Rita Thomas

I formerly worked as a Financial analyst, later a Computer programmer/analyst and a real estate investor/manager. I’m currently retired and in the warm months love to spend time gardening in my own yard as well as volunteering in public gardens.

I helped design and develop the extensive gardens at our local Hospice. It warms my heart when I see patients and families wandering through them, enjoying the plants and wildlife they support. When our weather turns cold, I travel the world and have learned much from my varied experiences.

Having traveled through many very poor areas of the world, I have become acutely aware that huge populations live in poverty, lack education, and have very little hope of bettering their lives or the lives of their children. I also realize what an exceptionally easy and prosperous life I live, not through my merits, but simply through happenstance.

Given this awareness, I have long searched for a way to give back. I wanted to find a charity that would make a real difference in a community, a charity that would lift people out of poverty and put them on the path to a better life, not just for themselves but for future generations. Too many charities, I found, use over half of donated funds for administrative expenses, which I find unacceptable.

I met Sister Ann McKean, foundress of Adelante Mujer, in January 2016. I spent an afternoon with her learning about the program. Later I visited the website and researched conditions around Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. I was thrilled to have finally found an organization that has such profound and direct connection to its recipients with minimal administrative costs. This, I decided, was my opportunity to do what I feel is far-reaching, meaningful work.

I was impressed by how far a dollar can go in a country like Nicaragua. For a rel- atively small amount of money, we are able to assist a young woman get through medical school. With her degree this one physician can support her own family financially. Every patient she treats, that patients’ loved ones, in fact, the entire community benefits. This is exactly what I have been searching for and I feel blessed to have found Adelante Mujer and Sister Ann.

Rita Thomas, Board Member