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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation for Sustainable Development

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Alliances & Advocacy, Arts & Culture, Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Philanthropy

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.

Target demographics: International communities achieve locally based goals and improve lives and communities.

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

Community Stories

172 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through FSD I was able to experience the technological challenges that villagers in Uganda face. FSD did 2 things very well. Firstly, they assigned me to a community that was excited about technology and found me a wonderful host family. Living among the community and working with them to provide useful sustainable businesses could not have happened with my organization alone. Secondly they advised me on how to best approach sustainable development. The keys rules are to ensure that any initiative you and the community spend time building, is one where all the correct incentives line up such that the initiative continues well past your time. This was important advice to ensuring that your time is not wasted on projects that fail. Instead, most FSD projects lead to some tangible benefit for the community because the community is the main driver. The interns learn a great deal and help where they can by offering their knowledge and experience in a very different part of the world. This is a passive but highly effective method of development.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD's staff in field and in the HQ care deeply about all the projects they are working on. They devote their time and energy to make sure each project is being performed properly, the communities are being respected and are getting something that will be useful in the long term. Their goal is to provide enough help to start a project that will later on be able to sustain itself, making any aid organization not necessary and the community independent, something that all nonprofits should strive to do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD is an amazing organization doing exceptional work in development! Their focus on community-based development is a tool for empowerment and a way to really create lasting change. The whole FSD team is amazing to work with and I believe they are going to continue to impact so many communities around the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD is an incredible organization based in the Bay Area that offers individuals and corporations opportunities to connect and work with its partner sites around the world. They do a great job at being transparent and are a leader in the field of quality sustainable development.

Advisor

Rating: 5

When I returned from my Peace Corps service I was thrilled to find Foundation for Sustainable Development - an organization that seemed to be doing truly community driven and asset-based development. I have since had the opportunity to serve as a non-profit advisor to the organization and in that role, have seen in more detail how well they manage programs. I have been impressed by the organization's collaboration with community partners which puts the highest value on local priorities, input, cultural appropriateness, mutual respect and collaboration.

Karla Gina P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the short time I have been interning with FSD, I have come to value the authenticity of this nonprofit. FSD stands true to its mission to work with local community partners to influence capacity building and ownership. The organization is intentional about selecting students and professionals alike to live, work, and learn with communities across the globe. Compared to other international internship and study abroad programs, FSD approaches the experience in a holistic way. The staff works closely with students, university partners, and FSD international site teams to ensure that students are well prepared with the skills and knowledge for their international development experience. Pre-departure training, onsite mid-service workshops, and post-program reflections guarantee a truly well-rounded service for student interns.
Thanks to the first-hand experience gained onsite (in Africa,Latin America, and Asia), many FSD alumni are influenced to pursue professional training and work in both community and international development.

I'm so pleased to work formally with a nonprofit that is so thoughtful and intentional about its approach to development. Thank you FSD for helping me gain the skills and experience of working in international exchange programming and merging it with my appreciation for international and community development!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization helps people around the world in lasting ways--and trains the next generation of development professionals from American and beyond. More spiritually , I believe this group provides wonderful antidote to some of the culturally divisive tension we experience today.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization has great internship opportunities that create one of a kind experiences for students.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great Organization that promotes sustainability in several countries with grassroots involvement.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an intern at FSD that had the opportunity to be a part of the grant administration program where I was able to gain invaluable skills about grant writing and review. The team is absolutely amazing and is very transparent in communication and supportive with each others work. I was given the opportunity to be involved in many aspects of contributing to the continued success of the organization and enjoyed every part of my experience. FSD does genuine good for the communities it serves all around the world and I am very proud to have had the chance to be a part of it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Programs Intern with FSD and my experience has been great. During my time with the organization, I have greatly learned about their method of International Development; Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). It is a form of development which is community inclusive and attempts to use indigenous resources to solve local problems. In addition, the communication channels within FSD is very comprehensive and accessible as they strive to create a conducive atmosphere for their International Volunteers/Interns and their host family. Overall the Foundation for Sustainable Development is a great organization and highly recommend it to future volunteers looking to go abroad.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Foundation for Sustainable Development is a passionate organization that puts the needs of its beneficiaries first. Utilizing a revolutionary sustainable approach to development, FSD implements ground-up initiatives that are most importantly guided by the voice of the individuals who possess the local knowledge to know which solutions work best. While a localized and close knit organization themselves, FSD's outreach has successfully extended around the globe; across various states, countries, languages, and cultures. It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside the passionate individuals of FSD that tirelessly endeavor to instill a true change in this world.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FSD has been recognized as a model in books, case studies, and seminars for how to help students and volunteers work in an ethical way in developing countries. However, my expertise is not in international exchange and learning but rather in international development. As a development professional what I really appreciate about this organization is the way that it builds community members' self confidence and capabilities to change their own circumstances and make the community what they want it to be. In other words, it works deliberately to break down attitudes that someone from the outside needs to bring solutions and instead builds up the community to bring their own solutions. When the community is able to mobilize and build its own resources, even small contributions of time and money can have a big impact. Coming back to the international exchange angle, I think it is fantastic that students and would-be donors get to be a part of that process and gain appreciation of the capabilities of local people. It is my hope that those who have experienced the FSD model as students will use that perspective to come up with new approaches to supporting community development.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This program is unlike anything I could have ever expected and I can't say how happy I am to have done it. It's had ups and downs and a lot of middle as well, but I wouldn't change any of those moments. Being thrown out of my comfort zone and creating a much wider, new comfort zone has been the best aspect of my experience. It's such a different lifestyle, but it's one at this point I would say I am comfortable with and enjoying greatly.

