• Photo Credit: KickStart International




The West Foundation’s Impact on Lifewater

Since receiving funds from The West Foundation in 2021, approximately one hundred and fifteen people have been directly impacted by the support. Through hygiene education, sanitation solutions, such as latrine blocks, and drilling new wells that provide access to safe clean water, these lives and villages will be transformed.

(From contributing writer Jim Evans, Regional Director of Donor Relations, Lifewater International)

Photographed below is one of six current latrine block projects taking place in Uganda at a school in Kaliro. Most people do not realize the significance latrine blocks play in the health of a village. In Lifewater’s “Vision of a Healthy Village” model, these buildings are critical to keeping children healthy and in school. As part of our model, WASH Clubs are created in the school. Children are provided curriculum on the importance of hygiene education in prevention of disease transmission (including COVID-19), sanitation, and of course access to clean water. These kids will often take their experiences in school back to their home villages and teach their families safer hygiene practices.

The lack of menstruation hygiene education and facilities combined with the embarrassment and social stigma, most girls to opt to stay at home. However, with latrine blocks providing doors for safety and security along with menstruation hygiene education, Lifewater is seeing a significant increase in girls staying in school. In some program areas, we are seeing an 18% increase within the first year. We are also seeing an overall school enrollment increase as fewer children are getting sick.




Supporting Innovation, Growth, and Impact at mothers2mothers

mothers2mothers (m2m) is an Africa-based NGO that unlocks the power of women to eliminate pediatric AIDS and create healthy families. m2m trains and employs women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa as frontline health workers called “Mentor Mothers.” These women become role models who help other women and families at health facilities and in their communities access essential services and medical care, start on any treatment they need, and continue with their health journey. From an initial focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, m2m now delivers a range of services for newborns, children, adolescents and families, to ensure the whole community thrives, not just survives.

Mentor Mothers are armed with the knowledge of how it feels to be in their clients’ shoes and are trusted members of their community—a simple, but incredibly effective, model of sisterhood. Since its founding in 2001, m2m has created jobs for over 11,000 women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and these Mentor Mothers have reached more than 12 million women and children under age two.

From contributing writer Robin Smalley, Co-Founder and Chief Connector, mothers2mothers

Thanks to the support of long-standing partners, like The West Foundation, m2m continues to deliver innovation, growth, and impact, even amid the disruption and fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is demonstrated in our recently released Annual Programme Review, which contains reach and impact data from 2020. We are also proud to be able maintain and protect meaningful jobs for African women living with HIV, providing much-needed income during a time of unprecedented economic crisis. As of the end of 2020, m2m employed 1,698 frontline staff members.

Among the highlights of our 2020 Annual Programme Review:

Our Scale:

• m2m’s footprint is larger than it has ever been. We now work in 10 African nations across Eastern, Southern, and Western Africa.

• Our client base grew as well. We enrolled 1,044,045 new clients directly into our programme in 2020, a 14% increase over 2019. This included reaching more children, adolescents and young adults, in line with our commitment to increase access to healthcare for everyone and, in particular, adolescent girls and young women who continue to be one of the most at-risk populations for contracting HIV.

Significant Progress on the Journey to End HIV by 2030:

One of the big highlights of the year is that we achieved virtual elimination of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV for the seventh year in a row for our enrolled clients, with an average rate of just 0.8% across three representative countries (Lesotho, South Africa, and Uganda), well below the United Nations benchmark of 5% for virtual elimination.

Advancing Global Goals:

When COVID-19 struck, a key fear was that HIV service disruptions would result in a drop in testing and treatment availability and that people living with HIV would fall out of care. We are proud to say that for our enrolled clients, this has not been the case. What’s more, we reached almost all UNAIDS Fast-Track Targets to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030. Among the highlights:

• Ninety-eight percent (98%) of m2m’s pregnant clients at health facilities were tested for HIV, compared to the 91% benchmark for Eastern and Southern Africa.

• Ninety-seven percent (97%) of m2m’s pregnant and breastfeeding clients living with HIV accessed antiretroviral therapy (ART), exceeding the UNAIDS benchmark of 85% in Eastern and Southern Africa.

• Ninety percent (90%) of m2m clients across all age groups who received a viral load test were virally suppressed.

eServices deliver impact:

As COVID-19 began to spread across Africa, we rapidly innovated and adapted our service delivery model to blend in-person services and eServices. This included replacing some in-person appointments with structured calls, underpinned by mHealth apps designed to both deliver services and track progress. m2m also accelerated the development and launch of the Virtual Mentor Mother Platform, an interactive tool run on WhatsApp that enables users in nine countries to access on-demand health information and service referrals on COVID-19 and other important health topics in over 20 languages. This new hybrid approach to service delivery is contributing to sustained—and even improved—health outcomes for our clients across the HIV care and treatment cascade, despite significant disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the highlights:

• We reached more than 200,000 people through eServices in 2020 who might otherwise have been at risk of falling out of care.

• Ninety-four percent (94%) of eServices clients took their treatment more than 95% of the time, 87% of eServices clients had a viral load test done, and 93% of eServices clients were virally suppressed.

We are so thankful for partners like The West Foundation who have supported us on this journey. Together, we will deliver our vision of health, hope, and an HIV-free future.

Mentor Mother with clients in Lesotho. Photographer: Karin Schermbrucker, courtesy of mothers2mothers

The West Foundation receives a surprise donation!

Thank you to Salesforce Tower Indy’s Cushman & Wakefield leasing team who presented The West Foundation with a donation of $2,500 provided by the owner of Salesforce Tower, Square Deal Investments.

(Photographed left to right: Emily West, President and Executive Director, The West Foundation, David A. Moore, CCIM, SIOR, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield; Debra Des Vignes, Program and Communications Officer, The West Foundation


NEW: Health Education to Empower Girls in Rural Haiti

Care 2 Communities (C2C) operates a network of primary care clinics in northern Haiti. We are different from traditional aid models because we have a public-private partnership (PPP) with Haiti’s government—rather than building new clinics, we work with the Ministry of Health to rehabilitate existing public clinics, improving the quality of primary care services offered and increasing access to care for poor and low-income people, empowering families to lead healthier lives.

We have been working in Haiti for over ten years and the West Foundation has supported us through most of that time during our growth. From one clinic offering primary and antenatal care services in the rural town of Camp Coq, to now seven clinics across two regions of Haiti and a formal partnership with the Ministry of Health, the support of West has been transformative in helping improve the healthcare system in the communities we serve.

As the newest program offering in our clinics, we are excited to announce that we have launched a new comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education course for girls ages 13-18 in our communities. Girls in Haiti, like in many places around the world, are not empowered to make decisions about their sexual health or take ownership of their own bodies. This systemic gender inequity has led to many issues in the country. It is well known that early unwanted pregnancy is linked to poverty. At C2C, 15% of the patients in our maternal health program are under 18. We see girls coming in for prenatal visits who are 18 or 19 and in their fourth pregnancies, with children from different partners. Not only do these girls not finish their education, they cannot provide for their families. We also see this through our child malnutrition program, where the same girls often return to our clinics with their children who are suffering medically because they are underweight and not getting the appropriate nutrition. We help them by giving them a nutritional supplement for the child and take the opportunity to educate the mother on healthy and nutritious foods. We offer our clinical services to treat these specific issues, but our overarching goal is to address the root causes. Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education seemed like the natural and best place to start.

We chose to design our own curriculum, working with a Haitian-American psychologist with years of experience in Haiti, because we wanted to make the course fit the context in which we are working. There are many myths and misconceptions that are prevalent in Haiti when it comes to sex—for example, if you have sex in the ocean you cannot get pregnant, if you drink a beer after sex you won’t get pregnant, if you have sex with a person with a disability you will get rich, and so on. These myths are harmful and promote risky sexual behavior that harm girls and others.

We also felt that it was important to engage the girls in a way that gets them interested and excited about this information, so that they can take their knowledge and apply it to their lives and share with others as well. In one section, the course covers Rabòday, a popular genre of music in Haiti with lyrics that are very degrading towards women. The class looks at some of the lyrics and discusses common themes, how men and women are described in the songs, what stereotypes this genre conveys, and the type of dangers it perpetuates. We hope that by learning about how sexism plays into every facet of their lives, they will become more aware of it and work to change it, starting with their own lives and the choices they make.

Before we start any new program, we take the idea to the community first. For this course, we conducted a feasibility study and interviewed many community leaders—government officials, pastors, teachers, parents, and our own staff. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, even from the church, which is very influential in Haiti. While many may hold traditional values, they see the negative consequences that the lack of sexual education has on the women in their lives. They were eager to have us begin the program. Many of the people we talked to wanted to educate their children on these subjects, but they didn’t know how and many did not have that knowledge themselves.

We created our own curriculum tailored specifically to the girls in our communities, the barriers they face to reproductive health, and their interests. We were fortunate enough to work with Dr. Elizabeth Louis, a Haitian-American counseling psychologist who helped us in writing the curriculum. We also hired one nurse and one social worker to teach the course, since we thought it was important to have young female professionals teach as a team to make the young women feel comfortable with the material and to address any and all questions that the students might have.

We then spread the word about the program in and around our clinics and through our community health workers. Once all of the participant spots were filled, we held an education session for the parents of the girls so that they could learn more about the curriculum and to ask questions and raise concerns. After that, it was time to launch the course.

While the first classes just began, we are already excited about the future of this program. For the first year of the program, we plan to reach girls ages 13-18. Next year, we will adapt the curriculum and add a second, separate class for boys ages 13-18, ensuring to keep the classes separated so that everyone feels comfortable and safe to ask questions and share their thoughts. For the third year, we plan to separate the groups further by age—one class for girls ages 10-14 and another for girls 15-18, and the same for boys. In the fourth year, we hope to pilot the course at a local high school in an attempt to integrate this program into the school curriculum, which has never been done before in Haiti. Once we have several years of data, we will pitch the course to the Ministry of Education with the goal that one day the course will be taught in schools throughout Haiti.

We are so excited about the potential of this program and are grateful to The West Foundation for its ongoing support of our work in Haiti!

NEW: The West Foundation’s Impact on Opportunity International

Opportunity International designs, delivers, and scales innovative financial solutions that help families living in extreme poverty build sustainable livelihoods and access quality education for their children. We equip families with the tools and training they need to build their businesses, improve their harvests, provide for their families and send their children to school, all with the intent of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Opportunity International is proud to have played a role in reducing the number of people living in poverty during our 50-year history, and we are grateful for the strong partnership we have had with Emily West and The West Foundation for the past 15 years to support our work and mission. With this support, Opportunity International continues to create lasting impacts for families around the world to lift more people out of poverty.

From contributing writer Lillian Covington, Vice President of Philanthropy, Opportunity International

Our global impact to date includes:

  • Provision of Education finance for more than 7.3 million students across 24 countries to access low-cost, high-quality education.
  • Micro banking services that provide financial services, training and support to 14.7 million clients to help them save and be able to grow their businesses.
  • Agriculture financing to support 540,000 small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with tools, training and connections to improve their harvests and better feed their families and communities.
  • Innovative programs for economic empowerment for women, vocational training for youth, financial services for refugees, that are designed to provide a hand up for those living on less than $1.90 per day.

How has the most recent funding support from The West Foundation helped your mission? In what ways will you use the funding?

COVID-19 has suddenly shifted the momentum in reducing poverty and is hitting the poorest the hardest. The World Bank estimates that 150 million more people will be pushed into extreme poverty as a result of COVID-19.

As countries rapidly entered lockdown in 2020, Opportunity moved into rapid response mode to help our clients weather the pandemic. Movement restrictions impacted most of our program countries and triggered widespread business closures, farm-to-market disruptions, and school closures. We are grateful for the funding we received from The West Foundation which helped Opportunity to provide relief response services and help build resilience for our clients.

Some examples of our support included:

  • Providing shelf-ready meals for families in struggling neighborhoods using local businesses to provide and distribute goods while offering no-interest small loans for clients. food
  • Deploying health and prevention education on COVID in the communities
  • Providing fast-track water projects to enable handwashing.
  • Provided virtual trainings and learning while schools were closed.
  • Sharing preventative health messaging along with messages on how to bank digitally so that individuals had immediate access to their funds.
  • Providing Personal Protection Equipment for staff at work and in the field

What work lies ahead?

As we continue to witness the exacerbated impacts of COVID-19 on those already facing poverty, we are again called to help our partners and clients globally to overcome immediate and long-lasting impacts.

The current COVID-19 crisis that is unfolding in India is heartbreaking. With more than 1 million new infections every three days, prolonged business closures and collapsing health systems, the need is significant.  Opportunity is mobilizing our trusted local microfinance partners to pivot services to provide access to last-mile health delivery and emergency relief services.  We are currently working through 5 long-standing, local partners with an established current outreach of 4 – 5 million client households, which equals 10 million family members.

Our response includes:

  • Enabling isolation by distributing emergency food rations to 50,000 vulnerable households in need or in quarantine
  • Mobilizing the network of 2,340 female community health workers to reach 500-1,000 villages with the latest preventative measures and how to refer families for medical attention.
  • Partnering to provide ambulance dispatch to transport critically ill patients to medical care centers.
  • Providing 625,000 people in rural villages with telehealth, psychosocial support, and counselling consults for monitoring of patients, delivering support, and answering urgent questions at 336 clinics
  • Facilitating 500 vaccination camps and mobile vaccination vans in partnership with local governments and hospitals – using our footprint, outreach, and tracking systems
  • Providing mass awareness messages to 140,000 people daily through trusted microfinance staff to tackle damaging misinformation and mistrust.

Opportunity International remains committed to scaling its existing programs while continuing to innovate in order to meet the 2030 agenda and achieve Sustainable Development Goal #1 – to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Opportunity International will continue to adapt its proven approach to create catalytic change in key places that are particular hot spots of extreme poverty in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Our Education Finance Program, which The West Foundation has previously supported, continues to attract new financial institution partners in order to expand to new countries and areas of greatest need, increase numbers of loans to improve schools’ infrastructure and technology, provide more school fee loans so families can afford to send their kids to school, and help more children to continue their education.

Opportunity also remains committed to reaching those living in extreme poverty and ultra-poverty. For those living on less $1.25 a day, many services remain out of reach. With the goal of helping these families move from dependency to self-sufficiency, Opportunity is piloting a ‘Graduation’ program. The West Foundation has supported this program that is designed to meet the needs of families living in the most dire conditions. As part of the 18-month program, families receive an economic asset to help them build a source of income, as well as holistic training and coaching over time to help them build skills and confidence.

This year we are also launching a new pilot program that will combine all of Opportunity’s core areas of work to deliver a holistic, continuum of services to those living in extreme poverty. Through the simultaneous provision of microfinance, agriculture and education programs, our Opportunity Zone pilots in DRC and Colombia will meet many overlapping needs in a cost-effective, rapid delivery model.

As we continue to measure outcomes, we are continuing to adapt and scale up program to best meet the needs of our clients. The setbacks from COVID-19 have not been a deterrent to our focus, rather have been a motivating driver in continuing these important efforts so that more women, children, and families are on a path out of poverty. But we cannot do it alone. We invite those interested in learning more to visit www.opportunity.org.

NEW: The West Foundation’s Impact on Smiles Forever

Smiles Forever is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of impoverished children through free preventive and restorative dentistry backed by a unique educational model for disadvantaged women and mothers to become professional dental hygienists. Through the last 20 years they have provided free preventive and restorative dental care to over 47,000 children, caretakers/parents that are disadvantaged in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Their patients reach them through the 45 different shelters and nonprofits that they work with.

We chatted with Smiles Forever to learn how The West Foundation is helping them.

From contributing writer Sandy Kemper RDH, BS, Founder, Smiles Forever Foundation

Thanks to support of The West Foundation, currently we are able to increase the inclusion of new shelters, homes, and centers to our beneficiary and partner organization family. During our Care Packages Program (a program designed to provide lifesaving biosafety supplies to our partner and beneficiary organizations so that they can adequately protect themselves, and be able to safely mobilize the children to our facilities reducing the exposure to COVID-19), we were able to include new organizations that desperately needed support in the dental field since this pandemic has hit them hard financially.

  • Villa Infantil Nueva Esperanza – A shelter focused on the family and social reintegration of children affected by abandonment, abuse and domestic violence, as well as the risk of life on the street and other factors, such as addictions.
  • Rosa de Saron – Home for girls and female adolescents that focus on the social reintegration emerging from abandonment and abuse, through processes that range from basic education to obtaining a profession or future occupation.
  • Arca de Rescate – Home for boys and male adolescents that focus on the social reintegration emerging from abandonment and abuse, through processes that range from basic education to obtaining a profession or future occupation.

The Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) program continues, for now, to be completely positioned in the Smiles Forever Community Service Dental Clinic and even through the pandemic continues to remain one of our most effective tools to treat patients. Although our biosafety protocols exceed the official requirements, we must consider that most of the power-operated dental equipment is based on an air and water spray system making dental services one of the health operators with greater risk of contagion of COVID-19. Since the SDF treatment does not require the use of equipment based on spray operation systems, it allows us to carry out more treatments at present time. In the future we will concentrate on the aesthetic element of the patients’ needs, focused on prevention and avoiding future life-threatening infections and dental pain in children.

Sadly, one of our strategic partners, Universidad Privada Abierta Latino–Americana (UPAL), hasn’t opened its doors completely to students. Due the restrictions established by education authorities, our joint SDF study has been re–scheduled for the second semester of 2021 when the educational authorities committed to migrate from the online system to the semi in-class room/lab system allowing the opening of the university facilities to resume our research program on the preventive effects of SDF on healthy teeth.

We would like to encourage the public to follow us through The West Foundation, our website, and fundraising activities. Further, if the public has any ideas that they feel are useful, please contact us through our website.

Thanks for your support during this dark and difficult pandemic times.





Learn More About Giving Back To Africa

1. Tell us about your mission.

The mission of Giving Back To Africa is to educate and empower young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), enabling them to become agents of change in their community and country. We work to fulfill our mission by partnering with Congolese educators in Mpasa II—a third-generation refugee camp turned urban slum—to integrate 21st century leadership skills into the DRC national curriculum and facilitate real-world learning and leadership experience through Community Service Actions (CSAs). Malembe Rise (formerly Giving Back to Africa) helps teachers and students to recognize and seize the opportunities they have to lead for change in a country that, though burdened by issues of poverty, hunger, and violence, boasts a young, capable population who can lead DRC into a bright future.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Since 2014, The West Foundation has brought power to our mission through financial support and accountability.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Malembe Rise invests in people—not projects. We prioritize the long-term development of our educators and students over the production of quick-fix programming. The long-term support we’ve received from The West Foundation has equipped us with the financial resources necessary to encourage professional development of teachers, through our provision of proper wages and impactful trainings, and to educate and empower the students we serve through our provision of real-world learning exercises such as the Student Learning Garden and assets-based problem-solving activities called Community Service Actions (CSAs). The West Foundation’s philanthropic support has allowed us to sustain and further develop these investments in the Mpasa II community.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Our commitment to fostering innovative, leadership-based learning has been showcased especially well during the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic. When schools shut down in the DRC, the Ministry of Education produced educational programming through television and radio platforms across the country. However, many of the Congolese, including many living in Mpasa II, do not have access to electricity and were left unable to provide education for their children through the government offering. The Malembe Rise team in the DRC, however, quickly adapted to the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic as our educators conducted door-to-door visits to students’ homes to ensure they could continue learning during the lockdown. Though the pandemic has challenged our organization in many ways, it has also proved that Malembe Rise exhibits the problem-solving skills and spirit of innovation that is seen throughout DRC.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Malembe Rise is an organization dedicated to collaboration—to walking alongside one another rather than doing for, and to encouraging the realization of agency among those with whom we work. We strive to amplify local voices as we acknowledge that locals are the experts of both the issues and the assets in their communities. We believe in the responsibility for each of us, staff and board, to unlearn our biases and embrace listening and growing in our understanding of the complexities and beauty of cross-cultural work. We reject the “West-always-knows-best” mentality as we firmly believe that change-making initiatives must be embraced and advanced by local leadership in the DRC for the change to be appropriate and sustainable. We value collaboration as we work together to further our mission. By supporting teachers, we invest in a positive future for a strong DRC and a better world. May we all embrace the spirit of Ubuntu, “I am because you are.” May we work together to achieve equity through education.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Use your voice to bring education to the forefront of philanthropic investment. Whether in DRC or in the US, education is the answer to a better world for all. Share our work with your family and friends! Donate or host a fundraiser! Acts of generosity, big or small, are both inspiring and impactful! Attend one of our events this year. We seek to come together several times per year to discuss and engage with thought leaders and changemakers. Follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter and be a part of the Malembe Rise community!

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We are growing! This year, Malembe Rise will “graduate” our long time partner school to expand our impact with another local school. We are looking for strategic partners who share our vision and will join us in the next chapter of expansion and impact in Mpasa II. We believe all children deserve a quality education–no matter where they live. We believe quality education begins with great teachers.



Photo Courtesy: Giving Back To Africa

Learn More About Thousand Currents

1. Tell us about your mission.

Thousand Currents is a 35-year-old global foundation that moves money to the frontlines of social change. We leverage relationships as well as financial and intellectual resources worldwide with and in support of grassroots groups and social movements, while transforming philanthropic and investment practices. Our vision imagines a world where humanity thrives as a creative force that is reciprocal and interdependent with nature, and creates loving, equitable and just societies.

Thousand Currents believes that the answers to the most entrenched societal challenges around the world rest in the hands of directly affected frontline communities. We raise money to fund those communities, which are organized as grassroots groups and social movements, working in the areas of climate, food, and economic justice. Currently, we support over 60 women and girls-, youth-, and Indigenous-led groups, alliances, and movements across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America with core, flexible, long-term grants and value-added services. We are a bridge builder that connects donors in the Global North with leaders and solutions in the Global South through relationships of solidarity, trust, and respect — not charity.

For 35 years, we have supported over 1,000 community initiatives in 40 countries, connected to over 200 million people worldwide, and moved nearly $20 million in grants.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Through our more than decade-long partnership, The West Foundation’s generous multi-year flexible grants have strengthened our grantmaking support to an ecosystem of organizations and movements led by women, Indigenous peoples, and youth working at the intersections of food sovereignty, economic, and climate justice. Thousand Currents stands in solidarity with these formal and informal formations across Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region, providing resources to uplift their grassroots solutions and Indigenous wisdom.

The West Foundation’s multi-year, flexible grants have also allowed us to innovate, experiment, offer cutting-edge programs in donor education, launch one of the first participatory impact investing funds, and build our internal capacity to amplify the work of our Global South partners to Global North audiences in philanthropy and beyond.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation’s support enables us to take bold steps towards advancing our strategy and building our sustainability. Because of the support, we are able to explore ways in which we can deepen our alliance with grassroots groups and social movements. We can be both intentional and strategic in this critical moment and beyond, building a path for long-term transformative change for our partners and our peers in the philanthropic sector. We have also leveraged multi-year funding to attract new donors to maintain our fiscal sustainability and grow our grantmaking.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Over the past year, Thousand Currents continued to expand our partnerships with alliances, networks, grassroots organizations, and movements across all three of our program regions, including adding new global/cross-regional partners to build an even stronger ecosystem of support. We supported over 60 different kinds of grassroots partners, movements, networks, alliances, strategic advocacy/litigation groups, community-centered think tanks, and policy groups last year. Led by Indigenous People, women, and young people, these partners are the center of our work. We are also building dialogue and interconnectedness with each partner, deepening narrative change work, and continuing to cultivate a learning community within our philanthropic advocacy and donor education program.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

More than half the world’s population lives on rural agricultural land where prevailing patriarchal norms and systemic injustices continue to dispossess women and Indigenous peoples of land, rights, resources, and decision-making spaces despite their significant contribution to agricultural production, local economies, and climate change mitigation.

In response, a wave of Indigenous, youth, and women-led initiatives, movements, alliances, and grassroots groups are implementing feminist visions and other grassroots-led practices that are transforming the way we manage resources, maintain biodiversity, make policy decisions, implement innovative agricultural practices, reduce fossil fuel dependence, fight extractive industries, overcome gender violence, and feed the world.

Our partners remind us that now is the time to strengthen our support and solidarity for grassroots movements who are fighting for long-term and systemic change, while also doing the structural work needed to prevent the impact of crises exacerbated by a pandemic like COVID-19.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Thousand Currents is uniquely positioned to build dialogue, relationships, and interconnectedness between politically aligned groups, networks, and movements. West Foundation readers can help us by recognizing the difference between thinly veiled charitable giving versus authentic support that centers those who are closest to the problems in their communities.

By supporting Thousand Currents, you will enable us to increase our grant support to partners who will face long term impacts on food systems and livelihoods from the global COVID-19 pandemic, foster connections with like-minded movement groups, and influence the philanthropic sector to move towards more meaningful change. We know true transformation is possible, but that it will require an across-the-board reckoning. This change can start with you.


Photo courtesy: Thousand Currents

Learn More About Village Enterprise

1. Tell us about your mission.

Village Enterprise’s mission is to end extreme poverty in rural Africa through entrepreneurship and innovation. We currently work in rural East Africa to serve the extreme poor who have very limited numeracy and literacy, and who also lack access to capital, formal banking, and markets. With few income-generating options, the extreme poor struggle to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. They cannot pay for children’s education, adequate healthcare, and disease prevention, or other essentials.

Village Enterprise runs the Graduating from Ultra-Poverty program, developed by BRAC in Bangladesh, and rigorously empirically evaluated in RCTs in multiple countries. Typically, 75%+ of people whom Village Enterprise helps are women, with on average 6.5 dependents.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a part of Village Enterprise’s community since 2002, supporting all areas of Village Enterprise’s Graduation programming.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

With the support of The West Foundation, Village Enterprise has been able to grow significantly and professionalize our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning processes. At the time of the West Foundation’s first generous grant to Village Enterprise in 2002, Village Enterprise had impacted approximately 100,000 people. In 2019, we were thrilled to report: we had impacted over one million lives. The West Foundation invested in us when we were quite a small organization and has been an integral part of our growth journey as one of our longest standing foundation partners.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Village Enterprise works primarily in Kenya and Uganda. We have over 30 years of experience as a pioneer helping rural Africans to lift themselves from poverty. Our community-based, participatory program, directly implemented by Village Enterprise staff on the ground, reflects a bottom-up approach to microenterprise development. By equipping people living on less than $1.90 a day with resources to create successful businesses, our program allows our poor people to access educational, mentorship, and financial services that help them to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Village Enterprise uses a highly effective targeting method to identify the extreme poor (poverty wealth ranking combined with Poverty Probability Index). We then provide access to business savings groups, business, and financial literacy education (9 modules), ongoing mentorship, and a cash grant as seed capital. Types of business include retail, agriculture, livestock rearing, services, including restaurants, bicycle repairs, and butcher services. Village Enterprise has a field team of over 200 employees in Uganda and Kenya who deliver the program, 95% of whom are East Africans. To date, we have launched over 48,000 businesses, trained more than 185,000 individuals, and impacted over 1,000,000 lives in Kenya and Uganda. Our impact measurements include increased income, savings, and productive assets, which contribute to better nutrition, greater access to education for children, higher-quality housing, individual empowerment, and a sense of hope for the future.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for Village Enterprise, as it has been for everyone around the globe, we have nonetheless adapted to the new reality. After a period of remote programming from March through June, we are now back to working with our entrepreneurs in the field using appropriate safety measuring and social distancing protocols. We are also happy to report that we have preserved all organizational jobs and have embarked on a digitization design process where we aim to fully digitize our program to both increase efficiency and prepare us for a similar shock in the future.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Village Enterprise is a data driven organization, and we believe that community input is necessary to truly solve problems. With this in mind, we approach all problems using a human-centered design process. Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving that starts by connecting directly with the people who are affected by the problem and ends with innovative solutions that are tailor made to fit the needs of the end user.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Gift: We constantly strive to diversify our revenue, and your donation would help us to reach our ambitious goal of impacting 20 million lives by 2030.  You can donate here.

Partner with us: If you are interested in partnering with us, I urge you to reach out to our Senior Manager of Institutional Partnerships, Alexandra Strzempko at Alexs@villageenterprise.org.

Follow us: You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.

7. What are your deepest needs as and organization?

We know that to scale as an organization and to ensure resiliency we must digitize our programming. Progress is already underway at Village Enterprise on a design challenge framed by the question, “How might we significantly scale our reach through digital programming while maintaining impact?” A team of ten individuals from across functional teams is conducting research in academia, from experts in the industry, analogous experience in other industries, contextual observation, and interviews with community members. The research (inspiration) stage of the challenge has been completed, and we are now carrying out the ideation process to synthesize and apply the research findings to design potential solutions.

We know that in the future we will need additional resources in terms of staffing and technology in order to be able to achieve these ambitious goals and fully digitize our programming.

Video courtesy: Village Enterprises






Learn More About Plant With Purpose

1. Tell us about your mission.

Plant With Purpose is a faith-based organization which serves small-holder farming families and subsistence farmers around the world, focusing on places where extreme poverty and environmental degradation are both present. Small-holder farmers are among the poorest and most under-nourished people in the world. At the same time, many of those who inhabit the shantytowns of the developing world are recent migrants from farming communities, seeking a better life in the city.

Plant With Purpose works upstream, at the roots of poverty, seeking to make farms more productive and sustainable. There is often a vicious cycle between deforestation and economic need, each making the other worse.

The two most important assets for someone who depends on the land are their soil and the rain that falls on it. Deforestation and environmental degradation rob them of both of those assets, impacting farm yields and contributing to rural poverty. Working with poor farmers to restore the land is an important step in creating a virtuous cycle of environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal.

We have ongoing programs staffed by national teams in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, and Thailand. These programs focus on key sub-watersheds, which allows us to maximize ecological, economic and social impact, not only for our direct participants, but for all those living within a particular watershed.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a faithful partner with Plant With Purpose for 20 years. The foundation has not only invested in the direct implementation our work in Haiti, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, but also in improving in our efficiency and effectiveness. The donations from the early years of our partnership have been multiplied many times, as they have empowered us to grow and get better at transforming lives and watersheds.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

One of the things that distinguishes The West Foundation from many other foundations is their willingness to fund projects that are critical, but not otherwise attractive to other funders.

Most recently we have been able to use funding from The West Foundation to upgrade, teach, and publish our regenerative agriculture curriculum, Seeds of Change. This curriculum is a fundamental part of our offering to farmers, so The West Foundation support has had an outsized impact in improving our programs around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people are today better able to utilize their land, and sustainably increase their farm yields because of this grant. The published version of the curriculum also gives us the ability to share what we have learned with other organizations.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

At Plant With Purpose, we have dedicated ourselves to rigorously collecting data on impact and using that to continually improve what we do. It is exciting to reflect on how far we have come during the time that we have been partnering with The West Foundation and even more exciting to imagine where we can go in the years ahead. For example, we are currently directly serving about 250,000 people, and we plan to nearly double that over the next five years.

Our partnering farmers have planted over 38 million trees in the process of restoring their watersheds, while amassing nearly $7 million of their own savings, which they continue to re-invest in their communities. They are have come to see caring for the watersheds they live in as a part of their God-given purpose and are measurably more engaged in helping one another. We view those we work with as our partners not our projects, and we achieve our potential only when they begin to realize theirs.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Plant With Purpose is committed to the idea that poor farmers can be our greatest allies in halting and reversing deforestation. They are the ones responsible for planting all of the trees we talk about, restoring their land, investing in their communities and helping each other out. We are blessed to be the catalyst in this process, but without their passion, industry, and creativity, little would be accomplished.

6. How can people reading this help you?

It is often tempting to look at the twin problems of global poverty and deforestation and feel overwhelmed. However, we have seen that something that starts small can have a massive impact. The few families that we began working with in Tanzania fifteen years ago are now part of an annual celebration that brings together more than ten-thousand farmers to celebrate planting 1.5 million trees each year.

Another example is the initial grants from The West Foundation, which may have seemed to be risky investments then, but which made possible all that is happening today.

With that in mind, we invite people to start by planting a tree. It only costs $1 to plant a tree, which will provide fruit, restore soil fertility and store carbon for generations. (Of course, you can do much more – it costs us about $122 to serve a family for a year.)

Another important way that people can participate is to help us to get the word out about what we do. Most of our support comes from word of mouth. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. (If you follow us on Instagram, we’ll even plant a tree!)

Instagram: @plantwpurpose

Twitter: @plantwpurpose

Facebook: @PlantWithPurpose

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Funding is always a need, but so is help in networking and sharing with others about what we do. We are eager to partner with those who seek win-win solutions and see the possibility for synergy between poverty alleviation and environmental restoration.

Photo courtesy: Plant With Purpose






Learn More About READ Global

1. Tell us about your mission.

READ Global believes empowering rural communities is critical to solving the problem of global poverty. We envision a world where individuals, families, and entire communities have access to the knowledge, resources, and opportunities necessary to build more prosperous futures.

