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bajafam
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[*] posted on 10-23-2010 at 04:23 PM
A Mama on a Mission


A Mama on a Mission ~ Cloth Diaper Mission



Our mission is to provide enough cloth diapers for all interested families in the community of Bahia Asuncion, BCS, Mex and beyond. Once we have enough diapers for these families, we will then work with Bahia Bebe to provide a diaper service where the diapers will be collected, laundered, repaired, replaced, and returned ready to be worn at a minimal cost to the family (This service is by no means required. Families are more than welcome to care for their donated diapers on their own. However, it is my experience that many mamas are turned off by what seems to be a great deal of care that goes into the washing, etc. Therefor, we will offer this service at less than half of what it would cost to purchase disposable diapers). The monies collected for the diaper service will go to pay for employees, utilities needed for washing (water, gas, electricity), laundry soap, building and material upkeep, and delivery costs. The monies collected from donations for the non-profit, will remain on the non-profit side, funding only the diapers and diapering items to the families and the costs associated with running the non-profit itself. These will be separate accounts, and no mixing of the funds will occur.

With my mission, store and service, I hope to alleviate the dependence on disposable diapers and/or feminine hygiene products, reduce the amount of trash in their neighborhoods and landfills, and help this community continue to be sustainable. As I am only one person, and not rich by any means (at least not monetarily!), I am asking for donations or products at a reduced rate. Items donated will be solely for the purpose of the mission, items sold to me can be used for either, but for the most part, will be donated.

What is the difference between the Cloth Diaper Mission and Bahia Bebe?

They are two different entities that work together out of the same location(s). The Cloth Diaper Mission is the non-profit side, providing cloth diapers and accessories at no cost to families.
Bahia Bebe is the for-profit (albeit small) side, providing the diaper laundering services, as well as new items for sale, custom and hand made baby items, and reusable items such as feminine hygiene products, shopping bags, un-paper towels, etc. The focus of Bahia Bebe is that of sustainable, reusable, recycled and up-cycled products and practices.

When you say sustainable, what exactly do you mean?

The storefront will be solar and wind powered, even though it will be located within a community with electricity available. We have decided to remain off the grid so as to set a sustainable business example. The majority of the services will be provided by hand (washing, sewing, etc.), supplemented by electricity generated from the sun and wind. Deliveries will be mostly by bicycle or on foot. The grey water from the washing will be recycled and reused to water the gardens and orchards. Salt water will be used instead of fresh whenever feasible, due to its aseptic properties and the fact that we are located right by the sea. Any items shipped will be done in large quantities, so as to offset the carbon footprint of the service. The web hosting will eventually be offset by the planting of trees and the use of a carbon neutral web server.

What kind of employment opportunities will you offer?

**Employment will occur when the store is actually opened, hopefully within 4 years. Until then, I will be handling all donations, and Sirena will be assisting me with the donations in Bahia Asuncion.**
Employees will be a key ingredient to the success of Bahia Bebe. We will be hiring local employees to help with the washing and deliveries, as well as maintaining the storefront in the absence of the owner and partner. Employees of the store will receive a competitive salary, as well as multiple benefits including, but not limited to: free diaper service, discounted store items, ability to have their children at work (a safe and secure play area will be provided), lunch provided (for employees and children), flexible hours, English as a second language instruction (for employees and children).

What we have to do first!
What it takes to become a non-profit:

Non-Profit through LegalZoom ~
The Non-Profit package includes:
Preliminary non-profit corporation name clearance
Preparation and filing of Articles of Incorporation
LegalZoom Peace of Mind Review
Unlimited customer support
LegalZoom's business newsletter (includes business tips, discounts and more)
Free Nolo Press book, "How to Form Your Non-Profit"
Medical expense plan
Corporate Minutes Forms
Federal Tax ID application preparation
40 essential business forms on CD-ROM

Express Gold Non-Profit $359.00
AZ State-Required Filing Fee $75.00
Registered Agent Fee $149.00
Tax ID Obtainment $49.00
Total = $632.00

How you can help

*Donate used/new cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories for more info, please see our wish list on the blog (http://clothdiapermission.blogspot.com)

*Donate sewing supplies, sewing machines, sergers, snap pliers, fabrics, snaps, patterns, sewing notions, etc.

*Donate money for the fees to become a non-profit. We need $632. Every little bit helps!

*Donate money to purchase used items once we reach non-profit status, any and all monies/donations will be tax-deductible.

*Donate your time and talents if you sew, knit, crochet, you can make cloth diapering items for the mission. Some examples include: diapers, wipes, wetbags, diaper bags, covers, trainers, shorties, longies, etc. I have some patterns that can be passed on to you.

*Help us grow!! Pass on the word about our mission link our blog: (http://clothdiapermission.blogspot.com)
and/or Facebook page:
(http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bahia-Asuncion-Mexico/Cloth-Di...), tweet about us, etc. The more people who know, the more help we get!

