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

Role: Volunteer
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

FSD is a fantastic organization that offers a very unique program that has a very positive impact and changes lives.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the lifelong relationships that are built, the success of volunteer projects, the dedication of the site team to carry volutneer projects through if the volunteer is unable to complete their project, the cross-culturla learning and development of solidarity between international communities.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the site team's support and encouragement throughout my experience and the project I worked on.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

AMAZING!!! can't imagine the experience without them.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I have just returned from Udaipur, India where I worked as a Pro Corp volunteer with FSD. Why did I choose to go with FSD? Because my son, fresh out of college had such s good experience through FSD. His work with them confirmed his desire to work on sustainable development through environmental/social issues, which he now continues with the Peace Corps in Panama. My experience was was excellent also. I worked with dedicated NGO workers to develop improved Financial Literacy teaching methods through the use of visual aids, role playing and games. The target students were very poor women who had taken out microfinance loans. FSD has proven itself to be a formidable partner to NGO's in Kenya, Uganda, Nicaragua, Argentina and India. The FSD staff on the ground in India had such a broad base of experience and such high levels of energy and enthusiasm. They were able to help individual volunteers deal with their own personal challenges, while achieving worthy goals with the partner NGO's. Every project that was worked on put the volunteers in contact with skilled professionals. Everyone gained from the interactions. For the volunteers the experience built awareness, developed important skills and left them feeling that they could make a difference. Does my project meet the "green" requirement. Yes, in as far as the literacy training helps the poor in whatever field of work that they take loans for. I intend to find other ways to support FSD as their work is so important

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

India. Projects include the full spectrum of environment, education, health, women's rights.

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

I intend to try to volunteer and get into the running of this organization to help it grow.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The ability to provide help where it is so desperately needed, and yet also gain so much personally from the interactions with qualified staff and coworkers. FSD provided a swift and efficient introduction to its parters that little time was wasted in getting started.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

FSD has 3 staff in Udaipur. Even as a seasoned professional I could not help but be impressed with their knowledge, commitment , enthusiasm and energy.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

With $10 million FSD could provide the equivalent of $100 million worth of benefits (compared to other agencies)to the communities it serves. Its stringent internal controls ensures that quality work and sustainable results are certain before any money is spent.

Ways to make it better...

I exceeded every goal I had for myself and my partner NGO. FSD also exceeded my expectations on what it could deliver.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Maintaining quality while expanding operations

One thing I'd also say is that...

Thank you FSD, for providing the best possible placement service for those who seek to give something back to those in need.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

FSD creates connections between volunteers and local, community-based organizations to provide sustainable economic, environmental, and community solutions to some of the most pressing global issues. From the national office in San Francisco through their site teams in six developing countries, FSD's integrated operation is incredible. They truly acknowledge the importance of "ground-up" development efforts that focus on sustainability. This organization is a leader and its example should be followed by many others!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the communities in which they work.

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

continue the work they are doing.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the life changing experience that their immersion trip provided.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

connect the developing and developed worlds in a way we never thought possible.

Ways to make it better...

nothing could have made it better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the difficulty to change people's opinions of the rest of the world.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

WIDE RESCUE INITIATIVE ORGANIZATION AN NGO FROM KENYA VOLUNTEERED TO WORK WITH FSD ON ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT PROJECTS.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

OUR COUNTRY KENYA TO BE MORE PROFITABLE TO LOCAL AND URBAN INHABITANTS WHO ARE IN DIRE NEED

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

HAVE ENJOYED

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

OF ITS KIND AND VERY UNIQUE IN ITS MISSION AND VERY DEDICATED

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

VERY ACTIVE AND VERY DEDICATED

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

MANAGE TO SURVE IN A WIDER DIMMENTION HENSE,ACHIEVE ITS TARGET

Ways to make it better...

I COULD BE INVOLVED IN THE ORGANIZATION AS PART AND PARCES AND THE ORGANIZATION TO OPERATE IN OUR AREA

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

LACK OF ENOUGH RESOUCES[FUNDS]TO EXPAND ITS ACTIVITIES TO THE WIDER PERSPECTIVE

One thing I'd also say is that...

THE ORGANIZATION MUST BE SURPOTED INTERMS OF FUNDS TO DELIVER ITS SURVICES TO THE NEEDY AT GRASSROOT LEVEL AND ACHIEVE ITS MISSION AT LARGE.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

From the very first day i joined FSD-Jinja, i got to realize how sustainable development can lead our country to greater heights because i got to learn how one can use small funds to start up a very big project which thing made me think again about development in Uganda. The FSD interns try there best to write different projects which are later funded by FSD with some small funds and they end up being great Projects.This is so inspiring in that i felt there is need for FSD to reach out to many communities since it has the best approach to development in the developing world.Some of the projects that took my breath included,Fruit tree planting for the women living with HIV,HIV awareness and prevention, Anti-Malaria awareness and prevention,Water treatment and conservation and many other projects.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Grass root projects which cover women empowerment, Human rights,Education and many more projects leading to community Development.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very hard working and dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Reach out to many communities in the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

offers environ internship programs in 6 countries that stress sustainability, interns encouraged to find alternatives to bottled water, we boiled water, used filters, aqua tabs to cut down on bottles, does not fund animal husbandry projects nor other project that might negatively impact environ

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the small scale grants given through interns.

