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May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Fount of Mercy's project Director for Sewing Hope, Tara Hawks, in planning and executing the annual fashion show fundraiser in New York city. From day one, Tara and her team had a clear vision and passion for this project that was easily contagious. Seeing the need in Uganda for women to have marketable skills, Sewing Hope has found a way to turn the NY fashion industry into their source for support. It was inspiring to see some of New York's talented and acclaimed designers create and donate garments made from African fabric to raise money that will go directly back to purchase sewing machines, fabric, and support the training of women in Uganda. What's even better is that Sewing Hope is seeing these women form partnerships and support each other. They are actively encouraged to reinvest in their growing garment businesses. I am so impressed with how Sewing Hope/Fount of Mercy shows stewardship of its funds. Every decision in the planning of the event was focused on how it will best serve the women in Uganda. From the raffle, to the guest refreshments (our wine sponsor was a company owned and operated by two women out of CA), Sewing Hope has aligned itself with donors, volunteers, and vendors that support empowering women and are eager to see growth for Sewing Hope and, therefore, Fount of Mercy's global impact.

The Great!

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

Showing annual growth in numbers of attendees, donors for the fashion show, and net amount earned. Also, the event went so seamlessly... truly a testament to the exemplary nature of the team at Sewing Hope. I want to bring them to every event we do!

Ways to make it better...

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

make it bigger so it can make a larger impact on more women!

More feedback...

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

they are grateful. Everywhere you turn, your efforts are recognized. It is well managed, and from the top down they foster a culture of thankfulness.

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

one-of-a-kind awesome. I wish I could work with this exact team on every event we do!

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

change the world. They really need to have the Director on salary so she can work on this full time. But of course, most of it would go to expansion of teams in multiple countries.

Ways to make it better...

We could have more awareness of the event and get more people there, but we've seen growth, so I have confidence we'll see more next year!

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

limits with funds. A little more funding support would go a long way with this project.

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

I'll be a life long supporter :)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I traveled to Kampala and Jinja, Uganda with Fount of Mercy in August 2009. While in Uganda I worked with three different indigenous orphan care organizations to better understand accountability and bookkeeping. I "audited" their records and provided training and templates so that each of their systems could be improved going forward. The Fount personnel I spent time with truly had pure intentions in their work with orphan care organizations in Uganda and they had the experience and knowledge to do things right. Fount is a small organization and as such they are careful to not stretch themselves too thin. Being involved with Fount truly changed my life. I came back from my trip to Uganda knowing that I want to be involved in economic development in poverty stricken countries. Seeing economic development done "right" through Fount's Sewing Hope program and the program I was involved in really gave me courage to pursue my dream. Since returning from that trip I have left my career in finance and accounting and am now working at a startup non-profit focused on business training and microfinance in poverty areas.

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The Great!

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

Since my trip in August 2009 I've had several updates from Lori (Fount of Mercy's director who lives in Jinja) about the project I worked on. She's reported that they are using my templates and that an improvement in bookkeeping has been seen.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 28, 2010

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May 28, 2010

I had a unique window into the Sewing Hope wing of the Font of Mercy organization. I watched 24 hours of random footage detailing the women involved in a tailoring program which was set up to train AIDS widows in sewing so that they'd have income and can keep their families together. I was impressed by how Fount of Mercy finds ways to fund and provide supplies and technical assistance to already existing organizations which are run by Ugandan nationals. That way, these orgs are on their way to self-sufficiency. I was really impressed with all I saw in this footage, and how the women are drawn into the process of deciding what they need.

The Great!

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

the stories of the women who have been through the Sewing Hope program. I also went to Uganda in January 2011 and experienced their programs and people first hand. I even met one of the graduates of the Sewing Hope program and we became friends. It was great to hear first-hand about how the program helped her, and to see her set of fierce skills!

Ways to make it better...

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

If I could, I'd fund them better!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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