If you have any questions....feel free to ask away! This is very new to me, so I may not have all the answers and I may not explain/clarify everything properly. This is a learnign experience, so if anyone has any knowledge in this area, I'd love to hear about it!
With Peace,
Michelle

[Edited on 10-23-2010 by bajafam]

[Edited on 10-24-2010 by bajafam]




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[*] posted on 10-23-2010 at 04:27 PM


sounds like a great idea!



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norte
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[*] posted on 10-23-2010 at 04:44 PM


PLS help me understand

Who owns these two enterprises?

Are they operating out of the US or Mexico?

How is the accounting handled to operate the non-profit and for-profit separately?

Does the non-profit have a board to ensure integrity in the non-profit organization?

Can I call the companies who have donated to get their take on this venture before I donate myself?
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[*] posted on 10-23-2010 at 04:58 PM


I own them...or at least will own them. At this particular moment, I am working on non-profit status, so for now, I suppose it is a leap of faith on your part.

The non-profit will be based in the US, and work mainly in Bahia Asuncion...at least for now. I hope that someday, we will be able to branch out to other communities.

Once the two entities are completely established, there will be two seperate accounts...both bank and paypal based. They will each have seperate books, etc.

The board will consist of myself, as president, and Sirena as my secretary if she chooses to. Otherwise, I will find another person to ensure such integrity.

You are welcome to call the other companies, although at this point, the donations I have received have been from other mothers who have sold me items at a reduced cost, and my cousin ( :) ) who just donated over 300 diapers! However, I have been in touch with a few companies through facebook ~ GEN-Y, bumbledoo, and The Green Baby Store. I'm sure if you contacted them and asked about our mission, mentioning Cloth Diaper Mission and Michelle Marie Salch VanGurp from facebook, they would vouch for me.

Also, I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think that the esteemed Shari and the lovely Sirena, would vouch for the validity of my mission as well. Please refer to:

http://sharibondy.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/saving-the-world-...

I hope that answers your questions, Norte!

With Peace,
Michelle




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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 08:30 AM


I applaud Michelle for embarking on her new mission...to spread the good word about the benefits of ecological cloth diapering. This mission got it's roots when Michelle did a cloth diaper drive to bring them down for Sirena and other new moms here in Asuncion. Sirenita was raised in cloth diapers and I didnt have a washing machine or even running water then!!! Sirena agreed to give it a try and Michelle arrived with a great selection of cloth diapers, nursing pads and feminine napkins.



After many hours of discussion about the possibility of introducing cloth diapers to moms in baja, michelle convinced me that it might be possible. She did economic feasibility studies and assured us that it would be cheaper to use cloth diapers via a diaper service than it would be to use the very expensive disposables...wow. Imagine being able to help local women save costs AND contribute to cleaning up our environment...win win situation!

Michelle is an intelligent, energetic woman dedicated to a healthy environment and happy babies. She is a woman on a mission and this will be a long term project that will take lots of planning...but she is on her way and has our full support. Her husband will also be a welcome addition to our village as he is a fireman, paramedic and studying to be a nurse! They have purchased a lot and are planning their semi retirement here in Asuncion. I admire their dedication to setting up a usefull, ecological service here and wish them success in their endeavour. It will be a positive contribution to the village and a step in the right direction ecologically.





[Edited on 10-24-2010 by shari]




for info & pics of our little paradise & whale watching info
http://www.bahiaasuncion.com/
https://whalemagictours.wordpress.com/
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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 11:21 AM


Great project. Wishing Ya'All the best of luck.

My experience with legal non-profit and the government in Mexico has borderlined on a nightmare. I personally would not take the path that I have in the past.
For example; In the past I have seen more money go to the accountant for handling an Art Association than went for the Association's projects. I only mention this so that you watch who does the legal accounting. Some Accountants can think of more ways to spend your money to keep you legal than others.
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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 11:56 AM


Believe me...all babies bums will be grateful!!
Michelle you ROCK lady!!!

I truly admire your vision and bravery and am grateful to have the opportunity to embark on this journey with you!!




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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 06:14 PM


Thank you ladies....and for the skeptics...well, there will always be the yin to the yang. I prefer to look on the brighter side...with hope and passion. I know that this can happen, one way or another. As far as the non-profit goes, it is really a new development, based soley on the requests of some of the larger diaper companies I have been in contact with. It is easier for such companies to make donations, as they would be tax-deductible. However, if that aspect proves to be too much of a headache, I will continue as I have thus far, relying on my family's pocketbook (eek!) and the kindness of strangers, friends and family members. I have found a way around the non-profit status deal, though, as some companies are willing to sell me their product "seconds" which have cosmetic flaws and the like, for a rock-bottom price. I have already purchased some of these seconds....and would not feel guilty about selling them to the mamas of Bahia Asuncion.
You see, even if I was to sell all of the diapers and the service (which is not really the plan), I would still be selling at below wholesale, so it's unlikely that I would make a profit. But, making a profit is not my goal....keeping the baby bum's of Bahia Asuncion healthy and happy, and the environment cleaner as a whole, is.
I hope that some of you will open your minds, hearts, and possibly your pocketbooks?! and join me in this mission.
With peace,
Michelle




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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 06:24 PM


Michelle

are you and your family independently wealthy. or do plan on using some of the proceeds to live on?

