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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mainsprings: Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development

Mission: Mainsprings (formerly known as The Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children) is dedicated to alleviating extreme rural poverty in Tanzania, East Africa. We take a holistic approach to change by providing refuge for abused and abandoned girls, primary, secondary and vocational education, access to healthcare, and economic development through agriculture.

Results: In less than a decade, Mainsprings has gone from a handful of acres to a 70-acre holistic campus. We provide a home to 56 girls who were once abandoned and abused. We opened Joseph & Mary Schools in 2010, enrolling 400 primary and secondary students. Joseph & Mary Schools are ranked in the top 3.5% of schools in Tanzania. Our farm now provides more than 400 pounds of produce a week. Mainsprings serves about 200,000 meals a year. More than 100 volunteers visit our flagship s campus in Kitongo, Tanzania every year. We are also expanding to a second campus in Tanzania.

Target demographics: alleviate extreme poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: 56 residential girls, 400 students, and employment for 70 people

Geographic areas served: Tanzania, East Africa

Programs: refuge for vulnerable girls, primary and secondary education, access to healthcare, and economic development through agriculture.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered on campus for 3 summers now so I can truly say that Mainsprings is a second home to me. The people at Mainsprings are what brings me back each summer because I have never been around so many positive, genuinely happy people. As a volunteer I get to work in the school, cook with the mammas, work on the farm, be a reading buddy, and hang out with the girls. It is amazing to see how much the campus has improved and how much the girls have grown up each year I return. This past summer I learned all about the new campus Mainsprings is building and I hope to one day be a volunteer at the Kahunda campus.

Matthew C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of working with Mainsprings JBFC for three, going on four, years now and have only high praise for their organization, community, and programs. Having travelled to Mwanza, Tanzania with large groups of students on three occasions now, each year has been a worthy excursion, and the students I have brought have consistently had a wonderful experience, both deeply personal and eye opening. The staff and directors have in place a consistent and reliable program, involving the students at JBFC and members of the Kitongo community. They also have allowed for flexibility in our program with them and provided opportunities for personal growth through a variety of on-campus activities, classes, and meals. It has been worthwhile working with Mainsprings and their commitment to their students and community is the same for their visiting volunteers. It is exciting to know their hard work and effort over the years has had an impact on many young lives, but also their greater community, leading to their welcomed expansion beyond JBFC. We look forward to many years ahead working with Mainsprings and highly recommend them to those seeking a reliable and vetted volunteer program in the Mwanza region of Tanzania.

TomM_Sharpe

Board Member

Rating: 5

There was once a dream that was Mainsprings (JBFC). It began simply as a promise in the heart and mind of founder Chris Gates. The promise was to help the youth in need in Tanzania and eastern Africa - to give them education and a future. This process would help to diminish the scourge of poverty in eastern Africa.

Now that dream has progressed into two Mainsprings campuses in Tanzania. However, more than just changing the lives of the youth in Tanzania and eastern Africa, these campuses are profoundly changing the lives of all of the people there - staff, volunteers, and students alike. This is, in turn, changes more of Africa and the world at large in vastly positive ways. The ripple effect of the uplifting and hope is magnificent.

And that’s what drew me. The longer I live, the more I am convinced that people, relationships, and experiences are what matter the most. Mainsprings fits with this belief I hold. There is great joy in serving others and inspiring them to hope for a brighter future.

Proverbially, Mainsprings is not just giving the people it serves a fish to eat but also teaching them to fish by providing them with marketable skills for life. Efficiency with exemplary stewardship of resources is paramount. One can feel very sound about the investment of time, talent, and treasure in Mainsprings. I am thankful to know Chris Gates and this organization and to serve as a Board member, volunteer, and, most importantly, friend.

