North Coast December 1, 2019 | 6:33 am

If you have ever wished to contribute to the betterment of those less fortunate

Ron Zauner and the community of Barrio Blanco: cross-cultural success story

Renn Loren

In the words of Ron Zauner


Now is your time.

In the past few months, I have been covering the ongoing efforts of Ron Zauner, the founder of POSI and patron saint of Barrio Blanco in Cabarete, in his quest to improve the quality of life for a community of some of the Dominican Republic’s least fortunate.

Zauner never asks anything for himself or his family. But, he is asking for extra help for the people of the barrio this season as there were a few unanticipated expenses.


Hello, Friends of Barrio Blanco,

There are around 25 donors who provide the funding for Providing Opportunity’s efforts.  Almost all of the money (94%) you give is “directed” toward specific uses like scholarships, houses, and buying the barrio land.  Zauner likes this because everyone gets to see the direct difference they make with their donations.

At first, it was simple for him.   The expenses to administer aren’t great, and he had no problem paying them.  The only money he needed to raise was for houses, and he never committed to building a home until he had adequate funding for it lined up in advance.  Same with scholarships.

But here is what has happened:  Zauner needed to make some commitments in advance of funding, and there were some costs that he didn’t or couldn’t anticipate.  These have left Zauner “in the hole”, and he has felt this pressure every day for the past year. Zauner’s wife Margo and he never bought what they couldn’t pay for outright in their lives, so they haven’t had debt.  This weight is something Zauner needs your help with. The project is $18,000 USD short and in the next several months this will come due, and they really need some help from the spirit of generosity and giving.

The shortfall is because of these reasons:

—  $ 12,000    In purchasing the barrio land and dividing it into 82 subdivision lots, there is a surveyor cost that Zauner hadn’t anticipated. Initially, he had been told their filing costs would be two thousand dollars.

—  $ 4,800    When we graduate a student from High School, in order to enter University, they need citizenship documentation.  This varies dramatically from one student to another, the costs can’t be figured in advance. Around 1/2 the students are without a legal birth certificate.  Many are Haitian and have either nothing or worse, a Dominican name (but not citizenship) since birth. There are several expenses involved in getting a birth certificate, passport, visa, and a few other very needed official documents.  Because Zauner cannot know in advance, he cannot tell/ ask donors for an amount to get all the needed documents. Why educate a student capable of succeeding in University… without helping them get in?

—  $ 2,700    Zauner could not have known in advance (but does now) that there are additional expenses during the last year of university studies for “Presentations.”

There are 3 presentations that each student makes that require added resources for travel, internship expenses, and supplies.  As well, the graduation (Raquel’s graduation, on Nov. 6th) cost $800 all-inclusive.

—  $ 5,500   Medical expenses beyond our clinic funding.  We had two major emergencies come up with Angela (hysterectomy, and eye surgery), and Pilo (pneumonia).  Angela is critical to POSI’s operations in the barrio, and Pilo has been their number one foreman and more for eight years.  Pilo died ten days ago from his case of pneumonia, but before he died, there were major expenses that were paid to try to save him.  One donor who knew what a good man Pilo was sent $ 5,000 for Pilo, but, things simply cost more.

There are a few other unanticipated costs, but these are manageable with the smaller amount of “general, not directed”  donations they receive.

Zauner does not anticipate any future pleas for Big donations.  His main focus going forward is education. There will be moments of sponsorships for vocational schooling or individual students’ education, and a few miscellaneous “projects,” but in general, these will be anticipated and planned for ahead.

The next Donor Update you see will be very, very positive with lots of good news.  Zauner and the team are really doing what they hoped to do. They are lifting this whole community up from the worst of poverty.  The residents will tell you this, and the impact is obvious.


A personal word from Ron Zauner:

To close, I ask you this one time to help get Providing Opportunity on solid footing with as large a donation as you possibly can contribute.  I give you my word that every penny sent is spent honestly and frugally to lift the People of Barrio Blanco up from poverty. I am simply a person, like you, who wants to help others from my heart.  It is humbling to me to see myself as such a beggar, but I don’t know what else to do.  

In this season of giving, I ask your help.

Thank you, Friends,


PS… A note to ponder:  In my closing paragraph above, I noted: “I give you my word.”  What is the value in our lives when we can count on someone’s word?  And, what is the cost to keep one’s word? I can answer a bit of the second part of this.  I promised two donors that I would 1) Install a water storage and purification system in the barrio, and 2) To build a home.  I almost keeled over, working to complete these two promises between Oct. 18th and Nov 24th, but I just couldn’t get it done.  

My family had planned a reunion in Colorado where I am now for Thanksgiving.  To honor my promises, I am returning to Barrio Blanco for 12 days on Monday. This will cost me a bit over $3,000 personally out of pocket and another 14 days away from home comforts, food, and Margo.  Small prices to pay to be someone who honors their word. So, back to (above), when I give you my word “honestly and frugally,” you can count on me. Thanks for your trust and help.

PPS… We have been able to sponsor Christmas Dinner for the whole barrio for $2500 each of the past 4 years.  We have zero money toward this direction this year, and while this is “an extra,” and a wonderful one at that, the above shortfall is most important.  However, just in case…

Contact information

Providing Opportunity for Self Improvement, Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Contact Ron Zauner POSI

Telephone: 541-844-9745



Donations: Providing Opportunity for Self Improvement, 85017 Willamette St., Eugene, OR 97405

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