Frequently Asked Questions

When was the foundation incorporated?

Our co-founding members (Morgan and Chase) incorporated the Teach Them To Fish Foundation on December 28, 2006.

Are donations to the foundation tax deductible?

Yes, donations to the Teach Them To Fish Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  On March 12, 2007, the Internal Revenue Service issued an Advanced Ruling Letter reading in pertinent part: “We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code.  You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfer or gifts under section 2055, 2106 and 2522 of the Code.”

How is the foundation governed?

The Teach Them To Fish Foundation, as an all-volunteer §501(c)(3) international economic development non-profit public charity, is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of five members and two Youth Advisory Board Members.

What is the foundation's mission?

The Teach Them To Fish Foundation’s mission is to do our share to alleviate the unimaginable human suffering caused by extreme poverty and hunger in the developing world, where over 75% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and more than 69 million children do not have schools to attend, by building primary schools for children in rural Cambodia and Uganda while emphasizing the importance of educating girls who are at risk for trafficking.

How long does it take to build a school?

Once we have received funding, the site is selected, contractor bids are received and approved, and contracts are executed with the contractors, school construction takes approximately three to six months (depending on weather and the remoteness of the location).

Does the foundation have a disaster relief fund?

 Yes.  While the Teach Them To Fish Foundation is not a first responder, we do maintain a Disaster Relief Fund and stand ready to help children displaced during times of unforeseen tragedies such as the earthquake in Nepal (2015), Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), and the earthquake in Haiti (2010).  We contribute designated funds to the US Fund for UNICEF unless we are suitably positioned to provide field work ourselves such as we did during the famine in Cambodia, the bombings in Israel and for the refugees fleeing Thailand during the May 2014 Thai Military Coup.

What percentage of money donated really goes to the children?

As we are all unpaid volunteers, 100% of the proceeds of the money donated through our foundation’s web site goes to the children in the form of food, clothing, shoes or school supplies and/or construction of our school buildings.  We raise money separately for our administrative expenses and fundraising activities whether though our Board Members’ contributions and/or corporate sponsorships.  Of course, any funds that you might designate for our administrative expenses would be greatly appreciated, too.

How can I build a school in rural Cambodia or Uganda?

The Teach Them To Fish Foundation continues to look for sponsors to help us build schools in rural Cambodia and Uganda, where children do not have a school to attend.  Depending on the remoteness of the location, the cost to build a classroom with furniture and separate toilet facilities for boys and girls is approximately $15,000 and the cost to build an entire school building with three to five classroom, toilet facilities and entrance gate ranges between $45,000 to $65,000.  You can build all or part of a school.  If you choose to build a part of the school, we will match donors.  If there are no matching donors, the Teach Them To Fish Foundation will match your funds up to the cost of building the school.  The most important part is that we work together to help educate the orphaned and impoverished children in the world while emphasizing the importance of educating girls who are at risk for human trafficking.

How are site locations selected?

We choose a site for each new school in areas of greatest need at the time.  We often work with the Ministry of Education that conducts annual surveys to determine where those areas are located.  But, many times, we receive direct requests from principals, educators or known friends who contact us directly.  Regardless of whether the referral is through the Ministry of Education or directly, we never accept any proposal without visiting the site and conducting our own “due diligence”.

What types of materials are used to build the schools?

Please visit our Media Gallery or Facebook page to see representative samples of our schools from the beginning, through the construction process and to the opening of the schools.  All of our schools are approved by the Ministry of Education.

Who maintains the schools?

Once we complete construction of a school, we turn the school over to the local villagers and the schools become an official Cambodian or Ugandan government school.  Thereafter, the government maintains the buildings.  Admission to the school is always free.  Improvement features are managed by the Teach Them To Fish Foundation through the generosity of our donors.

May I provide additional support?

Yes, we encourage our donors whenever possible to provide libraries, bookcases, books, water wells, water filters, and fences to keep the cows out of the classrooms.

How are the teachers paid?

The teachers are employees of the Ministry of Education and are paid a guaranteed monthly salary by the Ministry of Education.  The Teach Them To Fish Foundation, however, provides additional in-kind support as needed.

What curriculum is taught in the schools?

The curricula are set by the Ministry of Education of Cambodia and Uganda.  If we have special funding for English programs, we are able to provide English classes.  Otherwise, our goal is to teach the children to pass their high school entrance exam so that the government will fully fund the children’s education.

How many students attend a typical school?

Our schools typically educate 200 to 400 students.  We have, however, been surprised from time to time.  For example, at one of schools in rural Uganda, shortly after opening the school, more than 500 students enrolled, only later to add an additional 200+ students.

Can I visit the school?

 Yes, donors and their guests may visit the school at the ground breaking and/or opening ceremony.  If you are interested in visiting the school, please ask us for a “Travel Pack” to help to inform you about traveling and visiting the school.  We also recommend that you read your government’s Traveler’s Checklist.  (For United States citizens, click here for the Department of State’s Traveler’s Checklist.)

When I visit the school, what can I expect?

The ground breaking and opening ceremonies are important to the villagers and students.  It is a major event in their lives.  We ask that you let us know what day you would like to hold the ceremony so that we may let the villagers know in advance.  The villagers will help us arrange the ceremony.  Your local hotel may assist you in hiring an air-conditioned SUV (usually a Toyota) which seats four plus the driver.  (Vans are also available.)  Our in-country coordinator will meet you at the school and interpret for you.  (Please see representative videos of past opening ceremonies on our Media Gallery and Facebook page.)  We will invite local government officials, villagers, teachers and the children to attend the ceremony.  We cannot, however, predict how many people will attend.  To prepare for the ceremony, for example in Cambodia, the villagers often build a platform and canopy for the guests to protect the guests from the harsh sun and/or rain.  The ceremony usually begins in the morning and lasts for several hours during which time the attending officials and donors give speeches.  After the ceremony, the donor tours the school.

When I visit the school, what costs should I budget?

In addition to your travel expenses (e.g., air-fare, hotel, food and local transportation), we suggest the following. The cost of the ceremony ranges from $500 to $750.  We ask that the donor share the cost with the villagers.  Any costs associated with the ceremony that we advance (such as hiring a car, platform for the ceremony or any gifts for distribution at the ceremony), we ask that the donor reimburse us after the ceremony.  The cost of the SUV typically ranged from $175 to $250 dollars, for example from Phnom Penh to the school, round trip (depending on the remoteness of the school and time of the year.).  A van is available for an additional charge.  We suggest, but it is not required, that you give a $15 per diem to our in-country coordinator.

Can I bring gifts?

Many donor choose to give gifts such as rice for daily breakfasts, shoes (about $1.50 per pair), a set of school supplies for each child and/or sports equipment (such as a soccer balls, volley balls and nets or jump ropes) that will be shared among the students.  Donor may go to the market and purchase these items in advance.  They are surprisingly inexpensive.

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