I have had more happy moments and moments where I am thinking about a ridiculous amount of things all at once here than I have before. I've joined a group of students with a different university mindset and seen how the way I think is different than the way their formal education has taught them to think. I have also been in the most culturally-diverse group I have ever spent this much time with, as a white-midwestern American. I've learned a lot in both active and passive ways.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just love the organization and core values of FSD. This experience has greatly changed me, and it would not have been possible without the support and connections and knowledge I have received fro FSD. All I can say is that I wish I was in Kenya longer, I honestly could spend at least another 2 months here without wanting to return to America. I think the site team, host family, and single intern paired with a host organization made this internship very unique and more integrative (which I really appreciate!).

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Sustainable Development is a life-changing organization that allows participants to be involved in community-based projects while partnering with development organizations around the world. Prioritizing sustainability along with key development interventions allows for positive and truly reciprocal experiences on both sides. I would highly recommend this organization to my colleagues, friends, and family without any hesitation, and believe it is a gem among the Bay Area nonprofits.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

FSD gave me an amazing opportunity to learn more about international development, gain hands-on experience helping other people to improve their lives, and build the fundamental skills necessary to pursue a lifelong career in this field. I fully believe in the Asset-Based Community Development approach utilized by FSD as it promotes empowering people to improve their own lives with the resources available to them rather than prescribing the unsustainable "charitable handout" approach employed by so many other organizations. This FSD model is indeed a stepping stone to truly sustainable development.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned in the San Francisco office of FSD; it was an incredible experience through which I learned about the world of international development and sustainable practices, made a lot of new friends, and deepened my understanding about the grant review process. I would highly recommend doing anything through FSD; the Foundation is intentional in all it does and the funding it gives and will provide a well-rounded and fulfilling experience!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is a standard bearer in the non profit world. We are VERY pleased to be a part of it.

2

Former staff

Rating: 5

n May 2015 I did a service trip with FSD to Nicaragua. I didn't like the hotel they put us up in (no air conditioning?!), but other than that, it was a great trip. My group worked with this little drug prevention youth organization that was pretty together, and they were expanding their marketing plan. I have some Spanish

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I am very excitied to sponsor a child, this child make me feel so happy and very lively, every time that I send a letter to him or I recivied a letter from him I feel so very happy

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In May 2015 I did a service trip with FSD to Nicaragua. I didn't like the hotel they put us up in (no air conditioning?!), but other than that, it was a great trip. My group worked with this little drug prevention youth organization that was pretty together, and they were expanding their marketing plan. I have some Spanish skills, so I did some interviews with kids at the organization and I loved that. I also got to speak with the executive director, who was really impressive. The country obviously needs a lot of work, and people like her are doing that. Glad I got to help.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did an internship with FSD as a career transition--I'd been out of school for bout five years and was working as a teacher, but I was getting burned out. When I started at their office, I was struck by how focused everyone was and by how present the idea of sustainability was in the everyday work.

