Are donations tax deductible?
Yes. Friends of Calakmul is a
non-profit organization, (501(c)3, registered with the United States
Internal Revenue Service and incorporated in the State of Delaware.
Thus, donations are tax deductible to persons paying taxes in the United
States. You will automatically receive a tax-deductible receipt upon
Is my donation tax-deductible in the
U.S. even if the donation is used to save land in Mexico?
Yes. While our mission is to
conserve land in Mexico, Friends of Calakmul is a United States-based
organization that uses the donations collected worldwide to conserve the
rainforest. As is the case with other US-based charities with worldwide
operations, Friends of Calakmul puts this nation's generosity to work to
save a small part of the world for the benefit of all humanity.
INTERNET SECURITY AND
Is it secure to send my credit card
information to Friends of Calakmul via Internet?
Your credit card information is more secure when used over the Internet
than when used at a local restaurant or shop because no person working
in the organization you are purchasing from/donating to has access to
it. Your information goes directly from you to our credit card
processing firm. Your credit card number is never stored by FOC. You may
see at what point in the transaction your information is being captured
on a secure page. Just look for an icon of a lock on the lower bottom
right corner of your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape,
etc.). This lock is the universal sign for a secure site.
I am afraid of making a donation
through the Internet. Can I just call you and give you my credit card
It is actually safer to make this transaction on the Internet. If you
call us or mail us your credit card information we are going to open the
Internet site (just as you would) and enter the information you give us
over the phone. For your own safety, we prefer not to keep any record of
your credit card information. Please e-mail us if you have any questions
regarding payment. [email protected]
Will you redistribute my e-mail and
other information to third parties?
Absolutely not. We respect our members’ confidentiality and will not
redistribute your information in any way, to any organization or person.
You will receive e-mail correspondence from us on a quarterly basis to
keep you posted on how your donation is working to save the jaguar and
its habit. That’s it.
Can you provide lodging and other
Although we cannot provide you with tourism information directly,
here are a few recommendations:
Rent a car from Continental in Chetumal:
Ph: (52) (983) 83 - 224 - 11
Stay at the Chicanna EcoVillage in
Ph: (52) (983) 871 - 60 - 74
Its about 2 hours from the
entrance to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. See photo (right).
For a more pampered experience, stay
at the Explorean in Kohunlich
e-mail: [email protected]
Mexico City : 52.55.5201.8333
Mexico : dial toll free 01.800.366.6666
Canada and USA : 1.877.EXPLORA
Europe : +49 69 66419 640
Rest of the World : 52.55.5201.8333
End your trip with a visit to Sian
Kaan Biosphere Reserve further up the coast (about 2.5 hours north
of Chetumal). You can stay in any of the hotels in Tulum or inside
Ph: (52) (998) 884 - 9580
I visit the Calakmul rainforest?
Yes. Most of the Calakmul rainforest is federal land, which means
anybody can visit it. Besides its variety of plant and animal species,
the area’s main attraction is an impressive Mayan archaeological site.
The Calakmul archaeological site is located in the center of the land
that Friends of Calakmul has conserved under the land trust. While all
archeological sites in Mexico belong to the Mexican Government,
surrounding land is under the Friends of Calakmul land trust. We highly
recommend you visit the area and climb the pyramids. Once up there, take
in the breathtaking view: undisturbed rainforest canopy as far as your
eyes can see, thanks in part to your contributions. For an inspiring
reference on the Calakmul experience, we recommend you read a short
essay in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Small Wonders.
Can I do birding in the Calakmul area?
Yes! There are hundreds of exotic
species flying in Calakmul. It's probably one of the few places in North
America where birds can be watched in an undisturbed habitat. Check
books and catalogues related to bird watching to find out what you can
see in Calakmul.
HOW WE USE YOUR DONATION
How exactly does Friends of Calakmul
The Core Zone of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is protected by the
Mexican Government. The Core Zone is the nucleus or center of the
Reserve and all human activities are forbidden. The Reserve has a Buffer
Zone surrounding the Core Zone where activities such as sustainable
logging may take place. The money from your donation is used to convert
Buffer Zone land into de facto Core Zone as a way to increase long-term
protection of the jaguars´ habitat.
It would be unrealistic to say that we
can guarantee protection of any lands, which can be subject to illegal
logging, hunting, or any natural disaster. However, our results-based
strategy makes protection a realistic goal. Friends of Calakmul (FOC)
provides an economic alternative to the extraction of plant and animal
species and unsustainable farming practices. We have formed partnerships
with the ejidatarios, the community owners of the land : FOC pays them a
yearly fee for life in exchange for conserving their land . This
mechanism provides them with a vested interest in protecting the
rainforest. How can we prove that the land is being protected? We
conduct yearly surveys to ensure compliance. Our partners are paid only
after the survey proves no human disruption has taken place.
