My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Heifer Project International, Inc., Little Rock, AR, USA
I have been donating to this organization since 1994, ever since I personally visited their projects in East Africa. Owning a livestock animal in Africa immediately lifts an entire family out of poverty and into the middle class. I am impressed by how the projects are run, by local community members who determine their own criteria for chosing which family is most deserving of an animal first. That family then must give back to the project the first offspring of that animal, such that the project is self-sustaining and eventually benefits everyone in the community. Not only is there a rise in income (through selling milk, eggs, etc.), the family has improved nutrition, better access to primary education (which costs money), support and education about farm management from others in the project, and pride in having the resources to support themselves.
Review for Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, MD, USA
Lutheran world relief is the best organization, more than just quilts and kits. I was blessed to go on a LWR study tour to East Africa to see projects first hand and to meet LWR staff. The tenents of LWR are using appropriate technology (for example, using local supplies, rather than shipping in a tractor which they fix nor afford the petrol for), non-duplication of efforts (by cooperating with other NGOs), local leadership (those who know the community and will continue the project), careful stewardship of resources (their projects are self-sustaining, and a dollar goes a long, long way), and nonsectarian (helping all people regardless of religion or political affiliation). Some philosophies of LWR are accompaniment: partnership with those in need and walk together; and 'do not trample.'
LWR has one of the highest donation rates: 90 cents of every dollar goes directly to projects. i've been involved with LWR since 1993; 5 others from my church have also gone on LWR study tours (which I highly recommend). It was a life-shattering, awesome spiritual experience. Since then, I've been a member of the LWR speakers board and have attended and presented at global mission events, and of course volunteered and donated. I know first hand that my dollar is spent in the best way possible.
LWR supports entire communities, rather that just supporting one child in a community. They get input from the community what type of projects would work best for them. For example, in Western Kenya, one village decided to raise pigs; the first offspring are donated to the next family in need. In eastern Kenya, which is primarily Muslim, pork would not have been their choice. The local community sets their own rules for deciding who gets chosed for livestock; so many families own livestock now that they no longer need LWR support; LWR just got them started.