Foundation for Sustainable Development

Rating: 4.83 stars   143 reviews

Issues: International, Economic Development, Microfinance

Location: 1000 Brannan Street Suite 207 San Francisco CA 94103 USA

Mission: FSD supports the efforts of grassroots development organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are working to better their communities, environments, and the economic opportunities around them. We believe economic development begins with community development and is only sustainable if it comes from and is supported by the members of these communities. Also, through our programs, we aim to raise international awareness of the economic challenges in developing countries and support cross-cultural communities in finding more effective solutions to development issues.
Geographic areas served: Latin America, Africa, Asia
Programs: Capacity building in community-based development programs; training in community development for student and professional volunteers who work with our partners; grantmaking to community partners; engaged phlianthropy through giving circles

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I served as an intern in a health post in Nancimi, Tola, Nicaragua, where I facilitated preventative health trainings on the most prominent health issues plaguing the community. While the community benefited from the trainings, I gained a great deal from the internship as well. Through writing a grant and implementing my project, I developed writing, communication, and public health skills applicable to my future career in medicine and global health. Furthermore, FSD ingrained the ideals of sustainability in a global setting in my head, for that I am grateful. I am also grateful for the people that I met. The other interns in Nancimi acted as a sounding board, therapists, and a source of inspiration, and the FSD coordinators challenged and motivated me throughout the nine weeks. I continue to keep in touch with both the other interns and the coordinators, as well as the community members in Nancimi. It makes me smile to realize that I always have a "home" with my FSD family back in Nicaragua. Although challenging at times, I 100% recommend a FSD internship to individuals who aspire to pursue an international, hands-on experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Working with FSD has opened my eyes to approaching development in the world. Not only have I seen the tremendous support that FSD offers both domestically and internationally, but more specifically, the incredible attention to detail that FSD gives to its programs. Speaking from personal experience as a Marketing Intern, I know that FSD doesn't look for the quick fix, but rather devotes the appropriate amount of time to projects in order to make sure they are meeting all requirements. I am very excited about the current work with FSD and all future involvement that I plan on having with the organization!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I spent the summer of 2013 volunteering with FSD in Kakamega, Kenya. What drew me to FSD was its emphasis on sustainability instead of aid, which seemed like the most effective and realistic model for international development. A focus on assets rather than weaknesses is crucial in empowering a community and effecting long-term sustainable growth. Given my interest in health, I was paired with a rural health center, which allowed me to shadow the nurses and work on public health initiatives. Living with a host family was invaluable, as it helped me get in touch with the community. Overall, my experience taught me so much about international development, public health, and myself. I would highly recommend FSD to anyone looking for a thorough, supportive, and fulfilling internship in development work.

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I had the opportunity to facilitate two Global Service Trips with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua and Kakamega, Kenya.

FSD's commitment to achieving community-driven goals through asset-based development and international exchange in Africa, Asia, and Latin America was seen throughout my experience at these program sites. As a facilitator, I saw a huge transformation in the participants, members of the community partner organizations we worked with, and the beneficiaries. The reciprocal process FSD aims to achieve was accomplished on both trips.

The main differentiator of FSD's programs is that their sites teams are on the ground, ensuring the outcomes of the support have a long-lasting benefit for the partner organizations (NGOs and nonprofits).

