As a volunteer for Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB), it’s often my privilege to sing the praises of our amazing Humanist Grants beneficiaries. Our beneficiaries are, indeed, fabulous, and they do great work. We like to keep you, our supporters and donors, informed about what our partners are working on, so you can see how your donations are impacting people and the environment in positive ways. But, this post is a little different.
Today, I want to share with you some examples of our beneficiaries singing the praises of our organization. FBB is a Foundation unlike others in that we foster collaborative relationships with our beneficiaries, and we strive to be so much more than just a funding source. AJ Chalom, our Humanist Grants coordinator, spends the necessary time to develop these lasting relationships. Supporters of FBB can be proud knowing that you’re a part of an organization truly changing the way charitable giving is accomplished throughout the world.
Travis Ning, Director of Collaboration for Starfish, FBB Poverty and Education and Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary, had this to say:
“What makes the partnership with FBB unique is the ‘shoulder to shoulder’ feel. This is very distinct from the more traditional, top-down relationship that often comes with foundation support. Work with FBB feels like a collaboration – for example, we design metrics together so that they are efficient and effective for both sides. I have never seen this before. This immediately gives us a sense of solidarity with FBB and its community: we are achieving this together."
Our beneficiaries do such great work, and it’s good to know our collaborative relationship helps them better serve their communities and purpose. Karolo Apracio, Executive Director of Natural World and Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary, EcoViva, says:
"We are greatly appreciative of the support that Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) has given us. Our being selected as a Natural World Beneficiary helped us to release more than 100,000 baby sea turtles, build a water tank to provide clean drinking water for a rural Salvadoran community, and helped us to launch a nationwide alliance to protect and restore the mangroves of El Salvador. The credibility that the grant gave us also had a multiplier effect and helped us to raise additional funds for our community-based environmental protection initiatives.
FBB has been more than a funder. FBB has been a thought partner. Our ongoing dialogue with Foundation Beyond Belief has encouraged us to think and act creatively, boldly, and effectively as we strive to take our work to the next level."
We love hearing from our grantees. It’s so reassuring to know they find our partnerships as rewarding as we do. We were overjoyed to receive the following email message from Terry Watson, Executive Director of LightHawk, another FBB Natural World beneficiary:
"As I saw your recent online support of LightHawk, again, through Foundation Beyond Belief, I wanted to take a moment to say how wonderful it is to have such an enthusiastic and thoughtful partner as an advocate as well as a financial supporter."
Peter Hill, the Thunder Valley CDC’s Language Coordinator in the Lakota Language Immersion program, beneficiary of FBB’s Compassionate Impact Grant, explains why it’s important to him and the Lakota community to gain support from a humanist organization.
"And why is the secular humanist angle pertinent? People who have never been to a reservation may not realize how entrenched Christian churches are in Native American communities. Some have priorities that we would recognize as aligning with our own values, but far too often, they exist primarily to proselytize and convert….
… much of the outreach, charitable, and service work in the area is carried out by these churches and their affiliates. During the summer the reservation teems with church buses…, traveling to the different remote villages to do volunteer work, host vacation bible school camps, or organize tent revivals or prayer gatherings. For this reason, members of the local communities could be forgiven for entirely conflating charitable work with the institution of the Christian church, in its various forms. And so I believe that Foundation Beyond Belief’s support of our program sends an important message, one that is at the core of FBB’s mission: secular humanism has just as great of a capacity to demonstrate generosity, engage in outreach, and help the less fortunate, and does so with no hidden agenda or expectation of divine reward."
Let’s wrap up with some words of adulation from Debra Gittler, Executive Director of ConTextos, a beneficiary of FBB’s Poverty and Education grant.
"[I]n 2015, since both receiving FBB funds, EcoViva and ConTextos have taken our partnership to the next level, working on strategic development plans to link our educational interventions and maximize impact. In the process of planning, we’ve been able to share alliances and partners, which has resulted in significant opportunities for both organizations.
Thanks to the increased capacity in both organizations, a major funder significantly increased its funding commitment, and in 2016 will double its previous funding to bring literacy programs to schools.”
Gittler states that FBB’s investment directly allowed ConTextos to increase capacity to engage additional donors and leverage impact.
"In addition,” Gittler says, "ConTextos would not have cultivated any of these relationships were it not for FBB’s support, both in funds and in connections. By creating a cushion with funds to offset operational costs, FBB allows us to focus on programmatic interventions. By making key introductions, you’ve allowed us to grow our reach and programming to solve even bigger problems, reaching even more kids, teachers, communities and—in this case—countries. We are so deeply grateful to be part of the FBB portfolio and so look forward to more opportunities for collaboration."
We are proud of the relationships we foster with both our beneficiaries and our donors, and we are honored and humbled to share these words of praise with our supporters. Thank you for enabling us, through your continued giving, to maintain and expand our partnerships worldwide. You are humanism at work.