Help Hearts of Gold dispels the rumors, focuses on serving the community

Nov 13, 2023 | 0 comments

By Leita Hulmes

Dear Hearts of Gold Community:

I hope this finds you doing well!  I am writing this on behalf of the entire team and supporters of Hearts of Gold. No, it’s not a request for donation this time. I am quite sad that I have to talk about this, but we very much need your assistance on a different matter. Hearts of Gold, in spite of all its good work over the years that continues to this day, has come up against a significant roadblock. I am convinced that we can solve it if we work together.

The Problem: This is about our reputation and good name here in Cuenca. It is under attack! We are being unjustly slandered and we need your help! Our many programs, the big plans, our great path forward: they are all for nothing if we can’t get a handle on this. If we don’t have the trust of the community, we won’t be able to continue.

Hearts of Gold supports 67 community organizations.

So, here’s what’s happening: Some individuals here in town apparently bought into some negative rumors about the founders that were being bandied about in the early days of the charity and continue to actively slander Hearts of Gold and its founders, Richard and Sheryl Verkley, reducing the community’s trust and thus our ability to feed, clothe, and train those who are less fortunate. The Verkleys have submitted an official resignation letter from the General Assembly and, while always the founding members, will have no further involvement with Hearts of Gold. This opens two seats to welcome new, local volunteers with passion and ideas to help steer the foundation forward.

Our Team:  The team here at Hearts of Gold truly do have “hearts of gold”. They are compassionate Ecuadorian nationals who very much appreciate the support they receive from the gringo community. But they simply cannot understand why there are some people in town who seem to want to undermine the work they are trying to do, even going as far as harassing them. As you can imagine, with the team facing such a huge wall of human need it’s incredibly disheartening to them!  Every day, these heroes wake up and find the strength to give hope to others, but when those who are supposed to have their back have a knife placed there instead, it’s hard to continue.

Our Record — are the rumors true? Hearts of Gold has always prided itself on being a model of transparency and accountability within the nonprofit sector. Our commitment to this transparency is exemplified by being an organization that publishes annual financial statements and impact reports yearly, enabling you, our invaluable supporters, to witness the direct impact of your contributions.

We have maintained an open-door policy, welcoming all inquiries and personal visits to our offices throughout the years and we are always willing to prove that, other than very basic salaries for our staff and expenses for rent, internet, and electricity, ALL funds received go to our projects.

The vast majority of all donations are in fact made through our international partner Global Giving, a highly respected charity that performs rigorous due diligence, reviewing documentation for every organization it partners with, including its legal documents, financial records, program materials, and lists of senior staff and board members, in order to validate that the organization is running the projects as described.

Hearts of Gold has not only met these reviews, which happen every two years, but we have been awarded special verification badges including being “Site Visited “, named an “Effective Organization ̈as well as a being “Top Ranked” out of the 35,511 projects that are on Global Giving. Due to our outstanding track record, of supporting 67 organizations and over 50,000 women and children, we have also received grants from Global Giving to support our programs.

Bottom line — What we need: So, here’s what we really, really need from you:  When you encounter those who are trash-talking Hearts of Gold, we would very much like you to come to our defense! You are an important part of our team! Please help us with this!  And if you encounter something especially ugly, please let us know. Let’s work together to put an end to this negativity. And maybe, just maybe, even win over a few of the Negative Nellies in the process. Together we have to resist the malicious, mean-spirited slander.

And here’s the good news. Hearts of Gold remains committed to a journey of renewal and transformation. We are committed to enhancing our programs, seeking innovative ways to better serve our community, and ensuring that Hearts of Gold continues to make a positive impact on the lives of those we support. We are firmly committed to this task! We have a vision of Ecuador as the “shining light on a hill” for all Latin America, and we are helping to move in that direction.

Please join me and the rest of the Hearts of Gold team as we confront this present challenge. Then, together, we can help the less fortunate in our town to reach their potential. Let’s all do our part to make Ecuador amazing!

Leita Hulmes is president of the Hearts of Gold Board of Directors.


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