When Sister Luz Manrique came to Sacramento in 2007, her plan was to work for three years, save money from her salary, and go back home to the Philippines to start a charitable organization to be of greater service to the poor. But her day-to-day experience of meeting many people in need right here in Sacramento (like those asking for money to pay for their apartment rent, or for SMUD, PG&E, or to buy food or gas) made her realize that the poor are everywhere, even in the wealthiest country in the world, the United States of America.
So, she modified her original plan according to the need that she saw in the community. Rallying the help of Sandy and Johnny Dell, Adele Madariaga, and Miguel Mejia, she embarked on establishing, in 2008, a nonprofit, charitable organization that will help the disadvantaged in California and in the Philippines. Named Divine Mercy Human Development Foundation, this organization applied for an IRS tax-exempt status which was received in 2011 with an effective date of exemption retroactive to its foundation on September 11, 2008. DMHDF envisions a world where the poor are able to reach their highest potential in keeping with their human dignity. Its mission is to primarily make education accessible to the economically disadvantaged, trusting in the poor's capacity to be free from the ravages of poverty when given the opportunity.
We serve children and families in dire financial difficulty in targeted high-needs neighborhoods in Sacramento, CA and in Talakag, Bukidnon (Philippines) where 60% of the population are indigenous with little or no access to higher education. In Sacramento, CA we serve through our tutoring, life experience, mentoring, ESL, and scholarship programs (and a special acupressure therapy program provided by the Board Chair, the donations of which are all given to Divine Mercy Human Development Foundation in support of its programs and services). In the Philippines we serve through our college scholarship program and microfinance program. The microfinance program offers small business training and microfinance loans to those who want to help themselves. With no paid staff or employees, the organization is blessed with board directors and an executive director who have a very strong passion for the mission for which it was organized. They share their expertise and financial resources, and also work so hard, taking turns in coordinating events, being there to help set up and clean up, to serve, to teach, to sell tickets, to "sell" the organization to people, and to do whatever is needed in order to help children become successful in school, finish college, get good jobs, become highly productive, and make a difference in their community.