PHILIPSBURG — After dedicating eight years to the establishment and operations of the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), the Fund’s three (3) incorporating Supervisory Board members are now retiring and passing the baton to their successors.
Incorporated on May 30, 2012, SMDF was established to replace Antilliaanse Medefinancieringorganisatie (AMFO) when they ceased operations with the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. To realize the institution that would lead social development on St. Maarten, a group of three dynamic women with years of professional experience in the worlds of social care and non-profits was assembled.
Richelda Emmanuel-Rodriguez, with years of experience in grant financing and program management, served as the Board’s Chairperson, also filling the profile of Funding & Programs for two consecutive four-year terms. Alongside Mrs. Emmanuel-Rodriguex was Joy Arnell, serving as Vice Chair and filling the Social Development profile with her years of experience in social development. Serving as Secretary/Treasurer and occupying the Finance seat, Marinka Gumbs brought a wealth of financial and administrative experience to the Board.
Together with former Managing Director Keith Franca (2012-2019), the incorporators made notable contributions to the country’s social development. Guided by the organization’s Policy Plan 2013-2023: Contributing to a Society that Cares, SMDF’s financing activities have been directed to areas where it is most needed, in the areas of youth development, social care and support, senior care, poverty alleviation and gender support. Over the course of the past eight years, SMDF Supervisory Board has overseen the efficient and effective financing of over 36 million guilders towards social development projects and programs. The financing provided has allowed the supported NGOs to meet the needs of those they serve. SMDF’s financing has provided meals for hundreds of seniors and families, safe spaces for children after school, learning material for literacy courses, homes for dozens of seniors, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and access to information about healthy living for teenagers.
Through the hard work and tireless dedication of Mrs. Emmanuel-Rodriguez, Ms. Arnell and Ms. Gumbs, SMDF has grown tremendously guided by the overarching goals and principles articulated by its incorporators. They are truly thanked and appreciated for their contributions towards such an invaluable organization.
Photo caption: Then Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams (second left) watches as Marinka Gumbs (right) signs the notarial deed establishing the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF). (L to R) SDF Board Member Joy Arnell, Notary Henry Parisius and SMDF President Richelda Emmanuel also witnessed the signing. (DCOMM photo)