Latest News

Alas! Seattle Takes First Step With Tiny Home Community

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Last week my email in-box was inundated with emails from around the country calling my attention to an article appearing in the Wall Street Journal about an experiment going on in Seattle.
The article which I read over morning coffee as the sun rose evoked excitement although it is tempered with a healthy dose of cautious optimism. My heart skipped a beat as it felt like a small victory for many homeless. Private parties were stepping up. The headline offered hope.

The Wall Street Journal article, ‘Growing Homelessness Problems Spur Interest in Tiny Homes’ explores the issue well by providing insight not only from a negative perspective but from a positive human impact perspective as well.

This subject is dear to my heart. Our Abōd Shelters® Foundation has been advocating the role of Tiny Home Communities as transition housing for the homeless to city leaders across the country over the past 5 years. Many city officials are willing to open their doors and their hearts to hear about tiny homes like Abōd Shelters® and discuss their homeless challenges but the conversations seem to stop there. When we presented the Abōd Shelters® at International Builders Show (IBS) in Las Vegas we had many such conversations.

Jacques Hammer, Abōd Shelters® Manufacturer located in South Africa, having a conversation during the International Builders Show held in Las Vegas 2016.

Conditions need to reach a point of critical chaos like in late 2015 when Seattle’s Mayor declared the city in a state of emergency due to the random camps growing to uncontrollable scale. Every conversation with city leaders reveal a formulaic approach wherein they rely on a government partnership with NGO’s and key agencies to deliver solutions to help the homeless. It takes the private sector to ‘own the problem’ like the homelessness, for real action to be taken to help. Today it is left to the private sector to create ideas, the solutions and run the execution of a program to deliver the solution. Knowing this on-to itself is very revealing.

It is revealed in the article through various remarks that the Tiny Home Village is a better solution for everyone. I love the quote from Low Income Housing Institute’s Executive Director Sharon Lee;

“Business owners and residents are more receptive when they see a bunch of tiny houses.”

Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute’s Executive Director

Our belief that private citizens stepping up to create Tiny Homes Villages is the first sign of a positive sustainable solution.

However, this good news was tempered with bad as the truth revealed in Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle when builder style micro homes appeared anywhere on city property replacing pop up tents and shacks made of scrap by the homeless that were removed. In Los Angeles, the city eventually returned the micro homes to the builder and told him to find private land to build them. I see evidence they see this issue as the charge of non- profits, all the burden falls on them to obtain the land, build the houses, figure out who can live there, how they fit into the SYSTEM and for how long.

When does government become an active part of the homeless solution versus magnifying the problem with disruptive action?

Statistics indicate every major city in the US has a rising homeless problem. The good news is many cities are addressing the veteran’s homeless population with the help of private sectors and NGO’s. It is the right thing to do, however that is just a percentage of the need. Local government officials continue to ignore one of the biggest segments as women with school aged children are homeless living under the poverty level but cannot get on their feet, much less find secure homes. In Florida for example, kids without home addresses can be enrolled and attend our public schools where there is a feeding program for all kids. Sadly, a high percentage, almost 25%, leave school each day to return to the family car to sleep and wash up inside Walmart restrooms.  Does that take hold of your heart? It does mine!

After much reflection my conclusion is this – By and large we in America have become experts at turning a blind eye toward pain and suffering of homeless in our communities. Our local municipalities are too slow to respond to their needs. If it is left to the private sector to do the work, how can we come together to up our game to another level?

Here are my questions for you:

  1. How can more NGO’s come together to align behind addressing the unmet needs for women and children? It is a place to focus that can really help?
  2. Who can provide land to allow us to build an Abōd Shelters® village?
  3. What will it take to wake up America to respond?

We at Abōd Shelters® want to help be part of the solution in America.  Won’t you help us make the right connections? Please reach out to me with your thoughts. May you be amply blessed in all you do for others in need.

Simple and easy to build, yet structurally sound design is the premise behind Abōd Shelters®. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.

Photo credit to Grace Vander Weide.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Alas! Seattle Takes First Step With Tiny Home Community
read more

Use Your Life Experiences to Help Someone Else

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

It’s a big decision to share a personal story. But when someone decides to, just the act of sharing is caring. Stories bring hope to the person who has not made it to the other side of their circumstance yet – who may feel isolated or ashamed. Personal stories also bring humanity to a problem that motivates others to help in a way that all of the stats and facts shared about the problem cannot.

There are many reasons why people across this country and around the world are homeless and there are many stories behind the Abōd Shelters® and why people choose to help us with our mission to provide affordable housing wherever it is needed. Some stories are from people, like Doug Sharp, who have witnessed the extreme poverty of third-world countries in their travels. Other stories are first-hand accounts from people who have survived homelessness.

Many times, we never get to know the story behind someone’s passion for and involvement with Abōd.  But Elizabeth Kandle, volunteer and guest blogger, relates through the following story that some people are homeless because they have escaped an abusive or oppressive situation. For them the streets at least offer freedom from their circumstance and the hope of finding a new path of their choosing – and hopefully, eventually a place they can feel safe and call home...

A Journey of Sharing Gives Hope

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Elizabeth Kandle, Business Developer, BSB Design, Inc

Watching the sun rise from the corner of a doorway in a building in San Francisco, I look around to the group of displaced children who didn’t sleep again last night. What are we looking for as we wander the streets? An underground sea of music and art? How did we find each other?

