Human Services

Blessing Hands Inc

  • Morehead, KY
  • www.blessing-hands.org

Mission Statement

Blessing Hands Inc. works to help disadvantaged students in China and the Philippines to reach their full potential. We help those who help themselves and others. Our core belief is giving is a blessing, and we seek to teach by example that they can be blessing hands to others also. We want to foster international friendships through our sponsorship programs and encourage Western volunteers to come to China to bless our target communities and students.

Main Programs

  1. Yangshuo school and college tuition
  2. Qinzhou Tuition and College Scholarship Program
  3. Water Purification Projects
  4. Computers for Handicapped Children
  5. Sponsorship of Rural Primary Students.

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Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We presently serve the educational needs of students in four Chinese provinces. We are also doing water purification projects in Du'an and Yangshuo Counties in Guangxi Province and Anlong County in Guizhou Province. We give tuition help in Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces for high school and school aid for primary students. We especially like to help minority students from the Miao, Tibetan, Buyi, and Yao people. Our project in Manila, Philippines helps children in small indigenous churches.

ruling year

2006

Principal Officer since 2006

Self-reported

Mrs. Betty Cutts

Keywords

Self-reported

Libraries, Chinese students, college scholarships, Blessing Hands, educational aid

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EIN

20-4794276

 Number

1678887505

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Citizen Participation (W24)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Past Year goals - University Scholarships - We have 58 college students on one-year renewable scholarships. We want to add more student scholarships this year. Our scholarships of at least $650 annually are given through the generosity of sponsors. These scholarships are renewed at the sponsor's request. Tuition and Assistance - This general fund is to provide primary, lower and upper middle students with tuition and school supplies. Last year we served over 335 students in 64 schools in four provinces of China. Computer project for Duan Special Education School. We raised money for more computers for the school and sought to connect the school with two other NGOs which help schools obtain computers. NetSpring gives recycled computers to needy schools under 3 year contracts. The other NGO helps blind students become computer programmers. Water Projects - This special fund helped 5 primary schools in Yangshuo, China obtain pure drinking water for their students by applying water purification equipment. We installed water purifiers in 5 primary schools in the summer of 2015 with the help of US and China based teams. Goals for current year - We plan to visit Du'an Special Education School again and make arrangements to help them obtain computers. We also hope to help another special education school in Yangshuo obtain computers. We hope to give university scholarships to 61 students. Tuition and assistance will be given to 163 high school students in Qinzhou, China. 44 Yangshuo area students will be given school sponsorship in primary, middle, and high school. 12 Buyi minority high school students in Anlong, Guizhou Province and 10 Gansu Province students will receive high school tuition help. We will help 35 Miao Minority children in Yunnan Province and 36 other primary students elsewhere.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Yangshuo school and college tuition

Yangshuo County, Guangxi Province was the first area where we helped students in 2005. We have a student sponsorship program there involving school aid for younger children and tuition grants for high school students. We have sponsored over 435 primary school, middle school, high school and college students in the Yangshuo area in 11 years. We expect to have students enrolled in 35 schools in the fall 2016. We have helped 67 Yangshuo students with college scholarships in the 11 years we have been serving there. We expect to give 5 more college scholarships in the fall of 2016.$237,985 over 10 years has been given for educational aid and college scholarships. $3,216 has been spent on 7 water purifiers for primary schools. $27,344 has been spent on special sponsorships, medical help, and special summer projects like art events, photography workshops, a summer camp, and clinics. $15,023 is our budget amount for 2016-2017 in Yangshuo.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Budget

16,186

Program 2

Qinzhou Tuition and College Scholarship Program

Our tuition program for high school students in the Qinzhou area of Guangxi Province serves 163 students. They receive $90 in tuition each semester making yearly aid be $180 for each student. We serve 12 high schools in both city and rural areas there. During 11 years, we have given $179,520 for just the high school program there. We have many volunteer teachers in Qinzhou, who help the students in their schools. We have given out many used English books and clothes to help the students. We work through Anna Liu, a prize winning English teacher and head of her school's foreign office.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Other Named Groups

