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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Trickle Up Program, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Small Business Development

Mission:

Trickle Up empowers people living on less than $1.25 a day to take the first steps out of poverty, providing them with resources to build sustainable livelihoods for a better quality of life. In partnership with local agencies, we provide training and seed capital grants to launch or expand a microenterprise and savings support to build assets.

Results: • In 2011, nearly 7,279 new participants started or expanded microenterprises. • For every person who launches a Trickle Up livelihood, an average of 5 people benefit, which means that in 2011 over 40,000 people benefited from increased household income. • 98% of participants are women and 14% of participants are affected by disabilities. • Results from our programs worldwide based on the definitions of success: Definition #1: Less Vulnerable to Shocks and Trends: 86% of participants in Mali increased their income after one year. Definition #2: Livelihood Activities are Diversified, Dignified, Productive and Sustainable: 66% of participants in India diversified their income by expanding into more than one livelihood activity. Definition #3: A Fair and Effective Means to Save and Access Credit: In Guatemala, more than 1/3 of participants took out a loan, with 92% of the loans put towards starting or growing a business. Definition #4: Improved Access to Available Basic Social Services: In the past 18 months, 37% more participants in India are giving birth at health centers rather than at home, reducing maternal & child mortality. Definition #5: A Better Quality of Life: Over the course of three years, 88% of participants in Mali report eating three meals per day. Definition #6: Significant Progress Towards Economic and Social Empowerment: Four times as many Guatemalan women no longer need to ask permission to make purchases.

Programs: Trickle Up currently works in five countries and partners with 58 community-based organizations to implement our programs. We complement our partners' initiatives in the areas of community development, agriculture, women's empowerment, health (especially HIV/AIDS), and serving people with disabilities by providing training and critical capital to start a microenterprise, as well as helping participants form self-sustaining savings groups. Trickle Up participants start a wide range of livelihood activities, including producing and selling agricultural and food products, small animal husbandry, creating and selling crafts, and providing an array of personal care services. Every year, we help more than 10,000 participants start sustainable livelihoods with increased and more stable income, membership in a savings group and training in financial literacy and skills.

Community Stories

32 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Trickle Up almost from the beginning in 1979. It is a fabulous organization doing important work among the poorest of the world's poor. It is well managed; almost all the money goes to programs. Every year it grows a bit, as it certainly should. I can't rate it high enough or say too many good things about this wonderful work. Entrepreneurs everywhere should revel in it and give it their attention and financial support. It is a model for creating powerful motivation on the part of the world's poorest people, especially women, to take charge of their lives and their communities with start-up businesses to support families and send kids to school. Those who receive Trickle Up's modest grants (not loans) can truly say: "We did it ourselves!" ----ron nelson, carmel, ca.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a volunteer with Trickle Up from the early 1980s, when I met the founders, Millie and Glen Leet. And I served on the board in the 90s. It was an amazing organization from the start, with total integrity and a powerful idea that the poorest of the poor should not fall into debt. Hence, the concept of the $50 grant rather than a micro-loan, funding the start of a business of the recipient's own choosing. At one point, Trickle Up was making grants and educating the poorest of the poor in basic business procedures in over 100 countries. Over its 34-year history, and with evolving leadership, Trickle Up has played a key role in helping the ultra poor get their foot on the first rung of the economically upward ladder, helping small groups, predominantly women, help themselves, each other, their families and children to a better and more secure life. Children pursued education while experiencing working in the Trickle Up business. Primitive shelter improved; nutrition got better. Today, Trickle Up continues the traditions of its founders while evolving with the times, focusing its efforts ever more successfully on the evolving realities of ultra poverty, and growing the assets which it annually applies to its mission: giving the ultra poor the opportunity of a lifetime to improve their lives and grow their self-respect. What a priceless gift is Trickle Up!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My time at Trickle Up lasted 4 months and I can safely assert that Trickle Up is probably the best managed Non-Profit organization I was fortunate enough to work in. The staff are dedicated to uplifting the very poor from the trenches of poverty and you feel that energy in the office. It also helps when they are very good at what needs to be done.