I worked mainly with the organization's donors, helping them get connected with projects that were important to them, and also reaching out to find new donors. Because the admin staff is pretty small, it was easy for me to get to know everyone pretty well and to have in-depth conversations with people in every department.

Looking back I wish I'd put a little more effort into exploring the India projects than I did, but other than that, it was a really good and useful experience for me.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I began working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development in May after learning about their unique approach to development. Having spent years working in the field of development it is refreshing to find an organization that stays true to its mission and really works with communities.

I have been able to travel to Nicaragua with FSD and I have seen the high impact programs in the field and I can honestly say that FSD is truly helping communities facilitate change from within. I would highly recommend FSD to any friends, family, or colleagues.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about FSD from my fellow students when I started my MA program in SF and, after doing some research, I knew I wanted to get involved in the organization’s work.

FSD has been among the pioneers of people-centered development approach, and, after interning with the organization for only one semester, I was really able to see how this approach translates in everything FSD does, from planning programs to making funding decisions. FSD SF staff heavily relies on the perspectives and needs of their community partners who work together with FSD site teams to identify meaningful and lasting solutions that work. The organization has networks and relationships in place that allow them to identify effective projects and ensure that their grant funds benefit those who understand the challenges and can implement solutions.

FSD’s approach is aimed at mobilizing local resources and supporting local knowledge and leadership which encourages sustainable community development, creating a more just and sustainable future for people around the world, one community at a time.

3 Danielle86

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience as an FSD Intern through GESI in Updaipur, India 2011. The experience completely prepared me for the professional world that was to come - I continued doing community development work through college and have focused on civic engagement and community development work in my professional life after graduating. Because of the experience with FSD, I was prepared for both the theoretical framework and reality of this field.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer with FSD in 2007 at the Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua site and international program coordinator there from 2010-2011. Both experiences confirmed that FSD stands out among its peers by providing interns and volunteers with the best international development experience possible that combines practical skill development with cultural immersion.

As an intern in 2007 I had the opportunity to develop a gang prevention program at a local school in Ciudad Sandino. My host family was fantastic, and my Spanish improved immensely. On the weekends I enjoyed traveling around Nicaragua with other volunteers and local friends.

Returning to Nicaragua in 2010-2011 as program coordinator, I found that FSD supports its staff just as much as its interns. The local offices are well equipped to handle all important logistics for the volunteers so the volunteers can focus on developing their skills and positively impacting their host communities. All of my co-workers exhibited only the highest degree of professionalism and dedication to sustainable development.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During the Summer of 2011, I participated in the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), a Group Engage partnership model between the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Northwestern University. GESI is a unique credit-bearing program that combines intensive asset-based community development coursework with 8-10 weeks of team-based fieldwork with one of FSD’s community partners in Bolivia, India, Nicaragua, and Uganda. As a FSD/GESI intern, I spent the summer at one of Udaipur’s oldest and largest NGOs, Seva Mandir. While Seva Mandir’s commitment to “democratic and participatory development” manifests in myriad program areas including education, women’s empowerment, youth development and social enterprise, I worked in Seva Mandir’s health department. Specifically, my GESI team of three worked alongside Seva Mandir’s Community Care Center (CCC), a HIV/AIDS clinic providing clinical and counseling support to local patients.

During my 10 weeks, I had the privilege of first, interviewing clinic patients to better understand their individual and collective barriers to access, regimented care, and stable health, and second, collaborating with Seva Mandir staff to develop and pilot test a small-scale two-part programmatic response consisting of a patient-driven pillbox/chart system and new education materials for clinicians. While parts of our project inevitably failed, my time with Seva Mandir taught me that equally important to the goals of development are the methods by which they are realized – that the process matters. Through the GESI program, the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Northwestern University opened my eyes to the value, intention and necessity of asset-based community development and ignited a life-long commitment to thoughtful international development work.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been interning at FSD headquarters in San Francisco for the past three months, and I really enjoyed it. By interning at FSD I had the opportunity to see how an organization works, how the projects are carried out and how to support and implement long-lasting and sustainable projects that the community-identified needs and wants. Also I could bring new ideas to FSD and develop myself as a professional and contribute to the organization development and, as a consequence, to all the projects that are being carried out by FSD. Great organization, great job, great people.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Keaton209

