Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘funding’

One Million Clients

Dear Gabriel,

Two significant moments arrived recently. The kick-off in our general election season you no doubt noticed. The other was much more significant for FINCA. Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we took a leap towards finding and funding our one millionth client.

This advance against the general election backdrop, made me think of Ronald Reagan and his famous line about relations with the Soviet Union that you may recall or at least have heard about: “Trust – but verify.”

‘Trust – with verification’ is such a perfect summary of FINCA’s method for working with our clients and our donors that it could almost be our tag line!

Trust with verification is the model that has brought FINCA tantalizingly close to sponsoring our one millionth client. It’s the model that has earned us the respect and faith of donors like you, and over 100,000 other Americans.

Since 1985, we have entered into commitments with our clients based on trusting them to establish and manage micro-businesses – in tailoring, food production, craft-work and hundreds of other local in-demand products, by using funds invested by FINCA, with one condition: FINCA verifies that clients fulfill their commitment to us and are repaying their loans on time.

Simultaneously, we have been asking you, our supporters, to trust in our professionalism, expertise and commitment to the poor, particularly financing women entrepreneurs, those who live in impoverished communities, where women are expected to accept a passive or even submissive role. But this has not been blind faith – we have encouraged you to verify the results. And now look: Almost 1,000,000 clients!

FINCA’s results – your results – continue to be magnificent!

Closing in on client one million is, in many respects, the ultimate evidence of our work’s and your support’s impact, durability and success.

Today we are seeking just one thousand people to make a donation of, on average, $100.

Become one of the 1000.

Your donation today should not be made in blind faith. Verify the impact of your support: Meet our clients, hear their testimonies.

Help us find and fund client number one million.

Thank you for your support,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President, FINCA
New Business Development

Paying for Clean Economy

From Nation of Change and Yes! Magazine
25 January 2012

A Jump Start for the Clean Economy
by Maria Gallucci

A little-known source of clean energy funding could prove a crucial job-creation engine in the states, as federal support diminishes and they seek fresh growth drivers.

Every state can create clean energy funds, or CEFs, which are typically supported by a small surcharge on monthly electricity bills. So far 22 states have done so, generating $2.7 billion overall for the clean technology sector during the past decade. Most have used the money to install tens of thousands of solar panel arrays, wind turbines and biomass facilities.

But a few states have gone further by broadening investments to include technology research hubs, fledgling cleantech startups and green job training programs. The idea is to use the money, which today totals some $500 million a year, to help develop all the components of the clean economy and stimulate the creation of thousands of permanent local jobs.

The strategy is still experimental, but it could turn these CEFs into a major source of economic growth, according to new report published today by the Brookings Institution, a public policy group, and the Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic organization. The report outlines a four-part policy strategy for every state to adopt this “next generation” of CEF spending.

Clean Energy Funds were originally set up more than 10 years ago to help decarbonize state energy systems in the face of climate change. According to the report, the funds have already helped bring forward 72,000 renewable energy installations the country urgently needs.

But times have changed, said Mark Muro, a report co-author and director of policy for Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. “Economic development has emerged as a parallel and complementary interest to carbon reduction … There’s been a sharpening concern that the country really needs to look to supporting the emergence of cutting-edge technologies” as a way to start new industries and create jobs, he told InsideClimate News.

According to the report, retooling these state-level funds “could not be timelier at this moment of federal gridlock and market uncertainty.”

Congress isn’t expected to approve new funding for green technologies in 2012 after the 2009 stimulus—which poured tens of billions of dollars into clean energy projects—dries up. And policymakers won’t likely reinstate key federal subsidies that lapsed at the end of 2011, including the Energy Department’s 1705 loan guarantee program, whose bankrolling of the now-bankrupt California solar firm Solyndra sparked a Republican-led effort to scale back President Obama’s green agenda.

“We all need to be thinking about where we are going to get policy and finance support for further economic development in clean energy,” Muro said. “As it happens, the clean energy funds are there and in a position to innovate.”

The Evolution of CEFs

The country’s first CEFs popped up in places with aggressive renewable energy goals, like California, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Other states gradually followed suit, namely in the East Coast and Midwest.

