Sunday, August 10, 2014

An Urgent Letter from Little Flower Founder, Brent Johnson

Dear friends,

After months of relative peace at Little Flower and being able to just focus on managing the 24/7 care of the 185 children in our three locations, I am now back to being up at night worried. We’re looking at a rapidly approaching funding cliff coming in September.
We’d been clicking along rather nicely: (1) Our fully legal status in China thanks to the link-up with the Beijing Chunmiao Children’s Aid Foundation and my seat on the board of directors there along with some other wonderful directors; (2) great interaction with the government at all levels—again very much thanks to Chunmiao colleagues—and our ability to receive tax-deductible donations in both China and the USA; and (3) the deepening growth and development in maturity, insightfulness and talent of our Little Flower management team, who still amaze me with their tireless effort and devotion in an environment of endless challenges. In short, many things have been going well.
But now my old adversary has returned…worry and fear about money!
The problem is medical expenses. In 2013, we spent a little over RMB 2 million on medical expenses (USD 330,000), but this year, we are not even halfway through the year and have spent over RMB 3 million (USD 490,000).

Some of our kids—all abandoned or orphaned—have medical problems that are relatively simple and inexpensive to treat—cleft lip and palate, clubfoot, and minor heart defects. But others are complex and incredibly expensive--premature birth, serious heart defects, gastro-intestinal birth defects and more. We are now seeing more and more complex cases, more expensive procedures, and old reliable sources of funding that have disappeared.

This is Yan, a 16-month-old who recently came to us with brightly colored string tied around his wrist and ankle—a traditional good luck charm for safe travels. Our dilemma can be pretty much summed up by this little guy’s case. He needs a series of complex heart surgeries, but his family—likely from a rural village—couldn’t pay or get access to care and gave him up in the hope that someone could step in and save his life. The cost of the first surgery will be RMB 60,000 (USD 10,000), not including follow up care and possible later surgeries.

For every month of operation, we’re working to raise US $171,000 to make sure that the children across our projects in two cities get the 24-hour care, medical treatments, surgeries, and education that they need. 100% of that amount goes directly to childcare, as our administrative costs (accounting for just 5% of our budget) are covered by specific donations each year. It’s a massive undertaking, and your support can make a huge difference to us and the kids we’re trying to save.
Here are a few examples of how the funds you donate are used:
§  US$1500/month allows us to provide surgeries at reliable Beijing hospitals with solid surgeons, as well as follow on care at our Beijing location for children like Xiao Yan.
§  US$700/month enables us to provide high quality 24-hour intensive care for a prematurely born baby in unstable condition in our Taiyuan location.
§  US$250/month gives a loving home and 24-hour care to an intellectually-impaired child in our Taiyuan Long-Term Care Program.
§  US$100/month can give one of our infant care homes a new oximeter sensor, crucial to monitoring the oxygen levels of our fragile preemies and heart babies.
§  US$50 per month can purchase a set of five special spoon feeders for babies born with facial clefts. We have a lot of kids in this situation and need more of these spoons every year.

Please click here to sign up for a monthly donation. Our monthly donors are crucial the stability we need to keep our services up and running for the children in our programs. You can also fund a child's surgery by clicking here.

We're in a really tough spot right now with the majority of our funding about to run out in September and not much in the pipeline.

I’ve always been sort of envious of the organizations and people who never have to lose sleep over a single child or making budget in a single month.  But I’ve always been the “here’s a child in front of me that needs help right now” type of guy, and so that’s why I’m here begging for help. Please consider doing what you can.

Share this message with anyone you know who might be in a place to support us. Thank you for your support and encouragement. We've saved and improved the lives of more than 2,000 children in China now, and none of that would have been possible without your support.

We need you now as much as ever, if not more.

Thank you, and wishing you blessings as always!


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