Budget

$25,645.00

Program 3

Water Purification Projects

Blessing Hands began installing water purifiers in 2010. We helped 2 water purifier charities with translations of their instructions. These water purifiers are portable and weigh only 15- 20 pounds. They are designed to be used in rural areas with little electricity, since they run on marine batteries. We have provided clean water to 15 schools in Yangshuo, Du'an and Anlong Counties in Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces of the China in five years' time. We estimate that we have helped over a 1,000 students have clean water and be safe from water borne diseases. When they use cisterns, they especially need purifiers. Two teams, one from a construction company in China and one from a USA school, have worked together on the purifier and their holding tanks. The total we have spent is $21,490. We also hope to facilitate the making of water purifiers economically in China. pasting

Category

Health Care, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Other Named Groups

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$5,000.00

Program 4

Computers for Handicapped Children

Du'an Special Education School serves 248 students in 14 classrooms serving 1st through 9th graders. Presently, there is no policy for training for handicapped students after 9th grade. They serve deaf, blind, lame, mentally challenged and autistic children. We have supplied desktop computers for their classrooms. These Windows equipped computers need to have special software for the blind and virus software. Our goal is occupational therapy for these fragile students, so they can be computer literate and employed in the future. We hope to include teacher computer training and partner with NetSpring, a green NGO that makes refurbished computers available to schools with contracts to replace them in three years. The school will provide internet wireless access to aid in this vocational training. pasting

Category

Human Services, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Other Named Groups

Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General

Budget

$22,000.00

Program 5

Sponsorship of Rural Primary Students.

We are helping small groups of needy primary students in six areas in China. Three of the programs serve the minority groups of Buyi, Yao, and Miao. Each of the students are selected by principals, education officials or community volunteers, who know the needs of the families. There are 203 children in these 6 programs. The volunteers who oversee these programs are college and high school teachers, a doctor, and education department employees. For most of them we provide school aid of $145 a semester, but some students get partial support of $42 a semester. School aid covers books, clothes, and school supplies. Full support also pays for their lunches. We seek out sponsors for them that will follow their progress and be interested in their lives. The sponsors get thank you letters, pictures of their children and their family information. Sponsors are welcome to visit their children or write to them through their schools. We take them small gifts during summer visits.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Other Named Groups