I highly recommend FSD for anyone who wants to be the change they want to see in the world and seeks an opportunity to provide sustainable impact on international communities!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been interning at FSD headquarters in San Francisco for the past two months. My experience at FSD has been very rewarding and has given me the opportunity to be an important part of an outstanding organization that engages in real international community development and effective capacity building. All FSD staff members, interns and volunteers embrace and embody the mission, vision and core values of the organization, especially the commitment to an asset-based approach to development that requires community ownership of all projects. Twenty years of experience have allowed FSD to develop a strong organizational structure with mechanisms in place to provide positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved, e.g. donors, program participants, partner organizations and community members. I would highly recommend FSD to anyone seeking a comprehensive, enriching and inspiring development experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been an intern in FSD's San Francisco office over the past 3 months. FSD has been an amazing organization to be a part of, and I'm so glad to have had the chance to intern with them. Their mission to achieve "community-driven goals through asset-based development and international exchange" truly shines through every employee, intern and volunteer who comes in contact with this organization. I can honestly say that I stand behind the impactful work that FSD accomplishes through ongoing efforts with their community partners around the globe.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered with FSD in Kakamega, Kenya in the summer of 2012, working at a local sub-district hospital. FSD's sustainable development model, which teaches that social and economic change must come from within the community to work and last, forces interns to truly immerse themselves into their organization and community in order to identify issues and potential solutions. Even two years later I am still in touch with my host family and some coworkers from the hospital. The site team was supportive and enthusiastic yet also provided interns with space and independence. Overall, it was a great experience and I would recommend others to get involved with FSD if they are looking for an international service experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

extend the length of the minimum trip

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

This past summer i had the opportunity to work at a sub-district hospital and live with a host family in the rural village of Shibwe, about 15km out of Kakamega. The experience was challenging but extremely enriching. FSD provides its interns with space and independence to pursue a project they feel passionate about, but is always there to provide support when needed. Over nine weeks I was able to form strong relationships at work and in my village, implement sustainable projects and learn important skills such as implementing a workplan and keeping a budget, learn to feel completely comfortable in my immensely new environment, and as a result of this all I grew tremendously as a person while making a difference (big or small) at Shibwe.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

They call Cochabamba, Bolivia "The City of Eternal Spring." My choice to intern abroad with the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Cochabamba truly involved me in an eternal spring. My experience brought fresh ideas into bloom, grew global relationships and showed me the power that local communities hold.

Fresh ideas in bloom: FSD welcomed and immersed me into the Cochabamban community. I engaged in a new environment with support and guidance from FSD's Site Team. Program Director Mauricio gave sage wisdom, and with his help, I experienced not only public transportation adventures on some of the most brilliantly colored buses I've ever seen, but also the chance to ask strangers for directions in Spanish and challenge myself to rethink how I commute and communicate (and embrace getting lost in the meatpacking market along the way!).

Growing global relationships: My work as a Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) intern created connections with a global reach, and the relationship that truly defined my summer was the one I formed with my home-stay family. Countless stories and jokes were told over early morning and late night tea with my madre, padre and hermano boliviano, all of who shared their love of their city and their country with me.

Local community power: In Cochabamba, big things happen through small but strong efforts. My FSD intern project drew from within and grew from face-to-face interactions instead of the usual text or email. I learned to ask not what a community needs, but rather how we can build upon the assets that a community already has.

FSD is an incredible nonprofit that thrives because it honors its mission for community-driven and implemented change at every level of the organization. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at FSD's San Francisco headquarters. The office provided an incredible experience of grant reviews, marketing and staff discussions, and I feel so lucky to have an FSD story that spans two continents with one organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have interned in the San Francisco Office for FSD for the past 5 months, and it has been a beyond wonderful experience. I have learned so much about sustainable development, and what it means to act as a global citizen. Additionally, FSD gives its interns great responsibility and the opportunity to truly make an impact with the organization. The skills and capacity that I have built as an intern here have been invaluable. Beyond my experience with FSD, I can sincerely say that FSD itself stays true to it's mission, supporting and implementing long-lasting and sustainable projects that stem from community-identified needs and wants. I have seen first-hand how much all of the staff at FSD truly cares about the individuals and communities with which they work, which has been both refreshing and inspiring. I give FSD nothing but the highest ratings!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteered at their Cochabamba, Bolivia location for the summer. Obviously, there are certain challenges that just come with working/interning abroad, but the FSD cite team was especially supportive, while still gave me room to figure things out myself. Also, after talking with other volunteers/interns that were through different programs, I really think FSD's plan makes the whole experience more meaningful. Great people, great hearts. I recommend

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