Top 15 Charities for Investors for 2007 – Page 2

7. KickStart KickStart provides jobs and wealth to people by developing and marketing new technologies and other products to people in Africa. At 800 new businesses each month, …

7. KickStart

KickStart provides jobs and wealth to people by developing and marketing new technologies and other products to people in Africa. At 800 new businesses each month, KickStart has started 50,000 new businesses, which generate $52 million each year, according to their website.

KickStart was founded in Kenya in 1991 and has offices in Kenya, Tanzania and Mali.

“KickStart’s market and private-sector oriented approach ensures that the impacts of its program become fully self-sustaining in local economies,” according to their website. “Technologies are installed in the private sector and continue to be produced, marketed, and used by entrepreneurs to create thousands of vibrant new businesses and jobs, long after KickStart’s interventions have ceased.”

KickStart closely monitors the effectiveness of its various programs through gathering statistics, administering questionnaires and making random visits to program participants. Thus, because KickStart works hard to ensure the continued success and impact of its programs, a donation to KickStart ensures that the dollars will help continue to benefit individuals and communities long after they are donated.

8. New Community Corporation

Founded in 1967 in Newark, N.J., after a riot led to the deaths of 26 people, New Community Corporation (NCC) “is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive community development corporation,” according to their website. “NCC owns and manages more than 3,000 units of housing and employs 2,300 people.”

The programs and services of NCC affect 50,000 people in Newark and Essex counties each and every day, including the 7,000 people living in their affordable housing developments.

In addition to just affordable housing, NCC seeks to boost economic development within the community through new construction, user-friendly consumer banking for low-income individuals and families and a variety of education, health care and other human development services.

Donations of money, time, products or services help NCC continue their mission of assisting inner city residents and improve communities.

9. Nonprofit Finance Fund

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), founded in 1980, “serves both nonprofits and their funders, offering an integrated package of financial and advisory services, including facilities and working capital loans and lines of credit; asset-building programs; intensive workshops; Nonprofit Business Analyses, and other consultations to help nonprofit management understand the impact on their finances of management and program decisions,” according to their website.

NFF is funded by financial institutions, foundations, corporations, the public sector and individual donors. “NFF has lent over $160 million and leveraged $1 billion of capital investment on behalf of its nonprofit clients,” according to their website, and has also partnered with to provide millions more through grants and loan guarantees.

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Thus, donations to NFF ensure that nonprofits across the country are served so that they can, in turn, serve others.

10. Pioneer Human Services

Pioneer Human Services, based in Seattle, was founded in 1963 and has helped more than 100,000 “individuals on the margins of society” since then, according to their website. “Revenues are earned through the manufacture, distribution, and sale of products and through fees for services,” according to their website. These revenues account for 99 percent of their budget.

Pioneer Human Services manufactures, distributes and sells products ranging from construction to catering and manufacturing to contract packaging. They also offer services such as counseling, chemical dependency treatment and community corrections, housing and consulting assistance, according to their website.

They do not have a development director, nor do they solicit donations. They carefully structure their programs and services and set disadvantaged people up for success. While Pioneer Human Services is unique in that it is a nonprofit that is almost entirely self-sustaining, a donation would ensure that they could continue to improve their programs and services and help plant the seed of opportunity in their community.

11. Scojo Foundation

The Scojo Foundation is all about vision. Founded in 2001, they provide entrepreneurs with opportunities to better their own lives and the lives of others through the sale of affordable reading glasses.

“For the more than 700 million people living in poverty who don’t have access to reading glasses, the loss of near vision can mean the loss of their ability to earn an income for themselves and their families,” according to their website.

The entrepreneurs who sell the glasses “are low-income men and women living in rural villages who are trained to conduct vision screenings within their communities, sell affordable reading glasses, and refer those who require advanced eye care to reputable clinics,” according to Scojo’s website. There are more than 1,000 such entrepreneurs worldwide.

Scojo’s website states how much a donation can do. $100 is enough to get one entrepreneur started; $250 can fund eye care for an entire village; and $1,000 can provide eye care for an entire region.

12. Housing Partnership Network

The Housing Partnership Network develops, manages and finances “affordable homes that revitalize communities and provide economic opportunities for lower-income and working families,” according to their website.

Further, their “family of affiliated companies provide predevelopment and acquisition loans, permanent mortgage financing, venture capital, and insurance that help our members produce and sustain more affordable homes,” according to their website.

The Network was founded in 1990 “to share new approaches, create new social enterprises, and impact housing policy to improve the production and sustainability of affordable housing at scale throughout the country,” according to their website.

The Network created a nonprofit development company called the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP) in 2006 with the goal of building 10,000 affordable homes in areas of Louisiana and Mississippi that were affected by Hurricane Katrina, according to their website. GCHP has so far raised $20 million.

Collaboration and cooperation are key parts of what makes the Network’s vision successful. Shared knowledge and connections make the network effective and help to create a bigger impact. Thus, donations to the Network help ensure that affordable housing is a reality not only in the present but also in the future.

13. Grameen Foundation

The Grameen Foundation supports “microfinance programs that enable the poor, mostly women, to lift themselves out of poverty and make better lives for their families. To do this, [they] partner with a worldwide network of microfinance institutions,” according to their website.

The Grameen Foundation was founded in 1997 by people inspired by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and its work with microfinance. More than 4 million families in 25 countries have been helped by the Grameen Foundation, according to their website.

There are a variety of ways to donate to the Grameen Foundation. One donation of $1,000 to $1,200 can make a difference twice. The entire donation is deposited into a bank account in Bangladesh, where the 12 percent of the interest generated is distributed equally every month in order to finance five years of public education for a child in Bangladesh, according to the Grameen Foundation’s website. The reason that this single donation has two benefits is that “the principal amount of the deposit is used as microfinance loans. This program has the dual effect of using a donation to support education and microfinance at the same time,” according to the website.

14. Rubicon Programs

Rubicon Programs runs two businesses: a bakery and a landscape service. These businesses have dual purposes. In addition to providing participants—”formerly homeless, chronically unemployed, and disabled men and women,” according to the website—with job training, they generate revenue for the program.

Rubicon, founded in 1973, seeks to help those who are disadvantaged because of mental health, economic or other barriers. Rubicon was founded in response to closures of state psychiatric hospitals in California; the founders recognized the need to provide opportunities and support for people suffering from chronic mental illness and other societal setbacks.

Rubicon’s website makes clear exactly what a donation can do. From a $50 donation, which can cover “work shoes for a young father about to start his first job” to a $5,000 donation, which can cover “linens and bedding for 33 formerly homeless families,” Rubicon’s website gives a tangible measure of just how far donations can go.

15. Global Exchange

Global Exchange, founded in 1988, operates an online retail store of fair trade goods, including tea, coffee, clothes, jewelry, crafts and books. All products are shipped using reused and recycled materials.

“Fair Trade brings the benefits of trade into the hands of communities that need it most. It sets new social and environmental standards for international companies and demonstrates that trade can indeed be a vehicle for sustainable development,” according to their website. “Revenue from Fair Trade cooperatives is used on a variety of community projects, including training of producers in organic and sustainable farming techniques (i.e. composting), building houses, schools and clinics and guaranteeing health care for the whole community, among others.”

Through its campaigns, Global Exchange seeks to inspire people to “resist injustice, envision alternatives, and take action,” according to their website. They began hosting Reality Tours of developing countries in 1989 and how have regular Reality Tours in more than 30 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

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