When we think of the major philanthropic efforts in our history and pop culture, there’s one major endeavor that comes to mind. And that is Live Aid. In 1985, all of the most high-profile performers in the music industry came together to sing for a charitable cause. It was organized by Bob Geldof, a prominent musician himself. He was struck by the high rates of poverty in Ethiopia at that time. So, using his position and contacts, he put together a concert that raised funds that would help, as they sang in together, “feed the world.”
This concert paved the way for musicians and other performers who would often put up shows for a cause. Although the positive impact of Live Aid is undeniable, it drew some criticisms as well, especially from the social sector. Social sector professionals stated that “feeding the world” is an important cause. But it doesn’t lead to long-term solutions that can end poverty. The best way to help the people is to train them to sustain their own livelihoods. It’s about gathering budding business owners or looking through the list of HUBZone companies to see which small businesses need the most support.
These are the nonprofit organizations that do exactly that. They are training people in need to help raise their own families out of poverty.
Women Finding Financial Sustainability
Today, there are more women who have successfully established their own businesses. The world of business is definitely no longer a boy’s club. But this doesn’t mean that there are no more women who struggle. There are still some who find it hard to achieve independence and financial sustainability by owning a business. Such is the case for the women in the low-income communities of Kenya. In the drylands of Africa, it’s customary for men to travel for long periods of time in search of livelihood. During such time, the women and children are left at home with insufficient food and supplies.
This is why the BOMA Project was established in 2009. Its mission is to end poverty in Kenya by helping women develop their own businesses. Through their own small businesses, they will become financially sustainable and independent. The BOMA Project identifies the communities in need. Then, they train the women in business skills, their rights, and keeping a sustainable livelihood. Their goal is to leave the communities knowing that the women won’t need their help anymore to thrive. Since its establishment, the BOMA Project has reached over 200 thousand women and their children.
Veterans Finding Peace and Stability
The work of soldiers is always recognized and upheld by people in the community. Whenever we meet a soldier, whenever in uniform or not, we thank them for their service to our country. But despite this support, many veterans struggle with maintaining financial stability. Many of them even become homeless after being discharged from duty. The good thing is that there are many nonprofit organizations across the United States that help these veterans transition to civilian life by maintaining stable small businesses.
VETRN is one such organization. Its mission is to support veterans who are or wish to become small business owners. The organization established the “StreetWise MBA” program. Through it, veterans gain the necessary skills to build successful businesses and maintain financial stability. The program is free across six states on the East Coast. Established professionals in finance head the programs and work directly with the veterans. VETRN also has the Professional Resource Network. Through it, veterans can be connected to bankers, investors, and lawyers to help their business hit the ground running.
Persons with Disabilities Finding Professional Independence
Securing employment is already very challenging for persons with disabilities. Many companies aren’t fully on board with hiring them. But establishing their own small businesses is much harder. The good thing is that there are nonprofit organizations that support those who wish to become entrepreneurs.
Accion is one of them. It is described as a “nonprofit community lender.” The people of Accion help communities in need. This is so that they could successfully establish their business with the needed capital. They prioritize reaching persons with disabilities. Through the funds that Accion loans, these people can hire much-needed staff. They can also purchase assistive technology. And they could own a competitive small business. To date, Accion has reached more than 10.5 thousand people.
Helping low-income communities through food donations is good and beneficial. But helping them build their own business and achieve financial independence would go a long way. This way, they’re sustaining their own livelihoods long after we helped them. They will reach success and become more active members of their respective communities.