Mastate Charitable Foundation

The Mastate Charitable Foundation (MCF) was founded in September of 2004 to advance benevolent, educational and scientific efforts in impoverished, subtropical regions of the world. The MCF’s current project focus is in rural and wild areas in the country of Costa Rica, most notably in and around the small community of Mastatal and La Cangreja National Park. We promote opportunities in the areas of education, research, community development, natural building, sustainable living and conservation as they relate to the local environment. Started in Seattle, Washington and now based in Marion, Massachusetts, MCF is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and seeks to raise funds and apply for grants in order to further its objectives. The organization is run by a group of dedicated and experienced volunteer professionals with an intimate familiarity in rural Latin America and, in particular, Mastatal.

 

Projects

Over the past eight years, MCF has funded a number of community improvement projects. In addition to what is listed below, we have contributed funds to cover a variety of educational and career scholarships for local youth and adults, numerous Spay and Neuter Clinics (stray animals are a big concern throughout the region), a local beekeepers co-op, the soccer committee, public safety, and community health initiatives.

  • Debt Reduction: MCF helped the local government reduce its sizeable debt during the 2005 fiscal year by supporting a local fundraiser. The successful dance attracted people from all over the region and helped to alleviate the excessive financial burden that the local government had been carrying up until that time. The town’s ability to respond to its community’s needs had been paralyzed up to that point as the government was barely able to make interest payments on their outstanding loans.
  • Community Center Beautification: In 2005, the organization financed a beautification project whereby local middle and elementary school students painted murals on the interior walls of the Salon Comunal de Mastatal (Community Center) that reflect the area’s culture, environment, and community. Later that year, MCF helped fund the construction for a new entrance to this same building. In 2006, we subsidized the installation of a new floor. The much-improved structure is now used as an extra classroom for the middle school, a recreational area for children and adults (especially in the rainy season), an events center and meeting place.
  • Renovation of the Telesecundaria: The secondary school that most of Mastatal’s youth attends after elementary school used to be extremely dark and dilapidated, not exactly the most functional learning environment. MCF helped to overhaul the interior of the classroom, paint the exterior, replace some of the roofing and provide new chalkboards and projection screens.
  • Roof Repair: Several local families have needed new roofs in the last few years, some old and leaky, others blown off in last year’s momentous windstorm.  MCF has provided funds for replacing and/or repairing these roofs to provide necessary shelter to these low-income families.
  • Elementary School Improvements: Rancho Mastatal, working closely with MCF, provided the wood and labor for a much-needed desk for the local elementary school. With input from the teacher and students, a multi-functional desk was built and delivered.  Students and volunteers from the Ranch have also used MCF funds to provide new bookshelves and computers, repair school desks, and build a new playground structure for the kids.
  • Rocket Stoves: Through volunteer labor and energy,  a two-burner rocket stove was recently constructed for a local household.  Made primarily from local daub materials, this stove was built in an effort to improve family health and livelihood while also creating a more efficient use of energy.  In addition to a new earthern stove, this family also benefited from numerous home repairs sponsored by MCF.
  • Solar Energy and Methane Biodigesters: Over the years, MCF has collaborated with other organizations and volunteer labor to sponsor materials for a number of solar installations and methane biodigesters in and around Mastatal.  The beneficiaries of these projects have expressed enthusiasm with their new cooking gas and power, while MCF is pleased to help provide sources of local, renewable energy to households in the area. MCF has also recently sponsored an international scholarship to one local man whose interest in solar power landed him on a number of solar installation projects in Costa Rica over the last two years.  With the help of MCF and Solar Energy International (SEI), he has now completed a month-long internship in Washington state, and has returned to his hometown Mastatal empowered and invigorated to spread his newfound know-how.
  • Essay Contest: In September 2004, MCF announced an essay contest for residents living around La Cangreja National Park to win a trip with the University of Washington Spring Quarter students and the Solar Energy Institute (SEI) trip to build a wind generator at Dúrika. We had a great response, receiving 13 essays from people between the ages of 15 and 71.  The essay contest has continued every year since, with different topics and new educational scholarships awarded for each round of essays.
  • Educational Scholarships: In 2010, MCF sponsored three local residents in educational pursuits, one at the university level and two at the local level as participants in a two week Permaculture Design Course at Rancho Mastatal.  Other Mastatal residents have also participated in Wilderness First Responder courses and we look forward to sponsoring more willing students in the future.
  • Community Learning and Sharing Center: This is MCF’s most ambitious project to date. Since 2010, MCF has coordinated the construction of a naturally-built Community Learning and Sharing Center (CLSC) in the center of Mastatal. This effort has involved the use of local labor and resources to both renovate an once-abandoned structure and erect a timber frame addition. This facility will eventually be home to scores of books and space where local entrepreneurs can operate small businesses, community groups can hold meetings and a wide variety of courses and workshops can take place. MCF envisions this location to become the social center of town and a place that all community members can be proud to call their own. It will demonstrate their dedication to a sustainable way of living and serve as a place to educate both the youth of the surrounding towns and visitors to the community about ways that we must live to improve the well-being of our planet and the social fabric of our communities. It’s been a busy couple of years, and while the better part of construction has been completed, many details remain before the CLSC becomes operational. Stay tuned for further campaigns and book drives as we look to bring this facility to its full potential in the coming years.

 

For more information please visit: www.mastate-foundation.org

Documents: http://main.mastate-foundation.org/about-us/documents/

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