Searching for Sustainability
May 11, 2017

Philanthropy Is Never Enough.

Every single day I spend working in SE Asia helping organizations do a more effective job of educating girls and providing job training for women, that undeniable truth just becomes more and more evident.

Philanthropy is simply never enough.

That’s the issue we spent a day and a half wrestling with earlier this week in Siem Reap when we held our first ever Sustainability Workshop.
Thanks to the wonderful work done by my two partners in this endeavor, Sophal Nguon (Country Director for our SE Asia Foundation) and Kneath Heard (Managing Director for JWOC in Siem Reap) we were able to gather together 28 leaders from 16 different local organizations – all dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through education in one form or another

When we took an informal survey at the beginning of our session we learned that for these 16 organizations the average amount of “non-donor money” was a mere 5.9% of their annual operating budgets. That’s not very much. Certainly better than nothing, but not nearly enough given the shortfalls in donor money, especially when we realized that for eight of those attending their amount was zero. One half of our attendees currently rely 100% on donor money!

We got to know each other. We quickly became a learning community. We brainstormed. We shared experiences. We shared ideas. We focused our energies on exploring opportunities for increasing Community Support, and for starting new Social Enterprises.
The enthusiasm in the room was palpable. These wonderful people put a lot of energy into our time together.
As we neared the conclusion of our second day, this vigorous group had compiled an impressive list of over 50 ideas for encouraging additional support from their local communities and for creating Social Enterprises that could generate income to support their ongoing operations.

I heard lots of talk about how their self-generated income will be much higher when we meet again next time. I’m very much looking forward to that. Who knows what we’ll see then?

Perhaps, in the meantime, we’ll see some fundable business plans to move forward with these creative ideas.

I certainly hope so.

We love helping people that help themselves.

This is just one of the many Success Stories that happen because of you – our Generous Donors.

Life is good — at least for some of us it is. Others need a bit of help. Together we can provide exactly that

Guaranteed to change the lives of thousands of girls now living in poverty