We do things a bit differently around here.
We don't run a traditional charity:
- We are a "project first" charity: This means we don't keep money in our bank account waiting to find a project to fund. We find a project, and then fund-raise accordingly. This maximizes donor impact and effectiveness.
- We don't offer any advice or know-how. We have our values, but we don't pretend to be project experts. We give funds, and we expect results.
- We invest in projects and people. We are always looking for interesting people trying interesting things.
- We may fail. Although we are not proud of it, we understand the risk inherent in funding startups - very little history, but a lot of energy and passion.
- We are volunteer run - we don't have any full-time staff, very little administrative costs, and a clear focus
See below for some of our projects.
Funding Amount: $4500
Entrepreneur: Lewitt Somarajan
Funding Amount: $5000
Entrepreneur: Aarti Naik
Description: Ekya's aim in 2010/2011 was to focus on the immense opportunity that exists with supporting Women's empowerment. Aarti Naik surprised us with her focused and grassroots approach to supporting slum girls with educational support. Single-handedly, she has devoted her past years to teaching the girls in the slum she herself grew up in with valuable life skills. Aarti's model is based on understanding the slum youth and providing them with the opportunities to learn. We supported Aarti with a grant to sustainably build her learning concept. We have also since supplied her with donated computer supplies, books and support.
The Village store, INDIA
Funding Amount: $2700
Entrepreneur: Vinaykumar G
Description: The villagestore was a business that was built to support livelihood craft-making in villages of India by selling products to corporations as gifts. The organization was built in a social entrepreneur incubator, UnLtd India. The village store concept has pivoted considerably from its beginnings. Today, the founder and his wife consult villages and organizations in building businesses and creating jobs for women. Take a look at this video for a great example of how Vinaykumar was able to use his learning as an entrepreneur to support others and continue to drive change.
greater chicago food depository, chicago
Funding Amount: $3500
Description: Due to the financial crisis of 2008 and the significant pressure on food pantries throughout Chicago, the Greater Chicago Food Depository was not able to successfully meet demand - leaving thousands hungry. Ekya decided to help support the local institution by asking members to fast for 24 hours and raise money. Together, we raised $3,500, which was used by the GCFD to help distribute food to Chicago's hungry. Ekya simultaneously volunteered at the food bank.
SAVE A MOTHER, INDIA
Funding Amount: $3200
Entrepreneur: Dr. Shiban Ganju
Description: A low-cost, high-impact program aimed at reducing mother mortality rates during childbirth. This project is in conjunction with Dr. Shiban Ganju, a well-known and respected Public Health advocate. Ekya donated $3200 to the project in March 2009 to help the new organization fund a metrics and impact analysis that could be used to determine the impact of their efforts on maternal mortality. Their model is to utilize already organized self-help groups to educate women on proper maternal health care. Their hypothesis is that simple, low cost methods can save lives, both of mother and child.
operation asha, INDIA
Funding Amount: $500
Entrepreneur: Dr. Shelly Batra and Mr. Sandeep Ahuja
Description: Ekya had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Sandeep Ahuja and Dr. Shelly Batra and learning more about their organization, Operation Asha, a group dedicated to eradicating Tuberculousis in India. Operation Asha stands out as an accountable and transparent NGO - their dedication to measurement and impact is unparalleled and have found successful ways to bring down the cost of treating those that are affected by TB. While other organizations spend nearly $300/patient, Operation Asha spends $15. Ekya donated $500 to Operation Asha in Jan 2009 and have since also linked them up with other donor groups which in turn raised over $5000 in additional support.
Funding Amount: $3800
Description: Ekya's first project was to support the victims of the devastating cyclone in Bangladesh in 2007. We raised funds to support the victims and their families and to help bring needed support to the affected region. It was difficult for us to understand the impact of our donation, and we had difficulty with that. It was this project that made us realize that while important, our dollars and impact were better if targeted towards smaller projects with clearer accountability.