There are now five of us walking the streets shivering with unsteady hands. We are tired, but we have no choice but to walk on through the day. Too smart for our own good, we all ended up in college as high schoolers trudging a path of boredom that led us to look for something else. Asking random strangers to help us with nickels and dimes for cheap fast food. Sour cream is a luxury. It cost a quarter, but that quarter could almost feed another one of us with tacos at fifty-nine cents.

That was twenty years ago.

Life isn’t like that today and I am ashamed to say I throw groceries away now without a thought. I should give it more thought. I let my kids play with nickels and dimes that once added up to a feeling of a nearly full stomach. We were not homeless by coincidence – some of us sought homelessness because we were not happy with what we had, some of us were not safe where we were, and then there was me who was just wondering what else was out there.

After I experienced the fire as a child, life was different for me. I saw and learned things at too young of an age. I continued to excel at school in a way that allowed me to leave the regular school set up and take things at my own pace, but this also opened a world up to me that I was not ready for or equipped to navigate. And I was allowed the opportunity to try and figure it out on my own.

Perhaps that is what makes me different. Perhaps that is what allows me to never give up.

Sometimes we would walk all day. Miles upon miles. Meeting strangers and asking for spare change for food. At night we would retreat to old buildings long condemned to make art and share our stories. Stories about changing the world, why we were different and what we each did to survive. Sharing our stories kept us going. From so many walks of life we came together to keep each other company and to give each other hope.

One of the girls was 19, had 3 children living with her father and was 6 months pregnant. She was deaf in her right ear and had a muscle disorder that made her clench in a strange and awkward way. She asked me to pray for her children. In my mind, I prayed;

God, please help give this young girl strength and courage, please hold her in your arms as she walks slowly down her path to you, please be gentle on her weak soul, may her road be paved with less heartache and loss than the rest of ours. Please help her find her way home.”

Elizabeth Kandle

Most of us were in our early to mid-teens and a long way from home. We found a common thread of faith among one another and believed that there was a reason for us to be where we were. We felt that we were wandering through a life that was always being met with resistance, but at least we were free. Not free of rules or breaking them necessarily but free in the sense of knowing we didn’t give up. Instead, surviving something and then experiencing the feeling of relief and satisfaction of accomplishment.

There is also a freedom in not having anything, but that is not met without fear. A friend told me the other day that my fear is very different from anything he has encountered before and it is in that raw emotion that I am more human to him. We all seem to hide that humanness. But it is this characteristic in my mind that can help someone else. Just like 20 years ago when sharing our stories kept us going. We can give each other hope.

Abōd Shelters® works with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to provide housing, medical clinics, dormitories, classrooms etc. Many of the individuals that end up using Abod’s have next to nothing. One of the benefits of getting involved in our mission trips and helping with the builds is being able to meet these individuals first-hand and hear their stories. Their stories are true testimonies of survival.

It is in our experience that we can reach out with what we have, even if it is only an unsteady hand, we can still help someone else. Help someone else by sharing your experience.

How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd® Shelters so we can partner and make a difference together! partners@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd® Shelters Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd® Shelters values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

End of Day 1 building 5 homes in Mokopane, South Africa.

End of Day 2 building homes for Grannies partnering with Blessman International.

End of Day 3 building homes for Grannies, their grandchildren and additional children that would be homeless if not taken in by these wonderful women.

Thanks to Michelle Rothfus, Abōd Shelters® Project Coordinator for above 3 project images.

From Elizabeth:

I was offered an opportunity to do some writing for the company I started working with a year ago. I thought it was a nice gesture and it was certainly something I was going to keep on doing anyway.  I have been a writer my whole life; spinning the narrative, selling the stories, and sharing in an obscure and vulnerable way that somehow feels safe to me. I wonder sometimes which event led me to hide behind a rough exterior only to share the true intimacy inside me with people who I don’t necessarily know. It’s like bad timing I guess. I don’t trust people all of the time, but I do have a sense that everything is going to turn out. Not like some innate religious or spiritual concept, but the feeling that it’s going to be ok is deep inside of me.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


Use Your Life Experiences to Help Someone Else
read more

A First-Hand Account Of The Lasting Impact of Childhood Homelessness

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Abōd Shelters® values every donation and volunteer effort. One regular source of support we are most grateful for comes from BSB Design employees. Many of them choose to contribute a portion of every paycheck to our cause and others regularly donate their time to help raise awareness and money to make Abod’s available for families or to serve community needs, such as for birthing centers. We are excited to introduce you to one such BSB Design employee who has stepped up to help us with our weekly blog effort. If anyone blogs, they understand that keeping up with a regular schedule can be a challenge.

When we put Elizabeth Kandle from our Charlotte office on our schedule as a guest blogger, we were glad to have a slot filled and expected nothing more than for her to say what drew her to helping us or why she thinks Abōd Shelters® efforts are important. But the most powerful and personal story Elizabeth delivered, and you will read, was much more than we anticipated. We extend heartfelt thanks to Elizabeth for her willingness to share through her own first-hand perspective how being suddenly displaced from home or never having a home impacts a child and follows them into adulthood.

The Flame That Changed Everything In An Instant

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Elizabeth Kandle, Business Developer, BSB Design, Inc

“It lives inside me. And it breaths. Big full breaths. Inhaling and growing. It expands. It has life and cannot die.”

It’s 3 am now and I feel it. I also feel cold.

I have small hands and small bones and they are tired. I have been walking on these same two feet for a long time now. I haven’t slept well since I was a child and I often feel like a stranger in my own home, or perhaps my home is the stranger to me. As I think back to the writing I committed to, the tears come to the surface. I think back to how safe I used to feel. Before the fire.

Things can change in an instant. You always hear stuff like that. You never think that it’s going to happen to you. Displacement.