We partner with communities in rural South Asia to create vibrant places to live and thrive. Our proven and replicable model focuses on Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers) as a vehicle for sustainable social and economic transformation. This is what we call the READ Effect: when rural communities engage and invest in READ Centers, they are empowered with access to information, education, and skills training, ultimately experiencing positive social transformation and increased economic opportunity.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a crucial long-time partner for READ. With its support, READ has been able to continue to support its offices in South Asia where 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. READ Centers become the means to reduce dependency on external aid, amplify local solutions, and empower individuals with the knowledge to thrive and inspire rural prosperity in their own communities.

With support from The West Foundation, we have been able to continue to cultivate a network of support and sharing among READ Global, its country offices and its local READ Centers. READ’s community-led development approach is founded on the idea that those closest to a problem are best placed to identify innovative and lasting solutions to address it. This close collaboration among offices and with our grassroots partners ensures our programming is addressing the most pressing problems with the greatest impact. While we believe that approaches should be tailored to meet the needs of each individual community, we also frequently see how the efforts of one community or team can inspire others in different communities and countries to identify new ways to solve complicated problems.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation has been a generous supporter of READ since 2012. This support has allowed us the flexibility to support initiatives that we feel strongly about and to support READ Centers in their local resource mobilization. This network of strong READ Centers supported by peer organizations, READ Country offices and the READ Global team allows us to be nimble and responsive to pressing issues.

For example, when the COVID pandemic hit, READ Centers quickly sprang to action. They contacted more than 27,500 community members to gauge their needs and inform them of steps they can take to keep their families as safe as possible and distributed emergency food and hygiene supplies to more than 10,000 people. Centers are now helping their communities build a better future offering mobile libraries and learning opportunities for children whose schooling has been disrupted, providing emergency small loans to families in need, and collecting and amplifying personal stories that are often overlooked.

In all our work we make constant efforts to make sure the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable are heard and amplified. As part of this effort, READ Centers are implementing exciting holistic leadership programs for young women to help them take their place as community leaders and drive local development, helping identify and meet the needs of informal economy workers and other vulnerable groups, and expanding offerings accessible to people with disabilities.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Next year, we’ll be celebrating 30 years of READ. In this time we’ve launched 112 locally sustained community libraries which are driving local development, one country office which is able to independently sustain its operations, and two that are in the process of working toward it.  In our work we have learned profound lessons on how we work to empower and encourage communities to discover innovative solutions to local challenges.

To drive our vision forward into this new decade, READ holds two important considerations: inclusion, elevating local expertise and expansion. We value thoroughly inclusive, resilient, and more equitable processes and programs to develop prosperous communities. Meaningful community engagement is the crux of our work — without it, no development can be achieved. We also value and uphold local knowledge within and across our network of READ Centers and READ Country Offices. We believe that local communities know best what their needs are, and with their actions they pave the way to their development.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

The communities we serve guide us in all the work we do. Our model of investing in their leadership and resilience gives us the ability to be flexible and responsive.

With the current pandemic, the negative impact falls disproportionally on those who have traditionally struggled to overcome extreme poverty, vulnerability, marginalization, and powerlessness. For them, READ Global’s work is more important than ever.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Sadly, the COVID crisis is only intensifies inequalities that are already prevalent in society.  Our READ Centers will continue their work as local lifelines but they need your support.  If you’re able to help, go to donatenow.networkforgood.org/readglobal  to make a donation or learn more about our work.

Photo courtesy: READ Global

Learn More About Spark Microgrants

1. Tell us about your mission.

Spark Microgrant’s mission is to enable communities to design and launch their own social impact projects. We believe in a world where everybody lives with dignity and determines their own positive future.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation grant provided Spark with the support needed to implement strategic training projects that would improve management, internal reporting, and program accountability and transparency. Funds from The West Foundation helped to support the Development of Spark’s SMS-based feedback tool, used to send messages to remote communities and collect the thoughts and opinions of our rural partners.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The qualitative data collected through conversations with facilitators and community members, found the SMS tool to be effective in providing a platform for additional feedback. The feedback from facilitators and community members found that this tool helps community members to raise their voices by giving feedback as individuals and not as a group; this enables them to be as open as possible without fear of criticism. The community members also noted that this tool helps to hold them accountable after training since questions around “what they have learned” are asked and they realize they have to be present as well as pay attention during meetings.

When the global pandemic reached East African countries in March of 2020, Spark Microgrants took action to develop a strategic COVID-19 response plan, set new policies in place, and assess the needs and impacts on our communities.

After government restrictions and lockdowns in Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda, community organizing and access to information became more challenging for community members. Utilizing Spark’s existing SMS text messaging platform, the Task Force launched an SMS campaign to reach out to all communities and communicate crucial information on health and send messages to encourage continued social cohesion.

Between March and May, country teams sent a total of 24,593 SMS text messages to all 325 Spark communities, with about two to six texts per week. The content of these messages focused on COVID-19, reinforcing information from the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization. SMS messages also included updates on community FCAP projects and disbursements. The SMS messages were sent out in two batches, the first focusing on immediate and critical information, and the second to gather information on community needs and plans to manage amidst COVID-19. In addition to this, Spark shared information through community mobilizers with a megaphone who made announcements and provided key messages from a distance. This ensured that those without mobile phones could still have access to this crucial information from a trusted source.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

In 2020 we celebrated 10 years of building the civic and economic power of rural communities facing poverty in East Africa and West Africa. During that time we partnered with 325 communities. The community designed and implemented 450 impact projects, 85% of which were income generating. We have supported nearly 250,000 community members in driving their own economic and social development. Our goal in 2021 is to expand our work even further and into more communities.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

At Spark, we believe in community-driven development. We believe that sustainable change does not simply come from financial support, it comes from having community advocates who believe in the work you do, and who are willing to work and fight for the kind of change they wish to see.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Donate. $500 is enough to support a community project.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We are still growing and expanding our work and are looking for advocates who believe in the work we are doing.

Photo courtesy: Spark Microgrants


Learn More About Upaya Social Ventures

1. Tell us about your mission.

Upaya Social Ventures mission is to create dignified jobs for the extreme poor – people living on less that $1.90 per day – by building scalable businesses with investment and consulting support. We bring investment capital, expert capacity building and a powerful network to early-stage entrepreneurs who share our vision of employing the extreme poor.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting our mission?

The West Foundation has been a part of the Upaya community since 2013, supporting the organization’s impact measurement and management program.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Upaya has been collecting impact data from the beginning, but with the support of The West Foundation, we have built far more robust system to collect and analyze this data and, more importantly, ensure that our work is in fact generating more jobs for the extreme poor. Being able to count on The West Foundation’s partnership has also enabled us to improve our current dashboard and analysis and share that information publicly on our website.

At the time of The Foundation’s first generous grant to Upaya, we had invested in three companies that had created a cumulative 582 jobs. Today, 7 years into our partnership, we have now invested in 23 companies and who are generating over 17,000 jobs.

4. How are you realizing your potential? 

When we began this year, the Upaya team set an ambitious goal – reach 50,000 jobs for the extreme poor in India. One month after we announced our goal, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, sending India into a nationwide lockdown, and threatening the survival of our portfolio companies and their employees. It is estimated that 395 million people globally may slide back into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, and more than half of them would be located in South Asia. The situation required that we reexamine our goal and whether it would be possible to attain.

We decided there was only one way to confirm the predictions: interview our jobholders and ask them how the pandemic and resulting lockdown were affecting their daily lives. We discovered that the majority of them are still earning an income through our partner companies and that it is the main source of income for their households. If Upaya’s work means more people will earn an income to feed their families and help them survive this crisis, how can we stop doing everything we can to make that possible?

As the crisis has expanded into not only a health crisis, but an economic one, now is not the time to step back. Now more than ever, we need to invest in more early stage entrepreneurs who can employ the extreme poor. Upaya Social Ventures maintains its commitment to generating 50,000 sustainable, dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Upaya’s mission is grounded in the fundamental belief that people living in extreme poverty are capable of holding and maintaining steady jobs and, in fact, prefer securing work and fair wages over more traditional forms of short-term aid. That’s why we are committed to generating dignified, sustainable jobs that give people the ability to live self-determined lives.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Your Gift Can Make a Difference – As we strive to push back against this growing crisis, we ask that you consider making a gift to support our efforts to reach 50,000 jobs for the extreme poor. We need to rebuild so many of the livelihoods wiped out by this crisis. Your commitment will help us make even greater progress in preventing people from falling back into poverty. Donate here

Partner With Us – If you or your company invest in early-stage entrepreneurs or want to support poverty alleviation through job creation, please contact us at sbhat-kincaid@upayasv.org.

Tell Your Friends – Please share Upaya’s mission and vision with your network and on social media. Some of our most meaningful partnerships have begun with an introduction from our community.

Keep in Touch – Connect with Upaya on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to follow our progress. You can also subscribe to our mailing list.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Having learned that our model works in a time of crisis, we at Upaya are doubling down on our commitment to small and growing businesses who can sustainably generate 50,000 jobs for the extreme poor. This effort requires financial support from generous individuals and institutions, and it requires partnerships with like-minded organizations to expand the work. We welcome conversations and opportunities for collaboration in this fight! Contact us at sbhat-kincaid@upayasv.org.


Photo courtesy: Upaya Social Ventures

Learn More About Smiles Forever

Tell us about your mission.

Smiles Forever is a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of impoverished children through free preventive and restorative dentistry backed by a unique educational model for disadvantaged women and mothers to become professional dental hygienists. Through the last 20 years we have provided free preventive and restorative dental care to over 45,000 children, caretakers/parents that are disadvantaged in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Our patients come to us through the 45 different shelters and nonprofits that we work with.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation supports our mission financially in a way that allows us to run our preventive, restorative and educational oral health programs and dental hygiene training program for the underprivileged. Specifically, the last 6 years supporting our commitment and research project to Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). This is a new fluoride that prevents and stops cavities, useful in clinical and rural settings especially. SDF can treat cavities without creating an aerosol spray which is extremely important right now during this critical Covid time period. Statistics and a general report will be made available at the beginning of 2021.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West foundation helps Smiles Forever eliminate poverty by helping us to provide jobs and education to impoverished women in the Bolivian community. Our dental hygienists and dentists are therefore able to provide financially for their families and serve as role models in their communities. Our patients who are impoverished see how education and healthy dentistry create a better quality of life and aspire to that. A healthy individual can provide for her family and serve her community.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

The fact that we have reached over 45,000 dental patients providing state-of-the-art quality preventative restorative dental care has allowed us to reach out potential. Also, in educating 45 young indigenous women through our unique dental hygiene model program that is quickly advancing to University level in Bolivia is rewarding. Also, we are pioneering a preventative research project with Sliver Diamine Fluoride, the latest and most advanced product to provide optimal in all arenas of dental health.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Smiles Forever is a unique  program/foundation that has persevered 20 years through difficult economic, cultural, and political times and is continually striving to move ahead by embracing new concepts to move forward for another 20 years.

6. How can people reading this help you?

We would encourage the public to follow us through the West Foundation, our website and fundraising activities and share with others. If the public has ideas that they feel are useful please contact us through our website or email.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

As an organization we have many financial and equipment needs on an ongoing basis. Currently grant writers, volunteers in all arenas, and social media experts would be invaluable.

Photo courtesy: Smiles Forever


Learn more about Trickle Up

1. Tell us about your mission.

Trickle Up’s mission is to help people living in extreme poverty and vulnerability advance their economic and social well-being. We reach the extreme poor, those living on less than $1.90 a day, who are most economically and socially excluded across rural Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These include women, people with disabilities, refugees and other vulnerable people who live beyond the reach of most organizations and social service programs.

We use the Trickle Up Graduation Approach, a proven method for building livelihoods and inclusion for the extreme poor. It is a targeted combination of coaching and livelihoods training, seed capital for starting a microenterprise, and involvement in savings groups that serve as a source of financial and social capital.

We drive large-scale by partnering with governments, global institutions, and local organizations to increase the impact of our work.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation is currently supporting a Trickle Up project advising the World Bank, governments, and local NGOs in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal on how to help women and households create sustainable livelihoods.

We are helping our partners design effective programming, develop training manuals and tools adapted to each country’s local context, and increase their capacity to implement the Graduation Approach. Beyond these steps, we are rigorously evaluating the process and will consolidate and disseminate our learnings from the project to provide more effective programming globally.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation has been a generous supporter to Trickle Up since 1997 and, notably, was an early funder to Trickle Up in West Africa. The West Foundation’s willingness to fund early-stage programs, such as the opening of our West Africa program 15 years ago, has helped us reach the level we are at today in West Africa: working with partners including the World Bank and national governments and recognized worldwide for our commitment to serving those at the deepest levels of poverty and our expertise in developing and managing effective livelihoods and financial inclusion programs.

The West Foundation’s trust and support over the years has been instrumental to our ability to help tens of thousands of women build the skills, resources, and confidence they need to sustain better lives for their families.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

In 2019, we worked in 19 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We have permanent offices in New York, Guatemala, and India, and work through a mix of long-term partnerships where we directly support implementation and capacity building relationships where we provide technical advice to larger partners. Some highlights of our work in the past year:

– Vulnerable populations: Working with governments and institutional partners, we are helping women, youth, people with disabilities, refugees, and indigenous people overcome barriers to opportunity, learning how anti-poverty programs can become more relevant for each specific group, and demonstrating how we can work together to help them build sustainable livelihoods and become leaders in their communities.

– Climate change: We provide short-term recovery funds to help our families rebuild after natural disasters, and in the long-term, help them adapt and diversify their livelihoods to be more resilient to future climate catastrophes.

– Digital connections: We are investing in digital initiatives to help us adapt to the needs of the poorest in a post-COVID world and take our program to the next level of impact. We apply mobile tools to every dimension of Trickle Up’s work – program, operations, finance, communications – but we aim to do more.

– Building local capacity: We are helping governments around the world adopt the savings and coaching methodologies that are central to our Graduation Approach so that they can continue implementing without long-term Trickle Up support.

– Efficiency & effectiveness: Charity Navigator once again rated Trickle Up as a four-star charity, its top designation, reflecting for our commitment to financial efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

To get an idea of our impact:

– 86% of our participants “graduate” based on a suite of metrics showing that the household has a sustainable income source to support a satisfactory quality of life.

– 91% of recent participants have savings equivalent to three-plus months of household expenses.

– 83% of participants reported improvements in household food security.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

The public health, economic, and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are challenges to virtually every individual and community on the planet. The negative impacts will fall hardest on those who have always struggled to overcome extreme poverty, vulnerability, marginalization, and powerlessness. With 150 million more people expected to fall into extreme poverty as a direct result of the pandemic, Trickle Up’s work is more important than ever.

Over the past eight months, we have completed two phases of assessments and are using these results to adjust programs and projects. Our savings groups are continuing to function, though adaptations like reducing the size of group meetings, social distancing, using digital apps to meet virtually. We are expanding training and resources on growing home gardens, which provide a critical lifeline that allows people to continue feeding their families, and even support neighbors, with fresh food while markets are shut down. We are also developing more targeted market assessments adapted to a socially distanced world and using new digital tools are helping us stay in touch with participants, savings groups, and coaches.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Go to trickleup.org/donate to make a gift about Trickle Up or learn more about our work. The skills that Trickle Up fosters – managing a business, planning for the future, building confidence, and mobilizing women’s voices within their households and communities – have never been more important.

With 41 years of experience and trusted relationships with our participants and partners, we stand ready to help people restore the livelihoods that Trickle Up had helped them establish. Our partners and field staff are helping ensure that Trickle Up participants have access to relief programs providing food, supplies, and other necessities, and have accurate information in local languages. As we have done before, we will help our participants rebuild their savings, access government and other resources, and adapt to evolving rules and norms in their communities.

For the thousands of families that Trickle Up has helped escape extreme poverty, the current threat is clear: The coronavirus pandemic could force them back down to their pre-Trickle Up poverty level. We are determined not to let that happen. Help us, by making a gift today.


