Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Andrew Romanoff's latest fundraising request is a winner

Andrew Romanoff's had one head-spinning year. Passed over by Governor Bill Ritter in his quest to be appointed to Ken Salazar's Senate seat, Romanoff snubbed any White House entreaties regarding a job in international development in order to take on Senate appointee Michael Bennet. But even though Romanoff lost to Bennet in the primary, he did finally take a job in international development.

But that job isn't some goverment patronage position. This fall, Romanoff took a job as senior adviser with a renowned Lakewood-based non-profit group, International Development Enterprises, which helps provide innovative technology to impoverished areas.

So now when Andrew Romanoff sends e-mail requests for donations, he's not looking for funds for his own campaign. Here's his latest:

It's a little before noon in Paradise.

El Paraiso is a farming village in the Guatemalan Highlands. The nearest town, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, is an hour and a half away, and it takes almost seven hours to get from there to the capital of the province, Cobán.

Despite centuries of persecution and displacement, thousands of Q'eqchi' still live in this region, along with two-dozen other indigenous Maya groups. IDE -- International Development Enterprises -- is exploring the prospects for a project here.

Several Q'eqchi' farmers approach a bright-orange treadle pump. One of our staffers shows them how to peddle. The farmers are eager to try. They've been using buckets to carry water from streams and from lower elevations. Connecting a hose to the end of the pump will allow them to pipe water to their fields and homes for the first time.

At IDE, we equip poor rural households with the technology and training they need to increase their income and improve their quality of life. Most of our efforts, like the families we serve, are focused on farming. In nearby Nicaragua, for example, we are teaching small groups of single mothers to select and plant seeds, irrigate and fertilize the soil, and produce enough crops not only to meet their own needs but also to sell at market....

The cost of our work: about $38 per person, or $190 per family. The return on this investment: $1,000 of additional household income in just three years.

That's an enormous economic boost for a farmer earning a dollar a day. But IDE's services are worth more than $1,000. We're providing a path out of extreme poverty -- a chance to break the cycle that leaves so many families vulnerable to disease, disaster and death.

I can't imagine a more rewarding investment. That's why I'm writing to you. Your tax-deductible contribution of $38, $190 or more will enable IDE to continue our life-changing work.

From Addis Ababa to Tegucigalpa, one billion people are living -- and dying -- on a dollar a day. You and I can do something about that. We can open a world of opportunity for the world's poorest families. And we can do it now.

A group of IDE's supporters has agreed to match every contribution we receive -- up to $50,000 -- between now and Dec. 31. Click here to help us meet this challenge.

Thank you for your consideration. Please accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.


Andrew Romanoff

And a very happy new year to Andrew Romanoff, who seems to have finally found a job that's a perfect fit. For more on this crazy campaign year, see our Politics archives.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun