Q: Ali, how did this heartfelt passion to help these children come about?
A: During the two years I lived in Manila, I had the opportunity to serve hot meals to children in one of the poorest slum areas. What propelled me to go back each week was the love they so freely and lavishly poured out to me and other volunteers each week. They weren’t asking for money or material things, just our time. And it was through spending time with them that I began to see such potential in each one of them. God had a beautiful plan for each of them and had placed special and unique gifts inside each child. But too often poverty keeps these children from getting to develop their gifts and talents, dreams and aspirations because of the vicious cycle of poverty into which they were born.
Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act” (Proverbs 3:27). That was the beginning of a new heartfelt mission: to find a way to support the girls as they come of age through college. I see myself – and the NingNing Fund – as a channel of God’s blessing and hope to this community of beautiful girls in the Philippines.
Q: Do you have help running and managing the fund?
Yes. I have two amazing staff members working on the ground in Manila – Alfredo Olavidez and Nonie Samonte. They are Filipino missionaries and have worked with street communities for over two decades. They believe in NingNing’s mission – to move impoverished youth towards a bright and shining future through higher education – and are dedicated to ensuring the funds are distributed responsibly and in a timely manner. They meet with the scholarship recipients in person each week and report on the progress the students are showing, as well as the problems that need to be addressed.
Q: Can I make online donations?
Yes. Our partnership with Guidelines International Ministries has allowed for this capability. Simply go to guidelines.org/store/donate/ningning-ministry and follow the instructions for online donations. You can also learn about several other ways to donate.
Q: What does a partnership with Guidelines mean for NingNing?
Based on the size and mission of NingNing, it made sense to come under a larger umbrella organization for maximum legal protection and financial oversight and accountability, rather than creating our own non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation. The partnership brings NingNing under its full financial and administrative discretion, while still allowing it to operate as an independent entity. All gifts to NingNing through guidelines are deductible as charitable contributions for Federal tax purposes.
Q: How do you ensure the funds are being used responsibly?
We operate on a basis of trust, transparency and accountability. This means Alfredo and Nonie have to report when any funds are withdrawn from the Philippine account and are required to record every peso spent (sent to me quarterly). They meet with the scholars each week to give them their weekly allowance and are required to send updates each week on the progress of each student.
NingNing stays accountable to Guidelines by sending quarterly letters reporting the activity, purpose and progress of the funds being used.
Guidelines stays accountable to our donors by sending receipts immediately after donations are made, as well as keeping accurate records of all donations coming in.