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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Thousand Currents

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, International Migration & Refugee Issues, Microfinance, Philanthropy, Private Independent Foundations, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: We fund local solutions. We exchange grassroots brilliance.

Results: Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX) has funded, connected, and walked alongside visionary leaders around the world for 30+ years. Thousand Currents partners with grassroots groups — led by women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples in the Global South — that are transforming their communities and creating lasting solutions to our shared global challenges. Annually, our partners serve approximately 2 million people, enabling farmers to be sustainable agricultural innovators, helping families build income, equipping community members to fight against human-made climate threats, empowering more women as leaders, and much more.

Target demographics: Effective women-, youth-, and indigenous-led organizations that are working in food security, alternative economies, and climate justice.

Geographic areas served: Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, India, Nepal, United States

Programs: Providing multi-year flexible grants for locally-led initiatives and grassroots organizations in the Global South.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known about IDEX's estimable work for many years but it is only in the last two years that I have become a donor. In addition to the organization's mission, values and track record, I was attracted by IDEX's capable staff, especially, the Executive Director, Rajasvini Bhansali. I am inspired by her commitment and drive and because of her leadership, I trust that my contributions to the organization are put to their best use. Moreover, I have been impressed with IDEX's donor stewardship. This year, soon after making a donation, I received a personal note from the Executive Director as well as a phone call from a staff member to thank me for my contribution, to discuss with me how it would be used and to ask if I had any questions. I regularly contribute to many nonprofits but I have never received this level of personal interaction with the staff. IDEX can definitely count on me for continued support.

Rajasvini B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

IDEX lives its values, walks its talk! IDEX is truly a learning, visionary organization that is deeply accountable to its partners on the frontlines of social change.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

IDEX, its grassroots partners, its philanthropic partners, and all its ever growing community are amazing visionary leaders. I believe that IDEX is forging an important new movement for social justice and human rights by valuing the wisdom and leadership of grassroots organizations. I am so proud to be a part of this 27 year old organization that still manages to inspire thousands of people towards the right kind of development!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a volunteer with IDEX on the leadership team for the Young Professionals Group, I have experience working with IDEX staff, board, and volunteers who operate in complete accordance with the mission, vision, and values of the organization. With each interaction and each event, conference, and month that passes, the organization continues to clearly implement well on their mission and draw more people to the social justice philanthropy movement that leads with grassroots community led solutions in developing countries. I am constantly impressed and proud to be associated with the International Development Exchange!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

IDEX is an incredible organization. It is useful to think about this organization as a university: it raises political consciousness, self-awareness, teaches you empathy and solidarity, exposes you to new ideas, and along the way fights the good fight for social justice and poverty alleviation. It is also a truly democratic and egalitarian organization, privileging the solutions, victories and voices of people and organizations in the Global South who are on the frontlines of change and have experienced injustice. I am privileged to have crossed paths with IDEX and I also thank IDEX for welcoming me to its community.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

International Development Exchange is just that -- a global learning exchange that promotes democratic partnerships between organizations in the Global North and Global South. IDEX has been rated very highly by its partners in a recently completed external evaluation, which is a testament to its incredible work in addressing inequity and injustice worldwide. Our global community needs more IDEXs!

1 Yannic D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our world is full of suffering and injustice. As someone trying to do their part to make the world a more just, sustainable place I'm often riddled with doubts: Does anything we do actually make a difference? Aren't nonprofits on some level just perpetuating the status quo? What do I really have to offer to people in the Global South?

In light of this, working for IDEX has been equal parts enlightening, empowering, and inspiring.

Enlightening because IDEX made me realize that it's okay to not have all the answers, that no one does.
That we need to humbly listen.
And therein's lies the rub: IDEX listens - to its partners, to its volunteers, to the people on the ground most in need. And so it learns and grows the best practices for alleviating poverty. Because all change-work is exchange work, because we can't teach without learning, because we're all in this strange phenomenon called life on earth together and so we have to figure out together how to preserve it and how to make life worth living for all of us.

Empowering because IDEX is in the business of empowerment: Empowering women and local communities to help themselves, to not just give self-aggrandizing gestures of charity. And IDEX extends that same philosophy to its volunteers: I learned skills that will be useful wherever my path may take me.

In my personal life, my work at IDEX has inspired me to live a life where my passions, skills and desire to be a good person meet.
I don't have to choose between helping others and helping myself. Because how do I expect to help others if it's at the expense of my own well-being? Conversely, how do I expect to accomplish something greater than myself if all my actions are self-serving?