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

1 Karen308

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

kaylieerickson

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered/interned in Kakamega, Kenya during the summer of 2014. I had a wonderful experience, especially the way FSD organized everything related to my 2 months of stay in Kakamega. I was satisfied with the way they selected host family and host organization for many interns like me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned in the San Francisco Office for the summer and had an amazing experience. As an intern, the experience was very positive -- full of educational guidance and hands-on experience. As an organization, FSD stays true to its mission and does everything it can to educate its participants about how to effectively and respectfully assist international communities in their development and growth. So many international aid organizations sound really good but actually end up harming the communities they work with. FSD on the other hand works against this and ensures that their involvement in community development stems from the desires and skills of the community itself. That way, when the FSD volunteers leave to return home, the community has not only improved, but their dignity and understanding that they can continue to develop themselves is intact.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have heard a lot of good things about FSD, especially in working with international development organizations in the past decade. Their model of volunteer-based development work is more respectful of local wisdom than most other programs and promotes actually sustainable progress.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My latest experience with the Foundation for Sustainable Development has been in co-leading a 7 person Giving Circle in Chicago. Our group raised over $4,000 and funded 4 separate sustainable, grassroots projects in Uganda, Kenya, and India. The topics we funded involved organic farming education and methods, a beekeeping enterprise, an enterprise creating food warmers for meals, and an educational skit for domestic violence awareness.

FSD and the Giving Circle specifically gives me an opportunity to stay connected with the international development community even while I am stateside and not in the field. It also gives me an avenue to connect others around me in my community to international development work, in a highly active engagement role beyond simply cutting a check. It allows me to come together with friends and colleagues to really debate the effect of our grants on organizations and communities, and while it is not the only tool for development work, we think deeply through how we can make it an effective one with the help of FSD.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with a microfinance institution in Kakamega, Kenya through FSD for several months back in 2009. It was a tremendously rewarding experiences, both personally and professionally. FSD takes its commitment to grassroots international development very seriously, and makes an effort to train its volunteers on actual frameworks and tools for development work (e.g., Northwestern's ABCD framework). They have dedicated site teams run by true locals of their respective communities, which helps create buy-in and effect real change. Their partnership model ensures that FSD's volunteers are getting plugged into and are supporting existing, sustainable organizations, as opposed to adding to the proliferation of nonprofits in a given region. FSD's post-trip support and network for its alumni is very strong, too, offering numerous opportunities to stay connected to international development work even after returning from the field.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started out as an FSD intern in Mombasa, Kenya and could not have had a better experience. I chose FSD after many months of research on just about every international volunteer organization. FSD stood out to me because of its focus on long-term sustainable support to local community organizations, as well as its training in project design, grant-writing, and other community development tools. I felt it would give me the most bang for my buck. After my internship, I always wanted to go back to Kenya and later I finally returned as an FSD Program Coordinator in Kakamega. After working as Coordinator, I couldn't get enough of FSD and pursued a staff position in their headquarters to continue to support FSD's network of community partners, international interns, and an amazing group of field staff.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with FSD last summer in San Francisco. As a member of the behind-the-scenes aspect I will just say that FSD is a incredibly compassionate non-profit who cares about creating a sustainable and respectful relationship with communities on the ground. I loved working with everyone in the office. The integration of the student volunteers over seas is a key aspect to FSD's model, and one that is both educational and effective. I would love to go abroad as an FSD volunteer. Thanks for all that you do FSD!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served in Kakamega, Kenya for 6 months (September 2011-March 2012) with FSD. I chose FSD because the organization emphasized grassroots development and it had host organizations that focused on human rights including advocacy for persons with disabilities; which is what I'm passionate about. I had the opportunity to work with Empowerment of Disabled Development Organization (EDDO) and be involved with the locals in advocating for human rights. My invaluable experience with FSD and my host organization, EDDO truly inspired me to go to graduate school for International Development. The inspiration came from the seeing the change happening within the community I served; genuine change that would continue to grow over time. The idea of being a part of changing a community using resources available and self -sustainability was amazing.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For six weeks in February and March 2012 my husband and I volunteered with FSD in India. After our brief orientation in Jodhpur we went to the village of Chandelao, where I worked as a teacher of English in the private school, while he worked on building a website for the village fort/heritage hotel and the women's craft center. We were warmly welcomed, and our stay was really fun and rewarding. The FSD staff were supportive and helpful throughout. We feel lucky to have made good friends among the warm and colorful people of Rajasthan.
We are now about to embark on a new adventure with FSD to Salta, Argentina. We are grateful to FSD for their help with planning and preparing for our trips, finding us good accommodation and meaningful assignments, and ensuring that our experiences as retired volunteers live up to expectations.

