You are here: Home FAQ's
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Blessing Hands?
Blessing Hands is an American public charity with 501(c)(3) status in the United States of America. Being a nonprofit organization means our purpose is to give money to those who have educational needs - not make money as a business. We are incorporated in the State of Kentucky and our office address is: Blessing Hands, 106 Timber Lane, Morehead, KY 40351 USA.
We think that blessings, not luck, will help students progress toward a rewarding life. We also believe that anyone’s hands can bless others with help. We want to foster charity and compassion in our sponsors and students, empowering them to help themselves and others. It is not enough to succeed personally. Real success is when you are able to help others also succeed. We want our students to become blessing hands.
We are not a church or an evangelistic organization. We seek to help any poor students regardless of their belief system. We are a faith based charity and welcome sincere believers in God to join us.
Immediately our purpose is to help students reach their full potential by offering educational aid to students and water purification and libraries to schools. In the long term we expect our students to become blessing hands, passing their blessings on to many others.
Betty Cutts, our founder, was teaching in a summer English camp in Yangshuo, China when she became interested in helping disadvantaged students continue in school. She saw many opportunities to touch students’ lives with long term blessings. Charity dollars given in the USA go a long way overseas. Her husband David Cutts has retired from teaching physics at Morehead State University, and they have time to invest in others. They have two sons and two grandchildren.
Betty Cutts taught summer English camps in Yangshuo and Qinzhou and developed friendships with professional educators and teachers in both areas. She also made friends with visiting scholars from these areas of Guangxi province, who came for extended stays at Morehead State University near where she lives. She was able to select proven administrators, who were outstanding in China, to be administers and advisory board members for Blessing Hands.
Blessing Hands has many volunteers but only two paid part-time workers. In the most recent school year (2012/2013), we spent 94% on programs for students and 6% on management.
Blessing Hands has a six member board of directors who have experience in international travel and teaching. Four of our board members, Eric Zhang, Erting Pan, Matthew Jiefeng Liu and Xiaomin Mai, are from China and give valuable insight into Chinese culture. We are directed by by-laws of our choosing and the charity laws of the USA. We file a 990 form with the US government every year which details our spending and financials. It can be seen on our website at this link.
Our three beginning administrators in China were distinguished educators and educational leaders in their locations. Two of them are now advisors only but maintain close ties with our charity. Two of them were visiting scholars at Morehead State University and developed personal friendships in Morehead. Two of them were administrators in their schools or educational departments. They have extensive knowledge of the educational system of China and have earned the respect of teachers, principals and local educational department officials. One of those first administrators, Anna Liu, is still volunteering.
We now have one part-time paid administrator. Luo Huali who takes care of college scholarships and areas outside of Guangxi Province. She is a trained English teacher from the Buyi minority and understands the needs of minority people in China.
Who supports Blessing Hands?
Clubs, churches, individuals, schools, and granting foundations support Blessing Hands, but individuals are the backbone we depend on. We want our students to know their sponsors and encourage communication between sponsors and their sponsored students. We hope you will become a sponsor.
Such information as family income and size, commitment to learning, grades, and academic performance is gathered by the teachers or administrators who know the students. Orphans and single parent families are given special consideration. The local school authorities and Blessing Hands administrators check the authenticity of the applications the students or parents make.
Volunteer teachers supervise students in their areas. Schools are dropped from the program if they don’t cooperate for the good of the children. Nearly all of our students are from rural areas, even if they go to city secondary schools, where they become boarding students.
Our students are presently in four areas of China, but we also have a work in the Philippines in Manila. Most of our students over 12 years old board at their schools, since it is so far home to their rural villages.
Guangxi Province: Yangshuo and Du'an Counties, Quanzhou City and Qinzhou Prefecture
Guizhou Province: Anlong County
Yunnan Province: Kunming City and Shangri-la City
Guangxi Province: Yangshuo is a tourist area because of its beautiful rock formations and river. Almost every American president that has visited China has been to Yangshuo also. Qinzhou is a southern port city on the Gulf of Tonkin near Vietnam. Quanzhou City is located above Guilin. Du'an is in Hechi Prefecture. We have students from primary to college in these areas of Guangxi. We have installed water purifiers in two areas of Guangxi, Du'an and Yangshuo.
