Hi! This year we started a fund to fight child-trafficking.

The purpose of this post is to share with you how those funds were distributed and used.

Let’s get to it! 🙂

Financials 💰

In 2017, 25 of my family and friends each contributed $25 USD to this fund.

That’s $625, which I doubled with my own contribution for $1250 total.

We donated these funds to two registered charities:

$400 to Pencil’s of Promise. We donated on a day with a corporate donor match, which doubled the contribution to $800 (so your $25 donation doubled and then partially doubled again becomes $66). PoP has built 429 schools and supported hundreds of teachers to make education possible for children in developing countries. I believe this education is a long-term factor in helping to build stronger communities that prevent the exploitation of children.

PoP built this school in Guatemala – Photo Credit: Pencils of Promise

$850 to the Exodus Road. Many charities are either so big that they operate with inefficiencies or so small that they lack reliable reporting; relatively few live in the “Goldilocks Zone” with the best of both extremes and mitigated flaws. The Exodus Road is one such charity, with a total operating budget of approx. $1.8M, 80% of which goes toward programming and 20% to administration, fundraising and growth. The Exodus Road’s core initiative is on-the-ground investigations into child trafficking, and support of local police action; with 881 supported rescues to date and 362 arrests. I believe that these targeted investigations raise the “cost of doing business” for traffickers, which could raise prices and decrease demand. $850 is enough to run about three weeks of investigations.

Exodus Road success story – Photo Credit: the Exodus Road

A nice note from the Exodus Road, which I edited in parenthesis to include everyone:

Michael, thank you! It’s people like you [and your friends] that will help bring freedom to those caught in slavery. Your compassion, commitment and heart for this cause is inspiring to us. We are honored to partner with [your group]. Thank you for letting us know about your fund. Wishing you all the best in 2018!
— Jeanne Honsaker, VP Advancement

Reflections 💡

Some thoughts on this fund:

  • I’m proud that we contributed $1250+ to these causes. All donations came from the post I wrote about why I started the fund, or folks that have found the pledge page while reading my blog. I have otherwise been resistant to asking for contributions because it feels uncomfortable asking friends for $$ and easier to just contribute more by myself. I value your participation in this project far beyond the donation; we are collectively starting to make a very small dent in a very big issue. I will be more active in sharing this mission in 2018.
  • I want to distribute the money to more grassroots projects, and I also want to know they will use the money well. In 2018 I will connect with founders running these small organizations so we can have more confidence in sending them $$.
  • I continue to believe the annual contribution model is powerful; it nearly guarantees that we will donate $625 again in 2018, plus any new folks and my contribution. As we find more small projects to fund, this reliability in donations can give these operators stability to keep doing their best work.
  • Because the donations are funnelled through me I get a tax benefit. When I do my taxes I will calculate the deduction and add it to my contribution for next year.

Gratitude 🙏

Thank you to everyone that contributed this year, in order of when you pledged:

Sophia, Julia, Eric, Justus, Clayton, Mom, Caroline, Trudy, Nick, Liz, Zach, Nermin, Anita, Margo, Wins, Trish, Marie, Naveen, Jay, Karen, Jesse, Ariane, Casi, Casi 🙂 , Marie & Ron.

Request: Would you please share the pledge page with a friend you think would likely contribute? I am continuing to double the $25 pledges, and if each of you have one friend that joins we can add another $1250 to the fund next year.

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