They used the cash to get more solar panels on rooftops and wind turbines in the ground, which they hoped would help make renewable electricity as cheap as coal. Affordable clean power would have another benefit: it would unleash consumer demand for solar and wind, and spur new jobs in installation, manufacturing, among other areas.

But some states saw that the high cost of renewable power generation wasn’t the only obstacle to realizing the promise of the green economy. In order to build lasting cleantech industries, they’d have to subsidize research and development for new technologies, like advanced biofuels, electric vehicles and highly efficient solar panels, and eventually build a ready workforce and supply chain for manufacturing.

And so, starting a few years ago, a handful of states began experimenting with ways to transform their CEFs by linking the money to strengths in their economies.

For New York, that has meant sending some of its CEF money into its growing number of regional clusters, where high-tech companies, universities and research institutions that have similar industry focus share expertise. In 2009, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which administers the state’s CEF and other clean energy programs, saw a chance for those regional clusters to help a rising crop of clean energy startups become viable companies.

The Clean Energy Business Incubator program has given $1.5 million from the CEF to each of six business incubators, which assist cleantech entrepreneurs in organizing, staffing and funding new businesses. Together, the incubators work with around 70 companies, whose products range from analytical tools that measure wind energy resources to energy management systems and mounting devices for solar photovoltatic installations. The money gets doled out over the course of four years as companies pass certain milestones, like completing a business plan or attracting private investments.

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

Community Nutrition – Rwanda

The following blog is composed of excerpts from a progress report written by current WDI intern Sean Morris. It describes one of the many projects he is working on and some of what he has learned thus far, working with The Ihangane Project in rural Ruli Rwanda.

Community Nutrition – an update from the field.

CNW Program progress: I have assessed the community nutrition worker (CNW) program through direct observations of their work in the field, and through surveying large samples of CNWs from various health centers in the Ruli District Health System. My partner, Huriro Uwacu Theophila, is a biostatistics student at the National University of Rwanda. We have worked to produce surveys in Kinyarwanda for both CNWs, and participants in the malnutrition program. So far, we have surveyed two of the seven Ruli Hospital CNW networks, and I plan to schedule transportation to the remaining five CNW monthly meetings as they take place in July. The information gathered in these CNW surveys includes: each individual’s satisfaction with the program; identification of resources necessary to perform their work; description of the food security situation in their villages; an assessment of the knowledge required to perform their work; and their current outreach to people living with HIV. I will use the data from these surveys, along with the observations that I record in the field to see how far the CNW program has come in implementing the Rwandan community based nutrition protocols (CBNP), and to identify gaps in their effectiveness in combating malnutrition in their communities. After gaining a full understanding of the CNW program, I will work to determine cost-effective approaches to meet their material needs, and provide them with focused training and education opportunities related to nutrition. This survey has the potential to act as an on-going worker satisfaction and knowledge tool for the CNW program. Such a tool would allow the CNW network and its administrators to continually, and accurately improve the program, monitor the success of any recommendations that we implement this summer, and foster collaborative problem solving within the CNW groups. Improving the CNW program will advance the nutritional status of the villages in the Ruli catchment area, and will lead to reduced resource constraints, funding dependencies, and operating costs at the malnutrition center.

COMPLETE ARTICLE

Orphanage Kitchen Complete!

A new and much needed kitchen at ROP Center for Street Children in Rwanda was just completed.

Last week the ribbon was cut and ROP’s much needed new kitchen was officially opened for use. The construction was funded by Line Loen and her Metamorfose organization. Line visited the Center earlier this year and upon seeing the old kitchen, with its smoke damage, inefficient open fires and crumbling walls, decided to sponsor a new, safer and more efficient facility. She partnered with Manna Energy, based in Colorado, who funded and constructed the large “rocket stove” that is used to cook the large amount of beans and corn meal the boys consume every day. Metamorfose contributed funding for the bulk of the project, including sinks for washing food and hands before eating and three smaller stoves for cooking vegetables and other food.

Line, a very strong sponsor of the ROP, wanted to construct the new kitchen to promote cleaner cooking, better hygiene, better health conditions for the cooks and to reduce our firewood costs. Emmanual Habimana, one of the Center’s cooks, shared his happiness with the new kitchen. “We can cook more food, and cook it faster. Mostly, though, we can see what we’re doing and we can breath, thanks to the smokeless stoves and ventilation.”

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