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

add more countries.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the friends made and relationships formed.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

organized and helpful. All my calls, e-mails, and questions were always answered.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

offer large scale grants.

Ways to make it better...

I had had a clear work plan from the get-go.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the same that face any like it - how to make projects and programs truly sustainable.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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Rating: 3 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

I have never participated in an intern abroad program, but as one of my assignments within the SF office, I have read a lot about what kinds of environmental projects FSD's NGOs carry out in the field. Things from eco-tourism to raise environmental awareness, and garden planting and environmental education for grade school kids, to sustainable methods in agriculture and improved resource management for local farmers. These projects, if carried out well, I believe would be a huge benefit to those community members and to future generations of those communities. Although I cannot say first-hand that the environmental programs were successfully executed and sustainable, I believe that FSD's support of these programs is at least a first step to making a difference. Though, I can 100% say for certain that the FSD headquarters in San Francisco recycles and composts everything! Working at the FSD San Francisco office has given me a huge insight to the workings of small, growing nonprofits. The staff works hectically and is constantly, collaboratively multi-tasking to churn out and improve the programs it offers. During my time there, it was amazing to see that a staff of less than 10 in the main office worked endlessly in an effort to maintain communication at a personal level with people interested in FSD programs and with FSD participants before their programs began. The passion and ideals of the staff are what kept me motivated in this nonprofit and what made me keep coming back to do my best work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

terms of the growing number of applicants FSD was receiving during my time there.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the different job hats I've worn within the office and the opportunity to learn more about nonprofit development and international development.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very cool people who were passionate about what they were doing.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

FSD allows individuals to engage in hands on work with sustainable development in other countries. Through FSD I went to Kenya and worked with KOMAZA (komaza.org), an amazing organization that uses sustainable agro-forestry to improve the standard of living in impoverish communities. Because the climate in Kenya is arid and rainfall is undependable, KOMAZA uses a species of Eucalyptus which grows without much water, providing farmers with a dependable source of income. KOMAZA provides farmers with the inputs on credit and training on each step of the process, allowing the farmers to learn the skills which will increase their standard of living. While I was with KOMAZA, I worked to create, edit, and test health and economic baseline surveys to evaluate the farmers' quality of life. These surveys were vital to the organization in order to ensure that we were achieving our objectives. My experience opened my eyes to the world of sustainable development. It taught me the importance of capacity building and ensuring that you are constantly empowering others and the organization to function without you. It also showed me the innovative ways that organizations can use natural resources to improve individuals' quality of life. My time with FSD was really a life-changing experience. I continue to use what I have learned on a daily basis, ensuring that I follow the same sustainable principles with the organizations I work with at home.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Teaching individuals about the challenges of sustainable development and how organizations can be structured to accomplish their objectives.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

It fully immersed me in the culture and thought be culturally sensitive ways of working with people in a different culture while improving their lives.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Improve the lives of countless individuals around the world.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

Working with FSD, I was able to live and work in Masaka, Uganda for 9 weeks. I worked with Vi Agroforestry, a sustainable agriculture organization, which enabled me to witness local approaches to sustainable agriculture. My experience in Uganda changed the way I think about development and made me realize the importance of grassroots approaches and stakeholder participation. I would recommend this program to anyone in the least bit interested in international development--I learned more from my co-workers and host family than I ever would have in school.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how I was able to design my own program within a framework designed to benefit my host organization

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

After graduation, I was stuck with the “world is your oyster” mindset, but I didn’t know how to take advantage of it. I looked into many different opportunities, one idea I had was traveling around Latin America making my way from one development organization to the next as a volunteer until I felt I had “found” what I was looking for. I also looked into the Peace Corp, but it seemed as though the Peace Corp can be hit or miss with its placement, and the two-year commitment was a little too daunting. So after much research I discovered the Foundation for Sustainable Development, it gave me the structure I needed, the education I wanted, and the experience I hoped for. FSD is an organization that has found the necessary, yet difficult, balance between foreign support and community empowerment. They work with a model that ensures the education of its volunteers, interns, and host organizations so that all understand the design and power of sustainable projects. Volunteering with FSD has given me the opportunity to gain a new perspective on international development work, and it has inspired to continue my journey into the world of development work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the inspiration it has provided many past volunteers to continue their education in sustainable development, creating a group of FSD alumni who are making a positive change in the world.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to work along side local Nicaraguans to develop sustainable solutions to improve the community and the efficiency of the organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

inspiring, interested, dedicated, educated, down to earth, and diverse.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide more opportunities to organizations to develop project proposals to compete for funding, using this as an educational tool to give the organizations the confidence and ability to develop sustainable projects, and apply for outside funding.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-3-01

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