Gnu Foundation

is a private, non-profit charitable organization with the mission of providing the extreme poor and most vulnerable the financial tools needed – grants, micro loans, business training and other resources – to help them work their way out of poverty.  

Gnu Foundation’s microcredit grant programs are managed by local Gnu partner organizations of high integrity and standing in their community and who have a proven dedication to improving lives locally.  

Gnu provides financial training resources, leadership and grants of working capital to our partners who manage social business and local microcredit programs using the group solidarity model to assure that loans are repaid and passed on to the next borrower. 

This cycle of local community management and leadership, training, borrowing and repaying has proven to be both successful and sustainable.

We are a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Tax ID # 26-4479083.
All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Working together to eliminate extreme poverty – one family at a time

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT 

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Gnu Foundation works together with some of the best global partners there are. Including: Kiva.org; Children of Strength; and California-based When-I-Grow-Up  (WIGU).  Gnu Foundation actively partners with WIGU in Kenya, Haiti and more recently in Guatemala. WIGU’s dedicates itself to eradicate ‘extreme poverty’ — helping the 1.6 billion people living on less that $1.25 per day. In the words of Gilbert Foster, WIGU’s Executive Director – “We are ambassadors for the poor – we’ve been to where extreme poverty grips people — $1.25 a day doesn’t buy much living – we’ve see it, we’ve walked it, smelt it, tasted it, and its not living… its dying, slowly dying. We invite you to join the movement to be a life giver!”

At Gnu, we’ve joined hand in hand with WIGU in this global life giving movement by ‘wrapping’ their local support initiatives with our microloan programs. In 5 short years we have funded over 1,000 business microloans for WIGU supported local partners. We view it as venture capital for the poor!

You can view some excellent WIGU produced videos here – All of the individuals and children and programs shown in the videos are the local beneficiaries of our joint program efforts in the field. Where WIGU is serving – Gnu Foundation is working alongside them to financially empower families to leave extreme poverty behind.

Also — to watch a sweet Christmas carol from Mercy Queen, a student of the Furaha Community Foundation Secondary School — a Gnu Foundation partner organization — please click here: Happy Holidays everyone!!

Fresh water now flowing from the new FCF High School well

Drilling began and after 20 hours and some 200 meters, clean water began flowing from the new Furaha Community Foundation High School well.

Gnu Foundation supporters provided critical funds to purchase the new generator to power the well pump. After two years of carrying water by hand (and head) the youth of the Furaha Community Secondary school now have clean, safe, fresh water to use each and every day.

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Gnu Foundation funds “social business” grant for Rays of Hope Clinic

Located in the town of Githongo in the tea and coffee region of Kenya; a few miles north of the Equator on the northeast slopes of Mt. Kenya, Rays of Hope  (ROH) is a small community health clinic. With full time work by Murithi Marangu, its founder, and a part time staff of a nurse, laboratory technician and community facilitator, the dedicated team provide laboratory services for malaria and typhoid, the dispersement of medicines and drugs, counseling for HIV/AIDS, testing and post test counseling, and home health care. They also provide maternal, prenatal and child healthcare, as well as Community Education classes. House calls are made for those in the community unable to travel to the clinic. All of these services are provided at no cost or for a minimal fee.

Gnu Foundatoin team visits with Rays of Hope Clinic staff and Board

 During a visit in 2012, the Gnu Foundation team discussed different ways that we could assist the clinic’s staff and programs, and we determined that providing a “Social Business Grant” was the most supportive and sustainable option.  With the Gnu grant, ROH has built the “Moonlight Cafe” a ‘milk bar’ (serving local foods and non-alcoholic drink) which is staffed by clinic volunteers and the food and produce is purchased locally — creating a ‘virtuous circle’ of employment and supply-chain puirchases from ROH affiliated staff and businesses.  A ‘social business’ is fully consistent with the operations and strategy as that of a traditional ‘for-profit’ business, but all the profits are poured back into the host business to support its social nature and the metrics by which one measures the success of the business are related to a social goal — in this specific case the underwriting and support of the Rays of Hope health clinic.

