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Casita Linda News


By Louise Gilliam

Alex Renaud wins United Nations philanthropy award

Casita Linda is proud to have been asked to join Alex Renaud and his family and friends in New York City as he was honored with the Philanthropy Award at the 15th annual Women Together Awards and Gala at the United Nations. Alex is an inspirational young man who has dedicated his formative years to championing socially responsible projects across the world. Alex has a particular fondness for Casita Linda and has donated nine homes to Casita Linda over the past few years. He has visited San Miguel de Allende on numerous occasions, working alongside the construction crews building houses for the families we serve in the campos. Alex combines a youthful energy and enthusiasm with a selflessness and wisdom beyond his years, fighting tirelessly under the mandate that those born into privilege have the greatest responsibility to those less fortunate, continuing a vital cultural and social heritage that is more important today than ever. We are privileged to have Alex and his family, including his grandmother Lorenza Dipp, who is on our Advisory Board, as supporters of Casita Linda. The Renaud family has helped us achieve so many goals and has contributed to the betterment of the lives of many men, women and children in our community,

Appointment of new board member—Rachel Ballard

We are pleased to announce the addition of Rachel Ballard to our board of directors. After completing an internship at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC and having spent a semester abroad at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, Rachel decided to reside internationally and make an impact in the communities in which she has lived. Specializing in budgeting, forecasting, and analysis, Rachel brings to Casita Linda her 20 years of combined knowledge and experience working in international development in Latin America and in the US private sector.

Rachel began her international career in Asuncion, Paraguay, leading a successful United Nations Development Program-sponsored budget and financial reform project with the Municipality of Asuncio. She most recently assisted the mayor of Antigua, Guatemala, analyzing their 2018-2019 budgeting techniques, methods, and reporting.

Rachel holds a BA in Latin American Studies from Trinity College, CT, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Casita Linda’s partnership with Mano Amiga

San Miguel’s poorest communities are home to some hardworking citizens with strong entrepreneurial ideas who need investment capital and financial guidance to turn those ideas into thriving businesses that will better support their families. With that in mind, a new microlending pilot program called Mano Amiga (Helping Hand) has just been established in San Miguel in partnership with Casita Linda. Mano Amiga board members include Ann Marie Jackson, Rachel Ballard, Janan Asfour, Kim Slote, Elizabeth Davidson, and Nory Contractor. The board is working closely with Casita Linda’s social workers, Magda Perez Lopez and Ilian Barrera, to identify strong candidates for these microloans. The first class of five potential loan recipients is currently fine-tuning their business plans after receiving financial literacy training from the board and working with community members to strengthen their applications. The proposed businesses range from organic egg sales to an in-home beauty salon to a corner tiendita, featuring fresh foods in an underserved area. Mano Amiga expects to grant its first round of microloans in July.


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