If you want to be a part of something honest and effective, something that actually affects people's lives in positive ways then get involved with IDEX. Do it right now.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I start joining the IDEX YPG this year and it is an organization dedicated to social change and human justice, with an emphasis in partnership with the grassroots organizations. I'm glad that I could be a part of the organization to help them with such a great cause.

Cait O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I think about organizations that are dedicated to social change and human justice, IDEX is on the top of my list. Their dedication to these grassroots organizations and the support they provide for them is exceptional. They are truly changing the world and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been following IDEX's work for many years as both a donor and recently part of their young professionals group. I am always impressed by the organization's dedication to communities and local knowledge/solutions. They are all about partnerships that mean something rather than pouring money into solutions that are imposed externally or are untested.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked in non-profits for over 10 years, many in international development, and IDEX is truly a thought leader that follows up great ideas with purposeful action. I admire IDEX's commitment to grassroots solutions to international development issues that put people in the Global South at the forefront of defining the approaches that will work for their own communities.

azukoski

Donor

Rating: 5

Hi! I have been a donor and volunteer to/with IDEX for the past few years. Their commitment and dedication to International Development is spot on and the results have been amazing with the communities they support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently became more involved with IDEX after moving to the Bay Area earlier this year and have been continually impressed with the organization's passion, commitment to its mission of social justice, and especially its dedicated staff and volunteers. IDEX consistently provides great events and opportunities for those in the local community to become involved in international development issues while continuing to do fantastic work supporting grassroots organizations throughout the Global South. I am honored to be a volunteer for this brilliant organization and help to spread its impact both here and abroad!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IDEX is a special organization because of its cause and model of philanthropy. I have been a part of the IDEX Young Professionals Group Leadership team since the beginning of this year, and working with the passionate folks at IDEX has been very fulfilling.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IDEX is not just a grantmaking organization. It is the collective belief and passion of its exemplary staff, volunteers and supporters that makes it a movement. For nearly 30 years, IDEX has been transparently, respectfully, and steadfastly partnering with communities in the Global South and the numbers--more than a million lives reached--tell a strong tale.
I chose to volunteer my time at IDEX because I believe in its mission. Its story deserves to be told to a wider audience. Nobody here considers this just a job. And the difference shines through.

Victoria N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known and volunteered with IDEX through the Young Professionals Group for about a year, and I continue to be impressed with the work that the organization does to alleviate poverty. The staff is all very passionate about the work that they do for local populations and it's been great to see the results that they've worked towards. I believe that IDEX has a strong model and effectively supports grassroots efforts that are so key in international development. IDEX has really stood out to me as one of the best organizations I've been involved with of all the nonprofits I've volunteered and worked with.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In the past many decades, humanitarian aid has saved many lives in a greater scale during emergencies caused by man made and natural disasters. Many good organizations, governments, and many individuals have dedicated their time and resources to assist communities with chronic problems. In these decades, we also witnessed social unrest, the severity of poverty, social and justice inequalities, environmental crises, the creation of urban slumps, population growth, many unjust wars, tribal conflicts, religious intolerance, border conflicts, and the expansion of HIV/AIDS, tropical diseases, frequent droughts, and natural disasters possibly caused by global warming. All can become worst if we continue neglecting the importance of empowering locals, and partnering with them shaping up their own destinies. IDEX seems to be in the right path providing basic solutions for bigger problems.

What made IDEX’s work very effective is the organization’s approach seeking local solutions through partnerships with grassroots organizations. I attended one of IDEX’s communities building initiative event in San Francisco, and I had a pleasure meeting, and discussing with community representatives from South Africa, Mali and Brazil. That evening, I went home knowing that there are organizations like IDEX genuinely caring with unweaving convictions to bring local solutions for sustainable development, and for social and economic justice. I would hope there methodology will be become infectious throughout the world. I believe every individual has a potential to contribute to the goodness of humanity. IDEX is bringing sustainable solutions one village at a time. I am extremely motivated by IDEX’s work and I feel very proud knowing that there are genuine organizations like IDEX.

Ayesha B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

IDEX does not just rest of its solid 25-year history and laurels but under its dynamic ED and staff seeks to constantly push the frontier on how to make a difference in the world. I am continually amazed by the IDEX team’s drive, strong relationships with its grantee partners and innovative approach to grant making. This is a gem of an organization whose theory of change is embedded in local reality and need, which is why what they do really works.