1 Sandy56

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In January 2012, my wife and I spent 6 weeks with the FSD Procorps in Jodhpur India. We are retired professionals and FSD encouraged us to volunteer our time and experience. We could not be happier with our experience. We worked with a small NGO in a village of 1800 residents about 25 miles from the city of Jodhpur. Our experience was personally fulfilling and we participated in worthwhile projects that will have lasting benefit to the community. The local FSD staff were professional and helpful.

We are so satisfied with our FSD experience that we are volunteering with them again: this time for 6 weeks in Salta, Argentina.

1 fsdjquintana

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During the summer of 2011, I had the wonderful opportunity in traveling to Tola, Nicaragua. Juma Ventures, a non-profit organization for high school and college students that I have been a part of since 2007, partners with the FSD. This partnership allowed students, such as myself to be a part of something much larger then I, as well as many of my friends in the program could have ever dreamed. My experience in Tola showed me the beauty in simplicity and in living.

Now, in 2013, I was given the liberty to work with the FSD at a whole new capacity. I was taken on as the Programs Department Intern in San Francisco. My time here has shown me that I am making a difference, directly and indirectly. My time spent in Nicaragua is proof of that fact.

Here is where I am contributing to something much larger then I could have ever dreamed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I worked with FSD last summer for ten weeks in Bolivia in the field of economic development. Overall, my experience was great and I would recommend the organization to other people. Before I left, the San Francisco based staff was amazing in communicating with me about my concerns going abroad. Once I arrived, the local staff was responsive, encouraging, and helped me a lot when I got sick.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am honored to be working with Fsd interns, the guys are amazing and my Institution is greatly honored to be working with such young people. their ideas are amazing and our clients have greatly benefited from their various projects

BASHIR MUTEBI
MASAKA ELDERS SACCO LTD
MASAKA, UGANDA.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled to Uganda and volunteered with a local NGO through FSD. I was with a group of 13 other students as a part of a sustainable development study abroad project. The entire FSD team in Uganda was incredibly helpful and my host family was accommodating at all times. The team made our experience truly hands on and exposed us the daily work that the Uganda people engaged in and we worked on projects that were making a real impact in the community. I was sick for a short time when I was in Uganda and my host family was incredibly nice and caring during my stay. Overall it was a wonderful experience that broadened my horizons and cultivated my interests in global sustainable development.

Board Member

Rating: 5

After a career working with companies in developing countries, I sought an opportunity to work with a US based non profit. After thorough investigation I saw that FSD results far exceeded other organizations that focused on service learning. The FSD model allows for funds earned or raised to be utilized and spent by the local organizations being served. The model also places students directly into the local community establishing a relationship that other similar non profits cannot offer. I am very proud to have been a part of FSD growth and the partnerships established with US educational institutions and the hundreds of local communities that FSD serves.