Budget

$13,247.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    In 2016 a foreign NGO law was passed in China that will require us to register officially with the Chinese government, submit our plans and budget for approval, use Chinese accounting and audit methods, and register with the Security Bureau. This is going to add to our expenses and workload and may prove very difficult. Blessing Hands' ultimate goal is to encourage charities and volunteerism in China. Hong Kong has the British example of community service and charities. In Mainland China, however, people wonder if charities are a scam or trying to influence China toward Western ideas. Chamber of Commerce organizations and Lions' Clubs exist in large Chinese cities, but most charitable efforts are done by the government through their own approved channels. People are suspicious of government charity efforts also. Our goal is to influence the Chinese themselves to become informal volunteers and givers in their communities and schools. By requiring our older students to do 3 hours of volunteer service a semester, we open the idea that they can help society not just their own families. We want our students to be leaven to get the idea of the blessings of giving out into the group think. The earthquake in Eastern China, opened China's eyes to helping others. The national news made everyone aware and shook people out of their insular lives. Every school and child we touch sees our open blessing hands coming from a sponsor. They begin to want to also give and help. Chinese teachers, scholars, government officials and businessmen are catching the idea of charity and giving to their own poor. I hear them say that if a foreigner can come all this way to help their children, surely they can step up and help also. Our immediate goal is to improve the lives of Chinese students and keep them in school. Our larger goal is to grow our own charitable students who can take loving and caring for others wherever they go for the rest of their lives. We want them not just to become rich and prosperous, but to become kind and loving to those who are suffering as they once suffered. Even now, most thank you letters we get will say they want to do what we are doing someday. They say they want to spread love and concern like we do. They are very grateful. In the next 3 to 5 years we hope to add more Chinese volunteer administrators who will help from 12 to 30 primary children, who are in desperate need. We want these administrators to interact with the students, not just give them sponsorship money. These children will often be handicapped or from minority remote groups. We want the Chinese themselves to take the initiative to help they own poor. We want to attract more Chinese sponsors and volunteers both overseas and within China that can communicate easily with their students and model charity in action. We want to encourage the establishment of more Chinese charities doing what we do. People helping people one at a time can change the mindset of China to one of service. They can do a much better job of reaching out to their own communities in their own languages. Many students will have their dreams fulfilled and begin to dream different dreams of giving and loving the poor. It will make such a difference in China when philanthropists are looked up to instead of millionaires.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    How will Blessing Hands encourage volunteerism, giving, and charities in China? According to the 2016 foreign NGO law, Blessing Hands will have to officially register in China and maintain a representative there. One of our board members who lives in Beijing is willing to assume that responsibility. We will have to register with the Security Department and submit our plans and budget to them before we start our program year. We will model how a charity conducts itself with transparency and inspiration. Our best opportunity to do this is through the visiting scholars who come to our local university. We make an effort to plan activities with them, like teaching them to cook American food, teaching them to drive, taking them to charity yard sales, and asking them to volunteer with Blessing Hands activities while they are in the USA. They see how our charity works with other charities to sponsor our local Arts and Eats Festival to raise money for local charities. We invite them to help at our table at the Chinese New Year Celebration and during ""Just Say Boo"" to drugs, a Halloween event in our town. These visiting scholars have consistently caught the vision of helping their own poor students back in China. Without us even asking them, they begin to want to travel with us during our summer projects and select children in their areas for Blessing Hands to assist. They jump into the joys of friendship with foreigners, giving and volunteering easily. In the coming years we need to expect the high school students, not just the college students, to also volunteer to help others. They could volunteer during holidays and summertime. Summer camps are life changing events that would accomplish this naturally. We will need more volunteers to be willing to visit with those students and inspire them with stories and activities that emphasize giving rather than receiving. It is not good enough to expect administrators to inspire the students. We need Blessing Hands representatives and summer volunteers to be willing to visit families and schools to interact with students. Our 2013 Summer English camp inspired many of our Yangshuo students and the foreign volunteers as well. We should purpose to have many more of these camps. Recruiting US volunteers would also enrich the camps. Foreign volunteers also are generous to choose a student to sponsor in college when they have interacted with them for a week and seen their need The college students report their volunteer activities, and we sometime feature their accounts and pictures in our newsletters. The other students then get inspired and want to experience the same things. More volunteer stories need to be included in our newsletters. There has been talk of starting a Chinese newsletter edited within China by Chinese, and we have developed a Chinese WeChat official site that students can access. WeChat is the Facebook of China except more flexible and easy to share. We will advertise our WeChat page to all our students and encourage interaction and volunteerism as well. Many others will see our WeChat page example and ask to join with us in our activities or choose to sponsor a camp or other summer activity on their own initiative.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Our board has four Chinese members willing to help China. One joins our projects each summer. These board members have resources in friendship circles, family connections, or financial blessings that make them valuable resources for our students and activities. Our staff members and volunteers in China also have extensive friendship and relative circles that are interested in helping their own poor rural students. Our staff uses their connections to introduce us to new volunteers and Chinese charities. Our board members, staff, and volunteers are proud of what we are doing and set an example of charity for others.We have good Chinese government relations especially in Yangshuo, since our city, Morehead, KY, is the Sister City of Yangshuo. We join in joint projects with Morehead Sister Cities in Yangshuo, especially in art. We often have exchanges between the two sister cities including mayors and education officials. We have spent more than $238,000 over ten years for Yangshuo students and $27,000 on other activities. The head of their foreign office is Gloria Wei, our first administrator in Yangshuo in 2005. She has passed her Blessing Hands responsibilities to others, but still