We are excited by this co-operative venture with Rays of Hope and look to the expansion of other supportive businesses in the community.

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Rebuilding the heart of Furaha

A devastating fire recently leveled the primary school at the Furaha Community Center. Undaunted, the local Huruma community raised funds to rebuild, and construction has already begun!  The photo below shows the "Heart of Furaha"  the primary school children gathered in the school courtyard during our recent Gnu Foundation visit (pre fire) and the progress made to re-opening the school.  The Gnu Foundation has recently funded a doubling of the Gnu microloan program support to  the parents and guardians of the Furaha children and the workers who care and support them.

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Below: The Gnu Foundation team visits with the staff and leaders of Furaha Community Foundation
in Huruma (Nairobi), Kenya

Furaha WIGU group photo Feb 2013 IMG_9957

Gnu Guatemala Initiative

The Gnu Foundation is looking to support the work of Esperanza para Guatemala (Hope for Guatemala) a program dedicated to helping children and families living in Guatemala City’s notorious  Zone 18 to break their cycle of violence, poor education and poverty by empowering them to achieve the quality of life that they deserve. www.hopeforguatemala.org

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The program was developed under the direction of Jose Armas, who grew up in Guatemala City watching his parents give food and other assistance to families in need. Even as a child, Jose felt burdened to help people less fortunate.  At the age of 14, Jose began to travel extensively as a missionary, at the age of 23, Jose felt called to leave his comfortable business life in the United States and minister to his own people in Zone 18 of Guatemala City.  The ministry started with Jose and his family serving about 25 children a snack 3 days a week.  Using borrowed pots and pans from his parents and holding on to the vision placed in his heart for many years before, Jose launched Esperanza para Guatemala in 2004.

Today, Hope for Guatemala directly serves over 250 children who represent about 120 families, positively impacting the lives of more than 1000 people. The program offers a hot breakfast and lunch program 5 days a week and provides fresh produce to the childrens’ homes for the weekends.  Additionally an education program provides access to books, study support, computers, tutoring, and school supplies; there is a health, hygiene and basic medical program; vocational workshops and training in carpentry, computers, bakery and crafts and a spiritual and cultural program designed to build hope and self esteem for the youth.

Gnu Foundation is looking to provide funding for creative social business grants to support local vocational and business initiatives for the young adults and families associated with the program.

IMG_1144Zone 18 Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Gnu Haiti Initiative

We just returned from Haiti — what an amazing country — so much hope within such an austere and unforgiving environment. We were there to initiate the expansion of the Gnu Foundation’s micro-credit program into the reaches of the Central Plateau region of rural Haiti through our existing global partnership with “When I Grow Up”  — a group of people dedicated to empowering children in extreme poverty.  A description of this initiative can be found at: haiti beginnings.

The reality of extreme poverty and lack of resources is overwhelming throughout all of Haiti  — from the still quake ravaged capital city of Port au Prince to the subsistence agriculture villages of the Central Plateau where adequate water, sanitation, health care, education and a market economy are far from the norm.

However, the strength, energy and will of local families and leadership of our local Gnu partners to overcome these limits is adding a new sense of hope and optimism that is working its way into the fabric of a rebuilding Haiti.  The bright and excited faces of children receiving a warm meal each day; access to working capital for women to start or grow a small business; and orphans having the joy of community through a school where none existed before are all part of Haiti’s new reality.  Many thousands of people and hundreds of organizations are working diligently to bring about this new hope – it was empowering to me to have the chance to meet the leadership of a number of these organizations during my recent visit who generously shared of their time and experience as we connect in Haiti.

I am truly excited and humbled by the task before us as we begin and continue this good work. Your continued partnership in supporting our efforts is, as always, greatly appreciated.  Your willingness to sharing our story with others who could partner in this effort by sharing your own access to resources – your money – your connections – your ideas and kind thoughts and prayers — all are needed, and the time is now.