María64

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After being almost one year part of IDEX, I am very grateful to be surrounded by inspiring, engaged and enthusiastic colleagues! I am more than convinced of IDEX's model to address inequities. I hope to be with IDEX for as many years as possible!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work in philanthropy because I want to make a difference in the world. IDEX is not only making a dramatic difference in the world, they are making a difference for the better in how philanthropy itself is done.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to IDEX over a year ago and fell in love not only with the organizations mission and collaborative approach but with its people. The level of IDEX' commitment and passion for what they do is great. I am honored to be a part of such an organziation

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

IDEX is doing such wonderful work to make the world a better place by partnering with effective organizations already in place.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I love IDEX. With strong leadership, a dedicated team and a great model, IDEX is all about disrupting the field of international aid. They are deeply committed to connecting people who want to support change to the local leaders and solutions that are delivering that change in their communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The team at IDEX is not only strong and committed, they are passionate about what they do and good at it. As a development practitioner I have learned from the organization's model and management and am better at my work for it. They are a great asset to the grassroots movement and a key player in the Bay Area and internationally!

Ken_21

Board Member

Rating: 5

What excites me most about IDEX is that, even after 25 years of successful impact to the most impoverished global places, they have the boldness to courage to continuously re-invent how they provide their valued service directly to the local communities. Through their support of local communities with local solutions, IDEX is helping to make a better world.

Donor

Rating: 5

IDEX is doing great work investing in local organizations working in their own communities. They have a strong track record of making a difference in areas of the world where it is needed most.

Board Member

Rating: 5

IDEX is an organization that is truly getting to the root of poverty issues and staying for the long haul. I am so proud to be part of an organization that is culturally in tune with the communities where they work and understands lasting impact.

Josh13

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been inspired by the work the IDEX team and community have done to help identify the best ideas for alleviating poverty and injustice. By building a community of impassioned supporters and connecting them to local leaders and organization, they are having an incredibly positive impact on the communities the organization serves. One of the most impressive aspects of the organization is its focus not on self-congratulatory branding campaigns, but focusing all attention on the mission and communities it serves.

Board Member

Rating: 5

IDEX is a fantastic organization that is doing important work in areas where it is most needed. The organization is also helping other organizations and funders make informed dedcisions about where that money will do the most good,

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

IDEX is doing great work at the grassroots level to improve the quality of life globally.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Grassroots leaders and organizations in the global south have proven ideas for addressing issues of poverty, health, education and human rights in their local communities and in their countries. What makes IDEX different is assisting these people with their solutions and projects, not bringing in a program that is designed and run by people from the more developed world.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What I appreciate about IDEX is the respectful and trusting relationship staff develop with partner groups over the long term. As someone who has worked in this sector for 25 years, I know this is rare as most international aid is administered in a top-down fashion and solutions are brought from the outside. IDEX's partners develop grassroots solutions that are locally-led and determined. It's the right approach!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

IDEX is an amazing organization doing life-changing work. IDEX works directly with grassroots organizations in the Global South, creating partnerships not seen at other international organizations.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

IDEX works for the human rights of indigenous communities around the world - and they have an amazing track record doing so. What sets them apart from most corporatist, market-based international development organizations is IDEX's tremendous amount of respect for local communities self-determination, agency, wisdom and power. They are not trying to make the developing world into the capitalist vision of the world, they are trying to let developing countries create their own vision of the world.

Donor

Rating: 5

IDEX is one of the few international development organizations that forms real partnerships with grassroots organizations in the Global South. They are not simply grantmakers, but true advocates for community-led projects that respect the wisdom and knowledge of women and indigenous peoples. Other organizations should follow IDEX's lead to help create lasting change and support social justice globally.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IDEX is a great local organization in SF with a global mission. IDEX understands that the global challenges we face need local, home grown solutions and that the relationships with the developing world should be partnerships, not giver/recipient dichotomies. They also do a great job of promoting awareness and fostering discourse in the Bay area.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I lived and worked in the Mexican state where IDEX has a program helping women and, by extension, their families and communities. It's remarkable how much more impact a thoughtful well-run program has than one that's concerned with boosting numbers and reaching goals that look good to administrators back home. IDEX has superb administration and operation, at all levels, and it shows in the quality and impact of its programs.