The Franciscan Mission Foundation for Transcarpathia (FMFT)
The Founder of the FMFT, Mária Tálas, registered the Foundation in 1991 in Hungary with the intention of helping with the work of the Franciscan missionaries in Nagyszőlős (Vynogradiv), Ukraine. Through the years, consistent with the increase of the missionary work, the activity of the Foundation has grown rapidly. In the beginning, the Foundation assisted the Franciscan brothers on a small scale with occasional financial aid, care packages, help with administrative duties in Hungary etc.
When the Foundation was formed, there were volunteers who unselfishly helped with its work, which made it unnecessary to hire employees. Since the volunteers ran the office with little expenses, all the aid could be sent to the needy of Transcarpathia. Also, Erzsébet Magyari DLL provided endless services for the Foundation and the people of Transcarpathia.
During the years of the great floods in Transcarpathia (1998 and 2001), the Foundation's reputation and respect constantly grew. As a result, the administration was reorganized and a new system of applications and a strict settlement of accounts was established.
Because of the increased funds, the Franciscan brothers' established institutions (kindergartens, soup kitchens, rehabilitation centres etc.) will continue to be supported on a normative basis. The Foundation's work was crucial since the government of Ukraine was not able to provide any financial aid and help from abroad was uncertain. Thanks to the donors, the Foundation is able to give more and more help to these institutions every year. Without our support, it would be impossible for them to function and many of the needy would not receive any help or jobs.
In the past, thanks to about 1000-1300 donors, the Franciscan Mission Foundation for Transcarpathia gave about 30 million Forints (approximately 150,000. USD) of yearly donations for the missionary work in Transcarpathia,. Also, we are happy to say, and which indicates a high respect for the work of the Franciscans, that the income from the 1% tax is increasing. In 2006, it totalled 23,6 million Forints, which is approximately 122.052.00 USD.
More than half of the donors gave under 10.000 Ft (50 USD) but as taught in the Bible about the woman with 2 pennies, it is not the amount of the donation that is important. We are thankful to receive small donations as well as large ones and appreciate the giving of all donors. Of course, we understand that without the larger donations, it would be impossible to help the poor and needy as much as we do, for example, during the years of the floods.
The work of the Foundation depends entirely on donations. We receive very little help from other organizations, state foundations, etc. We can only help the needy through the donations we receive.
Thanks to the loyal help of the volunteers, the operational expenses of the Foundation have always been under 10% of the income. The increase in donations in the past years is attributed to the growing personal connection between the donors and the needy. The advertising costs of the Foundation have increased as we take a more active part in mass media.
The support given to the Franciscan Brothers consists of several items of which the greatest is for travel. In the past few years, an office was set up for them which helped with this expense.
In regard to the spiritual duties, we have to mention the renovation of the community buildings (parish houses, Gypsy houses, soup kitchens, nursery schools, etc.) and churches where services and teaching were held. We were pleased to receive the request to support these renovations which was an indication of the people's healing process. During the constant struggle for survival, the poor and needy now find the time for community life and meditation.
The poor and needy still must receive basic food parcels before Christmas and Easter. In order to survive the cold winter, the old, ill, and large families need to get chopped timber for heating. These projects are very important to them.
The Foundation gives scholarships, helps with medical expenses, and provides religion classes, which all help people to interact with each other and to form relationships.
The Foundation sponsors more and more institutions in Transcarpathia. The Foundation helps charity services, nursery schools and schools with special needs. The directors run these institutions in a responsible way under the supervision of the parish priest. These institutions are usually the only ones in the region which meet the basic needs of the local people. The Foundation has a firm obligation to support these institutions and provide the necessary funds for running them for a minimum of one year.
The Foundation has four trustees who do not receive a salary. The Board of Trustees holds meetings regularly, at least once a month, and makes decisions on issues concerning the operation of the Foundation and on applications and requests coming from the Franciscan Brothers.
The Foundation used to deliver supplies to the needy in Transcarpathia but because of the high shipping fees and complicated custom procedures in Ukraine, we only accept money (no clothes, supplies, food, etc.).
Thanks to the Our Lady of Hungary Franciscan Province we use our office free of charge, and some parts of the organisational duties are done by the Province.
In 2005, the Deed of Foundation of The Franciscan Mission Foundation for Transcarpathia was changed. It's activity was expanded and now serves the Catholic and Hungarian charitable and cultural work in Transcarpathia. Our Foundation today gives two thirds of the support to this region.
Head of the Board of Trustees