Also, the Calakmul Alliance (of which FOC
is part of) engages in educational activities at the local level to
teach and reinforce how important preservation of their habitat is to
the local culture, economy, and general well being.
How do I know my donation will be used
to purchase land?
Great Question! The issue of how
Friends of Calakmul uses donations to conserve land is core to our
mission. We work in partnership with local community landowners to
provide them with an economic alternative to logging, ranching and other
activities that deplete the natural wealth of their land. Friends of
Calakmul does NOT purchase land. Instead, we pay local community land
owners for conserving their land. These community land owners are paid
annual “rents” in exchange for placing their land in the FOC land trust
and thus become partners in conservation. The land is placed into the
trust in the form of a conservation easement. With this mechanism, the
trust “owns” all the flora and fauna, yet the community retains
ownership and the title to the land itself. Community landowners are
only paid if the flora and fauna is conserved. In case land owners
violate the agreement, Friends of Calakmul is under no obligation to
make its annual payment. Yet, the land continues to remain under the
conservation easement mechanism.
What percentage of my donation is
actually used to conserve land?
As a small organization, it would be
costly for us to produce an annual report per se. However, if you would
like to see how the organization spends its money, you can view our past
federal returns on the California Attorney General's website. The
http://caag.state.ca.us/charities. Once you are on that page click
the link on the left menu bar to "Charities Search.” Once on the
Charities Search page, under "Organization Name" enter Friends of
Calakmul and click "Search" button. This will provide a search results
page with information about Friends of Calakmul and include a link to "On-Line
Financial Records Are Available". Click that link and it will
list all the tax filings available for Friends of Calakmul.
I found your site by clicking on The
Rainforest Site. Does their “Click to Save” program really work? Does
Friends of Calakmul actually receive a percentage of their proceeds?
Yes! Friends of Calakmul is very
proud of its partnership with The Rainforest Site. This organization
plays an important role in attracting attention to our cause. Your
clicks add up and we receive a generous compensation for your clicks
every three months. So please continue to click on The Rainforest Site.
It really works!
FOREIGN CURRENCY, OTHER
Can I make a donation in foreign
Yes. Donations made over the
Internet using a credit card are preferred. The credit card processing
service automatically converts your donation from dollars to your local
currency when it appears on your card. For example, if you donate $36 US
Dollars, the equivalent amount in your local currency will appear on
your credit card statement. If you do not have a credit card, you can
most likely purchase a money order in your country’s currency and send
it to our mailing address. Our bank will then convert your payment into
dollars and deposit that amount. Please note that only payments made by
US tax payers are deductible.
Can I donate an amount other than the
ones specified on your site?
Yes, you donate any amount you
want, from as low as $1.00. The sky is the limit. We have provided
donation levels for your convenience. However, if you have a specific
amount in mind that does not fit these levels, we welcome your donation
at any amount. Just look for the space marked “Other” on the donation
page where the preset amounts are listed and enter the amount you would
like to donate. Make sure to type the amount in dollars and cents
including the decimal point ($xx.xx).
GIFT CERTIFICATES AND GIFTS
What if I want my donation to be a
GIFT in the name of a friend or relative and for a special occasion
(birthday, wedding, graduation, etc.)?
Just click on the gift certificate icon at the bottom of the Donation
Page or the following link:
Specify the recipient’s name, the amount of the certificate and the
recipient's e-mail address and we will send them an on-line gift
certificate. We will also send you notice that the order has been
received. Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for the order to be processed and
the recipient to receive the certificate.
What do I receive in exchange for my
Besides the enormous satisfaction of making a difference for this
planet, you will receive the following depending on your donation level:
- $1.00-$89.00 Thank you letters and a
membership to receive our newsletters via e-mail
- $90.00-$119.00 A package with
beautiful cards by photographer Jenny Jonak (while supplies last)
- $120.00-- An impressive
photograph of a jaguar by photographer Jenny Jonak (while supplies
How can I volunteer for Friends of
Although we do not have a formal
volunteer program in place, we would love to know how you can help.
Please write to [email protected].
One Friend of Calakmul is volunteering
with a very effective grass roots campaign. He sent us the following
David Watson goes to local business
establishments that are highly public such as hotels, restaurants, etc.
and meets the owner, talks about saving the jaguar and his interest in
this effort and then gets them to agree to add a card stand and/or
posters about saving the jaguar either in their window, front desk or
other prominently displayed area. Click the links below to view and
print the posters David uses to promote Calakmul in his area - Think
Globally, Act Locally!