Grantee Updates: 2019 Off To A Great Start!

Categorized as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2019. Related Grantees: Agora Partnerships, Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti), Bean Voyage, CREA Nicaragua, Destiny Foundation through Cents of Relief, Educate Lanka, Idea4Africa, KadAfrica, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Resonate, StrongMinds, Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, Voix & Actions, Women LEAD.


Editor’s Note: It’s always rewarding to dig into our grantee partners’ latest accomplishments when I pull together my quarterly Director’s Report. The tenacity and ingenuity each brings to their unique missions reinforces our foundation’s belief in unrestricted grants, letting each organization determine where funding will go. We trust that our partners know much better than we do how to get the most out of each dollar.
In this blog, we’ve pulled together recent milestones and achievements of some of our partners, highlighting through statistics, videos, links to blogs, and personal stories, the oversized impact and potential of these undersized organizations. If you need to lift your spirits, I’m sure there’s more than one story here that will do just that.  

By Sally Skees-Helly, Chief Financial Officer and Director

Agora Partnerships Agora completed two boot camps already this year. The first was the Investor Pitch Bootcamp, which helps entrepreneurs hone the story they tell investors to paint a compelling narrative that stands out from the crowd. The other was their Business Growth Bootcamp that helps entrepreneurs position themselves for growth with clear goals, a plan to get there, and the ability to defend the assumptions behind their strategy.

Christine Lukeman, Head of Investor Relations, also introduced us to their Cycle 2 Deal Book, in which thirty of the top graduates are recommended to funders and other investors for capital and support.

Anseye Pou Ayiti: As part of an update of APA’s branding and messaging done by Sylvain Labs, Sally was interviewed by Camille and Nora about our experiences with the APA community. It was a great opportunity to share the experiences we’ve had partnering with APA and hopefully shed a little more light on the organization, the people, and the movement.

Beginning February 7th, widespread protests throughout Haiti lasted for ten days, to call attention to an ever-evolving economic crisis (including over 15% inflation in past months) and systemic corruption. APA schools closed for two weeks, but it was good to hear all students and teachers are safe and back in the classroom. Read more in their February Newsletter.

Nedgine, who was (of course) chosen to host the closing session of the 2018 Obama summit, was recently published in two publications. In Bright Magazine, she writes a compelling piece: Haiti’s Education System is Broken…By Design. And her work is highlighted in the Global Education and Skills Forum.

Bean Voyage: Sally had an opportunity to speak with Abhinav Khanal and Sunghee Tark, co-founders of Bean Voyage in mid-January. Here’s a great overview video of their work, narrated by Sunghee and Abhinav.

In April, Bean Voyage was represented at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, where Sunghee was awarded the prestigious Re:co Fellowship which identifies leaders in the specialty coffee sector who are driving the future of coffee. Sunghee had the opportunity to speak at the Expo, focusing on the intersectionality of gender and income inequality in the coffee industry. You can read more about the highlights of their experience in their recent blog.

Crea Nicaragua: Sally met with Corrie Burdett, Executive Director, in mid-January. Despite a hurricane in 2017 that flooded their newly completed library and resource center, and the political unrest that began in April 2018, Crea has recently completed a three-year strategic plan that has them poised for growth in library services, youth development, and educational outreach.

Destiny: Watch this great video narrated by Smarita, highlighting Destiny’s work.

Educate Lanka: We mourn with the people of Sri Lanka the coordinated terrorist attack across the country on Easter Sunday. If you didn’t get a chance to read Brienne’s recent SOH blog on Educate Lanka, it’s a good read. For more on Educate Lanka’s progress, see their 18 month progress report.

Idea4Africa: Dennis Hanno, Founder and President, has been traveling with twenty-one of his college students (he is the president of Wheaton College) to Ghana.

Sally met with Dennis Hanno in March. His goal over the next three to five years is to transition the leadership of IDEA4Africa to an East African CEO who will run all of the day-to-day operations. They already have in-country directors in both Rwanda and Uganda. They have recently begun making small loans of up to $1,000 in addition to their entrepreneur workshops and trainings. 

KadAfrica: Fortunately, Rebecca is recovering from a car accident in late 2018. Additionally, they just found out they received the match grant of $1,000,000 that they were in the final application phase when we spoke last year! As part of the match, they have also successfully secured $200,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation! As a new grantee partner, please take a look at this terrific video that gives a great overview of Rebecca and Eric’s story and the goals of the organization.


Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum: The museum hosted their annual gala, the biggest fundraiser of the year, was quite the swanky event. Take a look at the many pics here of people having a grand time.

Resonate Workshops: Ayla Schlosser has transitioned to the Board of Directors and advisor and will be attending business school in the fall. Norette Turimuci has stepped into the role of CEO and remains Country Director. They are using this opportunity to formalize and document all of the processes and information, helping Resonate become a more systematic organization, able to manage future changes in staff and leadership. Here’s a recent article featuring Resonate in Rwanda’s leading newspaper.

Through an online fundraising campaign, Resonate was able to provide free training to 70 women from mission-aligned organizations who did not have budgets for leadership capacity building.

The big news is that they are looking to expand their work into Kenya and Tanzania. They will be going on a “Resonate Road Show” in Kenya in July and August, and Tanzania at the end of the year, meeting with as many potential clients as possible.

StrongMinds: Strongminds ended 2018 on a successful note, treating almost 19,000 women, bringing the total treated to over 43,000 since 2014. They have selected and ratified Zambia as their second country of operations, with the Country Director, Frank Harle actively establishing their presence in the country. They raised a total of $3.2M in 2018, surpassing their goal of $2.6M by 23 percent.

Strongminds continues to expand its reach in Uganda through their Peer Therapy Groups (PTG), led by volunteer Peer Facilitators, showing significant growth in this treatment pathway, and key to scaling a depression treatment model across Uganda and Africa. Their current reach through this method in the first three quarters of 2018 was 70% greater than all of 2017. Strongminds was recently featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about their work!

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization: On April 3rd, TYO entered into a partnership with Association Montessori Internationale to implement an innovative Montessori initiative in the Middle East.

With support from the Qatar Fund for Development, the TYO Youth Rehabilitation through Entrepreneurship Program (YREP) is cultivating the business skills of young people across Palestine. Watch the video to learn more about the program.And please read this very touching blog, written by Natali, TYO’s 2019 intern.


Voix & Actions: Our “Boys in Action” recently acquired more goats and the pig farming continues to expand. They have expanded the Social Justice Warehouse Program where local women are able to resell the goods purchased by VA in Port au Prince and transported to Trouin for a profit. Through solar power from the St. Marc School across the street, the Farm is now able to power a pump for the fish pond and fans for the hen houses.

Women LEAD: As part of their LEAD course, a group of young women LEADers started a project to address street harassment in Katmandu. Read their “PIN IT” story here. A great project that could spread like the “Me Too” movement!

The weekend of January 22, 2019, Women LEAD organized sessions to help their alumni brainstorm, formulate, and plan their projects for this year’s Changemaker Bootcamp.

At the beginning of March, they welcomed their new Executive Director, Hima Bista. Hima is a “fierce feminist” with eighteen years of experience in the development sector, who thrives on advocating for women’s issues. Read more about Hima here. Also in March, Women LEAD travelled to New York City for the UN’s Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), a committee instrumental in promoting women’s rights and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Read Sagoon’s blog about her experience.

LEARN more about all of our grantees here.

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