LCF Resident Chairs Project Mexico

Board chairman Dennis Awad is ready to oversee work for Project Mexico
Photo courtesy Dennis Awad
Board chairman Dennis Awad is ready to oversee work for Project Mexico, which is active in the Rosarita Beach/Ensenada areas of Baja, Mexico.

Project Mexico, a nonprofit organization that builds homes for the homeless in Mexico, has a new board chairman who lives in La Cañada Flintridge. Dennis Awad said he wants to bring prominence to an organization that not many people know about.
Project Mexico builds more than 25 homes a year for homeless families in the Rosarita Beach/Ensenada areas of Baja, Mexico. It also runs St. Innocent Orphanage, a Christ-centered ministry that cares for 24 orphaned boys living at a nearby ranch.
“We want people to know what we do,” said Awad, a longtime board member of the Chula Vista-based organization. “If they’re interested in supporting us or helping us, we’d love to have that. We can help one another. That’s what we should be doing.”
Awad, who is the owner of Zack Electronics in Duarte, became chairman about three weeks ago. He said he will serve a three-year term.
Awad has some big ideas for the future of the organization. For instance, he would like to increase the number of board members who could help find additional funding. He also wants to look into the possibilities of government funding and spread the ideas of Project Mexico to other countries, including the U.S.
“I’d like to have a committee to do some investigations in the Appalachia region or other places where there’s a real need,” Awad said. “We could possibly do it in California, also. I don’t know what the regulations of California are yet. Land is very expensive here. It would have to be done in an area where land isn’t so costly. When you’re doing something like this for homeless people, they don’t care about location. They just want to have shelter over their heads.”
Father Demetrios Andrews, who is executive director for the charity, said Awad has a good business background. “He’s very energized,” Andrews said. “He wants to make the board active. It’s always hard because as a board member you only get snippets of information about the ministry and the work a nonprofit does. You’re not in the day-to-day stuff. It takes awhile to get to know what is actually happening. The fact that he went down and helped with building [a home in Mexico in late June] gives him a fuller picture of what we do and whom it’s affecting firsthand. Everyone likes the idea but when you see it, it means more.”
Andrews said nonprofits “are always” businesses without business.
Awad said his business background helped him become chair.
“I’ve been in business for a long time and bought and sold companies,” Awad said. “Having been fairly successful, they thought maybe I’d be the kind of person they would want at the helm, so to speak.”
Away from work, the LCF roots for Awad and his wife, Angela, run deep. Awad’s two uncles, Gary and Eddie Awad, live in LCF, and six of the couple’s children have graduated from La Cañada Flintridge schools.
“The oldest one is 41 and the youngest one is 30,” said Angela, adding they have six grandkids and a seventh is on the way.
Angela said her husband also has experience with orphans, which helped lead him to his current chair position. This is the second marriage for both, Angela said, with four children on his side, two of whom were adopted.
Awad said he traveled to Guadalajara many years ago and he still remembers the experience.
“I went to an orphanage there and it had a big impact on my life,” Awad said. “Then I ended up adopting two children [from different orphanages]. One of them, Christopher, is my vice president here today.” Christopher Awad oversees the internet operation of the business.
For more information about Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage, visit projectmexico.org.

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