Photo courtesy: Trickle Up

Learn more about Building Tomorrow

1. Tell us about your mission.

Founded in 2006, Building Tomorrow’s mission is to galvanize communities to support thriving schools in underserved areas in Uganda and ensure all children can access an inclusive, transformative education. A thriving school is one which is supported by the community, effectively managed by school leadership, accessible by all children, and committed to producing positive student outcomes. With the support of 150 Ugandan university graduates recruited as Building Tomorrow Fellows and a corps of more than 3,400 Community Education Volunteers (CEVs, see below), we have brought 55,143 out-of-school children back to school, built 81 primary schools, and drastically improved learning outcomes for 13,001 primary learners through our remedial literacy and numeracy program, Roots to Rise. This is all happening in a country that is experiencing its worst education crisis in a generation, with 1.2 million children out of school even before the COVID-19 pandemic (UNESCO and UNICEF, 2013). Primary school completion rates in Uganda are among the lowest in East Africa; only 35% of children will complete the full seven years of primary education. Most worryingly, of those children who attend school, only 6% of Primary 4 students can read a paragraph, and only 2% can solve a simple math problem. These troubling statistics are at the core of why we seek to unite school and community actors in pursuit of better learning outcomes for all children.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a dedicated partner since 2013, generously providing biennial, unrestricted operational support for our programs. Though the scope of our work has evolved since 2013, The West Foundation has been steadfast in their commitment to our shared vision of a world where every child can access their full potential through a quality education.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is the West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Education is a global public good, and when adequately supported, creates a healthier and more prosperous society. The focus of our work has always been to ensure education is supported in the communities we serve and that our impact long outlives our programs.

Partners like The West Foundation help us to implement sustainable models, engage local community stakeholders and build their capacity to support access to quality education for their children. Our CEV program, for example, is comprised of some 3,400 parents, retired civil servants, and talented community leaders who wish to serve as a lasting voice for quality education in their communities. CEVs are empowered with valuable skills and an official platform through which they can effect positive change, and we have seen firsthand that CEVs can and will champion education long after our programs end.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

COVID-19 is exacerbating an already precarious education situation in Uganda, where nearly 1.2 million students were out of school and learning outcomes were severely lacking even before the pandemic struck. Today, some 20 million children across the country remain out of school, which is likely to continue until at least early 2021. The longer children are out of school, the more learning gains are lost. The international community recognizes the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 can only be fully reversed when education is a central part of the response, which is why we are scaling our efforts and launching the Tomorrow is Now initiative. The ultimate goals of Tomorrow is Now are to enroll all out-of-school primary children in school in five districts and to ensure they are up to grade level in literacy and numeracy. This initiative builds on achievements of the Thriving Schools program, which is a community-centered initiative led by Building Tomorrow Fellows and CEVs aimed at providing primary-age students with access to a thriving school. Tomorrow is Now will take place parallel to Thriving Schools by creating opportunities for local government – with the support of Building Tomorrow Fellows Alumni as Technical Advisors – to expand the reach of the CEV model and Roots to Rise program, thus making the program even more scalable and sustainable. This initiative is a massive undertaking, but the future of some 20 million students depends on us and other organizations setting the bar high to create a sea change.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Building Tomorrow’s work is continually inspired and informed by the communities we serve and partner with. We are locally led, as 70 of our 75 staff are East African. Everything we do is in close partnership with the Ugandan government because we believe it is the most sustainable way to enact systems-level change and scale efforts that are visibly improving learning outcomes for children.

6. How can people reading this help you?

The belief that we achieve more together than we can alone is at the heart of our work, which is why we are constantly looking to add new members to the Building Tomorrow fan club! Check out some ways you can join the team and support our work:

  • Network
    • Do you know some folks who might really like the work we’re doing and want to get involved? If so, we’d love to meet them and hope you’ll encourage them to drop us a note at info@buildingtomorrow.org.
  • Partner with Us
    • Our work comprises many components to improve student outcomes. In addition to the above, we also focus on making education more inclusive for some of the most vulnerable, including those with disabilities. We are currently busy adapting our Roots to Rise program for distance learning and working to develop Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) capabilities to bring learning to some of our most vulnerable out-of-school children. To learn more about areas for potential partnerships, please check out our website!
  • Join the Ambassador’s Council
    • The Ambassador’s Council is a group of motivated and passionate young professionals in the Indianapolis area who garner support for Building Tomorrow just because they want to! Click here if you’d like to learn more.
  • Become an Intern
    • Want to go a step beyond classic volunteering, and really contribute your time and talents to a specific project or two? If so, interning might be for you! Send us a note at info@buildingtomorrow.org.
  • Fundraise
    • Any contribution, no matter the size, will make an impact! You could donate for your birthday, organize a virtual 5K, or partner with a local restaurant for a dine and donate night – totally up to you! If you need help getting started, just reach out and we’d be happy to brainstorm the next best COVID-19 friendly fundraising opportunity.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We are working to achieve systems-level change, and our ambition is to eliminate all out-of-school children and help transform the way students learn in Uganda. Before COVID-19 struck, we had enrolled 55,000 learners through our Thriving Schools Program. Millions of children remain out of school as we write this, and we recognize how daunting this goal now seems – but this is why we rely on strategic partners to help us create expansive impact by investing heavily in local communities, teachers, and change-makers. We are always looking to add more partners like The West Foundation to our portfolio, partners who share in our vision and continually support our ambitious endeavors.

Photo courtesy: Building Tomorrow

Learn more about Care 2 Communities

1. Tell us about your mission.

Care 2 Communities (C2C) has created a new approach for community healthcare delivery in Haiti: we’ve combined a sustainable social enterprise model with philanthropy and a partnership with the Ministry of Health to deliver affordable, high-quality primary care in underserved communities. Our innovative approach effectively addresses a decades old challenge in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, where primary health care quality and accessibility are inconsistent and severely lacking.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

With the support of The West Foundation, C2C works to demonstrate significant strides towards our three central goals:

  • To guarantee that poor families are able to access high-quality health services
  • To improve health outcomes for local communities
  • To create viable social businesses that ensure health services to a community for the long term

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

As C2C expands its clinic network, we are constantly asking the question: are our efforts making an impact on the health of the communities we serve? To answer this question, we developed an initial Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework which was greatly supported by the West Foundation. We have since further structured our plan based on a detailed results framework to fully develop and implement the tools and processes needed to measure the specific indicators we have identified to reduce morbidity and mortality of adults and children in North and Northeast Haiti.

As sustainability is a core component of our model, C2C believes that providing high quality healthcare at an affordable price creates a predictable and manageable revenue source that ensures sustainability of services. We are proud to say our clinics have already achieved over 80% cost recovery on average (up from less than 70% just 2 years ago).

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Our unique model is delivering results. The momentum is building from our Public Private Partnership (PPP) as Haiti’s Ministry of Health has seen our success at improving efficiency and quality of care. C2C’s is now transitioning to scale with plans to rehabilitate 3-5 additional government clinics by year-end 2021. With our proven model and a very satisfied partner, C2C has a clear path to scale by taking on many more government clinics.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Our commitment to local capacity building and staffing. 95% of our staff is Haitian and based in-country. We also make every effort to procure supplies and equipment locally.

6. How can people reading this help you?

  • Learn more about C2C’s work to bring high-quality primary care to Haiti
  • Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date with how C2C is delivering quality primary care to vulnerable communities
  • Make a lifesaving donation or start a campaign of your own to support one of our many new or ongoing programs
  • Take action by helping us spread awareness of the need for quality healthcare in Haiti

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

With the success of our model, C2C is getting ready to scale but our only constraint is funding to commit to clinic expansion. While our social enterprise model lessens donor burden, philanthropic funds are needed to cover start-up clinic rehabilitation and operating costs. We welcome partnerships to expand our mission and work in Haiti!

Photo caption: Care 2 Communities

Learn more about H2O for Life

1. Tell us about your mission.

H2O for Life offers a service-learning opportunity designed to engage, educate and inspire

youth to take action to solve the global water crisis by raising awareness and funds to support

implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH) projects for global partner


H2O for Life activates U.S. youth to fight the global water crisis. We do this by engaging and

educating youth about water issues and the water crisis and they implement local actions and

lead service-learning projects that bring awareness and funding for WASH projects for schools

around the world.

H2O for Life’s unique program allows U.S. youth to be key partners in promoting solutions for

clean water locally and for their peers around the world. Through activities and projects, such

as “walks for water,” youth raise money to support clean water projects. H2O for Life’s student

to student, school to school approach allows youth to recognize that they can change the lives

of others around the world.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Thanks to the generosity of The West Foundation, H2O for Life has been able to continue

pursuing and amplifying our mission to impact youth around the world. The West Foundation’s

support allows us to increase our recruitment of U.S. schools, teachers, and students, and helps

us create new educational resources for our stakeholders. The materials that we have created

broaden the impact of water resource conservation education around the nation.

H2O for Life involves students and educators in the design and dissemination of innovative and

compelling service-learning projects that raise awareness and funds to support WASH for our

global partner schools. These service-learning projects usually entail engaging the larger school

community in the conversations of water conservation and access. The more people that our

youth service-learning projects reach, the more assistance we can provide to schools in need

around the world. West Foundation’s support has been critical to increasing out impact.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is the West Foundation’s

philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation’s support with a two-year grant helped us become more sustainable and

allowed us to plan better for the future and be nimble when we needed to be. This spring when

Covid-19 spread throughout the world, H2O for Life was ready and adjusted quickly to the new

reality of distance learning. Our staff created new virtual tools and action activities that could

be done by individual students and shared with their school teams. Multi-year funding is critical

for the sustainability of nonprofits nationwide.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

This year has been a challenging year for everyone and especially for educators and global

humanitarians. There have been so many unforeseen and sudden challenges since the

beginning of the pandemic. However, we have been able to navigate and pivot to better meet

the needs of our stakeholders.

We have realized the importance of having easily accessible online educational materials for

students and teachers, so we have created an online program, “Water Guardians” that is

launching this school year focused on water scarcity and the conservation of water for grades 5-

8 that will inspire students to change their behavior and become champions of water and role

models for peers, parents and the community.

We have also recognized that there are certain communities that have been hit especially hard

by the pandemic, so we have focused a lot of energy and focus on projects in areas like the

Navajo Nation.

H2O for Life has always been able to help others learn about and engage with issues that are far

away. Now more than ever we need to be willing to learn about and help others at a safe

distance. We have the potential to keep teaching about the global water crisis and keep fighting

for clean water and sanitation at a time when people are realizing how desperately important

those issues are.

We have seen that students who participate in H2O for Life’s U.S. programs gain a personal

connection to the importance of water, cultural competency, and empowerment to be agents

of change. U.S. students develop critical thinking, problem solving ability, and project

management expertise. These skills are crucial for success in school and future careers.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

We would like people to know that the work we do is not just about water. Our organization

might be called H2O for Life, but water is simply the start of the conversation. What we do is

teach students about the importance of being aware of global issues and to care about how

those issues impact other people just like them. What our students learn is that water connects

to education, public health, economic prosperity, gender inequality, poverty, environmental

sustainability, and these issues impact people throughout their life. H2O is the start of our

organization’s name, but the “for Life” part is what we are all about.

History has shown us that youth education and activation are the most effective tools in driving

long-term change. H2O for Life is educating a generation of global citizens who are bettering

the world.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Since 2007, H2O for Life has educated and impacted over 723,000 U.S. youth about the global

water crisis who have raised over $3.7 million for nearly 1,000 water, sanitation, and hygiene

education projects for schools in the developing world helping over 414,000 global students

have clean water and sanitation.

Still, nearly half of the world’s schools lack clean drinking water, toilets, and hand-washing

facilities, putting millions of children at risk of disease. The problem is immense, and we need

to scale our work to solve the water crisis. If you are…

• A parent, prompt the idea to your student’s teacher about connecting with H2O for Life.

• An educator, consider bringing our program into your classroom.

• A student, bring our service project to your student council.

• A donor, please consider supporting our work! The ripple effects of donations spread

further than you think!

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

H2O for Life would like every student in the world have access to clean water, sanitation, and

hygiene by 2030. With climate change, population growth, and other factors putting pressure

on water resources around the world, it is imperative that we teach young people about the

importance of water conservation and water quality and empower them to be leaders of


H2O for Life is inspiring students to be global citizens and leaders in their community through

taking local and global actions around water. But we need help to reach more students who can

impact their local community and raise funds to provide WASH to those in need around the

world. Please check out our website and resources at h2oforlifeschools.org and get involved.

Photo courtesy: H2O for Life

Learn more about Hesperian Health Guides

1. Tell us about your mission.

Hesperian Health Guides addresses urgent, emerging, and primary health needs, structural inequalities, and their root causes together with the people most directly affected. Our mobile apps, digital, and print tools help individuals and communities around the world take action and work to eliminate the underlying causes of poor health.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation’s grant support to Hesperian enables us to create, user-test, release, and distribute materials and health guides across issue areas of critical importance to physical and psychological well-being, including environmental health, workers’ health and safety, reproductive health, living with chronic illness and disabilities, children’s and primary health care. The Foundation also serves an invaluable role as a thought partner and connector.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation’s philanthropic support funds comprehensive, multilingual resources, such as Hesperian’s signature project, NEW Where There Is No Doctor. Institutional and individual donors often focus on a single disease, health issue, or country. The Foundation’s flexibility makes it possible for us to respond quickly to developments impacting people’s health and well-being, while maintaining momentum with our partners on multiple projects simultaneously.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Hesperian’s 300 health resources are available in over 85 languages. Our materials are used by millions of people annually in 221 countries and territories.

Hesperian collaborates with thousands of community health workers, peer promoters, medical professionals, movement leaders, and organizers worldwide. We partner with respect for the knowledge, skills, priorities, opportunities, and constraints that individuals and organizations possess. Together, we develop, publish, and share vital, user-centered information that is culturally appropriate and action-oriented.

Our approach to ensuring that all people have accessible, up-to-date health information is distinguished by:

  1. Clear language and illustrations in our world-renowned style with translations by native speakers skilled in presenting health information in easily understood terms.
  2. Harm reduction alternatives when the best response is just not possible.
  3. Global partner networks at the international, regional, national, and community levels nurtured with care over more than 40 years that facilitate rapid delivery of our life-saving information to the most vulnerable communities, hard to reach populations, and geographically remote regions.
  4. A trusted global brand to counter the infodemic of health rumors, hoaxes, fake treatments, and “cures” spread online and person-to-person in the absence of reliable, relatable health information.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Hesperian produces and shares easy-to-understand health information for people worldwide.

Hesperian strives for a world in which people and communities are equipped to achieve health for all. Our mission is to provide information and educational tools that help all people take greater control over their health and work to eliminate the underlying causes of poor health.

Hesperian’s long-term goal is Health for All, a systemic change that eliminates health disparities based on gender, sexual identity, ancestry, religion, disability, age, or citizenship. We will know that our vision is realized when individual and collective agency enables all people worldwide to address urgent, emerging, and primary health needs and their root causes effectively without fear of violence or other reprisal.

A woman-led organization since 1996, nearly all Hesperian’s small, dedicated staff have advanced technical skills, as well as organizing or advocacy experience related to one or more of our issues. Among others, we identify as women (82%), people of color (29%), and immigrants, members of immigrant households, or first-generation Americans (41%). Our staff includes bicultural/bilingual speakers of Chinese, French, and Spanish. Most of the native English speakers are proficient in one or more additional languages.

6. How can people reading this help you?

For over 45 years, Hesperian has worked a movement builder for social justice, to create a world where everyone has access to knowledge for action and can take action for health.

Here are three powerful ways to join us:

Use Hesperian’s mobile apps, digital, and print resources. Share them widely with your personal and professional networks. Many are free.

Partner with us through your organization or as an individual to translate, update, or test materials to ensure they are accurate and easy-to-use.

Tell the world your story and amplify our call for Health for All Now!

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

People’s ongoing health needs do not disappear when other health problems, like the COVID-19 pandemic, arise. They become more challenging and more essential to resolve than ever. COVID-19 made Hesperian adjust our operations, develop a new area of work to address the virus, and recalibrate our work plan.

Hesperian needs flexible short-term and multiyear funding to address three priorities, identified with our global partners, to mitigate the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living in the hardest hit communities:

  1. Developing and releasing free NEW Where There Is No Doctor mental health modules in digital and PDF formats in multiple languages, including mental health. Hesperian is creating four chapters on mental health that will cover: 1) mental health promotion; 2) substance abuse; 3) trauma; and 4) perinatal depression.
  2. Expanding, translating, and promoting our Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety to ensure that labor leaders, organizers, peer promoters, and clinicians are equipped to effectively advocate, counsel or treat women in low-wage industries who are experiencing a “double pandemic.” Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation praised the first edition as “an incredibly practical, respectful resource…Full of accurate technical information and motivational stories.” This project takes a major step toward ensuring that low-wage workers, especially women, have the information they need to take action to protect their health— and can do so without fear of stigma, marginalization, or danger of violent reprisal.
  3. Continuing to get reliable COVID-19 information to countries and areas in the United States where underfunded healthcare infrastructure makes adults and children especially vulnerable to infection, severe illness, and co-morbidities that increase the likelihood of long-term health problems or death.