helps our students all she can. The party secretary in Yangshuo was the translator for our first Sister Cities English camp in 2005. He encourages Blessing Hands projects in Yangshuo. Our visiting scholar friends are always excited to see us again when we come to China and are willing to help us with projects and initiatives. They sometimes collect books, used clothes, and school supplies for us to take into Yao minority areas. Some of them help us with driving or other transportation. Our own alumni also want to help and get involved. They are proud to be associated with Blessing Hands and want to be identified with a charity helping their people. We are doing well financially. We have begun an endowment fund with the Bluegrass Community Foundation in Lexington and presently have over $50,000 invested there. We have also started a Blessing Fund there that can accept stocks and various other unusual donations. We have long time sponsors who are staying with their commitments and expanding their loyalty. One donor has a large farm that is earmarked for our charity when the time is right. As China's fortunes grow, Chinese donors are opting for giving of themselves rather than buying more luxuries. We see potential for many more Chinese donors worldwide as the internet grows. More Chinese are reaching out to the West through WeChat, qq.com, and other homegrown Chinese websites like Youku.com, the Chinese Youtube. We have partnerships with other international charities in China, especially Ministro Journeys, which sponsors summer camps, and Community Roots China, which helps our students receive gifts on Children's Day and Christmas. We plan to develop more relationships with other charities doing some of the same things we do, such as providing computers to schools.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Students, donors, volunteers, donations and staff are entered in our cloud data system called Salesforce. Our staff can access Salesforce to run reports and reach student data, since it is acceptable in China and works in multiple currencies and languages. We are presently developing an online scholarship form that will make applying for a college scholarship much easier. Once they have been accepted for a scholarship, they can update that original form each year including such data as grades, volunteer work, and family information. We will be able to pull that data up to run reports and see the progress of each student toward high school or college graduation. Very few students who get to that level drop out, although some give up their college scholarship to another needy student if they get internships. Graduation and participation is one of the ways we access the success of our programs. After all we want all of our students to graduate and find a good job that is not planting rice. However, we want more inner growth for our students and success besides just making good grades. We have a qq.com chat group for our college scholarship students where we encourage them to make friends and communicate with us also. It is always busy with remarks and entries. We announce on qq.com when we will have scholarship lunches for them in four cities in Guangxi Province. We can feel proud when students travel long distances (We help them with transportation.) to stand up at those lunches and give a report of their volunteer service and accomplishments. We know we are doing well when they are doing well. Our younger high school students also communicate with us on qq.com, and hopefully, they will join our WeChat when it is ready. Through the internet, we try to answer their questions and chat with them. They like to practice their English. They send thank you letters and emails to their sponsors. This feedback lets us know how students are doing and reassures sponsors concerning their students. We answer our sponsors with a personal email, letter, or note when donations are received. Our newsletter keeps everyone informed about projects, needs, and summer activities. The IRS 990 form helps us evaluate our status each year. We of course report to our donors concerning their tax deductions each January. Our budget is planned for geographic areas and special project needs annually. The board votes on the tentative budget each June. It is implemented with the start of schools and colleges in September. In June and July, we travel to China. That is a time to evaluate old programs and add new ones. We go in person to see administrators, students and schools. We have a policy to never dropping a student's support without cause and investigation. Summer travel helps us we renew relationship with staff, volunteers and students. China is changing so much so quickly that personal trips are very important to the integrity of our programs.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We are very satisfied with our progress over eleven years. We have helped over 1400 students stay in school or graduate. Our first year's donations came to $55,061 in 2006. Our latest year showed $130,350 in donations. We have gradually grown through the years and expanded our programs to four provinces in China and the Philippines. Our board attendance has been consistently 96% with board members volunteering and donating with enthusiasm. We have not lost many administrators or volunteers in China and very few donors. One administrator got married, however, and moved to Europe. Most of all we are seeing increased interest by Chinese and US citizens in participating as volunteers and donors in our programs. We had so many Chinese and US volunteers at our summer camp that they outnumbered the campers. We can see our students rising up to fulfill our dreams of being blessing hands to others. Donors and interested Chinese want to join our summer programs to see what we are doing and learn from us how to start their own programs. We can see our goal of modeling good charity practices making a difference. We get interviewed by Chinese and US journalists, who want to advertise our charity and its mission. We have found one program that did not work. We set up sister schools between Chinese schools and US Rowan County schools. We used an art grant to initiate pen pal letters between our students and students in Yangshuo, China. We asked students to send art to their sister school. The art part worked fine, and we had several art shows and events within the program, but the pen pal part did not. Busy Chinese teachers did not have time to encourage letters between students. Computers use is not encouraged by Chinese teachers for their students. Paper letters would arrive addressed to Susan from Xiaoping or for Huali from Sarah without last names or any way to identify the students, so return letters could be sent. We finally gave up the effort to establish pen pals. Another interesting thing that emerged was government officials who wanted to claim influence and prestige by association with us to advance their careers. Certain schools would be selected for us to interact with because they were schools the official was responsible for. We go through every open door, but we are really pleased when we find a teacher or official who is genuinely concerned for students and schools. We are quick to partner with them. Only once have we had to discontinue a school because a new principal vetoed the program. Being a foreign NGO in China has it challenges. There are language, cultural, financial, and legal differences. There is a new NGO law being implemented in China that would require foreign NGOs to partner with Chinese security bureau units. We hope to officially register and have good government relations. We just hope that such a partnership would not take our self-government away. We want Chinese citizens to become the blessing hands behind Blessing Hands.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