I am ready to do my utmost to help Mainsprings accomplish its goals. With continued support from like-minded donors and volunteers, this dream will never end.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to volunteer at Mainsprings this June and had the absolute best and most life changing experience! The first moment when I opened the car doors, I was greeted by all of the girls singing and laughing and smiling. From then I knew it was going to be an amazing trip. I spent two weeks with the best girls in the entire world. Cleaning, cooking, working on the farm, seeing Sakuma drummers, and just hanging with the girls. This organization is changing the lives of so many with their girls home housing 48 girls and their private school! I can't imagine not going back next year and already miss it!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at JBFC, my experience was more than I could have ever asked for. From farming, to cooking, to spending time with the girls, everyday in Tanzania was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Although I traveled to JBFC to help the girls who live there, they were the ones who ended up helping and inspiring me. I continue to think about JBFC and the lasting memories of the beautiful smiles and overwhelming happiness we shared together in Tanzania.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has been connected to Mainsprings: JBFC since 2012. Founder, Chris Gates is an alum at my children's school in Tulsa. One day after hearing Chris speak to the student body, my daughter came home and said she wanted to go to Tanzania. Well, five years later and four trips to the Tanzania campus, you could say our family is committed. I am amazed, in awe, and inspired by the work and vision of Chris Gates. I become emotional when I think about what would become of these girls if they did not have the security of Mainsprings. Not only do the girls benefit from the Mainspring family, but also, the people of Kintongo, Tanzania. Locals are employed, children are educated, health issues addressed, and new farming techniques implemented. What a beautiful community of people!

Board Member

Rating: 5

All,
My wife and my four adult children and I had the pleasure to spend a few days on the campus of Mainsprings: Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children in June, 2017 in Tanzania. We were able to witness first-hand the great work being done by this organization. Their mission is 4-pronged, with the ultimate goal to eliminate extreme poverty in Tanzania. We witnessed how their home for disadvantaged girls helps these girls understand what it means to have a loving, caring family. We experienced how their school is educating hundreds of local boys and girls throughout their region. We got to see how their healthcare organization is bolstering their health and well-being, and also how their on-site perma-culture farm is helping, not only those in Mainsprings' home and school, but also those in the surrounding community, learn better ways of producing what they consume and sustaining it. It's an absolutely wonderful organization, doing great work. I'm proud to be associated with the organization, not only as a donor, but also a board member and one who provides professional services.

Kelly Lane G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We've known Chris Gates, Founder and Exec Dir of JBFC, for years and years. He is one of the most dedicated and caring people I've ever been privileged to know. My family and I spent a few weeks on the Mwanza JBFC campus a few summers ago, volunteering with the students, Mamas, and staff. We planted crops, constructed bunny hutches, fed livestock, painted walls and floors, cleaned, harvested, ... while benefiting from a life-changing experience and bonding with the students who were all smiles and very grateful. JBFC has changed countless lives for the better. If you ask, JBFC can tell many success stories about lives they've saved. Literally saved! Children - both girls and boys - women, men.

Since our time on JBFC's campus, we've hosted several fundraisers in our town to support this amazing organization. In fact, one year we raised enough money for JBFC to purchase and install a UV water filtration system across the entire campus, which provides enough safe, clean drinking water for the entire campus AND neighboring communities. We have also made introductions for Chris Gates to various foundations for grants so he can continue his life-changing, life-saving work.

When our boys were in high school, they were required to do 40+ hours of community service before graduation. Our time with JBFC fulfilled those hours - and then some. Both of my boys received the Jefferson Award for community service during their time in high school.

