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Local Rotarian and Lion expat working to bring Global Grant dollars to Ecuador

When Ned Meisner moved Cuenca in March 2019 he had already made several exploratory trips to learn about Ecuador and the role that Rotary International was playing in the country. After working with Rotary for over 10 years worldwide, he saw Ecuador as a place where a huge impact could be made with what in other countries would only be considered a “modest investment.” He knew this, professionally, as a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy.

Ned Meisner

In fact, before he even committed to moving here, he championed an organic farming project just outside of Quito, helping secure $163,000 in funding for the venture (one of the largest ever Rotary funded projects, in the country). Now that he has his feet on the ground, he’s working toward something even bigger.

“When I decided to move here, I began traveling around the country to find areas where there was significant need, where I knew I could help with my background in Rotary, and that I knew could be successful. My challenge was that what I knew about Ecuador, at the time, was limited. It’s one thing to see need and another thing to know how to solve it. That meant I needed to talk to a lot of people,” said Ned.

“During that time, I was fortunate to interact with a group in Quito who had been doing lots of good work there already, so I was able to help them by getting a large Rotary global grant for an organic farm. It was wonderful to be part of that and to know that its odds of success where high with the people that were already involved.”

The other thing that Ned figured out early on, was that he didn’t want to live in Quito. He liked the city, but it didn’t feel like the right fit. Then he traveled to Cuenca and knew he had found his new home. “It was almost an immediate gut response for me. I just knew that this city fit me like an old comfortable coat. Right from the start, I met a lot of good people doing good work here. However, I could also see a little bit of a chasm between all the non-profit groups here. For the most part, they are islands among themselves. They don’t typically work together.”

So, Ned set to work getting to know all of the charitable organizations in Cuenca. He spent time with each of them assessing their needs and developing action plans to help them maximize their effectiveness. Now his challenge is to teach them how to create synergy by working together.

“Funding for non-profits is limited here in Cuenca, and in Ecuador in general. Everyone thinks they are fighting for the same dollar. None of them have all the financial support and manpower that they need. I knew that this was an area in which I could help,” said Meisner.

One of the first projects Ned has developed is an IVA rebate program that will direct the refunds to a local charity. Since most Ecuador residents over the age of 65 can get some of their 12% IVA tax returned as a rebate, that’s a large pool of donor funding. “This program has the potential to raise a lot of funding for the charities who want to get involved. My company is actually going to do all the work. If someone wants to donate their IVA refund to charity, Meisner Financial will set up all the SRI paperwork for them,” that’s the first part, according to Meisner. The second part is to set up a direct payment to the charity. Some folks are only opting for the second part.

Then his team will direct all of the money to one charity until there is enough for that group to hire its own assistant and take over the paperwork themselves. His team will then direct the money to the next charity, and so on and so on. “This will be crucial for the chronic staff limitations and exhaustion we are seeing in these charities.”

So, what’s next on the plate? Well, Meisner and his staff are also working on a “Farm School” project to help families with autistic children, adolescents and adults here in Ecuador.

The Farm is going to offer intensive training, integrating families with teams of professionals and volunteers from Adacapia Autismo.

“Our aim is to provide families, professionals and patients with a program in which children can develop their social skills and improve their quality of life. Through agriculture and animal care we will create a completely natural environment. We’ll be having intensive training programs with effective tools, giving all the people who are in contact with the child, corresponding training. All the while, we will be strengthening a team of volunteers who will assist the families in their training,” said Ned.

“We are presenting this concept in formal presentations to many Rotary clubs, Lions Clubs and other groups in Ecuador, the United States and other countries. First up, we are working to complete formal presentations along with applications to Rotary and Lions Club for Global Grant money.”

12 thoughts on “Local Rotarian and Lion expat working to bring Global Grant dollars to Ecuador

  1. So Ned owns an investment company. So, if you let him set up your donations through his computer system, he keeps a commission on your IVA donations, right? Why not set up your IVA gifts directly to Gary Vatcher, so Gary gets 100% of your donations? Or, any local charity, for that matter? This sounds like a hustle to me. Please explain.

    1. Reviewing your comment Hiram as a former Business Broker in the information, options, helping business, Volunteer, Melvin Jones Fellow International Lion would suggest you meet with Ned as I intend to do to confirm information, or as you suggest hustle most importantly my options/opportunities to help aka Daniel Burrus “See the Invisible and Do the Impossible” my beloved Cuenca Ecuador.