Hesperian released a free, downloadable COVID-19 Fact Sheet in early March. After enlisting over 40 partners, it is now available in 31 languages and formatted for accessibility to people with reading impairments. People in 163 countries and all 50 US states engage with it directly online. International organizations, including Communicating with Disaster-Affected Communities (CDAC) Network, Clean Clothes Campaign, and World Association of Medical Editors, link to it on their websites. So do public agencies, libraries, health associations, service providers, advocacy organizations, and media outlets across the US. In the past two months, more than 45,000 people have viewed this information on Hesperian’s website.

In May and June, we released additional resources requested by our partners with translations completed or underway in 20 languages:

  • Is your sickness COVID-19?
  • Staying well in the time of coronavirus
  • Caring for a sick person at home
  • Breathing
  • Health protection and security for protest marches
  • Making masks, face shields, handwash stations, hand sanitizer, and soap
  • Managing stress and anger

We regularly hear that these resources are transformational from people as geographically dispersed and culturally different as a doctor treating her patients in a family clinic in Zimbabwe to an advocate for indigenous migrant workers and their relatives in an isolated Mexican valley to the medical staff at a major public hospital in the US. Working with our translation partners, Hesperian will continue to update them, adding new languages, and ensuring that the content is consistent with the most current information and medical guidance.

Photo courtesy: Hesperian Health Guides


Learn more about Mali Health

1. Tell us about your mission.

Mali Health improves maternal and child health by supporting women, communities, and the community health system to create local solutions that ensure every mother and child has access to high-quality primary care.   

 2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

We are proud to call The West Foundation a partner and supporter. Not only is the philanthropic support needed and helpful, but we most appreciate being able to work with a partner who is aligned with our values. We believe in building local, bottom-up leadership, and in doing our work in a durable and equitable way. Being able to discuss the challenges we face, and have a partner truly understand them, makes such a difference in our ability to pursue our mission.

 3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation has been a long-term partner who shares our values of supporting community ownership and leadership of solutions to eliminate poverty and improve health. Creating more equitable community-led health systems, and putting women at the heart of them, takes time and the flexibility to adapt to local needs. Unrestricted support from the West Foundation allows us to be adaptive, by allowing us to meet the greatest needs. Their partnership allows us to be a better partner.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

We work with thousands of families across peri-urban communities in Bamako, using four different strategies to improve health. We have worked with communities to find effective solutions for over a decade and now that we have, we are looking for ways to sustain the impact of those solutions with local leadership and local financing. This is a challenging, long-term, and non-linear pursuit, but the one that is necessary and in our experience, the best way to ensure that every mother and child has access to quality healthcare, always.

 5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Everything we achieve is through a partnership with marginalized communities. We believe in strengthening existing community health systems by building local leadership and resources. We are guided by community priorities and community needs, not our own models and methods. 

Many look at the families and communities we serve and find them too poor to be active participants, often regarding them as the passive recipients of services only. We respect the agency and voice of all those with whom we work, and we support them in their desire to improve their communities and health. We believe that community ownership and leadership, especially among the most marginalized, is the key to achieving health for all in Mali’s decentralized health system.

 6. How can people reading this help you?

At the moment, donations are our greatest need. Responding to COVID-19 has required us to stretch in a lot of ways, including financially. We have had to spend less time fundraising and more time responding to ensure that the mothers and children we serve do not lose access to healthcare at this critical time. There is so much uncertainty for Mali and the world, but we are trying to prepare for whatever may be ahead. Buying a bar of our soap is another great way to support our mission, share the story of women we serve, and ensure that we all stay healthy during this pandemic.

 7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?  

We need more partners like The West Foundation! Not only is there a need for more funders to operate in true partnership with flexibility and trust, but there is a great need for funders who look at the impact a bit differently and put the needs of communities ahead of metrics, ideology, or marketing. For The West Foundation, good development is truly about the impact, and we truly need more partners like them.

Photo courtesy: Mali Health

Learn more about Nurturing Minds

1.Tell us about your mission.

Nurturing Minds’ mission is to support quality education, life skills, and entrepreneurship to help vulnerable girls in Tanzania become leaders in their communities. Nurturing Minds achieves its mission through the development and support of the SEGA Girls’ School, a secondary, boarding school that improves the quality of life for vulnerable Tanzanian girls.

Nurturing Minds and the SEGA Girls’ School address the issue of inequitable access to and poor quality of education opportunities for Tanzanian girls, especially the poorest, as SEGA targets girls who are out-of-school, extremely poor, are often orphaned, and/or subject to exploitative forms of child labor. SEGA was established with a purpose of improving the quality of life for vulnerable Tanzanian girls through the construction and running of a quality, academically sound, sustainable, secondary girls’ boarding school that fosters the development of strong values, life skills, healthy self-esteem, and independent thinking skills among its students. The majority of SEGA students were forced to drop-out of school due to extreme poverty, or were deemed at-risk of dropping out, but are bright and motivated. Selected from over 20 different communities from throughout Tanzania, half of the girls are orphans and most come from families who are too poor to pay the school fees necessary for them to enter secondary school.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has supported Nurturing Minds since 2015 by initially providing funding for SEGA’s Career Preparedness Program that was at the time fairly new. The goal of this program, which focuses on Form IV students who are in their last year of secondary school, is to ensure that each student has an individual plan following her graduation and is prepared to continue working toward her goal of leading a healthy, financially self-sufficient, and fulfilling life. The Career Preparedness Program helps students apply to continuing education, places students in internships, offers an entrepreneurship certificate, and assists with job placement. This program is critical to the success of our students making a smooth transition from SEGA to further education and employment. Since that time, The West Foundation has provided unrestricted funding that aids in the running costs of the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School and provides basic needs and a safe environment for girls to have the opportunity for academic success.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

SEGA uses a holistic approach to education that encompasses academic, social, and mental factors to help girls escape exploitation and have the communication and leadership skills to stand up for themselves. In addition to a rigorous academic program, SEGA teaches computer literacy; environmental stewardship; life skills that teach public speaking, self-awareness, sexual reproductive health and human rights; career counseling that aids in the transition from secondary school to continued education or employment; and entrepreneurship training where students learn business creation, marketing, management skills, and customer service.

The West Foundation helped us grow at a critical time allowing us to double our class size and increase our presence in the community. We now support 260 girls per year on the school campus and nearly 600 girls (and growing!) in our Msichana Kisasa (Modern Girl) Community Outreach program that brings our life skills program to girls in communities throughout Tanzania with an aim to keep girls in school and help to avoid early marriage and early pregnancy.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Tanzania has one of the lowest secondary school enrollment rates and one of the highest dropout rates for girls. Although the secondary school enrollment rate is similar for girls and boys, retention drops off significantly for girls as they reach adolescence, mainly because of a high rate of teenage pregnancy, pressure for young girls to get married, a lack of adequate toilet facilities, and high levels of sexual harassment at school. In addition, financial barriers to attending school and deeply entrenched gender roles relegate girls to domestic duties.

SEGA removes barriers to education and impacts students’ lives by providing a quality academic education while nurturing each girl toward being an empowered young woman, capable of planning and shaping her own future. SEGA has demonstrated that poor girls, given basic needs, safety, and remedial learning can have academic success. Seven classes of students have graduated with very high pass levels (97-100% compared to 70% nationally). In 2020, 100% of graduates were eligible to go on to continuing education programs in nursing, teaching, business, non-profit management, and A-levels (an additional two years of advanced level high school required to enter university). Currently, 16 SEGA graduates attend university. Continuing education scholarships are provided for every SEGA student who chooses to pursue that path.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

SEGA has a major effect on its students in knowing their human rights, being able to speak knowledgeably and confidently, and teaching them a range of skill sets that help them tackle the myriad societal issues affecting their lives negatively. Each girl who passes through SEGA’s program graduates knowing that she has the same intrinsic value and the same rights as anyone else on this earth.

6. How can people reading this help you?

  • Visit the school and stay at the SEGA Lodge!
    • We are unique in that we offer accommodations for up to 24 people on our 30-acre campus that is securely protected by a gated, supervised entrance and fenced perimeter. Visitors are encouraged to share your skills and expertise with SEGA students such as computer training, media projects, arts/crafts, or sustainable farming. In return, SEGA students will give you lessons in preparing Tanzanian snacks, traditional dancing, and engage in storytelling and debate. Revenue from the Lodge provides a critical element to SEGA’s financial sustainability goals.
    • https://www.nurturingmindsinafrica.org/involved/#stay-at-sega
  • Sponsor a SEGA student.
    • Sponsoring a student at SEGA is a meaningful way to support our important work and connect with and follow the progress of one SEGA student. It provides a scholarship for their education and gives you first-hand experience seeing how your contribution to the school is making a difference, offers a cultural exchange and helps girls improve their English. Committing to 4 years is a great and stable way for the girls to get to know their sponsors, and also for you to cheer them on throughout their time at SEGA.
    • https://www.nurturingmindsinafrica.org/donate/#sponsor
  • Donate
    • Whether you choose to make a general donation, or contribute to our student sponsorship program, we are committed to keeping you informed about how your support is making a difference.
    • https://www.nurturingmindsinafrica.org/donate
  • Volunteer
    • In Tanzania
      • Volunteering at SEGA is a great way to have a positive impact on the lives of every student at the school. We offer week-long or three-month service learning opportunities for volunteers that offer capacity-building skills such as English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Marketing and Communications.
    • In the U.S.
      • Your help is critical to our success! There are many ways to volunteer with Nurturing Minds to feel connected to SEGA and the students. Join (or start) a regional chapter, become a school partner by starting a SEGA club at your school. Engage your church or community group to become involved.
    • https://www.nurturingmindsinafrica.org/involved

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Our deepest need is financial support for salaries and training for SEGA’s 22 teachers.

The SEGA School’s academic success depends on well-educated and highly qualified teachers and teacher-training. Throughout Tanzania, insufficient investment in the educational system has resulted in extremely high failure rates due to poorly trained teachers and a Tanzanian pedagogy that stresses top-down, rote memorization. This has created a barrier to advancing education across the country.

SEGA knows that its teachers are the glue that holds the school together and are the role models who inspire our students. SEGA does its best to select and retain strong, qualified teachers who adhere to a participatory approach to education. They are supported through ongoing teacher training and peer observation, encouraged to continually provide input to improve the school, and given a competitive salary in an effort to reduce a traditionally high teacher turnover rate.

Photo courtesy: Nurturing Minds


Learn more about ASAP Empowers

1. Tell us about your mission.

A Self-help Assistance Program’s (ASAP) mission is to cultivate self-reliance for women and youth through entrepreneurship and education projects and to foster cross-cultural understanding. For nearly thirty years ASAP has created and implemented projects that have helped over 100,000 families worldwide become self-reliant. This is achieved by collaborating locally and internationally with other NGOS, individuals, companies, and foundations.

Today, Tools for Empowerment (TFE) in Newnan GA, works to provide trade tool kits to vocational school graduates around the world.  These young women and men graduate with the knowledge and drive to succeed in their respective trades; but without tools oftentimes they are still unable to find independence. Working in partnership with The Salesian Missions of Don Bosco, who provide vocational skills training in 130 developing countries, ASAP collects and restores local tool donations for use by successful graduates. These young people are then able to practice their trade, provide for their families, rebuild their communities, and reap the emotional benefits of independence. To date, ASAP has provided tools to over 1,600 students in Haiti, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.

Currently, we are collecting and restoring tools for a new collaboration in Peru. Our volunteers remain diligent in preparing these kits for young women and men in an effort to promote self-reliant communities in this part of the world.

We also practice what we preach and work to generate program-related income for ASAP. Our longest-running endeavor, “Tinovaka” (‘We build’ in the Shona language), was a carpentry-with-production training center in Zimbabwe. Local residents gained training in carpentry while building school furniture kits that were later purchased by international donors for use in rural schools. This project covered overhead costs for ASAP for ten years while providing training and tools for over 100 carpenters annually. Further, these schools benefitted from both the new furniture as well as the local carpentry expertise to maintain furniture and school buildings in their remote rural area.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation was essential in providing vital funding for our Tools for Empowerment program. Since the initial grant, ASAP has gone on to help over 1,600 families worldwide. In addition to this assistance and program, The West Foundation has also driven our marketing strategy and helped us increase recognition within our community.

 3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

While tool donations help us create tool kits for vocational school graduates, philanthropic support is equally as important to continue our mission. With your help, we are able to fund expenses such as purchasing cleaning materials to refurbish tools, pay for gas when picking up donations from the community, and providing our volunteers with a space to clean and package tools. These donations keep our program running so that we may focus on gathering the right tools for the right students.

 4. How are you realizing your potential?

ASAP has created multiple programs to foster self-sufficiency in communities plagued by poverty or a lack of opportunity. Our partnerships with international organizations help further our mission and TFE creates a tangible program both locally and internationally. We are constantly moving forward and helping those we can along the way.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

ASAP is a labor of love; working to bridge divides, foster cross-cultural understanding, and strengthen our common humanity. Only when we work together across cultures for a common goal can we achieve sustainable, positive change that overcome stereotypes, quell fear, and help create World Citizens.

6. How can people reading this help you?

You can go to our website, asapempowers.org and click-on “Ways to Help”. Anywhere in the world, you can hold a fund raiser to support our work. Be creative!  Dedicate your next marathon, bake sale, or event to help foster cross-cultural understanding and self-reliance. Choose Click & Pledge, Mighty Cause, GoFundMe, or Global Giving. Your tax-deductible monetary donation is welcomed too. If you are within driving distance to Newnan, GA or Peachtree City, GA – we can always use your tools or your time!  We accept hand tools, power tools, sewing machines, and gardening tools to name a few. Many of our volunteers hold tool drives in their neighborhoods, at churches, or within their businesses. At the very least, simply spreading the word about ASAP and our projects goes a long way in helping us connect with communities.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We desperately need a permanent place to call our own! We currently rent space in a warehouse that while allows our volunteers a workshop, is in a desolate location and just does not have the space or facilities we need to succeed (like running water!). Any donation towards this goal will go far in helping us root and grow within our community and help change lives worldwide – one tool at a time.

Learn more about blueEnergy

1. Tell us about your mission.

blueEnergy works to create a more equitable, sustainable world by empowering healthy families and resilient communities. We work in direct, long-term partnerships with communities in Nicaragua and Ethiopia to unlock leadership capacity and sustainable access to essential services in themes of renewable energy; food security; and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH). We work in an integrated and holistic manner.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The story of blueEnergy is ultimately told in two elements. First, our deep commitment to unlocking access to basic services in partnership with marginalized and vulnerable communities. We achieve this by supporting the development of leadership capacity within the communities, fostering cross-sectoral partnerships of action, and direct technical intervention delivery. Second, we believe deeply in projecting our success throughout our network. This takes the form of knowledge sharing, partnership with other organizations, capacity building, and promoting South-South collaboration. The West Foundation’s organic approach to funding gives us the mobility and agility to respond to timely needs both in our community development and global projection through knowledge sharing. Yet what truly sets The West Foundation as a leader in their space is the true partnership mentality. The Foundation actively promotes connections within their portfolio, germinates new ideas, and serves as a catalyst to ensure leaders within their portfolio are supported, engaged, and communicating.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Unrestricted funding is often the most difficult to secure. Unrestricted funding with an entire network of partnership and accompaniment is rarer even still. The West Foundation’s philanthropic support is difficult to value because the partnership with the Foundation implies more than just funding support. We are able to use the funds to support our most timely or difficult to fund challenges, which unlocks our internal ability to be sustainable, efficient, and responsive to the needs of communities that are marginalized and vulnerable. The willingness of Foundation staff to be a sounding board thought partner, and resource represents the magical X factor often lacking between Foundations and field partners. blueEnergy values the relationship, not just the funding, of The West Foundation deeply and that partnership represents a foundation to our success.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

blueEnergy has been working in Nicaragua for 15 years, unlocking access to basic services on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for some of the most vulnerable indigenous communities in the region in the themes of water, sanitation, and hygiene; renewable energy; and food security. Approximately five years ago, we began a long-term partnership in Ethiopia to serve renewable energy access needs, including in refugee camps. We continue to explore and look for opportunities to share our rich learnings, experience, and methodologies with our partners. While we formed to serve a very specific set of needs in Nicaragua, we have always prioritized our global knowledge sharing and over the past few years have begun orienting our international administrative structure to support that effort, supporting the evolution of local partners, professional networks, leadership capacity, and South-South knowledge sharing.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

We are, at our core, catalysts. We are intervention-agnostic and are always seeking growth, partnership, and innovation. We believe that bottom-up, decolonized, and sustainable development is achievable when you have a spectrum of actors who are working collaboratively to build a more sustainable, equitable world. While we use technical interventions as the vehicle to achieve that vision, at our core we unlock capacity within the community. While this work is slow, deliberate, and methodical, it is the true key to sustainable development and empowerment.

