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.

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

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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.

Dr. Charles Sempere Memorial Fund established at Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital in rural Kenya

Dr. Charles Sempere, father of Gnu Foundation founder James Sempere, passed away in January, 2012.  Memorial gifts made to the Gnu Foundation in his honor have been placed in a new dedicated special fund to purchase medicines and benefit the work of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Hospital (IHM) in Kilimambogo, Kenya.

IHM, an small independent community hospital located in rural Kenya also runs and supports the Community of Hope — an on-site children’s home for young orphans impacted by AIDS.  The hospital was greatly affected by last year’s drought in Kenya and patients were coming and they could not raise hospital bills or cover the cost of required medicines. The financial stress to the hospital in providing free care was significant, and in the words of the hospital leadership “This new memorial fund will go a long way in bringing the hospital to its feet again”.

When Dr. Sempere, an obstetrician, finally retired after building a successful private practice while serving on the active staffs of two local hospitals in various positions including: Chief of Staff, Medical Director, and Chairman of the OB-GYN Department — he was beginning to deliver a third generation of babies.

If you would like to learn more about the dedicated work of the IHM hospital and the service they provide vulnerable children and a challenged rural community or wish to make a donation to the Dr. Charles Sempere memorial fund, please contact James Sempere directly @ jsempere@gnufoundation.org.

Gnu youth art events are inspirational and colorful

Working with groups of youths, artist Chloe Sempere inspired creative art projects throughout Kenya as part of her fellowship with the Gnu Foundation.  Art ‘events’ were held with children in the slums of Nairobi, secondary school children in the rural village of Kilimambogo  and with the orphan children at Kusitawi Village in central Kenya.

For many of the youth it was their first time expressing themselves in a free form artistic manner and was an inspiration to the local teachers as well. The youth, teachers and staff were all inspired and creative, with legacy art programs and school art ‘clubs’ now established to follow the one day events.

In the slums of Haruma (Nairobi), Gnu Foundation microloan partner Furaha Community Center invited their school children to participate in an ‘art event’.  Using brushes, pencils, sticks, hands, fingers, grasses and other creative tools the students painted a mural embracing their sense of community and family.

At Magogoni Secondary School over 50 students interested in art participated at the all day art program event — several large scale murals representing their vision of community  were created and a lively spontaneous art gallery ensued showcasing individual paintings made on newspaper ‘canvases’.

At Kusitawi Village – the home base for the Children of Strength orphanage program (http://www.kilimambogo.org) that supports over 450 children, of whom 75 live at the central village ‘campus’ in safe houses.  The art project ‘attached’ itself to the walls (and beyond) of the girls safe house with a passion. When Executive Director Elizabeth gitau saw the works for the first time she exclaimed “Imagine! Now it looks as if children live here – how beautiful!

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These art programs are another varied example of how the Gnu Foundation fills its core mission of “connecting people to resources” – in this case a recent art school graduate using her talents and connecting one-on-one and ‘hands on’ to inspire self expression and potential in youth a world away. The venues for the program were associated with local Kenya-based Gnu Foundation microloan program partners.