What do you do with two children and no home… how do you keep it together as a mother and create safety when your life catches flames before your very eyes? What was my mother thinking when she sent us away after the fire?

Like orphans, we wandered around each day in strange towns and strange homes with people we did not know. With my twin sister as my lifeline, my mom tried to find someone to care for us after the fire.

This experience created something inside of me. I was in the 8th grade and I didn’t know hunger. I had never known sadness – the real kind that creeps into your heart in the earliest of hours. I had never lived amongst people that didn’t want me there. I had never had to make my space so small or had to hide inside my own body… trying to disappear.

We lived in an old home in a small historic district. We had just moved after my parents separated and the house we rented was broken up over 3 floors.

My twin sister, my mom and I shared the two bedrooms in the middle. I don’t remember the woman on the first floor. It was her comforter stored too high in a closet that was subsequently below our traditional floor heater that burnt the house down. We had left for school that morning just like we had for about 3 weeks after the move.

We came home to nothing. At least someone had saved the cat.

With her heart in her hands, my mother drove us to extended family that we had never met. A lot happens in a divorce and I quickly learned that the people that were by our side one time did not stand beside us then. As an adult I get it, but as a child it terrified me. People can leave? Houses can disappear? You can wake up one day with only the shoes on your feet?

I seem to wake up at this time of night more often now. This new house seems funny, and I sleep in a room with no doors. It’s not a bedroom, but no one was intended to sleep here until we came along. Confused, I stumble in the dark to the slider and see the moon. That’s the one thing that didn’t change.

Have you ever spent nights alone in your head… just wondering how you got here? How you really got anywhere? There seems to be so much promise in the world. It feels like a ribbon running through all of us and tying us together. Hope lives inside of me. After all that has happened, how can I not have hope? What I choose to do with this experience is up to me. I am strong, fierce and unstoppable. I know what is right. I know that if I take one breath in and out each day with stability in my soul I can change the world.

“Will you come with me?”

All around us are things that we did not choose and we are not always as charmed as we had hoped we would be, as we once were. Together we can take a stand.

You never know when a disaster or accident may happen where an entire family is uprooted, mentally affected and scrambling for support. The picture on the left is an image of Talent and his family in front of their Abōd Shelters® home. Two years ago, a tree fell on their previous family home and it was destroyed. See the full story by reading “Project Update: Newest Abōd Design Came to South African Family – by Accident?!” They recently had a baby and are doing well.

Abōd Shelters® understands that housing is one important aspect needed in supporting a family and getting them back on their feet.

Please help us provide homes to those in need. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

From Elizabeth:

I was offered an opportunity to do some writing for the company I started working with a year ago. I thought it was a nice gesture and it was certainly something I was going to keep on doing anyway.  I have been a writer my whole life; spinning the narrative, selling the stories, and sharing in an obscure and vulnerable way that somehow feels safe to me. I wonder sometimes which event led me to hide behind a rough exterior only to share the true intimacy inside me with people who I don’t necessarily know. It’s like bad timing I guess. I don’t trust people all of the time, but I do have a sense that everything is going to turn out. Not like some innate religious or spiritual concept, but the feeling that it’s going to be ok is deep inside of me.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


A First-Hand Account Of The Lasting Impact of Childhood Homelessness
read more

How A Conversation Led To Tiny House Atlanta Joining Abod Shelters in Tanzania

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Cover photo credit goes to Teresa Choi, volunteer on our Tanzania mission trip in January 2017, where 10 Abōd Shelters® were built in 10 days.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

As I often do, I received a call recently from an NGO doing work in the United States who had heard about our Abod Shelters solution. While we had a great and worthwhile conversation, ultimately, Abod was not the right fit. But in the giving community people are often connected to other NGO’s in such a way that they can be mutually beneficial to each other. Understanding that Abod wouldn’t fit their organization needs, they knew of another organization that our solution might be a good fit for. That is how we came to be connected with Tiny House Atlanta.

I am very grateful for every conversation that I have because you never know what it might lead to. Because of this call, I met Will Johnston, with Tiny House Atlanta, a vibrant personality with courage and commitment toward helping educate and inspire Atlanta’s growing populace about the virtues of embracing the Tiny House lifestyle.  Life in the city is getting exceedingly expensive so coping is an issue.

We discovered his organization and ours had loads in common, even though the physical manifestation of the work his association performs is local and our work unfolds on different continents.  While the economic conditions between urban Atlanta and for example rural Tanzania, are dramatically different, the fundamental human dynamics that drive our desire to encourage tiny home living are much the same – security, stability, simplification.

Will expressed genuine excitement about our Foundation’s work in various parts of Africa so much so that he volunteered to join our next mission trip to Tanzania in January 2017.

Will Johnston, Tiny House Atlanta, joined in building 10 Abōd Shelters® in 10 days in Tanzania this past January.

Will Johnston with volunteers, including Ty Pennington, and local school children during the building of 9 Abōd Shelters® to be used as homes plus an Abōd Birthing Center at the Hospital. 

To my delight, he made good on his promise and joined us on his first ‘purposeful Mission trip,’ The Great African Adventure with Ty Pennington to help build 10 Abōds in 10 Days on the STEMM Medical Ministry Campus and in the Village of Mbuguni.

Will made the commitment to fully participate in all aspects of the Great Adventure Mission Trip. I can attest to it – Will did make the most of his three weeks in Tanzania. The purpose of Part One of the trip was to get hands on experience building the Abod. Like most people who fall in love with the Abōd Shelters humanitarian design, Will was intrigued about the build formula in relationship to our self-imposed mandate to assemble 10 Abōds in 10 days. This never done before challenge, would take a full effort by every volunteer member to come together and pull their weight.

