reach. Most residents earn their meager wage picking through the trash and selling what they can to merchants.

"Saving for the future is far from their minds,” says Eric Kinman, a recent Drake University MBA alumnus. “Saving money means investing in tomorrow when they’re thinking about surviving today.”

Kinman first visited Puerto Vallarta while on a humanitarian trip in 2010. He returned three times, getting to know some of the individuals and families who lived near the dump. Each time he returned to his home in Des Moines, he wished he could do more than provide fleeting charity work.

“Charity is the easy road," he says. "Development, helping people build something that lasts, is much more difficult."

Last year, as the culmination of an independent study course in Drake's MBA program, Kinman created the Solidarity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps Puerto Vallarta residents form community savings groups. By pooling their savings using the Foundation’s program, members have been able to increase their financial stability—to brace against unexpected expenses—and to afford basic amenities that enhance their quality of life.

Read the rest at Drake University Newsroom.

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