I also was able to visit their branch office in Kolkata, India. There, I learned about the challenges of development work in the field, which made it all the more remarkable how Trickle Up is able to successfully run projects and empower people in three different continents.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I interned with Trickle Up in the Summer of 2009 with Jo Sanson, the head of Metrics. Jo was incredibly empowering as a boss. She gave me the opportunity to build a variety of data entry, validation, and analysis tools that I used to measure the impact of grants given to more than a dozen communities in rural Guatemala. I had a great experience at Trickle Up because of Jo's guidance, as well as the mentorship of other staff members like Joanna Tinsley. I appreciated how hard they work, how much they care and think critically about their organizational mission, and how they constantly asked questions about what was working, why, and how to prove it. Trickle Up was the first and only organization I've worked with that had weekly lunch discussions of a selected reading--including "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Trickle Up is one of those organizations, which practices what it preaches.
In the office there is an atmosphere of harmony and collaboration always. Not only my own supervisor (Jo) was available whenever I ran into a problem, but also the other members were ready to extend help.
Yoga in the office is like cherry on the top!
I would definitely help out in the future also, as and when I am able to.
Wishing them all the very best!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as an intern in Trickle Up for more than a month during the summer. It was a fantastic learning experience and a privilege to work with such a fantastic team.

Terence C.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Trickle Up often plays the role of the "friends & family", there to lend a hand and help these entrepreneurs take the first steps out of poverty... This is the season for doing just that!

Client Served

Rating: 5

As one of the US ,Trickle Up , candidates, I had a great experience . The staff was so organized, and efficient, it helped me at the most crucial , and stressful time of any small, business, the very beginning. When I learned more about how much this organization continues to help other people in even poorer conditions than mine, it touched my heart in such a way. It inspired me to want to also make a difference. A few years ago, I was compelled to organize an art show/auction to raise money for Trickle up . Through doing so I got to meet and work with more of the Trickle up staff . I felt so much love, support, and gratefulness . This experience left me wanting to do it again. When I mentioned I 'd love to do it again, Trickle up sent the sweetest, vibrant , eager to help, staff one could ever want to meet me and share ideas. I'm looking forward to working with them in the very near future. This is a great example of the power of positive thinkers, doers .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with Trickle Up in 2009 and it was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the incredible work they are doing from the inside. The staff in the U.S. and in the countries around the world where they fund microfinance programs are working each day to ensure that more and more people have the tools to lift themselves out of poverty and sustain their livelihoods over the long term.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Trickle Up has a fantastic reputation for being well organized, forward thinking, and life changing. These are qualities that many nonprofits inspire to be but Trickle Up is already living it. I had the opportunity to hear their founder tell the story a few months ago and it was very eye opening. Great work guys!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Trickle Up should be recognized for all of the great work that they do. This organization seeks out people who are in desperate need of help and gives them the necessary tools to succeed. Help starts by giving people the opportunity to start up their own business and the ability to maintain it. Trickle Up provides an opportunity and gives women a sense of success through ownership and assigns the responsibility for cultivating and maintains sustainability. This organization teaches women that there is a way out and they can support themselves and their families. I support this organization because they teach people the need to be proactive and independent. Trickle Up teaches basic skills necessary for these ladies to sustain a more secure future. I support Trickle Up and so should You!

Jimmy4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Awesome group of people with a sense of heightened awareness for issues that are a top priority!

Andrew35

Donor

Rating: 5

Trickle Up ROCKS!!!!!! The company I work for, Newton Running, is involved with Trickle Up and has had an incredible experience doing so.

