Each year since 2008, we have selected an organization that is making a difference in the world to receive a holiday donation on behalf of our customers, partners and friends. This year we have chosen Acumen Fund:
…a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty. We seek to prove that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined with large doses of business acumen, can build thriving enterprises that serve vast numbers of the poor. Our investments focus on delivering affordable, critical goods and services – like health, water, housing and energy – through innovative, market-oriented approaches.
The beautiful photograph on our holiday card was taken by Acumen Fund’s CEO Jacqueline Novogratz on a visit to Broadreach, an organization which manages one of the largest HIV/AIDS programs in South Africa, where it works with private health practitioners to care for poor patients who could not otherwise pay. BroadReach is extending HIV/AIDS treatment to millions of people, enabling them to lead healthier, longer and more productive lives.
I want to thank Acumen Fund for sharing their wealth of stunning photographs with us. The images photographed by the Acumen team at each of their sites are so gorgeous and uplifting that it was difficult to choose just one for the card; the only thing that made it possible for me to narrow down to a single image was the fact that I knew I could post multiple photos on this blog post, giving a tiny taste of the broad reach of Acumen Fund’s projects:
VisionSpring uses a wholesale distribution and franchising model to administer vision tests and sell low-cost reading glasses to India’s poor who are suffering from reduced vision.
SBA Hydro and Renewable Energy’s (SHREY) goal is to provide hydroelectric power to villages in the Himalayan Belt of northern India where, despite grid access, electricity supply is unreliable at best.
Western Seed Company Limited develops and distributes high-quality hybrid seeds to improve crop yields for smallholder farmers in East Africa.
Micro Drip is an Acumen Fund investee distributing low cost irrigation technologies to poor farmers in the Sindh and Punjab regions of Pakistan.
Husk Power Systems uses innovative biomass technology to convert abundant rice husks into energy that provides power to Indian villages.
LifeSpring is a network of Maternity and Child Healthcare hospitals that provide vital reproductive and pediatric healthcare to low- and lower-middle-income people in urban and peri-urban areas, with a focus on delivering high-quality, low-cost services to women and children in slum areas.
A to Z Textile Mills, a Tanzanian manufacturer, produces bednets impregnated with a long-lasting insecticide, making them effective for up to five years instead of the usual six months, with no need for re-treatment.
Voxiva uses technology to strengthen health care systems, enhance safety and improve government service delivery. Using cell phone technology, Voxiva is improving healthcare delivery in developing countries.
As in the past years, we relied on the conscientious research and reporting of Charity Navigator in order to focus our search on the most efficient charities. A portion of our holiday gift is also being donated to Charity Navigator, to enable them to continue doing their valuable work in ranking non-profit organizations. According to their website, of the 5,500 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator, the vast majority spend at least 75% of their budgets on the programs and services that they exist to provide, 10% or less on fundraising fees and 15% or less on administrative costs.
I would like to thank both Charity Navigator and Acumen Fund for the privilege of working with such talented, useful and valuable organizations that are each, in their own way, making the world a better place.