6. How can people reading this help you?

blueEnergy is always looking for partnerships. We are a small, agile organization deeply focused on investing our resources into our mission. As such, we actively seek to grow our network of supporters in a direct and organic manner. We are always excited about an opportunity to discuss our approach, methodology, tools, or resources and to learn from others in our network of influence. From donors to community members, we view our constituency as an interlocked network that must operate with transparency, integrity, and long-term commitment. We look forward to welcoming new people, such as yourself, into that network of action as we work to continue to empower healthy families and resilient communities.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Get the word out! We build our support through word-of-mouth, boots on the ground visits, and meaningful relationships.

Photo courtesy: blueEnergy

Learn more about ProLiteracy

1. Tell us about your mission.

Our mission is to change lives and communities through the power of adult literacy.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been collaborating with ProLiteracy for more than 20 years. Our relationship started in 1999 when this organization was known as Laubach Literacy International (LLI). Leadership from The West Foundation allowed ProLiteracy/LLI to launch our Women in Literacy initiative, which ultimately grew to reach to 125 grassroots partners in 65 countries. The West Foundation worked directly with the international division for many years and helped us not only financially but strategically in connecting with other NGO partner organizations such as Care International. The West Foundation has funded many international projects integrating literacy into various development areas such as health literacy, women’s economic empowerment, and human rights. Their hands-on approach and leadership have been invaluable in growing ProLiteracy’s international division.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation’s leadership and involvement over the past 20 years have helped ProLiteracy connect with other strategic partners both to leverage new streams of funding and to develop new programmatic initiatives such as our international intern/volunteer program as well as Women in Literacy.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

As an organization, ProLiteracy developed a Theory of Change and accompanying measures of impact to better understand how our work helps local programs. We have learned over the past few years that our reach is quite large, touching at least one million learners worldwide through our member programs and publishing customers. While we hope to maintain our reach, growing it to help even more literacy programs and learners is our true goal. To do that, we are solidifying partnerships that make teaching literacy easier, meeting new organizations external to literacy so new learners can be reached, and raising awareness of the issue so more learners and tutors step forward.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

We want others to know the importance of adult literacy and that it is truly one of the most solvable social issues that would make a major impact on the world. When adults go from low literate to literate, it has immense effects on their lives especially in the areas of personal and family economies—one report showed that learners who study for over 100 hours earn $10,000 more in a year than those who do not reach this milestone. Additionally, improved health is an area where we see change—low-literate adults have a hard time understanding health risks and precautionary measures. Imagine how real this issue is in the midst of a global pandemic. A more literate population can not only affect the public’s health but also public dollars as well.

6. How can people reading this help you?

If you are reading this and want to help, we can always use financial support, especially during this time when the pandemic has caused distance education to replace in-person instruction. ProLiteracy recently launched the Literacy Relief Fund, which will give digital education tools and books to local programs so they can continue working with adult learners. If financial support is not possible, we encourage you to consider being trained as a volunteer tutor or offering other help to a local program. In the U.S., you can check out the National Literacy Directory to find a local program or contact info@proliteracy.org for international contacts.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

As an organization working in adult literacy, we have a long list of needs. What would help us the most is for the general public to recognize that literacy is a basic human right. So often, people assume that all adults are literate, but 760 million adults around the world are not. To improve our society, we first need to recognize and examine the inequities that exist and why they exist. Then we need help to create and distribute tools—such as literacy education—so we can start to solve the problem. Literacy is a basic building block of education and communication, so the more people who understand that and support our work, the better off we will all be.

Photo courtesy: ProLiteracy

Learn more about Global Partnerships

Disclaimer: this is not an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities. Offers are made only following verification of eligibility and solely pursuant to a fund’s private offering materials.

1. Tell us about your mission.

Global Partnerships (GP) is a nonprofit, impact-first investor dedicated to expanding opportunity for people living in poverty. Our funds make loans and early stage investments in social enterprises delivering products and services that empower people to earn a living and improve their lives. Our investments seek social impact on four dimensions:

  • Broadening Opportunity: We have a holistic understanding of poverty, so we invest across all facets of poverty – livelihoods, education, energy, health, housing, and sanitation.
  • Deepening Inclusion: We invest at the edge of the market, emphasizing approaches that include people marginalized by depth of poverty, gender, and/or geography, including women and the rural poor.
  • Serving Millions: We believe that every person matters, and we aim to expand opportunity for as many people as possible. We therefore focus on sustainable approaches that can, over time, scale to serve millions of people living in poverty.
  • Improving Lives: We only invest where evidence convinces us that people living in poverty value the opportunity being delivered and are empowered by it – economically or otherwise – to improve their lives.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

For over a decade, The West Foundation’s support for GP has allowed us to grow and expand our work. That growth has expanded our impact significantly in service of our mission to expand opportunity for households living in poverty. As of June 30, 2020:

  • Our funds have deployed more than $441 million in cumulative impact-led capital to over 155 partners across 23 countries.
  • Our current fund portfolio of $122 million serves people living in poverty across 15 initiatives, from urban sanitation to women-centered finance with education.
  • Our efforts to provide economic opportunity, better health, cleaner energy, safer and more secure housing, and other human services have cumulatively impacted 19.3 million lives.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Philanthropic support from The West Foundation and other mission-driven supporters has strengthened our operations while allowing us to stretch to increase our impact. In recent years we have launched new investment funds, developed new initiatives to address the varied facets of poverty, increased our lending volume to social enterprises, and expanded into sub-Saharan Africa, all while building a sustainable staff structure to support those efforts.

GP also has a dedicated research and impact team that is largely funded by philanthropic support like that of The West Foundation. From researching new potential partners dedicated to social impact, to developing impact screening tools, our research and impact team continually enhances our ability to improve lives for people living in poverty.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

For 25 years, GP funds have invested in sustainable solutions that help impoverished people increase their incomes and improve their lives. During that time, we have continually reviewed and improved our approach. Our analysis starts from the household: what products and services are truly making a difference for people and families living in poverty? What social enterprises are providing those products and services affordably and at scale? Can GP help them do more?

We use leading-edge impact management tools, and we have a learning mindset. That means that we are constantly evolving to make sure we are meeting needs and striving toward our mission.

As the world is responding to the economic and health crisis posed by COVID-19, GP is committed to walking alongside our 80+ social enterprise partners and the millions of people living in poverty whom they serve. We hope to help our partners as they navigate through to the other side of this pandemic and emerge sustainable, resilient, and impactful for the long-term.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

GP is an impact-first investor, which means investing in a way that seeks the highest possible social impact, while seeking to preserve capital with a modest financial return for investors.

Impact-first investing is distinctly different from return-first investing, which seeks the highest possible financial return, often without consideration of social or environmental consequences, and from the broader definition of impact investing which seeks to offer market rate or near-market rate financial returns that can be a tradeoff to truly maximizing impact.

We believe that impact-first investing has an essential role to play in advancing sustainable solutions to poverty for millions of people worldwide.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Learn more about GP’s response to COVID-19 and about the investment initiatives GP develops to address different facets of poverty. If you are interested in making a philanthropic impact with GP, please contact us.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

GP is seeking catalytic philanthropic supporters to make five-year commitments to Global Partnerships. An impact-first approach to investment requires significant resources to ensure positive impact truly comes first. GP is more than 90 percent of the way toward our goal of raising $15 million in philanthropy over five years to support impact-first work related to the portfolio of our funds. For Global Partnerships, philanthropy is more than a donation. We are enormously grateful to The West Foundation for providing catalytic philanthropic support for over ten years.

Photo courtesy: Global Partnerships

Learn how Educate! is responding to a global pandemic

In a new article on Medium, Boris Bulayev, Educate! CEO & Co-Founder & Loren Crary, Educate! Director of Revenue Strategy share how their social enterprise is rethinking and reorganizing to survive the peak of the pandemic and thrive in the new world it creates.

Read the article here.


Learn more about MAP

1. Tell us about your mission.

MAP International provides high-quality medicines and health supplies to millions of the worlds

poorest, most vulnerable people so that they may experience life to the fullest.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Most recently, The West Foundation played a critical role by partnering with MAP to provide funding to help train and equip midwives in rural Liberia. One of the world’s poorest countries, Liberia also has one of the highest maternal/infant mortality rates. The MAP and West Foundation partnership has helped save lives and led to a decrease in the number of maternal/child deaths.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

By partnering with MAP to provide education and educational resources in some of the world’s poorest countries, the West Foundation is helping empower communities and creating lasting change for future generations.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Educating people is vital to the long-term health of any community — particularly in more remote, rural areas where medicines and trained caregivers are in short supply.

MAP International and its partners are providing both the critically needed education and the resources necessary to maintain and build healthier, more sustainable communities.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

We believe that all people should have access to life-changing, quality medicines and proper healthcare no matter where they were born or their financial circumstances. Worldwide, there are more than 2 billion people – most of whom are children – who do not have access to the most basic of medicines that we in the developed world take for granted. Through our work in 98 countries – many of them among the poorest in the world — MAP’s life-changing medicines and health supplies impact the lives of more than 13 million people annually.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Global health needs are tremendous, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic raging. MAP relies on the generous support of our donors to get lifesaving medicines and health supplies to where they are needed. When you hear about a natural disaster with survivors without access to clean water or hygiene supplies or people who are suffering from curable illnesses because they don’t have access to basic medicines, please consider making a gift to MAP International.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

As the worst global health crisis in living memory, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact in MAP’s work. We have received many emergency requests for personal protective equipment from healthcare providers and local governments in the United States and other countries around the world.

These emergency requests are in addition to our scheduled shipments of medicines and health supplies to countries in dire need. With medical mission teams unable to travel to areas decimated by coronavirus, MAP is also sending more medicines and health supplies to our existing partners on the ground to fill that gap.

With no definitive end to the pandemic in sight, MAP continues to respond to these increased demands. But to do so, we need more funding to cover these emergency shipments and the additional medicines we are sending.

Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated and will help bring health and hope to a world in desperately in need of both. Please visit www.map.org to learn more.


Photo courtesy: MAP

Learn more about mothers2mothers

1.Tell us about your mission.

mothers2mothers (m2m) is an Africa-based non-governmental organization (NGO) with a simple and effective mission – to ensure healthy, thriving families and an end to pediatric AIDS. Our success and impact are rooted in the Mentor Mother Model of peer mentorship, role modelling, and high-impact interventions. We train and employ local women living with HIV, often society’s most marginalized population, as Mentor Mothers,—frontline health workers who educate and support women and their families to access healthcare, initiate any care they need, and adhere to their treatments. Our evidence-based programs are designed to reach, educate, and engage the most vulnerable women, children, and families, strengthen public health systems, and catalyze the achievement of the UNAIDS 95-95-95 Fast Track Targets for HIV epidemic control as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Since 2001, m2m Mentor Mothers have provided life-saving services to more than 11 million women and children under two years of age, and by virtually eliminating pediatric AIDS among our clients for the last six years, have contributed to the reduction of pediatric HIV in the countries in which we operate. From a single site in Cape Town, South Africa, we have expanded our footprint across sub-Saharan Africa, created jobs for more than 11,000 women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers, and empowered millions more women to actively drive positive health outcomes for themselves and their families. From an initial focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, m2m now delivers a range of services including early childhood development, adolescent health, screenings for malaria and tuberculosis, and support for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), to ensure the whole community not only survives, but thrives.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a dedicated m2m partner since 2013, recognizing the game-changing role of Mentor Mothers at the heart of addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing families in sub-Saharan Africa. Its President and Executive Director, Emily West, has been an important advocate on behalf m2m’s belief in the power of mothers to ensure healthy, thriving families, and end pediatric AIDS.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation supports m2m by providing us with the most valuable grants possible, the unrestricted funding which affords us the flexibility and trust needed to be creative in program design, while allowing us to cover both programmatic and operational expenses. As an organization that prioritizes the social and economic mobility of women, their families, and communities, The West Foundation gives m2m the mobility to allocate funds where the needs are more urgent and greatest, which in turn ensures the sustainability of our programs across Africa.

The importance of unrestricted funding has never been more apparent than now, as m2m pivots to address the double pandemics of HIV and COVID-19. Our recently launched “Virtual Mentor Mother” platform allows us to deliver a sophisticated virtual system for providing emergency COVID-19 interventions in addition to our in-person core m2m health services.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Since its infancy, m2m has consistently made measurable strides in reaching its mission to eliminate pediatric HIV and create health and hope in the families and communities we serve. Within the last year we have launched programs in three new countries—Angola, Ghana, and Tanzania—bringing our total countries of operation to ten.

In 2019, we enrolled almost 1 million new clients, and reached 27% more adolescents and 20% more children compared to 2018. Just 0.08% of pregnant or breastfeeding women who were HIV-negative when enrolled in m2m’s program contracted HIV in 2019, which is 45 times lower than a 2020 estimate of the rate across sub-Saharan Africa (3.6%).  95% of our clients reported consistent condom use, up from 68% in 2018. 97% of infants born to HIV-positive mothers received anti-retroviral drops, a key preventative measure, up from 90% in 2018. And 84% of children born to an HIV-positive mother received a final HIV test between 18 – 24 months of age, a vital step to ensuring the child has not become infected during breastfeeding, up from 73% in 2018.

Most notably, with a transmission rate of just 1.9%, m2m has achieved virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV among enrolled clients for the sixth consecutive year!

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

The m2m Mentor Mother Model is a robust strategy that empowers, trains, and employs women from local communities, and has been proven to be adaptable and well suited to address myriad issues beyond our initial mandate to end pediatric HIV. By creating local role models and breaking the cycle of stigma and discrimination, the model is ideal for eradicating and curtailing other noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney diseases.

To ensure that we’re supporting women and families at all stages of life, we offer a wide range of services:

  • Women (ages 15-49) – Essential health services include: sexual and reproductive health (i.e. HIV/STI prevention and treatment, family planning); screening for malaria and TB; ensuring healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, and quality postnatal care; treatment initiation, retention and adherence support for HIV-positive pregnant and postnatal women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; strengthening economic wellbeing and food security.
  • Children (ages 0-9) – m2m is committed to ensuring that every child thrives, not just survives, by integrating services to protect and improve the health of development of infants into our core Peer Mentor program by: providing early childhood development support and education; tailoring support for HIV-positive or -exposed children and families including testing, disclosure, treatment initiation, adherence and retention support; nutrition education and immunizations; and assistance with registering births and accessing social services.
  • Adolescents (ages 10-24) – m2m supports adolescents and young women to make healthy choices and protect themselves from HIV by providing peer-led, age-appropriate interventions in schools and communities that link to services at health centers. Services include: sexual and reproductive health education and services; age-appropriate interventions to prevent new HIV infections and unplanned pregnancies; prevention of mother-to-child transmission services for HIV-positive pregnant and postnatal adolescent girls and young women.

6. How can people reading this help you?

We are always looking for a variety of partners – from individuals, corporations, and government agencies, to other nonprofit organizations. In terms of monetary support, there are many ways you can support us in reaching our mission – organize virtual events to create awareness and collect donations, spread the word to friends and family, create Facebook fundraisers, and follow us on social media.

On October 25th, we will host Cycle2Zero@home, our first virtual adventure. Usually taking place in an African country where m2m operates, this year, we are bringing the cycle to you. Together we will collectively pedal more than 3,000 miles, day and night, over 36 hours. We cycle in solidarity with our incredible Mentor Mothers, who need our support now more than ever during this global health emergency. For more ideas, please check out our website www.m2m.org.