We presently serve the educational needs of students in four Chinese provinces. We are also doing water purification projects in Du'an and Yangshuo Counties in Guangxi Province and Anlong County in Guizhou Province. We give tuition help in Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces for high school and school aid for primary students. We especially like to help minority students from the Miao, Tibetan, Buyi, and Yao people. Our project in Manila, Philippines helps children in small indigenous churches.

Social Media

Funding Needs

1. We need funds to cover the cost of applying for charity status officially in China to comply with the new Foreign NGO law in China. We also need expertise concerning our application to the government. We will have to employ a Chinese accountant to handle our books using Chinese methods and bear the cost of an audit of our financials yearly. 2. We would like to serve more students in more schools. Recruiting new sponsors and donors will be a top goal. We also need trustworthy volunteers to supervise these new programs in their areas. 3. We need 20 new college scholarship sponsors, who will give $650 a year to support a student in college. We need to develop an online scholarship application so students can apply online for themselves. 4. We need more volunteers to help us with sponsorships, special talents, and fundraising. We especially need those who will take on administration leadership. 5. We need to maintain a Chinese language WeChat page and website that can be seen in China. Content development, including translation, are challenges this year.

Accreditations

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External Reviews

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Blessing Hands Inc

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Mrs. Betty Cutts

BIO

Betty Cutts, our Founder and Director, has always been a volunteer interested in children and nations. Her first love is teaching. She has a B.S and Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Kindergarten teaching was her career before she became a stay-at-home mother and community volunteer. She has been a Cub Scout leader, Meals on Wheels volunteer, a CASA (court appointed special advocate for abused children), a hospital pink lady volunteer, a nursing home Bible teacher, a Sunday school teacher, a summer English camp teacher in China, and chairperson of the Yangshuo Committee of Morehead Sister Cities. She has been the treasurer of Morehead Sister Cities for 10 years. She is the mother of two adult sons, grandmother of two, and wife of David Cutts, a retired college physics teacher. She is a world traveler having visited Haiti, Honduras, Europe, China, the Middle East, Taiwan, India, and Russia. She is presently 70 with much experience with people and cultures. Visiting scholars and students from China find her welcoming and willing to teach them to drive or take them to yard sales. She teaches them English conversation and Bible classes through her church. She recruits them as volunteers to help Blessing Hands with translation, art, or administration in China. Betty has served as our volunteer director since 2005 and does our bookkeeping, social media outreach, donors & sponsorship records, and staff. Betty initiated the copyright of our logo and name, began our newsletter and blog, stimulates grant requests, speaks at churches, schools, and organizations about Blessing Hands and does other public relations outreaches. She has been quick to donate herself and initiated our Blessing Hands Endowment Fund at the Bluegrass Community Foundation. Betty enjoys traveling to China at her own expense to check on our programs and Blessing Hands students. She inspires our volunteers and students to serve as blessing hands and enjoy the pleasure of giving.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Blessing Hands is dedicated to helping and nurturing students by improving access to educational opportunities. Through our network of volunteers, we presently serve students from primary to college. We are encouraging these students to fulfill their dreams and hope for the future. We also have branched out into wheelchair gifts, libraries, donating computers, and providing school supplies to Yao minority rural schools.Blessing Hands receives support from individual sponsors around the world. We are setting an example of charity without expecting profit or rewards in return. Our goal is to spread blessings by empowering people. We encourage our students to become blessing hands and pass on the friendship and encouragement they have received. In 2013, our first college graduates began to give back to Blessing Hands of their own free will. Our students began to become blessing hands themselves. We are thrilled to see the Chinese themselves take up our projects and run with them. They are learning about charities and teaching others. A Chinese assistant principal arranged for her school, friends and relatives to give shoes, coats, and other items to poor Yao primary students in Du'an County. She also set up a sister school relationship between her prosperous city primary school and a rural Yao minority primary school. A Chinese doctor arranged for her colleagues to hold a dental clinic in an under served rural area of Du'an County. We have successfully trademarked our name ""Blessing Hands"" and our logo. That has given us an opportunity to see just how unique our vision, name, and passion is. No other organization carried our name before us, and no other charity has used the Chinese word ""fu"" to convey blessings, prosperity, and hope to students. We are indeed blessed in every way as we bless others."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mrs. Betty Cutts

Blessing Hands

Term: June 2016 - June 2018

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

No

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?