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Monday, August 04, 2014: NMPASI ‘fun-raiser’ earns over $1,000:

NORTHERN Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc. collected $1,078.21 through its “fun-raiser” activity on July 26.

The donations came from local businesses and community members.

Volunteer and NMPASI president John Guerrero expressed his gratitude to donors.

“It great to see members of our community so willing to donate…every little bit counts,” he said.

The “fun-raiser” was held to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It was hosted by Godfather’s Bar at the beach behind Fiesta Resort where participants competed in the island’s first-ever Corn-Hole Tournament.

“We wanted to emphasize the fun in raising awareness about the ADA and about disability-related issues in general, a critical component of what we do at NMPASI,” Guerrero said.

Raising funds is critical to sustaining non-profit organizations such as NMPASI, he added.

According to NMPASI executive director Jim Rayphand, they receive most of the program’s funding through federal grants, but these are “restrictive.”

“For example,” he said, “we might receive a request from an indigent elderly person in need of technical assistance or direct legal representation, but because she does not have a disability we would have to turn her away — being elderly does not in and of itself constitute a disability which is the primary criteria for all of our existing programs. Still, the elderly are equally susceptible to abuse and neglect.”

Rayphand said locally raised funds allow NMPASI to assist such persons who may not otherwise be eligible for services under the NMPASI program.

He noted that there is an associated cost for every minute spent and every resource used.

“Whether that is for conducting a full-blown investigation or writing and printing letters for people… generally speaking, these types of activities are not allowable under federal grant restrictions and as per existing programs for individuals who do not meet our baseline criteria,” he said.

The major donors of NMPASI’s “fun-raiser” event were the following:

Godfather’s Bar, $ 446

Bridge Capital, $250

Steve Brownstein, $100

Calvo’s Select Care Insurance, $100

Support was also provided by The Shack, PHI Pharmacy, Ace Hardware, Sweet Escapes, Shane Lee, IT&E, and National Office Supply.

By Richelle Agpoon-Cabang - - Variety News Staff