And finally, because mothers2mothers Mentor Mothers have been deemed essential frontline workers, they are putting their lives on the line every day to combat the double pandemic of HIV and COVID-19.  Your financial support can help us continue to meet the changing health needs of the one million women and families that rely on us across nine African nations as we scale up our response and adapt our services.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

As m2m works to ensure healthy, thriving families and an end to pediatric AIDS, we rely on the dedication, passion, and support of tireless partners and funders around the world. Ending HIV is just the start, and we are bent on achieving impact on a global scale. We know that women and mothers are central to any and all long-lasting systems change. We need to reach all women and children everywhere. We are looking to expand the Mentor Mother Model to ensure that, whether they live in Louisiana or Lesotho, every family is able to access life-saving care.  We welcome you to join us as we change the face of healthcare, putting the Mentor Mother Model at the center of the solution to eliminate pediatric AIDS and provide health and hope for families everywhere.


Photo courtesy: mothers2mothers

Learn more about the African Wildlife Foundation

1. Tell us about your mission.

Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has since its inception worked to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. AWF takes a multifaceted approach, to protect wildlife and their natural habitats, empower communities through conservation enterprises and human development, and engage African leadership at all levels to support conservation. In 2020, AWF adopted a new 10-year strategic plan, driven by its vision of an Africa where human development includes thriving wildlife and extensive wild lands as a cultural and economic asset for Africa’s future generation.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

AWF initially began as a leadership academy to equip African nationals to manage conservation efforts on the continent. AWF continues to invest in building African capacity and leadership for conservation. These efforts reflect AWF’s fundamental understanding of wildlife education as a means of cultivating conservation leaders and developing a population that recognizes their role in developing and maintaining positive conservation outcomes. Consequently, AWF understands that in order to achieve its vision, it must empower African youth as conservation gains will only be sustainable if future generations subscribe to this mission.

The West Foundation is supporting AWF’s advocacy effort to engage African youth in conservation and environmental sustainability discussions and enhance their leadership skills. AWF has partnered with the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) to build the capacity of youth from Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to advocate for biodiversity issues and to engage with conservation policy discussions in their home countries. After participating in training workshops, young people will be provided the opportunity to participate in global convenings on biodiversity. This training and experience will empower African youth by building their leadership skills, exposing them to high-level national policy discussions, and providing them an opportunity to define their perspectives and to share input into the post-2020 biodiversity framework. Furthermore, The West Foundation’s support of AWF heightens a sense of ownership and agency among African youth as it relates to wildlife conservation.

The West Foundation has supported AWF since 2001. Previously, The West Foundation supported AWF’s conservation and social development work in the Limpopo Heartland (South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique) to train young African research scientists, strengthen the management capacity and infrastructure of protected area systems, and explore new sustainable conservation enterprises. In addition, the foundation contributed greatly to AWF’s Easements for Education program to provide scholarships for the children of families who agree to conserve wildlife, forests, and fisheries in the ecologically significant Sekute Chiefdom—located in the region where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia intersect. The West Foundation enabled AWF to distribute and train teachers on the use of ZeduPad tablets to improve classroom learning, establish a small vegetable garden at the Lupani Primary School, as well as install solar panels in two of the six classrooms to permit adult literacy classes in the evenings. The West Foundation also contributed to AWF’s project to distribute improved cooking stoves among Simien Mountain communities to reduce deforestation and environmental pollution in Ethiopia.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

With the support of The West Foundation, AWF is working to ensure youth presence and leadership in defining dialogues about biodiversity conservation to shape strategic goals and targets as well as the corresponding actions by key stakeholders which inevitably influence not on conservation, but the nature in which Africa develops. Though African youth constitute a large proportion of the population on the continent, they are often overlooked in the development of programs to improve societal wellbeing. By engaging African youth in policy dialogues, AWF will help to shape the trajectory of Africa’s future in a more sustainable manner that gives precedence to the importance of biodiversity in ensuring healthy economies and ecosystems. This program is instrumental in advancing AWF’s critical objective to generate greater awareness of biodiversity issues and develop future leaders that will prioritize conservation.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

AWF is taking a more holistic approach, as guided by its country strategies and priorities, to ensure that conservation is mainstreamed into larger discussions of economy building and sustainable development. AWF is also prioritizing its engagement with youth and women because they are key drivers of change across Africa. AWF recognizes that its work would be impossible without the contributions of these two constituencies who make up the majority of the population on the continent today.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

While AWF serves to promote conservation of biodiversity in Africa, the impact of doing so serves to the benefit of the global community. This is evidence in the fact that threats to African wildlife are not an “African” problem. For instance, illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife parts heightens regional and global security issues. Meanwhile, healthy ecosystems are vital to continued economic growth and to creating new business opportunities in Africa. Furthermore, increased global demand for wildlife and wildlife products intensifies the risk of iconic wildlife – often those that play a key role in ecosystems – becoming extinct. As development continues in Africa, AWF will continue to work to ensure that conservation agendas are linked to economic and social development.

6. How can people reading this help you?

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Africa’s magnificent wildlife species is at risk of disappearing forever. In the last few decades alone, the world has lost more than 60 percent of forest elephants and more than 40 percent of lions. Poaching, driven by global demand, is at crisis levels. However, habitat loss poses the most extensive threat to African wildlife. The state of rainforests in Africa and around the world is an example. Scientists estimate that if current deforestation rates go unchecked, rainforests will be gone in 100 years — and most of their inhabitants with them. The picture is bleak, but not set in stone. In fact, change has already taken root. There is a growing consciousness that thoughtful economic and infrastructure development can and should incorporate conservation priorities. AWF helped bring about this change and works tirelessly every day to ensure a positive future for Africa’s wildlife and wild lands. AWF seeks to create strong alliances that bring together the public and private sectors, as well as individuals, to support efforts to overcome the challenges of wildlife protection and conservation.

Photo courtesy: African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)


Learn more about Ubuntu Pathways

1. Tell us about your mission.

Ubuntu Pathways’ mission is to break the cycle of poverty by providing South Africa’s most vulnerable children with what all children deserve––everything, every day. Operating out of a state-of-the-art campus in the heart of Port Elizabeth’s townships, we provide transformative health, education, and household stability services to 2,000 children and their families. The Ubuntu Model, our revolutionary theory of change, encompasses four guiding tenets:

• Cradle to career pathway out of poverty that includes dynamic educational programs, life-saving healthcare, and sustained household stability services

• Depth rather than breadth of impact by continuously improving program quality to meet clients’ evolving needs

• Localized, grassroots development to mitigate the specific challenges that Port Elizabeth’s townships face

• Sustainable investments in community leadership, capacity, and infrastructure

We target not just the symptoms, but the root causes of poverty. By offering individualized services to every client, we help them overcome hardships to lead healthy, financially stable lives. This comprehensive support system enables our clients to advance towards a lifetime of success.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has supported Ubuntu’s cradle-to-career for years. Ubuntu’s mission requires an individualized, grassroots approach to development. Our community’s needs are constantly evolving, and we must be ready and equipped to meet them.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The West Foundation has allowed us to achieve this mission not only through its steadfast support, but also by trusting us enough to provide unrestricted funding to our operations. Nothing better exemplifies the importance of this funding approach—and the sustainability and mobility it provides—than the COVID-19 pandemic. This outbreak has posed an existential threat to disadvantaged communities around the world. Within a matter of weeks, Ubuntu had to pivot away from “normal” operations to become a COVID-19 response center. We not only had to prepare for the impending medical crisis in the townships, but also the food security and domestic abuse crises brought on by the region’s economic collapse. In this moment of critical need, our team could rely on funding from The West Foundation as we sought to respond to an unforeseen and unprecedented challenge.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

For the past two decades, Ubuntu has sought to expose and break down deeply rooted barriers to prosperity and success in our community. In South Africa, the country’s entrenched social inequality oppresses the Black majority. Abject poverty is pervasive, and the gap between the rich and poor grows ever-wider. Port Elizabeth’s townships are reminders of apartheid’s systemic segregation—while health care and education systems are composed of well-funded, private facilities for the wealthy, the poor are relegated to overcrowded, under-resourced, public facilities.

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on these fissures of social inequality across the world. Those who have the most limited access to health care and education—such as the people of Port Elizabeth’s townships—are the ones who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. While Ubuntu has pivoted our service provision to best mitigate the effects of the pandemic in the townships, this pivot is, in essence, a more targeted and intensified version of our previous 20 years of service to our community. While our response project will provide immediate, life-saving services to those in greatest need, it will just as urgently contribute to our core mission, breaking down social inequalities and affirming every human’s right to live a healthy, fulfilling life. In this way, we are realizing the full vision and potential of Ubuntu.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

At Ubuntu, we do not measure success by the number of children we reach, but by how deeply we impact each child’s life. As a result, our clients are re-writing their own futures and the wider narrative of what disadvantaged communities can accomplish.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Donate! During this unprecedented crisis, every dollar matters. The generosity of our donors literally translates into medication, food on the table, and other life-saving interventions for children and families in need. You can also get creative––create a birthday fundraiser, run a race, start a school Ubuntu club, or become a monthly THRIVE member. From cryptocurrency to planned giving, there are so many ways to contribute to our work in a meaningful way. Plus, you can always create awareness of our work and mission in your own networks.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

As Ubuntu continuously seeks to grow and develop as an organization, we have a deep and urgent need for funders who understand and support our theory of change. Ubuntu seeks to fundamentally change the lives of each child and family we serve. Just as any parent or caregiver knows, supporting a child’s growth and development is a long, hard, and often non-linear process. Every individual has their own unique needs, as well as their own moments of triumph and setbacks. Ubuntu aims to be holistic and unwavering in our support – but in order to achieve this ambitious goal, we need funders who follow the example of The West Foundation and trust those on the ground to possess the experience and judgement needed to best utilize unrestricted funds. Ubuntu does not decide to spend any dollar lightly—resources are scarce in our community and thus extraordinarily valued. To have the trust and mutual understanding of additional funders who understand this dynamic would be game-changing not only for Ubuntu, but the entire industry.

Photo courtesy: Ubuntu Pathways

Learn more about Strategies for International Development (SID)

1. Tell us about your mission.

The mission of Strategies for International Development (SID) is to design, prove, and promote better methods for eradicating rural poverty.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has partnered with us over the years to fulfill our mission in Guatemala’s poorest regions. First, with coffee farmers in the western highlands and now with coffee farmers in the northern highlands. When The West Foundation chose to focus on women and girls, that encouraged us to think about them as well. In a smaller area of the northern highlands we added a women’s component to the coffee program and in the last two years we have expanded our reach to cover a whole region of thousands of coffee-growing families and thousands of women.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

In 2018, with the support of The West Foundation, SID started a new regional approach in the northern highlands. With this new approach, we were able to help over 18,000 small farmers.

Coffee is the major cash crop of the region. The core activities of the program include:

1. Farmers define the practices they need to adapt to graduate from poverty

2. Local officials promote the practices among the general population

3. Conduct demonstration fairs in the practices

4. Provide twice-monthly technical assistance to early-adopter communities that become an example to others

5. Gives special assistance to women

4. How are you realizing your potential?

We designed a new idea that fulfills our mission in ways which we have not before: to help farmers conserve their natural resources at the same time as they increase their income. We have also helped them adopt business practices and we helped women increase their personal growth, but now we are doing it at a large scale. This innovation brings assistance to thousands of farmers who never had any help before. This is very important because, a lot of small farmers around the world do not have access to technical assistance.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

75% of the world’s poor are small farmers. We can do a lot for farmers to help increase their income. Agricultural projects are also great vehicles for addressing the conservation of natural resources and women’s equality.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Learn about SID and participate in our annual individual donor campaign, Friends of SID.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

To enhance our visibility and find channels to spread our ideas

Photo courtesy: Strategies for International Development (SID)

Learn more about Shared Interest

1. Tell us about your mission.

Shared Interest mobilizes the resources for Southern Africa’s economically disenfranchised communities to sustain themselves and build equitable nations. We provide entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers, women, and other unbankable borrowers with the financial and social capital they need to invest in their businesses, farms, families, and communities. We do this by providing loan guarantees to local African banks, moving them to extend credit to “high risk” borrowers who otherwise would not have qualified for credit. By moving local banks to lend to their own communities, we help build sustainable, vibrant economies that are not dependent on international capital for development. Since our founding in 1994, we have benefitted 2.3 million Southern Africans.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has partnered with Shared Interest for many years, by providing grant support for both general operations, with a focus on institutional strengthening, and specific projects, such as our work with women seed entrepreneurs in Malawi. The West Foundation’s support is particularly crucial to our work because it is flexible, helping ensure that we have the organizational resources that are required to produce strong and impactful programs.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Most recently, The West Foundation has helped Shared Interest adapt to the new working conditions imposed by the pandemic. We used 2019 grant funds to upgrade our technological capabilities – moving to cloud-based file storage, improving staff hardware, and investing in new donor management and prospecting software. In some cases, these changes were made a matter of weeks before our offices in New York were closed due to Covid-19. Because of these enhanced IT resources, Shared Interest was able to transition smoothly to remote work, keeping in close contact with our local partners and beneficiaries as well as our donors and investors.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Shared Interest was founded to push for economic justice in post-apartheid South Africa, and our success there has helped demonstrate that African countries’ own financial institutions are not only capable of serving the majority market but are critical to driving inclusive economic growth. We are now expanding our model across the Southern African region, where financial exclusion is similarly widespread, especially in agriculture and among women borrowers. Working in new geographies (e.g., Malawi, Zambia, and eventually, Tanzania) and in high impact focus areas (e.g., climate change adaptation) is helping us leverage our investors’ capital to impact another 100,000 individuals by 2024, creating jobs and small enterprises, increasing incomes, and building community infrastructure.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Shared Interest has investors as well as donors, and for more than 25 years, we have been responsible stewards of their capital. We have made 100% of interest payments in full and on time, and we have had zero losses of investors’ principal. To make an investment in Shared Interest, contact martha@sharedinterest.org

6. How can people reading this help you?

Shared Interest is holding its first Virtual Gala this year on September 9th, 2020, and we would love to have you as our guest! For more information, please go to https://www.sharedinterest.org/26thanniversarygala

The event is free! This year, we celebrate the power of women in Southern Africa; accordingly, the event will honor Sophia Williams de Bruyn, anti-apartheid activist and leader of the 1956 women’s march, and Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, South African talk show host, activist, and entrepreneur. The event will also feature an after-party, with beats by DJ AQ.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We are always in need of partners – of all types – who understand the long-term nature of this work. Changing financial systems that were built, in large part, by and for settler colonialism is a painstakingly slow process. The results are not always easily measured, and progress is not linear or steady. Our most prized relationships are with like-minded organizations who understand these challenges yet remain steadfast in working toward our common goals.


Photo courtesy: Shared Interest

Learn more about CARE

1. Tell us about your mission.

CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Helping advance girl’s empowerment, security and prevention of early child marriage in areas of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

CARE is very intentional about where we choose to work and where we can provide sustainable impact around communities. We hand pick marginalized communities to raise their standard of living knowing that we can offer sustainable development.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

With CARE’s knowledge of 75 years in the field, we have become experts and scaling up our programs. We are piloting models and programs that were very successful in part of Asia to try in Africa with tweaks. With the correct resources, CARE can go to scale on the number of very successful programming around the world to benefit and increase our impact trifold.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

CARE is a dual mandate organization – essentially that means, we are working in communities before a crisis starts, during the crisis and then afterwards.

Our experience in previous emergencies has shown us that one of the most important things we can do is to continue and adapt our existing programming, where we can do so safely, in a way that “does no harm” to our staff or the communities we work in.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Please visit care.org to learn more and raise CARE’s brand in your local community!

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We want to have flexible funds and mobilize resources to bring growth to impoverished communities that are not covered in the media and not shed light on newspapers—We are committed to truly serving the last mile of population that are often forgotten. We want to be able to give a voice to women, girls and the communities that are waiting to achieve their full potential.


Photo courtesy: Care


Learn more about TechnoServe

1. Tell us about your mission.

TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with hardworking men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation is currently supporting our efforts to reduce poverty by helping women smallholder cocoa farmers in San Martin, Peru to sustainably improve their livelihoods and ensure the full integration of women farmers into the cocoa market. In the past, The West Foundation has supported many other impactful projects, such as strengthening our Monitoring and Evaluation systems for our projects with small-scale entrepreneurs, as well as supporting smallholder farmers in Tanzania’s tea industry to improve their livelihoods.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

The support of The West Foundation over the past several decades has enabled TechnoServe to become a catalyst for transformation in market systems, industries, and most importantly, people’s lives in the communities where we’ve implemented projects. Together, we’ve helped families around the world send their children to school, access healthcare, buy nutritious food, and build safer homes.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

TechnoServe was founded in 1968 on the premise that the power of private enterprise can transform lives, and that hardworking individuals in the developing world can lift themselves out of poverty. In 2019 alone, TechnoServe helped directly transform the lives of 317,493 people (38% women) by targeting improvements in farms, businesses, and industries. Our efforts generated over $200 million in increased revenues and wages for our beneficiaries and we helped hardworking individuals’ access $27 million in financing to help grow their businesses and farms. Last year, TechnoServe was also rated the world’s #1 nonprofit at reducing poverty by an independent evaluator, ImpactMatters. They assessed over a thousand nonprofits across different categories and determined that for every program dollar spent, TechnoServe delivers the greatest income gains for enterprising women and men in the developing world.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

TechnoServe not only transforms individual lives—but also markets, sectors, and communities. We are committed to creating and measuring this lasting impact. We aim to report only the impact that is attributable to our work. We do this by establishing baseline data and using counterfactuals, control groups, or other methods to exclude the effects of variables outside of our control. We then analyze this data to identify successful project models and learn how to improve future approaches.

