U.S. retirees boost Mexican nonprofits

PJ staff report

As the first wave of Baby Boomers hit retirement age, many are seeking the lower cost of living offered in Mexico and are donating their time and money to nonprofits in their new communities, a new study says.

With the cost of retiring in the U.S. increasing, Mexico now is the top foreign destination for American retirees, says the International Community Foundation, which conducted a survey of 840 retirees ages 50 and over who have settled in Mexico’s coastal communities.

Almost 60 percent of respondents volunteer their time in Mexico, with almost half that many volunteering regularly or at least once a week.

About 42 percent of retirees are involved in with one or two Mexican charities, while an additional 11 percent are involved with three or more.

And more than that, almost 70 percent, give money to Mexican nonprofits, with just over half giving over $100 a year, and 4 percent giving more than $2,500.

The percentage of people donating to Mexican charities remains high even though only about 15 percent of donors qualify for tax deductions for their donations.

At the same time retirees are staying connected to their original communities in the U.S., with more than half continuing to donate to U.S.-based charities.

To increase civic participation by American retirees in Mexico, the report made several suggestions:

  • Mexican nonprofits should consider expanding their boards to make room for American and Canadian retirees.
  • Create board committees that provide opportunities for seasonal residents.
  • Expand volunteer opportunities.
  • Work with Mexican authorities to make sure American retirees make necessary changes to their visas to allow them to volunteer with local nonprofits.
  • U.S. policymakers should expand the U.S. Peace Corps program in Mexico and expand the coverage area for the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Senior Corps to include Americans who are living abroad.

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