1 Michael145

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am extremely honored to be a part of FSD, whose pre-eminence in the field of international development is widely acknowledged, and embrace my new role as FSD’s Board Member. I am grateful to be in a position to tap into a network of private and public sector global relationships and research skills to help propel FSD to the next level.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to spend this past summer in Kakamega, Kenya with the Foundation for Sustainable Development. From the beginning, they provided a lot of support, information about the program, and advice. The staff spent a lot of time ensuring that your strengths could be optimized in the community by placing you in organizations that best satisfy your interests. They had very clear expectations and a lot of experience, and I had a great experience with this NGO.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) for over a decade, helped to start their programs at 3 different sites (2 in Kenya and 1 in Tanzania) and had the opportunity to visit the 2 sites in India. Throughout I have been extremely impressed with the quality of the staff of FSD and the local community based organizations (CBOs) that they partner with. The work they do is extremely important and covers a wide range of key issues including HIV awareness, microfinance, youth development, women's empowerment, and the environment. FSD also runs a small competitive grants program for the local CBOs. As part of this process FSD volunteers work with the local CBOs to write strong proposals that are then reviewed by FSD staff to choose winners. This process helps to build the writing, planning, and organizational skills of these CBOs. Thus, the benefits provided go far beyond the dollars that the winners receive. In sum, I believe FSD is helping to promote the sustainability of local CBOs in developing countries and providing volunteers with a great opportunity to be part of that process.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board of FSD because I was very impressed with the mission- to promote sustainable development in the third world through a structured and well thought through internship experience. During my fist visit to the FSD programs in Mombasa, Kenya I visited the Mwalungage Elephant Sanctuary. This sanctuary epitomizes what is great about FSD--working with local people in innovative ways to both promote the environment and develop a sustainable lifestyle. This sanctuary was created when a number of wealthy Kenyans joined together with some small farmers. The small farmers benefited because the sanctuary helped to keep the elephants off of their land--in addition, they were given some of the proceeds of the tourist trade generated by the sanctuary. And of course the elephants benefited as well. This is only one small step and Kenya will need far more larger scale enterprises to truly develop economically and become self-sufficient--but by helping to participate in projects like this one FSD volunteers learn about the development process and about how they can help better promote sustainable development in the future.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In a market flooded with low-quality "volunteer vacations," FSD is an outstanding alternative. FSD significantly advances both the community development goals of its partner organizations abroad AND education and training of the next generation of global development workers and leaders. It is a privilege to be a board member and university partner for an organization that makes real strides with American education AND sustainable development in communities around the world, co-creating and disseminating resources that enrich the field beyond just the people and communities they serve. I've personally visited four of the FSD partner communities, seen the interns and staff hard at work, and been witness to the positive changes occurring for all involved. FSD is an organization that continues to learn and deepen its approach, as the field of sustainable development evolves. It's solid now and heading in important and valuable directions.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am working with FSD since last five years. Being in development sector for over a 15 years now i think FSD is an real example of what you can say is working with grassroot community. FSD does not compramises with its original vision and mission while working with communities and have set up examples for other Non Profits here in western Rajasthan,

Donor

Rating: 5

FSD is an exemplary nonprofit when it comes to sustainable development. Many organizations design "solutions" around "problems" without even involving the community; but when FSD or any grass-root partner trained by FSD is involved in a project, you can expect long term goals and direct community participation. Which from a donor's perspective, you know your donation is being invested wisely.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with FSD while doing my MA degree and to this day the memories and all that I learn is alive and well. It is home to some of the kindest, most professional and humane people in the field that I had the pleasure to meet. Its development notions are clear, smart, applicable and truly sustainable and you get a lot from your experience there. I was allowed to explore and learn as I wished, had contact with development champions abroad, new and smart types of fundraising, was taught database management with all the patience in the world (and then some), all coming together to a personal and professional experience I will never forget. I am sure you are one of the best Sustainable Development NGOs in the West Coast and you are a Top-Rated Nonprofit on my book!! Thank you and good luck with everything! Guilherme

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past summer I participated in FSD's intern abroad program in Bolivia. During my 10-week stay I worked at an organization that promotes women's empowerment and community development in rural areas of Cochabamba. The combination of living in Bolivia, my host family and organization and the FSD site team gave me a greater perspective on the work involved in development, something that is not comparable to learning from a book in a classroom. The fact that I have now tangible experience in this realm has not only provided me direction into my future career in International Development, but it has also made critical issues ever more real to me. The profound impact of this experience in my life has made me a more understanding and culturally sensitive person. This internship married my passion for sustainable development with social justice and gave me a tangible opportunity to see how an outside can promote development outside of the United States, something I am extremely grateful for.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD was great because I felt really personally supported while on my internship. I worked at an Indian NGO for 10 weeks and it was a great experience. Even when my phone and wallet got stolen, the FSD staff helped me take out extra money and get a replacement phone. I felt like we had a really caring, personal connection that made my time abroad so much easier!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The support and encouragement that FSD lends to its parter organizations results in real change. All of FSD's actions are focused on providing the most impact on local communities through proven process-driven actions. I have been especially impressed by how FSD works with local organizations, through its site teams and interns, to be creative in coming up with the best solution for their particular issue. I am honored to be part of the Board of FSD and look forward to my continued involvement!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

FSD provided me with the opportunity to work with a local organization that matched my interests and would maximize my potential in Kakamega. I felt like I had so much freedom in my work, but also an incredible support structure at my back if I needed it.