Plan Tea Beverages

Donor

Rating: 5

We have worked with Trickle Up over the last two years and we have complete confidence in the organization. TU satisfies three primary concerns that often arise when examining an NGO's effectiveness: Have they identified the root causes of an issue? Have they developed a sustainable solution to overcome those issues? And finally, do they have a team that can manage the plan and evaluate progress? We have seen this on paper in TU's regular updates and in person from the beneficiaries of their programs. Trickle Up is focused and efficient in empowering the ultra-poor and their work has become model for similar programs. The overall social return of TU's programs has vastly exceeded the financial investments backing the programs. We looking forward to continuing our support of Trickle Up in 2013. Alex & Claire.

Donor

Rating: 5

I became involved with Trickle Up three years ago through a friend. My family and I donate to Trickle Up over other micro-financing/grant organizations because of its commitment to and success at equipping the ultra poor with the knowledge, skills and financial tools (i.e. savings groups and income diversification) needed to weather the inevitable periods of upheaval and scarcity that those in their position face. Through my involvement with the organization I have come to meet a number of its wonderful staff members all of whom exhibit the essential balance of professionalism and passion needed for a non-profit organization to be effective. The organization shows an equal commitment to improving the individual lives of those it works with and to developing ways to work with other non-profit organizations and government agencies so as to maximize its impact on global poverty.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with this organisation for 3 years. It has been the best and exclusive experience working with the organisation. The organisation is devoted to the cause of working for the poor. They work in the remotest of the areas and with the poorest of the poor which often is left out by others. In different pats of the globe Trickle Up is working effortlessly to bring people out of poverty with an one-to-one approach, stratezing, developing livelihood plan and building in a sustainable livelihood for each household. The biggest impact they make to these households is making a change in their attitude, building a positive attitude and confidence.

Puja B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Trickle Up is one of the only organizations around that has consistently been committed to the poorest of the poor. These are the people who are at such stages of poverty and marginalization that there is a lot of work to be done in training, vigilant follow up, community-building, confidence building, etc even before they are in a position to receive small loans, start small businesses, etc. It takes an enormous amount of effort and vigilance to get people at the base of the Base of Pyramid into a stable enough position that they can move on to higher levels of support for poverty alleviation. TU knows what kind and how much effort and commitment it takes to move one person out of the realm of "poorest of the poor" -- and they do it painstakingly. There is the push these days to look for scaling mechanisms that allow us to apply formulas and solutions en masse, because this work can be so slow and painstaking. While that need is critical, there are some aspects of poverty alleviation that simply cannot be scaled...there are community specific, place/time specific issues that need to be addressed on the ground in order to truly have a lasting impact. TU seems to have struck the balance between using scalable mechanisms and confronting the reality at a local level. They are one of the best around.

Krishnakali M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I know micro financing works but the way trickle up has reached the wretchedly poor and empowered them, speaks volumes about the model they use. The model put forward by trickle up works as the many many projects they have invested has been very successful.

Tori S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trickle Up is an AMAZING program & should be recognized for all of the great work that they do. I have been contributing to this program for a few years now and the work that they do can not be compaired. The fact that this organization finds people who are in desperate need of help- gives them the tools to succede by creating their own business and must maintain it really creates a sense of success in these women. They have responsibility for creating and maintaing their future. They also give back by helping others. this organization teaches women that there is a way out and they can support themselves and their families instead of just waiting for food to come. I love this organization because they teach people to be proactive and dillagent which = success. They even tackle savings!! They make the ladies save so they have future $$$. I mean really- you can't ask for a better/smarter organization making women successful instead of just dependent on charity! I VOTE TRICKLE UP!!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

Trickle Up is a great organization completely dedicated to helping women, children, families out of extreme poverty. I'm honored to have been able to get to know these folks and to have witnessed their work being done. They are truly making positive differences in the lives of people who are desperately in need.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

T'Up is a great organization working to help women and children of thrid world countries. I've seen some of the micro-enterprises they've helped women of these regions start and its nothing short of amazing. I would reccommend Trickle Up to anyone looking to make a difference. I believe it was Ghandi that said, "Be the change, you want to see in the World". They're defintely living it!