As soon as Will arrived he jumped right in with full gusto and muscle. He drilled, carried, climbed and hammered, not to mention made us laugh, sang with us and cajoled the team just when we all needed it. He played his role within the volunteer team and with Ty Pennington to accomplish our extreme goal of building 9 Abōd Shelters® to be used as homes plus an Abōd Birthing Center at the Hospital.  Once much of the hard work was accomplished, Will joined us on a wonderful Safari experience in the Tarangire Reserve Camp with a memorable overnight stay the night before at a campsite one hour into the reserve.   It was the perfect way to expand on our friendships, relax after hard day’s work and share quality time together.

Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

It seemed during that first call potential existed to strike up a rewarding friendship but I underestimated how powerful sharing this Mission Trip could be in kindling so many connections for a lifetime.

When I asked Will to reflect on his experiences on the Tanzania Mission Trip he offered,

The entire trip was a life changing experience for me. I see so many benefits from participating in a purpose driven trip like this where you come together with common goals around building a Abōd Micro Village that really makes a difference. While you are contributing physically you are benefiting emotionally. Plus, you are making new friends and discovering things about yourself in the process. Allowing time to taste and be part of the culture and go on a Safari trip are icing on the cake. They expand your point of view. When you get back to the US you see things differently.”

Will Johnston, Tiny House Atlanta

Learn more about ‘Will Johnston On Why Tiny Houses?’ Since then the impact has gone even further. Now Will wants to expand our relationship to help us even more. I am happy to share Will has asked Abōd Shelters® Foundation to participate in his Tiny House Atlanta Festival in Decatur, Georgia on September 29th –  October 1st, 2017. We are working out the details of how we will be featured so stay tuned, especially if you are in the Atlanta area and want to know more about Tiny Homes and the Abōd Shelters® Foundation, our design solution and our humanitarian work.

We were all grateful for Will Johnston’s volunteer spirit, joyful personality on this milestone African Adventure Mission trip and especially his willingness to champion our message to those people genuinely interested in the many dimensions of the Tiny House Movement that Will is fostering.  Thank you, Tiny House Atlanta.   We wish you much success and are excited about working together.

A picture taken during the build of a couple of the homes that will be used by the local school. Credit to Will Johnston for the photo.

A picture of the inside of the Birthing Center that was built in the local village. Photo credit goes to Doug Vander Weide, Chairman of Abōd Shelters® Foundation.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

How A Conversation Led To Tiny House Atlanta Joining Abod Shelters in Tanzania
read more

Everyone Has The Power To Influence And Can Make A Difference In Just One Day

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks so much to our Dallas Team Walkers who submitted the cover photo as they were getting started walking early last Friday morning.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

When you think of influential people, who comes to mind? George Washington, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and others from our history? Or are they current pioneers, artists, leaders? Are they the top 10 most powerful women? Or do you think of the most influential leaders in technology? When you see a quote or recommendation from these individuals, you tend to listen because of who they are. The people in these positions have a lot of power to influence others, for good or for bad. But that isn’t what this article is about. It’s about you.

I know what you’re thinking, influential people are extreme, once-in-a-lifetime individuals who have had a significant impact on the world. The truth is that, to make an impact on the world, you don’t have to be a Thomas Edison or a Steve Jobs. You don’t even have to directly influence thousands of people. Just a handful can make a huge difference.

Take our BSB Design, Inc. Dallas office team…

On Friday, March 24th 7 BSB employees were out at different hours: one started walking at midnight and the others started at 6 am; some together and one on their own, for a combined total of 120 miles!

Why? Because they believe…

  • that when there is a solution to saving lives, it should be accessible.
  • that every mother in a developing country has the right to the same skilled care before, during and after childbirth as a mother in a developed country.
  • they can make a bigger impact together than separately.

No, this is not the look of being grumpy… It’s the look of determination! Meet Oscar Chavez, Senior Draftsperson (left) and Nick Blount, Job Captain (right). Both continued on even after being rained on.

Healthcare for mothers in Africa especially in remote areas is insufficient. Pre-birth care for pregnant women is largely not available. The natal care itself, which is delivery, is usually handled by a family member, neighbor or friend who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

Over a million African babies are estimated to die in the first 4 weeks of life – but most die at home, uncounted, and invisible to national and regional policies and programmes.” World Health Organization

View the initial story of this group’s dedication from ‘When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen’ and learn more about these influential individuals.

For the past 4 weeks, these seven individuals shared information with as many people as they could about Abōd Shelters® Birthing Centers and the impact they are already having in undeveloped countries such as Ghana and Tanzania. Because of their power to influence, they reached out to their friends, family and clients to support their campaign to build another one in Tanzania.  This group committed to walking as far as they could that Friday to raise money for the Birthing Center. In just one day of walking, this small group ended up with donations and pledges from 70 different people and raised just under $4500!

“Despite dodging lightning storms, I believe the walk was very successful. I hope we do it again next year. Twenty miles doesn’t sound like much, but when you sit and draw all day you definitely feel it! It was a great way to have a positive financial impact, one much greater than individually donating to the cause.” Mike Penrose, Senior Designer 

You never know what to expect with the weather in Texas this time of year. Being prepared was helpful! 

All smiles… before walking over 20 miles. Far left: Andy Penrose, Designer, back middle: Kevin Bauer, Senior Draftsperson, Right: Mike Penrose, Senior Designer, front center: Dave Copenhaver, Partner.

