The Batey Foundation

The Batey Foundation is no longer a functioning non-profit.Closing with gratitude: A letter from our founderHello TBF Community - In March of 2009, I clearly remember sitting on a roof in Barrio Elio Franco, in Santo Domingo, with some good friends, both Dominican and from the U.S. After years of spending time in, informally raising money for, and doing projects with the batey community around Santo Domingo, we made a decision at that moment that we needed to do more to support our friends and community members living in these bateys. While none of us had much experience in the non-profit realm, we made a commitment to create a structure to bring more funds and resources to batey communities and to raise awareness to the plight of people living in bateyes, often impacted by living in extreme poverty and suffering from systemic and institutional discrimination. That was the seed that would ultimately become The Batey Foundation.In the weeks and months that followed, we set about to find a dedicated board of directors, create a mission statement and by-laws, build organizational infrastructure, gain 501c3 tax status, and determine the best programs and avenues to serve our mission. Our goal was simple: help raise the standard of living for people living in the communities where we worked.Over the years, alongside and in partnership with local community members, we helped to fund and build an elementary school in San Luis that currently serves over 500 students, a pre-school in Naranjo that serves over 30 children, community centers in both Naranjo and San Luis, a public pharmacy building, and helped to rebuild homes damaged during hurricanes. Through our scholarship program, we have helped over 30 students attend elementary and high school, with 4 currently supported at the university level. We provided English classes, academic tutoring, and technology support through the pandemic. Our Livelihood Program, through targeted micro-loans and monthly educational workshops, has helped 12 women start their own businesses, and gain economic independence and security for their families. Lastly, our service programs have helped hundreds of participants build a relationship with the people of the Dominican Republic and foster deep connections to the batey communities where we work. These participants have then gone back to their home countries and helped to raise awareness to the challenges that people living in batey communities are facing, and have helped to raise funds for the work that The Batey Foundation has done. While it is not enough and there is still LOTS of work to be done, these collaborative efforts have made a significant positive impact on many people’s lives.In March 2020, with the arrival of the global pandemic, we ran our last service program to the DR. As service programs accounted for about 85% of our annual revenue, like many other non-profits at the time (many of which were forced to close their doors) we had to quickly restructure and pivot. In doing so, we were able to keep our Livelihood and Scholarship programs running, and were able to provide much needed support for local students impacted by the educational shutdowns during the pandemic. While I could go into great detail on this, despite the hard work and best efforts of many people in both the DR and in the US, over time we have not been able to close the revenue gap caused by the cessation of our service programs.Rather than lose precious funds to a slow bleed of overhead costs, The Batey Foundation Board of Directors made the difficult but ethical decision to dissolve The Batey Foundation. The bottom line: as it is consistent with our mission, our funds need to go directly to our partnering communities in the DR and the people in those communities that we serve. As of Dec. 31, 2022, The Batey Foundation will cease to function as a non-profit organization.I am proud of our board of directors for making the right decision at this time, and to our Executive Director, Sarah Andersen, and Sasha Tracy, our board chair, for helping to guide the process. I am also incredibly grateful to our staff for being flexible as we have navigated this difficult transition. Most importantly, I am grateful for our broader TBF community for making this whole thing possible. From the community members who have worked tirelessly alongside us in so many endeavors, to our donors who have maintained steadfast commitment to the work we were doing, to our volunteers who were open to the challenges and wonder of engaging in this type of experience, WE THANK YOU!On a personal level, while I am really sad that The Batey Foundation will no longer exist, I am SO proud of the work that we have ALL done TOGETHER to improve the standard of living for people in our partnering communities. Equally important, as I reflect back on this journey, I am incredibly thankful for all of the friendships and deep connections that it has brought to my life, and for the friendships and connections that The Batey Foundation has helped to facilitate and nurture for so many people. It is in these friendships and memories, and in these accomplishments, that The Batey Foundation will continue to exist for all of us indefinitely.Again, a heartfelt thank you to all of you and please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.Matthew Toms
Founder, The Batey Foundation