Have you applied for your work visa that allows you to sell these items? If not has Shari explained the consequences of not having one (deportation and forfeiture of property)?

I am not saying your intentions are not valid but shouldn't it be a legal operation before our pocketboks are opened?
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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 06:45 PM


Yeah, no....we aren't independently wealthy. And, no, we do not plan to live off the proceeds...if there are any! When the "for-profit" part comes into play, the majority of the "proceeds" will go back to the community to pay our employees.
The retail portion will not occur until we are permenant residents of Mexico. And by then, we will be working on (possibly done with) our citizenship. As far as the work visa, if that is what we need to do, we will do it. The property we purchased is our son's (he's a Mexican national) so that is not an issue.
The part I am asking you to open your pocketbooks for is the giving part...the donating part....the part where I make no money and neither does anyone else....the non-profit part, whether with non-profit status or without....it's the same part as when I was asking Nomads to help out with the stash of diapers for Sirena, only on a larger scale. The pocketbook part is merely a figure of speech (and if I can raise the money for the fees to become a non-profit, cool)....it's the same as if I asked y'all to donate some clothes to give to Mama Espinoza's orphanage....everything donated will be going to the mamas of Bahia Asuncion and their babies.




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[*] posted on 10-24-2010 at 06:52 PM


Here's an article I thought y'all might enjoy....
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t....

Different mission, same idea.




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[*] posted on 10-25-2010 at 08:35 AM


Michelle, I think what you are doing is marvelous and of great value to your community and our mother earth. I am presently not able to send more than my greatest wish for your success, but I most certainly do send that.

As to legal status as non profit or just "doing it", I really don't know which is more practical in your case. My comments above were from a personal experience that left me frustrated and discouraged.
I have since looked at the way the local Mom's do it for their schools and such and well, they just raise the money and take care of the business of what ever they raised their funds for.
When one is dealing with tax deductible donations from "El Otro Lado" it is a whole different ball game, and one to complicated for a simple person like myself to play. Could You set up the legal non-profit state side? You might investigate that option.
Again, for anyone who wants to do non profit legal status in Mexico; shop Accountants, some are pretty listo and want to help Your cause, and some are bueno por negoscio and want to help themselves more.
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[*] posted on 10-25-2010 at 09:21 AM


rrts551...of course we will be helping Michelle get all her ducks in a row when the time comes...work visas etc. to protect them.



for info & pics of our little paradise & whale watching info
http://www.bahiaasuncion.com/
https://whalemagictours.wordpress.com/
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[*] posted on 10-25-2010 at 09:34 AM


Eli, thank you for sharing your personal experiences and well wishes. Just as an aside, though, my plan is to set up the non-profit stateside. That is where LegalZoom comes in :) The idea is to have the Cloth Diaper Mission based in Arizona and working to help mamas in Bahia Asuncion. Again, if that doesn't pan out, I will continue as I am now.



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[*] posted on 10-25-2010 at 10:09 AM


So glad to hear of your plan to set up legal status state side, much less complicated, at least I think. Again best of luck, what you are doing is of great value to us all.
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[*] posted on 10-28-2010 at 10:24 AM


I have just received some very exciting news about the Mission. The well-established, nation-wide, non-profit organization, Cloth Diaper Foundation, Inc. http://www.clothdiaperfoundation.org has offered to help my cause!!!


They will be posting information regarding our mission on their website, to direct donors to send the items that CDF is unable to use to us! I'm hoping that this will help to establish Cloth Diaper Mission as a legitimate cause, as well as drive more donations to us.

I am so excited about this new (and truly unexpected!!) development. I cannot wait to start working with them and get those babies of Bahia Asuncion snuggled in some soft (and sustainable) cloth diapers!!!




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[*] posted on 10-28-2010 at 10:46 AM


wow...great news Michelle...takes alot of baby steps to reach a goal...but you just advanced a giant leap...you deserve it....as do the baby bums of asuncion



for info & pics of our little paradise & whale watching info
http://www.bahiaasuncion.com/
https://whalemagictours.wordpress.com/
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[*] posted on 10-28-2010 at 10:55 AM


Having been a mommy who used cloth dipers (nothing like the nice once now, the old big folded cloth with pins), I say babies bottoms love them! They are a tad bit more work, but in the long run worth it. You go Michelle, I support you 198%!



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[*] posted on 10-28-2010 at 08:16 PM


Thanks Alicia and Shari....this was such a huge surprise and a great way to start my day today!! I'm starting to feel like things are really coming together on this!

We love our cloth....and although we have many of the "fancy modern diapers", I have recently found a new love for the old-fashioned prefolds :) The simplicity is very appealing. I will keep everyone posted as we progress...I know it's a strange thing to discuss on Nomads, but it does concern Baja, so....

Come along for the ride! :)




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[*] posted on 10-28-2010 at 08:23 PM


Just how many diaper wearing babies are there in Asuncion anyway? Sounds like a population explosion down there.
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