A social venture initiative of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Class of 1980
Without our Partners we would not have been able to award 13 grants in 2014, more than any in our history. As far as we know, there is no other class, university, or affinity group that is structured and run this way, with this kind of impact.
$262,600 went to 13 projects with direct, immediate impact on more than 55,000
"Small holder farmers lack resources and technology to boost production and income."
"Dirt floors are a major cause of vector borne and infectious diseases, and malnutrion."
"Lagos contains some of the world's most pervasive slums, with legions of unemployed youth."
"The explulsion devastated the Batwa, who quickly became the poorest people in the region."
"Poor babies born with clubfoot face permanent disability even though it is completely treatable."
"Because of disease and war, thousands of orphans live in abject poverty or on their own."
"The ultra-poor who cannot afford to purchase or rent land face very difficult challenges."
"Given the frequency of child malnutrition, nutrition assistance is desperately needed."
"Sometimes the student faces serious issues that prevent participation in work-study programs."
"Unsafe drinking water is one of the leading causes of death in the developing world."
"For many Haitian children, the cost of school is simply out of reach; less than 30% reach 6th grade."
"In La Paz, there is a severe shortage of nurses, and a lack of career opportunities for at risk youth."
Dedicated volunteers are the cogs and wheels that keep us going
Project Redwoods Partner Development Committee continued to engage classmates as Partners throughout 2014. As a result of those conversations, a near-record amount of donations supported a record number of projects. An integral part of our satisfaction is the return realized from reconnecting with you and weaving your intellectual, social, and emotional capitals into Project Redwood's organizational fabric. Thank you for all your contributions.
The ten-member Grant Review Committee examined 23 applications in 2014, Project Redwood’s 8th funding cycle. At the conclusion of our due diligence, we recommended 20 of them to our Partners, who voted their preferences on an on-line ballot in August. Thirteen were ultimately funded, although we would have liked to provide resources to all! Many thanks to our classmate sponsors for tendering so many worthy and interesting proposals.
Near the end of 2014, Donna Davis Allen and Laura Power stepped down as Grant Review Committee Co-Chairs, and Rich Jerdonek and Rick Agresta generously agreed to serve for 2015.
In 2014, Project Support worked primarily on upgrading the content and consistency of grantee interim and final reports, which going forward will help us more meaningfully assess the impact of grant dollars. We also facilitated synergies among grantees. In Nicaragua, for example, we helped grantee Compatible Technologies International provide low cost chlorinators and other devices to grantee Self Help International.
We are moving toward a model that looks to sponsors as the linchpin of grantee support. Last year, several project sponsors helped grantees with development, governance, internal controls and goal setting. Moving into 2015's Cycle 9, project sponsors will be the primary drivers for non-financial assistance; the Project Support Committee will identify and share best practices resources, and continue to home in on project evaluation.
Our committee of five inaugurated the year by identifying information needs of key stakeholders; as a result, we decided to focus on revamping and expanding the Project Redwood website. This vehicle now contains relevant information for Partners and non-Partner classmates, and for past, current, and potential grantees. Visitors to the site can learn about Project Redwood processes, grantees, and volunteer opportunities; they can also preview and register for events. The website’s blog is updated at least twice a month with recaps of the charitable activities of our classmates and Partners (in- and outside of Project Redwood), and of the accomplishments of our grantees.
If you are willing to share stories about your work in the non-profit realm or about your giving philosophies, we’d love to hear from you!
During 2014, the Techonology Committee focused on a significant update to Project Redwood's on-line presence. In close co-operation with the Communications Committee and the Board of Directors, we developed and launched a new website in mid-year. The site includes a Blog, and a more visual and interactive design. We put the site to work quickly, highlighting visits by Partners to several grantee locations.
Behind the scenes, we rolled out an on-line collaboration platform, called TeamWork PM, to allow the Board and various committees to exchange and manage messages, files, and tasks more conveniently, and to allow better access to the Project Redwood archives and grant applications and reports.
Thanks to all who pitched in to make our technology more effective!
In 2014 Project Redwood continued its relationship with the Design for Extreme Affordability (DEA) program at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. As in past years, we granted $10,000 to a pool for projects deemed worthy of further development. Project Redwood Board members heard presentations from winter-spring program teams in early June, and subsequently met with DEA staff and other funders to decide which projects should go forward over the summer. Initiatives for burn treatment, farming and irrigation enhancement, and development of solar powered pumps were chosen.
We're always scouting out ways to do things better
Project Redwood began the Impact initiative in 2013 to better understand the results of our projects - and document their impact on extreme poverty. In 2014, the Impact Team reviewed our grant-related documents and information to identify impact best practices among our grantees and other grant funders, improve our focus on impact in our grant selection and reporting, and gather impact information from our grantees. We have begun to identify significant results in the number of people we are assisting, including the return on our investment in improved family incomes. We have helped our grantees focus more on obtaining and measuring results. In 2015 we will continue these efforts – especially with projects from prior years to develop a more comprehensive picture of PRW’s impact that will be presented at our annual meeting in October.
Providing expertise to our social entrepreneurs has been consistently challenging for Project Redwood. During 2014, and moving into 2015, we have been engaged in an incubator project to define the types of assistance that Project Redwood should provide, and then develop a protocol for providing that assistance. We have tentatively identified strategic planning, financial controls, board governance, and fundraising as areas in which many of our grantees may require assistance. We will be working with Haitian Educational Initiatives to pilot approaches that hopefully can be used more widely by Project Redwood.
Our Annual Meeting in October began with a challenge to partners to define a bold vision for Project Redwood. The responses ranged broadly from ‘stay the course’ to aggressive capacity building. The Legacy Team was formed to guide a process that will enable partners to decide a direction on a strategic vision for Project Redwood for the next 5-10 years.
More than 85% of donations went directly to projects that serve the most needy
Highlights of 2014 Fund Activity
Opening Balance: $199,941
Closing Balance: $186,762
33 events, milestones, and happenings made 2014 an exceptional year