“Getting up at midnight was something I have not done in a long time, but it was well worth it.  The night was very windy but it made for a refreshing walk.  I welcomed the morning rains so I could get a couple hours of shut eye before I was back at it.  I look forward to doing this again next year and hopefully I can double my mileage.” Chad Riney, Director of Production

Meet Chad Riney, Director of Production and from now on known as, ‘The Midnight Walker!’

They made a difference and you can to! Not only can you make a difference, you’ve probably had a far greater impact on many more people than you realize.

Think about it. When one person influences a few others, over time, these individuals in turn are like a ripple in the water and end up impacting thousands of people over generations.

Superman and Batman are not real. Ok… maybe they are for a couple of you. My point is, we’re human and most of us are social by nature. You have no idea how many people you can influence just by sharing your own experiences and insights. It’s a far more generous thing than any material gift you can ever give. Each of us can do great things even if it’s for a short time like this group did in 4 weeks. It’s the impact of those actions and what we say and do that reach far beyond our circle of people.

A selfie from Andy Penrose, stopping briefly from walking around a local lake near Dallas, TX.

“When we initially talked in our office about creating an event around the Abod, we had several ideas.  But we all seemed to like the concept of a walk-a-thon best.  I think we agreed it would work well in generating donations without being so strenuous that we all couldn’t participate. Needless to say, I definitely should have trained for it!  In my mind, I was still back in Boy Scouts hiking 20 miles with a 50-pound pack, but my body quickly told me otherwise!  Next year, I think we’ll all be in better shape, walk more miles and try to generate even more money for this great cause.  I guess in a way, this event will benefit us as well!”  Andy Penrose, Designer

A huge ‘thank you’ goes to our BSB Design, Inc. Dallas team for making such a big impact! You can still donate to help fund this Birthing Center at Abōd Shelters®

It takes just one person to make a difference. Interested in doing something similar with your friends, coworkers, club, church group? Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together!  michelle@abodshelters.com

Please help us build more Birthing Centers in remote areas to save lives. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Everyone Has The Power To Influence And Can Make A Difference In Just One Day
read more

Parents Elevate Teen Giving at Jupiter High Schools for Abod Shelters Foundation

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Cover Photo includes the lead parents of the newly formed Abōd Shelters® Club and Board Members of Abōd Shelters® Foundation.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Ah, the great rituals of spring break to slow the pace of life for a few days. While many teens and families are enjoying spring break season with getaway holidays, it is inspiring to witness a group of progressive parents who are layering another dimension to spring break conversations. It is a thought process that attempts to discuss, engage and teach teens about the rewarding balance between devoting time and treasures to the personal enjoyment like spring break rituals and that of giving back to needy causes. This spring break while these families are relaxing and having fun they are also parlaying this into planning an adventure of a different sort.

There is a trend towards creating Charitable Clubs in some high schools. This is the case in one area on Florida’s eastern coast where there is a movement toward teaching teens how to be good citizens of the world.  To parents of these teens, spring break is a great time to talk about what clubs they may want to create or join because this is the time when these clubs get organized. They pick a cause and kick off membership drives.

After spending time with a special group of parents who participated in the first Florida Fundraiser for Abōd Shelters® last December, I have come to understand their vision and therefore what values they wish to instill in their teens. I am humbled and gratified to realize their passion for Abōd Shelters® Foundation as a cause they feel takes the Charitable Club idea to a higher level of impact. One of the tenets of our Foundation which resonates with parents that attended our Florida event is the benefits of Active Philanthropy.  That is, we advocate not simply donating money but getting involved first hand in where that money goes.

Like our Abōd Community, parents of these teens place high value on learning the right balance of life between living well and giving well. This is what resonates:

  1. Philosophy: “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.” Explore passion points to get emotionally charged up.
  2. Perspective: Be engaged in understanding the issues between the highly-developed world and the massive developing world. The contrasts are stunning. Leadership is required to navigate us well into the future.
  3. Participation: Be part of the solution by actively being involved in executing programs as this promises a great adventure. The resulting relationships and rewards can last a lifetime. As you balance work with play enjoy and respect the people, the culture and the environment as they are wondrous gifts.

The concept is for parents to help students learn leadership skills and the benefits of collaboration to reach an end goal: to develop a short-term fundraising program to raise funds for the cause. Teens complete the program with a check going to the cause. It’s a win-win for all.

Supportive parents of the newly formed Abōd Shelters® Club.

Supportive mothers of the newly formed Abōd Shelters® Club with Ginny Shiverdecker (far right), Abōd Shelters® Foundation Executive Director.

The current plan calls for three Jupiter High School Clubs to participate in a year-long effort.  Each club will have Student and Teacher Champions.

Each Club’s goal is to raise funds over an 8-month period to build an Abōd. Each high school will fund one for a total of three Abōd Shelters®. The students and their parents will then join the Big Abōd Adventure and go on a mission trip to build the Abod’s in Africa at one of the six potential locations where Abōd villages are in different stages of development: Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia or one of 3 locations in South Africa: Limpopo, Johannesburg or the Eastern Cape.

This is a very exciting new initiative for Abōd Shelters® Foundation. Thank you to these parents for their vision and belief in the difference we can make together. We will be sure to share more information on this as the program progresses this coming year.

  1. Generate interest and participation by fellow students to join the Club.
  2. Club member’s meet regularly to develop a fundraising program that they will execute to raise funds to build each Abōd.
  3. Will host a celebratory event to hand over the donation to Abōd Shelters® Foundation leaders.
  4. Teens and parents take the Abōd Shelters® Adventure Mission Trip in January 2018 with the Abōd Shelters® Foundation Team to build the three Abod’s and partake in the local culture, enjoy a safari and travel the country side to experience it first-hand.

