Effective March 29, 2018, CCO is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and has operated since January 2017. Cofounder Donna Mae Baukat continues to manage day-to-day operations as Executive Director, creating programs for unmet needs to serve people in homelessness and poverty in our region of La Plata County in Southwest Colorado. Baukat Enterprises LLC is contracted to manage its operations and programs on Pro Bono basis in accordance with CCO's Bylaws. As one of our founders and minority owner of her company, Donna Mae is the visionary of our organization. Our Board of Directors work closely with her to establish direction and policies with the executive director.
"Donna Mae" Baukat
Cofounder & Executive Director
Hello! I like to be called Donna Mae. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii,
three years after Japan surrendered at Pearl Harbor.
I was raised by Filipino parents who were in poverty -- basically, we were homeless.
I can admit this now as I recall never understanding the meaning of being poor.
Everyone around us were equally poor, which seemed normal as a child.
I have thirty cousins on dad's side of the family plus fifteen from mom's.
Yes, I recall eating rice with soy sauce when there wasn't a can of Spam in the cupboard.
One of my aunts dropped by when I was babysitting my sister and brother.
She found me at the tiny kitchen table eating nothing more than a cup full of rice.
It is how I remembered those simple "forgettable' times when Spam, eggs and rice
were steak and potatoes to me (an occasional full meal).
I ran away from home, on every school day, to escape physical and emotional abuse.
Perhaps, neighbors wondered of my playing far from home without supervision.
It was safe back in the old days!
The 14-mile bus ride to Sacred Hearts Convent School for Girls
helped me to be first on the honor roll--my
homework always turned in on time!
I was inquisitive, played hard and a tomboy.
School was safe and sane where I found
respect and loving kindness
As I look back to the subsidized housing where I was raised until age 13,
I recall adventures I created on the long walks home from school.
Those years built a capacity in me to look upon a person — recognizably
poor and hungry — with compassionate eyes and heart.
Circuitous long walks home and carrying a
load of books (sometimes in bare feet) is when I gained
the stamina and energy that keeps me going strong even to this day.
I persevere in whatever task I've undertaken. Actually, I know
it to be for the mercies and grace of a loving God who created me as I am.
He has given me courage to confront unrighteousness with the perseverance to pursue against
all odds with the boldness to challenge wrongs — all for the sake of those less fortunate than myself.
In California, I enjoyed sharing God's word with a prison ministry group at medium security
institutions for men, women and youth.
Self-condemnation of individuals in confinement for deeds committed
against society requires forgiveness of self.
It is why I cannot condemn someone's bad choices.
It is why CCO's policies are "inclusive" and not exclusive!
Homelessness issues have been troubling to me over the past two years
when I came upon the hardships of people in Durango who live in tents and vehicles.
My husband Stephen Baukat and I will have been in Durango for five years this November 2018.
We never knew of the type of maltreatment of souls by leaders
of the community, as we are seeing here.
Yet, we know there are more God-loving folks who will walk alongside with us and the people we serve to show lovingkindness and mercies to those who have made terrible choices.
We want to provide safe and dignified housing for
people experiencing homelessness and poverty.
In my retirement years, Steve and I have committed to find a way to end homelessness.
Nobody should die in the depth of winter's bitter cold -- just because they live outside and there is no shelter!
I share my story to be transparent and honest about my own life of struggles.
Someone put it this way:
“When you look at me, you don't see who I am.”
It is humbling when I think of where I've been and how I arrived in the moment of today.
Thank you for allowing me to share my heart this way!
Aloha! Mahalo Nui Loa!
Aloha is the value of unconditional love.
Nui Loa "very, very"
Ike Loa Pono is the value of learning, growing and expanding into greater Aloha/Love/Harmony
as "WE" walk up the Mountain of Life!
Mahalo "thank you" is a way of living in thankfulness.
Pronounce the letter "i" (ee) and "e" (ehh)
Donna Mae, 9/13/2018