Fond farewell, MMQ

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 Sarah Tockes and Michelle Washington (center) turnover the remaining monetary assets of MMQ to EVA Foundation’s Jenny Wallum and Bing Carrion (extreme left and right).   Photo by Abby Palmones

Sarah Tockes and Michelle Washington (center) turnover the remaining monetary assets of MMQ to EVA Foundation’s Jenny Wallum and Bing Carrion (extreme left and right).
Photo by Abby Palmones

After putting up theatrical shows and donating all proceeds to causes for women and children across the country, MMQ—a non-profit multicultural arts for charity organization—is closing its doors but not before donating its remaining physical and monetary assets to two worthy local charities.

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On March 29, MMQ marked its last official business with a ceremonial turnover to EVA Foundation and Stairway Foundation.

MMQ, which loosely stands for “making miracles quickly,” was founded in 2007 by then-American expatriate Michelle “Mimi” Washington upon seeing two underprivileged Filipino children on the streets. She recalled that fateful day to The Manila Times, as well as share about the 9-year-old organization’s noble decision.

She began, “All I wanted to do when I moved here in 2006 was theater. I got off the plane and I saw two little Filipino boys naked on the side of the road, taking a bath on dirty water. To this day, I can still see them in my eyes. Back then I thought, these are children but that’s what they only know. How can I help? All I know is theater. What can I do?”

With Master’s degrees in theater management and theater history, and working as a Theater Arts professor at University of the Philippines-Diliman, it was but natural for Washington to use the art form as means to help Filipinos in need just like the two children she saw.

She continued, “So the thought [for MMQ]came up. Let’s do theater and raise some money. Let’s concentrate on children and women here cause women take care of the children and they are the future.”

Together with her long-time buddy Sandra Tockes—who served as the vice president of the organization—and three other women, they formed MMQ.

On their debut show in 2007, MMQ was able to raise enough seed money to fund EVA Charity Foundation—a non-profit organization that builds schools for indigenous children—and help build MMQ Aeta School in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Thereafter, every year, MMQ continued making money for chosen charities while growing in numbers; from five to 12 strong women as members and from a handful of audience in small venues to more than 300 guests in hotel function halls.

“We have a real cornucopia of people coming together just became they knew they would have fun and they were giving to help,” Washington proudly said, citing MMQ’s partners such as the ambassadors of Italy, US-Australia and representatives from different communities as well as American Women’s Club, British Women’s Club and USAID, among others.

MMQ staged their last show titled “Le Cabaret 7” in 2014.

The company held a portion of their fund as seed for their future shows but with Washington’s lesser visits in the country, MMQ also stopped producing shows.

Ultimately, Washington—who is now based in Washington, DC—made the decision to turnover the remaining assets of MMQ just so she can be “sure.”

“My husband’s going to start a new work contract in DC, so I got take care of him. I will be there till his contract ends and I’m not sure when that will be, I’m not sure when I’m going to be back. I don’t want to keep the money hanging like that. I want to give it to where it could do some good. In many places, the money and properties end up in a black hole. That won’t happen here. It’s going directly to the children, as it should,” the former American expatriate explained.

Washington also noted that they thought it would be appropriate that the first foundation that they helped would also be the last group to receive their help.

“It’s like we’ve come full circle,” she commented.

The money that was donated to EVA Foundation will be used for the maintenance of the MMQ Aeta School. Aside from money, MMQ will also be giving away all the stage props and materials they had been using for production to Stairway Foundation in Puerto Galera. The foundation helps abused children, human trafficking victims, to heal through theatrical performances.

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