So, dear parents, as you head off to Spring Break – consider the nature of your conversations with your teens. Perhaps your teen will lead us into in a new way to work and live together where everyone benefits more harmoniously?

A few of our volunteers from the most recent mission build trip in Tanzania where 10 Abōd Shelters® were built.

Many homes and a birthing center were built in Tanzania by these amazing volunteers. Thanks to Ty Pennington for the great selfie of the group and to Teresa Choi for sharing the photo!


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Parents Elevate Teen Giving at Jupiter High Schools for Abod Shelters Foundation
read more

Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks to Teresa Choi for providing the cover photo. Our Abōd Shelters® volunteers celebrating with the community on building 10 Abōd’s in 10 days in Tanzania. These volunteers came from all over to help and in addition to providing homes for the community, they’ve made new friends for life.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

With Spring break upon us, especially students, who doesn’t daydream about a warm tropical vacation and lounging on the beach, skiing in the mountains and shopping in the unique villages or just staying home and taking a staycation? Did you ever consider doing something different instead and donating your time and energy while having fun? There are many options to get involved as an individual, family or group. There are also many options to get involved with something that you already love to do or want to learn. To help inspire you we’ve come up with a list of ideas.

  1. Check out opportunities through your local college or university

Many colleges and universities provide opportunities for their students to spend Spring break volunteering in the local community, across the country, or abroad. Contact your school’s student affairs office.

2. Contact charitable organizations and choose a local community or location you are interested in

Many large charitable organizations for example, Habitat for Humanity, enthusiastically will take individual, family or group volunteers for short stints. Participant fees typically cover food, lodging, and ground transportation once you arrive. Participants are responsible for travel to and from their selected location.

3. Check into opportunities abroad

If you are interested in a longer trip, perhaps abroad, make sure you take the time to research and raise funds to finance it. For an overview of the types of opportunities available and the places you might go, look at the below options:

Go Abroad is a one-stop information center for those wishing to travel and volunteer abroad. It links prospective travelers with organizations providing international opportunities.

Go Overseas is a small company, with a staff of enthusiastic travelers, that goes to the source to get information about international volunteer and education programs and shares inspiring stories.

Cross-Cultural Solutions (CSS) A cross cultural service that improves the health, education and economic opportunities for vulnerable women, children and elderly. They are an international social enterprise with no political or religious affiliations.

If you’re not up to traveling but still are interested in making a difference, clean out your closet or garage and donate items you will no longer use to a local thrift shop, send care packages or write a letter for different groups for troops serving or for additional ideas read my previous blog on ‘How Can One Person Make A Difference?’ and learn how ONE person can make a significant impact on just doing the simplest of things.

Packing for a humanitarian trip is much different than packing to go on a vacation. Be sure to read ‘How To Prepare For A Humanitarian Trip Abroad: Five (Not So Easy) Lessons I Learned’ for some great advice on what to pack and how to prepare.

If you find that you need something to do on the way to your destination or if you decide on that staycation, be sure to grab a book that is worth reading. If you’re traveling, find a book about the local community, project you’ll be working on or more about the local culture and language. Here are some additional recommendations:

  1. Making a Difference: A Matter of Purpose, Passion & Pride by Steve Gilliland
  2. Dude Making a Difference by Rob Greenfield
  3. Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado
  4. I Can Make A Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children by Marian Wright Edelman

There are many ways to have a meaningful and unique spring break while still having fun. If you have a passion for helping others, learning new things and making new friends, be sure to check into these options and get involved.

Thanks and Safe Travels!

Our Abōd Shelters® Tanzania build with our volunteers, including Ty Pennington. Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

Several families that were friends volunteered on this Abōd Shelters® build in South Africa. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.

Working together, these families built 5 Abōd Shelters®. Photo credit to Jacob Sharp at Jacob Sharp Photo’s.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Donate Your Time and Have Fun During Spring Break
read more

Open to Opportunity: Blessings Emerge to Expand Abod Birthing Centers

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Getting deeply involved with mission work in a developing country like Africa means never knowing where an opportunity may surface. One unfolding opportunity we currently are seeing is consistent with one advocated by Melinda Gates, Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is in the medical arena where the spotlight is going on women’s birthing conditions and processes, especially in rural Africa where long standing cultural practices are deeply entrenched.

The facts are stunning:

  1. According the World Health Organization women in Africa are 175 times more likely than women in developed regions to die in child birth. Each year in Africa over a quarter of a million women die of pregnancy related causes. Although we believe many are not tracked because they are not known.
  2. An estimated 4 million babies die in the first 4 weeks due to labor complications but most die at home unaccounted, and invisible. Over 1 million babies are stillborn, of whom at least 300,000 die during labor. A further 1.16 million babies die in their first month of life – up to half on the first day.
  3. Complications from child birth have increased incidence of cerebral palsy.  A baby’s fate is to be cast out of the family most times left to orphanages and if not left without anyone to care for them.

The idea of establishing the first Medical Birthing Clinic in Asikuma, Ghana sprouted from mission adventures of Doug and Dawn Vander Weide, of West Des Moines, Iowa, working as volunteers with Acts 2 Collective. They began with the desire to build a basic medical clinic to provide care for ailing children of the community, many of which were orphans arriving at the Acts 2 Collective campus. While observing the situation when laying the ground work, it became apparent many children’s physical impairments began at birth. Contributing factors include no trained assistance at the time of birth, unsterile conditions or the inability to provide the right care immediately after the baby is born. If the birth is attended by a midwife, she may lack the knowledge necessary to help when the process gets complicated.