6. How can people reading this help you?

They can help by joining our efforts to change lives around the world. Every day, our supporters help us continue in our mission to assist hardworking men and women in the developing world to build sustainable farms, businesses and industries. Even during these challenging times, we are committed to helping our clients continue their fight to overcome the toughest obstacles, care for their families, and fulfill their true potential. None of this work would be possible without support from generous individuals.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

The support we receive from foundations and individuals is critically needed, especially at this critical time. Funding for important projects like our work with cocoa farmers in Peru often depends upon TechnoServe’s ability to leverage and strategically utilize unrestricted and private support. Furthermore, unrestricted funding or strategically directed support is critical to our ability to innovate or pilot new types of interventions. These funds allow us to design programs before larger funding is awarded, to leverage funding after receiving an award and to continue implementing programs while honoring timelines related to specific large donors’ commitments.

Photo courtesy: TechnoServe

Learn more about the Qudrat School Project

1. Tell us about your mission.

In the words of Founder Jim Graham.

My mission is multifold. First, we support two schools that are located in a remote and densely populated rural area in  northern Afghanistan and work to educate a large block of women who – during the Taliban administration – were deprived of education. In providing educational opportunities, such as vocational training we can reach widows who have no education or ability to earn a living wage other than by begging door-to-door, pleading for food to feed their family. Many in this region have large families and without a breadwinner this can be challenging.

One of the goals we’ve put forth is to increase the education level for women who participate through participating in the basic literacy courses offered.

Learn more about why Jim Graham founded the organization in this IndyStar article.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation has been a substantial donor of funds for our initiative and this has helped provide not only educational supplies but teacher income for  the adult female literacy program. Women who have completed the basic course have gone on to land fullfiling jobs to sustain their families.

3. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Many women have achieved great things such as pursuing higher education and quality jobs. It is empowering to witness a widow – whose life was subject to begging transform themselves into a business owner.

4. How can people reading this help you?

You can make a financial contribution so that we can continue to fund the schools. We have well over 500 students enrolled and 50% are female. Also, we would like to ensure that Hakim Wardak who is on the ground and championing the cause has the funds to pay teachers he hires and supervises for the basic adult female literacy training.

6. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Ideally, we’d like to find someone who has a high level of interest to continue to support Hakim and his work in transforming an entire generation of uneducated women and educating them; enabling the women to improve their lives.

Photo courtesy: Qudrat School


Learn more about Lifewater

1. Tell us about your mission.

At Lifewater, we are Christians committed to ending the global water and sanitation crisis one village at a time. We believe that every child deserves a safe drink of water, access to life-saving sanitation and hygiene, and the love of Jesus.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation’s gifts allow Lifewater greater opportunity and mobility to carry out sustainable safe water and community solutions in extremely poor communities across the globe. In Ethiopia, Cambodia, Uganda, and Tanzania, The West Foundation supports Lifewater’s mission to bring safe water to every child, improved health for all, and the love of Jesus in everything we do.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

With The West Foundation’s generous giving, we’re able to employ local staff to travel house by house in our target communities. Knowing the language and culture, they build relationships to empower communities to make cost-effective, life-saving health improvements like constructing a hand washing device and a latrine of their own. Our skilled team of WASH engineers, hydrogeologists, drilling team, and the wisdom of the local community work together to construct a safe water solution unique to the needs of the village or school. With The West Foundation’s support, Lifewater’s able to carry out a grassroots program to end the global water and sanitation crisis, beginning with extremely poor communities in hard-to-reach corners of the world.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

In 2019, Lifewater constructed 207 sustainable, safe water solutions built to last for generations in the globe’s poorest regions, a record-breaking number. As more families than ever gain the health that comes with access to safe water, more children go to school and parents go to work, increasing both income and education. The West Foundation’s mission to eliminate poverty and Lifewater’s mission to end the global water crisis are realized.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

At Lifewater, it’s not about the quantity of results, but the quality. It’s about creating a change that will last. Designing high-quality, locally-sourced safe water solutions customized to the population and hydrogeology of each village is priority at Lifewater because people are priority. When we can serve the globe’s poorest communities with commitment and care, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

6. How can people reading this help you?

Every 60 seconds, the world loses another child to unsafe drinking water and a lack of basic sanitation. This is entirely preventable. A gift to Lifewater is a gift to a child or family in need.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

We are always seeking ways to connect our generous partners to our mission in a meaningful way. Our Vision of a Healthy Village program is a grassroots, sustainable answer to the global water crisis, and it’s been tested, proven, and improved with every year. Our deepest needs as an organization are developing ways to draw others into this proven process to finally put an end to the crisis together.


Photo courtesy: Lifewater

Learn more about KickStart

1. Tell us about your mission.

KickStart International’s mission is to provide technology that enables millions of people in Africa to break the cycle of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably through smallholder irrigation. KickStart’s innovative, high-quality, and affordable technologies allow subsistence farmers to break their dependence on seasonal rain-fed farming, unlocking year-round harvests and a pathway to financial freedom, climate resilience, and social empowerment for farming families across Africa.

With KickStart’s MoneyMaker irrigation pumps, farmers can access available ground water, grow crops year-round to eat and sell for a better profit when food is scarce and market prices are higher. Farmers using KickStart’s pumps increase their annual income through irrigation alone by almost 500% on average—from $150 to $850. With the new money they earn, farmers can afford additional quality inputs for the next planting season and sustainably grow their farming business. Many go on to make additional investments in livestock and poultry, diversifying their income and securing their livelihoods. KickStart’s empowerment-based model enables farmers to earn significantly more income, properly feed and educate their children, afford healthcare, and plan for their futures.

2. How is the West Foundation supporting your mission?

The West Foundation is supporting KickStart’s advocacy efforts to catalyze the promotion and uptake of irrigation interventions across Africa through our work with diverse stakeholders to develop, test, and scale new high-impact irrigation solutions, and advocate for systems-level changes. Through our partnership with The West Foundation, KickStart leveraged our reputation as a leading provider of affordable irrigation technologies along with evidence of our direct livelihood impacts on farmers to spotlight this critical issue within the development sector and influential policy circles. This fosters an enabling environment for expanding small-scale irrigation across the continent by influencing global dialogue, policies, and investment strategies related to agricultural development.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

KickStart continued its Irrigate Africa! advocacy campaign with support of The West Foundation by employing our social impacts and urging influential international, continental and sub-national actors to increase irrigation access for the smallholder farmer. To highlight, the Malawi government endorsed MoneyMaker pumps as a highly reliable technology and KickStart was invited to help draft the Malawi Irrigation Investment Strategy. As proven by our country study of Malawi, with smart-subsidies, policy focus, and investments in support of a wide array of systems change, we can drastically increase large-scale uptake of low-volume irrigation technology across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), enabling millions more to break the cycle of poverty.

With The West Foundation’s philanthropic support, KickStart participated in the AGRA Forum, where we successfully networked with ministers of agriculture from across SSA and representatives of the African Union. In addition, KickStart’s leadership team attended and demonstrated the use of MoneyMaker pumps during a main program session on irrigation at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa Forum (AGRF), generating enthusiasm among influential policy makers to incorporate low-volume irrigation into their agriculture programs. Consequently, the World Bank continued its promotion of small-scale, farmer-led irrigation, by hosting a side event at Stockholm World Water Week and ordered thousands of MoneyMaker pumps for supported projects in Malawi, Angola, and Mozambique.

4. How are you realizing your potential? 

KickStart has scaled the adoption of MoneyMaker pumps and the resulting impacts by deepening and expanding our network of key partners across 16 countries in SSA, and increasing their appreciation for the benefits of irrigation. This partnership-based model has yielded exciting successes, lending new flexibility and increased reach to farmers in highly remote areas and to those experiencing newfound pressures due to social upheaval, political strife, and climatic changes.

KickStart has continued its efforts to build livelihood capacities at the grassroots level through the development and delivery of innovative technology and design. KickStart’s livelihoods interventions combine two critical commitments: income and food security. These two resources are essential for community resilience, providing the capacities to weather life’s unexpected challenges, from storm surges to civil conflict, and from drought to epidemics.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

To date, KickStart’s smart irrigation pumps have enabled over 1.3 million people to take a major step out of poverty across Africa, and are being used to grow immune-supporting fruits and vegetables to meet the nutritional needs of 13 million people every year. Through year-round irrigation, KickStart’s tools have also led to the creation of 260,000 profitable and sustainable farming businesses, generating $220 million in new profits and wages annually.

With the support of organizations like The West Foundation, KickStart aims to provide 2 million people with the technology to take a major step out of poverty in half the time that we served 1 million people.

6. How can people reading this help you?

KickStart has helped eliminate poverty for farming families across the continent, but more work is needed to reach millions of others. The challenge is great, but every small gesture of support can make a difference.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Spread the word!
  • Donate
  • Partner with KickStart

Get the full details here: http://kickstart.org/get-involved

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a new context for KickStart and our vast network of farmers. In Africa, the virus is already exacerbating existing inequalities and cutting off critical livelihood supporting activities where food insecurity is already endemic. Providing tools that increase food production independently of climate and global supply chains will be critical to avoiding protracted famine. Despite the challenges, KickStart remains committed to protecting and growing local food production capacities and income generating opportunities for smallholder farmers across SSA through access to affordable, high-quality irrigation tools.

Given this outlook, KickStart is working strategically to fast-track our response mobilization through the design and distribution of the lowest-cost human-powered pump available, the Starter Pump—offering unprecedented and scalable affordability. By providing unprecedented financial access through our new Starter Pump and with extended reach through diverse mission-aligned partners, KickStart is better equipped to ensure year-round harvest, greater profits, and food security to more farming families than ever before. To learn more and support our response fund please visit: http://kickstart.org/

Photo courtesy: KickStart

Learn more about Educate!

1. Tell us about your mission.

Educate!’s mission is to develop young leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa.

Nearly 50% of all Africans are younger than 18, and that number is growing. These demographics, along with a scarcity of jobs, have led to dramatic rates of youth unemployment. Education systems in Africa already face challenges — current curricula and teaching methods are designed for a 1900s economy, consisting of rote memorization and exam-driven learning which do not prepare students to succeed in today’s economy. The current status quo perpetuates lack of opportunity and cycles of poverty — allowing the enormous potential of youth to remain untapped.

Educate! believes that by transforming educational pathways in East Africa, we can equip youth with the skills to disrupt the systemic problem of youth unemployment and realize their full potential. We believe post-primary education is the most untapped resource across the continent for cultivating talent and for development more broadly, and we aim to work both within the existing educational infrastructure and outside of the system to impact youth life outcomes at scale.

Our mission therefore aims to prepare youth in Africa with the skills to succeed in today’s economy. We tackle youth unemployment by partnering with schools and governments to reform what schools teach and how they teach it, so that students in Africa have the skills to attain further education, overcome gender inequities, start businesses, get jobs, and drive development in their communities. Our goal is to make this practical, skills-based model part of national education systems across Africa.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?

Since our inception in 2009, Educate! has worked to build a replicable and cost-effective solution to prepare youth with the skills to attain further education, overcome gender inequities, start businesses, get jobs, and drive development in their communities. We started in 24 schools and reached 830 youth, and today, Educate! has dramatically scaled our program by nearly 40x and has directly impacted more than 100,000 secondary youth across 1,000 schools. This has been achieved over the years due to the support of partners like The West Foundation that have contributed to making us the largest youth skills provider in East Africa! Additionally, urging us on through our commitment to deepening our impact in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya, while expanding our reach to out-of-school youth for the first time and developing a strategy to support education reforms in other countries in the future.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?

Educate! aims to design solutions that measurably impact millions of youth across Africa each year. Long term, we aim to fully incorporate our skills-based education model into national education systems across Africa. With the support of the West Foundation, we are able to experiment with different ways to sustainably and cost-effectively deliver and scale our evidence-based solutions as we grow towards that goal and position ourselves for greater and more sustainable impact each year.

The West Foundation’s philanthropic support goes further to aid project implementation, including training and empowering teachers and youth Mentors – who are at the core of delivering our model to Scholars. Through the Educate! Experience – our flagship program, Scholars are taught an entrepreneurship, leadership, and workforce readiness course, which includes practical experience starting a business or community project in each secondary school.

4. How are you realizing your potential?

Our impact philosophy relies on periodic, rigorous external evaluations to measure medium- and long-term outcomes, coupled with ongoing monitoring to continuously manage program quality and track immediate impact for students.

Rigorous evaluations of our solution, including a randomized controlled trial (RCT), found that participants earn nearly 2x the income of their peers towards the end of secondary school. A follow-up RCT in Uganda assessed medium-term outcomes for students four years after they graduated from the Educate! program. The evaluation looked at the same student cohort as the prior RCT and found strong impacts on: 1) soft skills—improved grit, creativity, and self-efficacy; 2) gender-related outcomes—less domestic violence, fewer sexual partners, fewer children, and more egalitarian views; and 3) educational attainment—increased secondary school completion, increased tertiary enrollment for women, and greater likelihood of selecting higher-earning-potential majors (business and STEM areas of study). Importantly, after Educate!, girls were essentially as likely to graduate from secondary school as boys.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?

Educate! prepares youth in Africa with the skills to succeed in today’s economy through an innovative model with proven impact. Our model is built on best scaling practices and constant self-evaluation and was specifically designed to scale having spent the last 10 years building the most replicable and cost-effective solution possible that can reach massive scale. We are now the largest youth skills provider in East Africa. We reach a large number of youth at a low cost by delivering our model using existing infrastructure, engaging exceptional Educate! graduates as mentors, and implementing innovative technologies to manage and monitor our programs across great distances. While doing this, we work hand-in-hand with governments towards system-level adoption of our solution to sustainably integrate our model into national education systems.

6. How can people reading this help you?

With over ten years of experience operating our flagship program in schools, we’ve tested, refined, and continually strengthened our model to ensure the maximum impact on youth – impact that is both cost-effective and sustainable. We’ve developed our capacity to provide technical advisory services and support to national education systems, actively working with the governments of three countries to facilitate practical, skills-based secondary education that prepares youth to succeed in today’s economy.

Incredible partners like the West Foundation and other friends and champions allow us to continue to work towards a world where all youth receive the skills they need to succeed in life after school. We so appreciate anyone who is able to invest in youth. Your support will propel us forward into our next decade of work. It’s especially critical now, when a lot is changing and amidst the uncertainty created by COVID-19, we see opportunities for adaptation and innovation.

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?

Over next two years, Educate! is continuing to work towards our vision of measurably impacting millions of youth across Africa each year by (1) scaling our direct delivery model to drive towards our goal of achieving full scale in Uganda as we iterate for long-term sustainability, (2) continuing to build education system capacity to implement Rwanda’s Competency-Based Curriculum while testing innovative school sustainability and incentive strategies that can sustain the reform, and (3) deepening our government partnerships in Kenya to support the ongoing national curriculum reform, while experimenting with a new model that brings Educate!’s impact to out-of-school youth.


Photo courtesy: Educate!

CoCoDA Febrero Fiesta

We are proud, at the West Foundation, of our commitment to supporting our partners in projects big and small. On February 26, the West Foundation joined CoCoDA for Febrero Fiesta in support of their water, public health and education projects in El Salvador and Nicaragua. The West Foundation team enjoyed a delicious meal, watched lively dance, and learned more about CoCoDA’s upcoming projects and initiatives.

Through its dedication to cooperating in projects for democratic, community-based social and economic development in Central America, CoCoDA seeks to build strong relationships and communities between people in the U.S., El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Receiving the second installment of a three-year, $21,000 flexible funding grant will assist CoCoDA in experimenting with new fundraising efforts and planning future programs. Learn more at CoCoDA.