      1. Hey Charlie, As a 73 ole lady trying to commomsensability communicate do not understand up-vote their own posts. Help please. Gratefully.

        1. Auntie, it is really quite simple. If you are looking at this website on a computer with a regular browser (and not on your smartphone) you will see at the bottom of each post, a line that shows an upward facing symbol that looks like this: ‸ followed by one that points in the opposite direction and looks like a v. The first symbol is equivalent to an upvote and the second symbol is equivalent to a downvote.

          If you move your cursor over either one of those symbols and left click on it, you will thus register your approval or disapproval of that writer’s post. You can also pause your cursor over the upward facing symbol and it will show you a list of who has upvoted that particular post. In this case, the guy that posts as Hiram Fong has taken to upvoting his own posts and in common internet protocol, that is considered even tackier than typing in all CAPS, which is regarded as shouting.

          1. Thanks Charlie. I adore effective people. I must confess to a wee bit of shouting plus the occasional!!!! My Friend Roger told me no one could ever plagiarize my emails as I type as I talk! All in good commenting. In Up-Voting Kindness Auntie

            1. Auntie, I’m curious. In Hawaii, we refer to our dear friends that may be considered “older” as “Auntie” It is always a term of respect and affection. I’m wondering if you you are from Hawaii?

              1. Hello Charlie, Just picking up this as well as Ned’s reply. Interesting ask. When I visited Hawaii years ago it was a deep spirit connection not only with the islands but also the kanaka maoli. Blending in often questioned was I native? This haole answering, if only. Your question of respect and affection confirming the very reason. A lovely peoples of enveloping loving kind hospitality. Would suggest they return to their ancestral roots good way of life known in Ecuador as the sumak kawsay promised by the 2008 Constitution of the REPUBLIC of Ecuador the Supremacy of sadly not being recognized by the current ruling government, by seceding from the mess of the Non United States operating as a Corporation DC as per the Act of 1871. My AuntieGing moniker because of never having the “Mother Experience” quite joyful as everyone seems to have a favorite “Auntie” for me as an early Grannie experience. Anyhoo, thank you for the information connection as I continue on my learning journey. In Kindness, AuntieGing
                PS: You might enjoy Ecuador’s Constitution which might interest Hawaiian’s with their respect and love of their lands sovereignty for the people. Perhaps they might honour and recognize Supremacy.
                Especially : Article 9Foreign persons in Ecuadorian territory shall have the same rights and duties asthose of Ecuadorians, in accordance with the Constitution.


                We women and men, the sovereign people of Ecuador

                RECOGNIZING our age-old roots, wrought by women and men from various peoples,

                CELEBRATING nature, the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), of which we are a part and which is vital to our existence,

                INVOKING the name of God and recognizing our diverse forms of religion and spirituality,

                CALLING UPON the wisdom of all the cultures that enrich us as a society,

                AS HEIRS to social liberation struggles against all forms of domination and colonialism

                AND with a profound commitment to the present and to the future,
                Hereby decide to build

                A new form of public coexistence, in diversity and in harmony with nature, to achieve the good way of living, the sumak kawsay;

                A society that respects, in all its dimensions, the dignity of individuals and community groups;

                A democratic country, committed to Latin American integration—the dream
                of Simón Bolívar and Eloy Alfaro—, PEACE and SOLIDARITY with ALL PEOPLES of the Earth;

                And, exercising our sovereign powers, in Ciudad Alfaro, Montecristi, province of Manabí, we bestow upon ourselves the present:

                Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador

    2. Dear Mr. Fong,

      Thank you for reading this article.

      Relating to the IVA donation program, in our agreement with the charities we are working with, Meisner Financial has the option to take 10% of the funds in order to manage the program (as this grows our expenses will also grow).

      To date we have not taken any funding for any of the work we are doing. I have personally invested several thousand dollars to date in the IVA program and other non-profit projects I am helping get off the ground (we just need to have the option available if the expenses of running the programs become more than I can personally handle).

      I like AuntieGing´s comments: “I would suggest you meet with Ned as I intend to do to confirm information¨ I would recommend the same.

      Garry Vatcher´s program is one that I support. If you want to donate to Garry Vatcher, I would recommend that you do that directly, also.

      Thank-you, again, for your comment.

  2. WOW!! Just what was needed for beloved Cuenca Ecuador a Flash Foresight Resolver aka ‘Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible’ Daniel Burrus…very good read.. as a previous Lion, International Lions Melvin Jones Fellow would love to connect to share opportunity solutions with companies here. Information please. Muchas Muchas Gracias

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