Tag Archive for one world childrens fund

Stanford Grads Lead Building of Hospital in India

(Excerpt from Giving Back)

Stanford Grads Lead Building of Hospital in India

Five twenty-something Stanford alumni, united by their student volunteering experience in India over the course of a decade, hatched a plan to help meet one of the key needs for the Indian state of Jharkhand: local medical care. Nearly one hundred thousand villagers have to travel three hours or more to get to the hospital at the state capital. Building a local health center would provide timely care that could save lives and double as a community center for health-education programs. Despite their busy professional lives and living spread out across the United States, the cofounders of Hospital for Hope  kept at their dream. They started off by raising more than $100,000 for the construction costs through their online efforts, happy hours, and gala events, learning to partner with other nonprofits to pull together the large events. They worked with One World Children’s Fund (their fiscal agent), Construction for Change (to do the building), and Jagriti Vihara (JV), the local nongovernmental organization that will work with other community partners to run the hospital.

With the initial money raised and construction underway, the Hospital for Hope team has entered a new phase, planning for the staffing, operations, and ensuring the sustainability of the hospital. Now taking the role of consultants to JV, they’ve researched the best models for hospitals in developing areas, along with pitfalls to avoid. The project has provided valuable real-world experience in all the skills required to carry out a complex project: visioning and planning, implementation, partnering, and management. These skills have transferred to their day jobs, but the most valuable part of their volunteer experience was the inspiration of working with people so committed to helping others. As cofounder Golda Philip says,

We were searching for what we wanted to do, a sense of purpose and vocation. JV gave us a model. . . . It provided inspiration for all of us at an early, critical stage of development as professionals and global citizens responsible to the people around us.

One World Children’s Fund Fellows Presentations

Bottom Line:  Innovative non-profits, like OWCF, seek to try new things, empower people and get out of the way to let them get things done.  OWCF’s inaugural group of “fellows” was an effective way for the organization to jump start some important projects, while providing valuable training to a new generation interested in learning the ropes in the non-profit world.

[And, we’re back…  The lack of posts over the last 3 weeks was a result of my moving.  It’s remarkable how much time and energy it takes to find a new place to live, pack up, get boxes from one place to another, and unpack them.  I’m not done yet, but far enough along that I can get back to blogging….]

I currently serve on the board of the Palo Alto Congregational Foundation, a small grant-making foundation that supports projects and organizations in the Palo Alto, CA area.  We typically make 5 – 8 grants per year, totaling about $20,000.   We do accept unsolicited proposals, though we give preference to those organizations that have a tie to First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, either through financial support from the Outreach Board or church members who serve as volunteers or employees.  We do not support operating expenses, preferring to provide either seed funding for new programs or capital expenses.  Contact me for more information about the application process.

One of our recent grants was to One World Children’s Fund to start a summer fellowship program.  Yesterday, the three fellows presented what they had done in their part-time, three-month, unpaid fellowships.  I have to admit that I was late, and missed the first 45 minutes of the presentations, but from what I did see, the fellows tackled some of the marketing challenges that OWCF faces, specifically:

  1. Creating an “Elevator Pitch” with talking points to describe the OWCF model:  “One World Children’s Fund is a non-profit that supports community-based organizations serving children around the world.  We are unique because volunteers approach us with organizations they wish to raise funds for.  Once selected, these volunteers are provided tools and training for fundraising.  100% of the money they raise goes directly towards supporting children.  Fundraising isn’t the only way to get involved with One World.  People come to us from all walks of life to make a difference in the lives of children, and so can you!”
  2. Improving Donor Stewardship.  It sounded like the main initiative there was publishing donor stories, which is a start.
  3. Using online video to tell the story.  One of the fellows created a storyboard for a 2 minute animated short that describes OWCF’s champion model.  She also found an animation studio who agreed to produce it pro bono.
  4. Making sure web content is available to a global audience.  Another fellow set up a process to create a volunteer community of translators who could ensure that the content of OWCF’s is available in other languages.
Several members of OWCF’s board were in the audience, and they seemed to also appreciate the contributions of the fellows.  I had a chance to speak with the fellows afterward, and was impressed.  These women had strong academic and work backgrounds, but needed the practical non-profit experience to make the desired transition into non-profit management as a career.  They were happy with the autonomy and responsibility that OWCF had given them, and OWCF had also lined up a series of weekly speakers talking about their areas of non-profit specialty.  In a testament to the value of the program, one of the fellows learned about the fellowship from idealist.org and applied from Hong Kong, enduring a three-month separation from her newly-wedded husband to participate in the fellowship.
In summary, I was impressed that OWCF put together a quality fellowship program (run entirely by volunteers) and believe that it had the desired win-win outcome of providing value to both OWCF and the fellows.  I hope that the longer term benefits of improved messaging, donor stewardship, and website reach will result in more projects helping more children under the OWCF umbrella.