Sponsor Edward Morgan makes a big difference in a small world

Home > Sponsor Edward Morgan makes a big difference in a small world
Posted on 07/02/2024

Edward Morgan and Raquelina Luna Kyrgyzstan.jpgLongtime ChildFund sponsor Edward Morgan and his wife, Raquelina Luna, in Kyrgyzstan.

The more you see of the world, the more you tend to realize just how alike we are, no matter where we call home.

That’s certainly been true for Edward Morgan, a two-time Fulbright scholar who has spent much of his life traveling – and enriching young people’s lives while he’s at it. A theater director, playwright and educator by profession, Edward has taught in numerous schools, taught at universities in Kyrgyzstan, Bulgaria and Costa Rica, run a summer camp in Appalachia, and is currently involved in charitable projects with his wife’s foundation in the Dominican Republic.

Of all the many ways he’s supported young people through the years, however, one of the nearest and dearest to his heart is through child sponsorship – something he and his wife, Raquelina, can do right from their kitchen table in Brooklyn, no plane ticket required.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years now,” Edward says. “It’s been a part of my life for a long time, and I have a lot of trust in ChildFund – and gratitude for their work.

“Really, all you can do is within the scope of your own power,” he says. “The need in the world is endless, and I’m not someone who many would consider wealthy. But if you are doing something that has a sustained impact by giving regularly over a period of years, then you’re making a valuable contribution.”

The power of individual giving

Edward was first introduced to ChildFund in 1999, back when it was still known as Christian Children’s Fund.

“I had a dear friend who was an actor,” Edward says. “One day I saw a picture on his dresser of a kid – I don’t remember where the boy was from, I just remember his little smiling face – and my friend saying that he gave a certain amount every month – it wasn’t much – and that he and the boy wrote letters back and forth, and how good he felt about that.”

Edward found himself drawn to the idea of supporting an individual child. At the time, he was in the throes of active parenthood with a 7-year-old son. So he signed up with ChildFund and chose to sponsor a boy of about the same age – Wilmer in Honduras. “It was a great way not only to support Wilmer and his family but also to teach my son about life in another country and the power and importance of giving,” he says.

That sponsorship continued for 10 years, with various letters and photos exchanged, until Wilmer graduated from the program in 2009. From then on, whenever a child graduated or left the program, Edward would sponsor another. The most recent graduate was John Michael, from the Philippines, and he and Edward are still connected.

“We exchange occasional messages on Facebook,” Edward says. “He’s about 19 now and working as a digital creator. It’s good to see him doing well.”

johnmichael.jpgEdward’s former sponsored child John Michael.

Edward’s newest ChildFund sponsorship is with Scarleth in Ecuador. “My wife Raquelina is Dominican and we both speak Spanish, so it’s nice writing letters to Scarleth in her native language,” he says.

“Also, Raquelina is a doctor, and Scarleth wants to be a doctor when she grows up, so this was another reason to choose her.”  Scarleth is 12 now, and they look forward to sponsoring her until she graduates from the program.

One of the things Edward appreciates most about sponsorship is the way it makes an impact not only for a child, but also for their family and entire community.

“If you help an individual to potentially climb the ladder, then you potentially help the people around them, and it ripples out,” Edward says.

Connecting to a story

That way of thinking has helped Edward and Raquelina support children in ways that extend beyond ChildFund.

Aside from having an office in Brooklyn, Raquelina also founded a health clinic in her home city of Santiago, in the Dominican Republic. “Along with the clinic, she has, for years, run a small foundation that subsidizes medical care for people who can’t afford it,” Edward says.

The foundation has also recently begun to sponsor a support center for young girls, many of whom are orphans or have been abused. The project is helping to support the institution with free medical, dental and psychological care for the girls.

“We initially wanted to use a model like ChildFund and ask sponsors to support individual girls, but that wasn’t practical in this case. However, we’ve been successful raising funds by adapting the model, sharing pictures of both individual girls and the group (there are 20 girls at any one time) and telling the story of the institution.

“It’s hard to get people to give to a big, general cause,” Edward points out. “The thing that’s great about a sponsorship like ChildFund is that you get connected to one person or to a story. People can get behind an idea like that so much more easily. They can get excited about it and feel like they’re making a difference.”

This summer, as part of another State Department grant, Edward will help run an English language and leadership camp for children in the mountains of Azerbaijan. As he prepares for this next adventure, he finds himself reflecting on why the ripple effect of giving is so important.

“People often operate from a fear of scarcity. It’s not surprising given the lack of a safety net for so many, and the fact that all of our economic systems are exploitative. But many of us do have enough to share at least a little, and even a little from our economy goes a long way in other corners of the world. It’s also valuable just to put that energy out into the world, that I’m giving a portion of what I have. Over time, you can certainly change the trajectory of someone else’s life,” he says.

“Everyone who has thought deeply about a spiritual life or a better way to live has included this notion in their vision – that we ought to try to help take care of our neighbors,” Edward says. “It’s fundamentally human.”