Laurel S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having visited Mainsprings 2 summers in a row, I have had the privilege of seeing first hand the impact that this organization has made, and continues to make on the people who live and work there, and the people who live nearby. Being there is a feeling that is unmatched by any experience I have had in the US. Mainsprings has undergone a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years. Their growth and desire to change and make themselves a better as an organization is why I am proud to say I have been a part of this organization and the difference that it is making.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an honor it has been to work with Chris Gates' Mainsprings. The dedication to its mission that Chris and his staff exhibit is truly inspirational. It has achieved so much in the short time since its founding, and it continues to expand today to address needs in rural Tanzania. If you want to be around truly inspiring, brilliant and down to earth people, I highly recommend getting involved. I love the organization's new cookbook A Taste of Tanzania!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have visited the campus and home for girls a number of times, and have seen firsthand how lives are being changed every day. Girls who had been on the streets or abandoned by family now have a home and family. The school is nationally recognized and educating over 300 Tanzanian students. The farm and agricultural program is thriving and providing employment and training.
Each time I am there I am so moved by all that is happening. Mainspring/JBFC has and continues to make a difference in the lives of the Tanzanian people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited JBFC for the first time this past summer and completely fell in love with it. As an education student, I was so impressed with how they teach the residential girls and the other students at the Joseph and Mary school more than just what they're required. Learning life skills and practical lessons is such a game changer for those kids and JBFC does such an amazing job not just helping them be better students but be better humans. JBFC has my heart!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited JBFC's campus for the past 2 summers in a row and both experiences have been incredibly fulfilling and life changing! This summer (2017) I served as an intern for JBFC, so I had the opportunity to stay on campus for a full 8 weeks and it was no doubt the best 8 weeks of my life. JBFC's holistic approach to alleviating poverty is unique and effective and I was able to witness first hand many of the lives that JBFC is changing as we speak (including my own). The staff, girls, students, and community are so beautiful and happy and the whole campus exudes pure joy! JBFC holds half my heart!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been so very impressed with JBFC. Our two high school daughters visited their campus in Tanzania this past summer and it was life-changing. JBFC's mission to end poverty in rural Africa by providing education, sustainable food, and medicin, to some of the world's most needy and vulnerable children is both noble and pragmatic. Everything we have seen out of JBFC has been top notch. The organization is responsibly run with integrity and transparency. The staff is a compassionate and friendly "family." If you ever doubt how much good ONE PERSON can do in the world, I urge you to learn more about Chris Gates, and his founding and nurturing of JBFC. We are wholly impressed, and look forward to continuing our association, as donors, volunteers, and friends of the JBFC family. Just can't say enough good things about JBFC!

4 Sydney E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ever since I heard about JBFC, I've always been wanting to travel to the campus in Tanzania. When I was able to go, it was a dream come true and was more that I could've ever imagined. Prayer time every day was so memorable for me, hearing all of the girls' beautiful voices and worships. Everyday I think about the bright smiles of pure joy from those grateful girls and nothing could make me happier. My experience with JBFC , and the girls at JBFC impacted me greatly in such a positive way. I can't wait to go back!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to JBFC four times, and will continue to go back at every opportunity time gives me! The structure of volunteering at JBFC is a combination of giving the volunteer a life changing experience while actually helping the community. Living conditions are definitely do-able, food is AMAZING, and the girls will change your life. Being apart of the JBFC family is a huge part of my identity and I pray that everyone who has a hunger for helping others and seeing the world gets the opportunity to go to JBFC!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My involvement with JBFC began near its inception. I must say, the vision Chris Gates (JBFC CEO) had at that time seemed, at least to me, almost unattainable. It was a grand vision - to provide a home for orphaned girls that would give love and care to children whose lives were often shattered, to build a school to bring education and life skills to the girls at JBFC and the wider community, to become self-sustaining in terms of farming and permaculture, to bring medical services for the health and well-being of the girls and community, to give the girls at JBFC a bright future. Fast forward to now, all that has been attained and much more. It is a privilege to be on the Board of JBFC. I continue to be amazed at the vision cast for JBFC and thankful to be a small part of making that happen. Lindsay Hurley Fick

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with JBFC began with my son's desire to volunteer for JBFC. As I researched the organization, met with the staff, and helped my son prepare for his summer experience, I found this organization to be all that is says that it is. The impact on my child has been remarkable. He is forever changed by his experiences and he fully intends to return to JBFC again. I have since spent time volunteering for JBFC here in Tulsa. I continue to be impressed with this organization. They are doing amazing things in Africa and throughout the world.

1 Sara J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a two-time summer volunteer with JBFC. I am unbelievably confident that the work JBFC does is worthwhile and truly impactful. I must say that I most respect JBFC for its unwavering commitment to its mission and its absolute dedication to the people it serves. Further, I am impressed by how much the organization has grown in the past 5 years or so.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

JBFC is completely committed to their mission and is an extremely well run non-profit organization. I am always hesitant about international volunteer programs because the opportunity for people acting like tourists in someone else's oppression is very real. However, JBFC mitigates the risk of this happening through educating volunteers and openly discussing expectations for volunteers coming to their campus in Tanzania. Furthermore, their goal of sustainability and their conscience effort to engage the surrounding community in their work shows a cultural sensitivity and a self-awareness that many NGOs lack. The organization highly values and respects their volunteers and provides many volunteering opportunities both for groups and individuals with specialized interests and expertise. The staff members, both in the USA and in Tanzania, are welcoming, knowledgeable, and helpful.