Guizhou Province: Anlong County is the main place we have students in this province. We help students in primary, high school and college. We also have installed water purifiers in the area primary schools.
Yunnan Province: We have a children's program for children of migrants in Kunming and a high school program for Tibetan students in Shangri-la.
Who selects college scholarship students?
When our students graduate from secondary school, we try to find sponsors to send them to college. The Blessing Hands Board has final authority over the awarding of tuition scholarships and the selection process. They delegate a committee to either interview students in person in China or review submitted scholarship applications and movies. The students are selected based on college entrance exams common to all of China and their personal essay and scholarship movie. Scholarships are given for one year and renewed based on passing grades, continued need, and funds available from willing sponsors. Sponsors are encouraged to fund their special student’s college tuition, when they reach college age, but new sponsors are sought by featuring their essays and movies online and in our newsletter.
Administers make some decisions about programs in China and make recommendations to our overall director, Betty Cutts. We communicate by phone and email and keep up with happenings in China. We have advisors in China who give opinions and suggestions. The final decision, however, is made by the Blessing Hands Board or the Board Chairman, as authorized by the board, depending on the situation and the need for immediate action.
Money is wired to China and distributed to the schools and students personally by our administrators. Betty Cutts, our founder and president, often travels at her own expense to China to check on programs and students. Tuitions are publicly received by students and schools. A signed receipt is received representing each student and school. Photos are taken with the children holding their received aid are encouraged. Betty Cutts or other Blessing Hands representatives visit schools and talk to teachers and students.
Sponsors are encouraged to write to their sponsored children to hear firsthand how they are doing and make sure they have received their school aid. Thank you letters are on file for most children.
We are not registered as a Chinese charity and do not try to raise funds in China. Our funds are given internationally and spent in China. We have an agreement with the Educational Department of Yangshuo County as to how many students we will fund at what level, but the funds do not go to the government but the students in their schools.
In June 2007, the provincial government of Guangxi gave a Certificate of Special Individual Contribution to Charity to Betty Cutts for service to the poor children of Yangshuo County. Blessing Hands is often featured in Chinese newspapers and on local Chinese TV. When we install water purifiers we often work with local departments such as the health or water authorities.
How are financial matters handled in the USA?
Our financial records are available for inspection and our form 990 is placed on line here for anyone to see. The board treasurer makes monthly reports at our board meetings, and we are guided by a budget. We use Quickbooks software.
When Blessing Hands representatives travel to China, light-weight special gifts can be sent to a sponsored child. You can also mail gifts to your student personally, but money should not travel through the mail. Heavy gifts are very expensive to send to China. Busy Blessing Hands administrators are not asked to personally give special gifts to students.
Yes, you can send gifts to a school. Classes and families can adopt the students in one school and interact with the students there.
Sponsors support their chosen student with school tuition if they are over 15. If they are junior middle school age, students receive support for their non-tuition expenses in boarding school such as food, textbooks, and fees for special classes or activities. Primary sponsors give money for school supplies and books for their sponsored children.
You are encouraged to interact with your student through letters or email. Many of our students come from one parent homes or live with grandparents because their parents are divorced or working in the cities. Some are orphans. They benefit from contact with a caring person in their lives. Letters also encourage them to learn English. The students like to practice their English skills through interactions. A sponsor is given a photo and other information about the child they support.
We encourage writing and email connections with the sponsored students. It takes quite some time for a letter to go and come from China. Some older students have email access, but they can’t write very often. Your communication with younger sponsored students will have to be facilitated by teachers, so be patient.
At your own expense, you can visit your sponsored student or school in China. Be sure to make arrangements ahead of time with Blessing Hands, so your visit will be a blessing to your student. The schools are closed during the month of July and near Chinese New Year. Be prepared to pay for transportation and escorts to distant schools.
We also welcome volunteers for our summer programs like camps, clinics, and water purification installations.