Abōd Shelters® were built in Asikuma, Ghana  to be used as Maternity Centers for safer deliveries and care.

Motivated by this insight, Doug and Dawn worked toward developing a solution that would be a two-pronged approach. Firstly, to raise funds to secure and build two Abōd Shelters® to act as the first Birthing Center. Secondly, to upgrade the mid-wifery education and training to modern standards by bringing in a certified Midwife Medical Expert to help train local mid-wives.  The plan has taken time to implement but progress has been steady. Identifying the right Medical Expert to complete the education mandate took time. However, now that the Midwife Expert who came from the major city of Accra is practicing on site, we are happy to share Asikuma’s local Mama’s and babies are now being born in a much better facility.  The flagship Abōd Birthing Center is now functioning and making a difference in the lives of Mama’s and their children thereby improving their chances for a better quality of life.

One good thing leads to another… In working with another medical ministry STEMM.org in Tanzania, it became apparent the birthing conditions in rural Tanzania are in as dire conditions. One of the primary ways the Abōd could help was to build an Abōd Birthing Center as an adjunct to the community medical hospital. We have a great basis of learning to build upon from our work in Ghana.

Inside the community clinic where a large room of beds are located. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Outside the community clinic. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

However, you will see in the above picture the very challenging conditions of the hospital. Thankfully, with generous donor funds in place we not only built the Abōd structure but were able to complete it with key features. To start, the new Abōd Birthing Center is a modern clinical environment for Midwifes to help Mamas through the birthing process. Its features include tile floors, proper drainage, a shower and sink with water access and medical supplies for easier access. There are two birthing theatres with specialized beds and curtains for privacy. Donors contributed funds for the beds, while others for the sink and shower.

Abōd Birthing Center built in Tanzania. Photo credit goes to Doug Vander Weide.

The new Abōd Birthing Center was built next to the current hospital. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

During the building process of the Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

After completing the project, we welcomed Mamas of the community to an opening celebration. This celebration alerted everyone to the official opening of the Birthing Center. Mamas from all around expressed enthusiasm for its arrival and came to see the center first hand. They arrived beautifully dressed for the occasion to demonstrate and share the joy.  They lined up to do a tour to get a first-hand look. Village Elders addressed the women announcing from this day forward they no longer needed to give birth at home. They were welcome to come to the center to give birth with much better care.

Local pregnant women walking to the village to tour the new Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Outside the Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

While in the early stages of program development, the Abōd Birthing Center as a concept captured the hearts of many. To those of you who caught the spirit first, donating to help us build this Abōd dream in both Ghana and Tanzania – THANK YOU from all of us at the Abōd Shelters® Foundation. We can see and feel the positive impact from the first step. With your encouragement and donations, we can do much more.

Now with our valued NGO partners, we are looking hard at ways to expand Abōd Birthing Centers in a program across rural areas like Tanzania and Ghana, where ever they are needed most. If you are interested in helping us move this program forward – perhaps you are a donor or have an organization that has interest in bringing a Birthing Center to your community, please be in touch with me at ginny@abodshelters.com. We are keen to work with you to advance this worthwhile cause.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Open to Opportunity: Blessings Emerge to Expand Abod Birthing Centers
read more

When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone for the Cover Photo. 

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

When an Abod was built to be used as a Birthing Center in rural Tanzania in January, we really had no idea how it would be received. But when 30 pregnant women from the nearby villages showed up for a tour during the ribbon cutting ceremony, we knew we provided the right solution that was long overdue. Building one Birthing Center and providing education to the local midwives will make an ongoing and lasting impact in this community. But many more Birthing Centers are desperately needed throughout the country.

Many expectant mothers in Tanzania prefer to deliver in their own homes which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary or are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

The prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs much more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania, maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of all births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate.

Local village homes where the Maasai live. Many women give birth in their own home. Picture credit to Doug Vander Weide, Abōd Shelters® Chairman and volunteer on the project build.

Dave Copenhaver and his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016.

When Dave Copenhaver, Partner and Architect at BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX, learned about the impact one Abōd Shelter® Birthing Center could make on the mortality rate of women giving birth he volunteered to have a fundraiser so that more Birthing Centers could be provided. Dave committed to raising money in memory of his wife, Beth, who passed away in late 2016. View Dave’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Chad Riney, Production Director with BSB Design, Inc. in Dallas, TX with Dave, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®. There are many benefits to walking from improving circulation, weight loss to strengthening muscles and improving sleep. So choosing this campaign activity is a win-win for everyone involved. View Chad’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Dave and Chad worked with the Marketing Department at BSB Design, Inc. and shared what they had in mind for the fundraiser. While there were many platforms available, they decided to go with Rallyup.com because of its:

  • low cost
  • simplicity
  • supporters could either make one general pledge or could pledge a per mile amount
  • walkers could easily share in real time how many miles they completed and post updates.

Chad Riney, an outdoor enthusiast, suggested having an office Walk-a-Thon in Support of Abōd Shelters®.

Utilizing technology allows us to really optimize the online donation experience, which ultimately creates an efficient, user-friendly way of processing donations that makes fundraising a far more manageable experience.

Five additional employees from the BSB Design, Inc. Dallas office have joined in the walking campaign and will walk as many miles as they can on Friday, March 24th with the goal of raising funds to build a Birthing Center.

Mike Penrose, Senior Designer / View Mike’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

Kevin Bauer, Senior Draftsperson / View Kevin’s personal RallyUp campaign page.

The group is really excited about being able to fund an entire Birthing Center and make an impact on the mortality rate of women when giving birth. As of this post, approximately $2800 has been pledged. There seems to be some competition with the top two rankings and pledges, which is good and they still have 3 weeks to accept pledges. Take an opportunity to look further into the details of the campaign, who the walkers are and then pledge your support to your favorite team member!

When companies allow employees the opportunity to get involved and support them in charitable giving to great causes, such as we did in building the RallyUp site for this Walk-a-Thon, and allowing them the time to participate… not only does the non-profit benefit, but the employee feels good about their company as well.

It takes just one person to make a difference. Interested in doing something similar with your friends, coworkers, club, church group? Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together!  michelle@abodshelters.com

Inside the Abōd Birthing Center recently built. Additional medical equipment has been added along with partitions to separate the beds and provide privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Inside the community clinic where a large room of beds are located. It is used by anyone that is ill and there is no privacy. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.

Local pregnant women waiting in line to tour the new Birthing Center. Photo credit to Rob Marish with Keystone.


Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

When Companies Allow Employees The Opportunity To Get Involved Great Things Happen
read more

Great News! Donor Advised Giving, A New Way To Make A Win-Win Charitable Difference

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

May I share a short story? Today was not my typical day. I usually really enjoy donating my time to Abod Shelters Foundation no matter what challenges we encounter. I am wired to tackle tough problems and overcome them. I feel blessed to be sharing this mission with a special group of volunteers with such character and commitment, as it keeps me joyful and smiling because I have seen the real benefits of our labor in the faces of the women and children who benefit from living in their first stable home – an Abod. However, today I came upon some pain points stemming from the complexities of directing our daily efforts, I found myself unable to muster a smile.

The act of lighting a candle and saying a prayer of thankfulness can usually jump start my positive spirit so I went about doing so while pondering over an issue while sitting in my home office waiting for the transformation to take effect. My husband passed my door to take a short walk to our mail box and returned offering me an envelope, handwritten, addressed to me. Hmmmm… Today, very few people send paper letters so I wondered who it might be from as no return address was apparent.

With my favorite letter opener in hand, I gently edged the seal to find a lovely handwritten note. Surprisingly, enclosed was a check written to Abōd Shelters® Foundation with a very generous donation figure. Well that melted my heart in a moment! My frown turned upside down into a big smile.  It is an unexpected gesture of selfless giving like this that rocks my world. It was a sign of encouragement from on high when I needed it most. Acts of kindness like this do inspire me to continue to fight the good fight for those poverty-stricken women and children who need and deserve safe, secure shelter to have a reasonable lifestyle.

While taking a short break from building we came across children standing against their mud home in a nearby village. Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

Thank you to the special donor who sent it. They know who they are if they are reading this. Your act urged me to write this post now rather than wait for another day.

Working together building 10 Abod’s in 10 days in Tanzania.

At Abōd Shelters® Foundation I often feel I cannot say THANK YOU to our generous donors enough for their financial gifts. We have two very valuable donor groups that are the lifeblood of our nonprofit work. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to our long-standing donors as they keep both ongoing and start up projects funded. At the same time, I am encouraged by the new donors who have come into our community over the past year by way of various fundraisers we are hosting. These good-hearted people add new ideas to our efforts, energy to our activities and motivate us to keep moving forward with our mission. I do believe all these individuals are Angels of Mercy who are sent to us to make sure we keep the spirit alive.

Here is the great news. For those of you who currently are donating your hard-earned treasure to causes you are passionate about which are operated by Foundation’s like ours, there is now an innovative way to do it that is gaining attention that I want to make you aware of. I for one wish I had been informed of it in 2016, but now that I am aware of how its functions I certainly will activate it in 2017 as I personally donate to Abōd Shelters® Foundation.

Nonprofits are now working to ensure that donors have a say in where their money goes and that their donations have the maximum impact. The concept is called Donor–advised Giving via Donor-advised Funds.

Each philanthropic organization like Abōd Shelters® Foundation, works with donors in its own way, but several utilize donor- advised funds, established at public charities. They have become the fastest growing charitable giving vehicle, now accounting for more than 3 per cent of charitable giving in the United States. They offer tax benefits and allow donors oversight of how money is dispensed. To provide insight on how they work, I sourced the primer from the National Philanthropic Trust:

  • The donor makes a irrevocable gift to the fund. For example, it could be cash or proceeds from sold stock
  • The donor immediately receives the maximum tax deduction under IRS rules
  • The donor names advisors, successors or charitable beneficiaries connected to the fund
  • The gift is placed into the fund account, where it can be invested and grow, free of tax
  • The donor can allocate money from the fund at any point to be used as a grant to qualified charities

If you are interested in learning more about Donor –advised Giving via Donor Advised Funds you can contact your personal financial advisor, your family accountant or reach out to me about how you can participate with Abōd Shelters® Foundation in this manner.

Our ambition at Abōd Shelters® is to offer our donors transparency into where their gifts are going. You can participate with us in many ways that will give you the peace of mind that your donation is being used effectively to change lives. For example Chris Gardner, Founder of Bella Homes, can tell you exactly where his donation went because he looked in the faces of the children who are now living in a suitable home – he built the Abōd Shelters® with his own hands along with his team from their company.

Now that I have shared this great news with you, my spirit is fully restored.

In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director

Everyone pitches in on getting the frames up and siding started including myself, Ginny Shiverdecker.


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.


Great News! Donor Advised Giving, A New Way To Make A Win-Win Charitable Difference
read more