Every year, The Motley Fool takes in hundreds of reader nominations for charities doing Foolish work. Through careful selection, we choose just five of those nominees to benefit from our annual charity drive, Foolanthropy. Last year, we raised a total of $337,429. Since Foolanthropy began 10 years ago, that brings us to just shy of $3 million raised ($2,940,960, to be exact). We're committed to bringing the same process of due diligence to our philanthropic efforts as we do to our stock-picking. (Read more about Foolanthropy's tenets here.) Halfway through the year, we check in on our selected charities to find out how they spent the money we raised. We expect the organizations we support to perform no less spectacularly than the five-star stocks on Motley Fool CAPS, another community intelligence-based Fool-for-all. Let's allow the charities to speak for themselves:
Co-op America ($169,425)
National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ($91,341)
Co-op America is grateful to The Motley Fool's annual charity campaign, Foolanthropy. The grant money and the funds we raised through your online program were used to support our programs that use economic action to stop poverty, create healthy communities, and support the environment.
Our Climate Action Program brings together individuals and shareholders and uses their economic power to encourage major corporations to take climate change seriously. In the last year, Co-op America has reached over 1 million people directly, providing them with the facts about climate change, the corporations that are most responsible for creating climate change, and what everyone can do to reduce their own emissions and encourage corporations to be a part of the solution. In response, 350,000 consumers took action to encourage ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C ) , Ford (NYSE: F ) , Dominion (NYSE: D ) , and eight other companies to reduce climate change emissions. In June 2007 we learned that Dominion Power canceled three of their proposed coal-fired power plants that would have provided 2,850 MW of power and millions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution. We were also pleased that Ford and GM now recognize climate change as a serious environmental threat, that ExxonMobil has pulled back from funding junk science on climate change, and that Citigroup has pledged $50 billion in investments in clean energy.
Co-op America's Green Festivals (http://www.coopamerica.org/) are known as our nation's premiere green consumer event, playing a vital role in growing the green economy and marketplace in the U.S. It's a great way to introduce people to all that the green economy offers. We hope to be holding 10 festivals per year by 2010.
Our Community Investing Program reached a new milestone this year, when total investing in low-income communities by socially responsible investors rose to $2.4 billion. The program encourages all investors to direct at least 1% of their portfolios to institutions that invest in low-income communities worldwide, creating jobs, housing, and social services where they are needed most. Community investors were the first on the ground in the wake of Katrina here in the U.S. and the tsunami in Asia to help families rebuild. Community investing is a powerful marketplace solution for helping the world's poor make real economic progress. In 2007, we are reaching out to religious communities to encourage them to increase their investments in communities worldwide with the goal of increasing the amount of community investing by another $2.4 billion over the next year.
Our Magazine PAPER Project has been instrumental in helping over 70 publications adopt "eco-papers," papers with high recycled content and low impacts on forests. We are now halfway to the "tipping point" in the paper industry, where demand will cause ecopaper prices to decrease, and the quality and availability will increase. This is essential, because the world's forests are rapidly disappearing. As the lungs of our planet, we cannot afford to lose them. In the U.S., we print over 12 billion magazines each year -- 95% of them on paper with no recycled content. In March, Folio Magazine named the Director of our PAPER Project, Frank Locantore, among the top 40 most influential people of the year for his environmental work in the magazine industry!
Rare Conservation ($30,047)
Our goal is to educate young people, many of whom struggle in school, in the workings of our economy, what place they can have in it, and how they can access and create opportunities to help improve their lives. Early research is showing powerful connections between NFTE's program and increased school engagement among hard-to-reach youth, as well as increased interest in attending college.
A true testament to the impact of our program is the success of our students -- students such as Omar Faruk, who recently became the first and youngest recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award. Omar and his family emigrated from Bangladesh to New York City in 1997. Three years ago, Omar started BlueStream to build websites for nonprofits. NFTE alumnus Jasmine Lawrence, age 15, was recently featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. Jasmine is CEO of Eden Body Works, a line of all-natural hair and body products that was recently picked up by Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) and Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFMI ) stores.
All in all, NFTE served more than 32,000 young people this year thanks to the help of supporters like The Motley Fool and the Fool community.
NFTE is in the process of launching a microfinance initiative with Prosper.com to connect alumni in need of small start-up loans with interested lenders. We're also continuing to expand our alumni services area to better support our alumni who continue to launch or expand their businesses after completing the program.
NFTE (http://www.nfte.com/) is grateful for the opportunity we had to participate in Foolanthropy 2006. Your investment has helped economically disadvantaged young people gain critical entrepreneurial skills so they can find a pathway to prosperity -- thank you for your commitment to our mission!
Investment from Motley Fool readers is helping Rare create environmental change on five continents, as well as scale our program to meet rising demand.
The past 12 months have marked an extraordinary turning point in Rare's development. We've gone from running four Pride marketing campaigns annually, as recently as 2002, to supporting nearly 50 in the past 12 months alone. Rare used part of the recent investment from Motley Fool readers to support ongoing training for the 50 local partners implementing these campaigns, and part to help build the organization into one that can support large-scale growth in reach and impact over the coming five years.
Earlier this year, Rare (http://www.rareconservation.org/) adopted a new five-year strategic plan to guide the organization through 2011. It requires a sizeable equity investment up front in order to build the necessary systems and staff in advance of growth. Rare's revenue goal by 2009 is $35 million, and we've already received $15 million from a handful of investors interested in financing proven social change models. We consider The Motley Fool to be this type of investor, and so part of its gift went toward organizational growth.
Recent Pride campaigns include:
- Bolikhamxay Province, Laos: Establishing nation's largest fish conservation area.
- Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea: Creating eight locally managed marine areas.
- Loreto Bay, Mexico: Training seven fellows in sustainable fisheries management and installing them in ecologically threatened communities throughout Baja California.
- Rio Platano, Honduras: Training and supporting members of four different indigenous groups in launching an ecotourism enterprise that now provides economic benefits to 150 families and has captured 80% of market share of travel to the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve.
Rare will be holding a series of investor meetings in key cities this fall to present a full presentation and prospectus on its business plan. If you're interested in participating, please contact Lindsay Hower Jordan at (703) 522-5070.
Room to Read ($25,266)
Half the Sky ($21,350)
Foolanthropy donations to Room to Read's global efforts provide educational opportunity to millions of children in the developing world, bringing the organization one step closer to its long-term goal of building 20,000 schools and libraries and educating 10 million children by the year 2020.
Room to Read's first library was established in Nepal seven years ago, with the belief that education and literacy are crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty and taking control of one's life. Since then, almost 5,000 libraries have been created in communities throughout seven countries reaching over one million children. Thanks to the generosity of Foolanthropy donors, Room to Read is well on its way toward building 160 new schools, opening 1,600 libraries, and adding 1,400 new girls to our scholarship program in 2007 alone. Our geographic footprint is also expanding to include two new countries, Zambia and Bangladesh, with several countries in Latin America to follow next year.
At Room to Read (http://www.roomtoread.org/), we believe that world change starts with educated children, and we thank The Motley Fool's readers for embracing our mission! To experience firsthand the impact Room to Read is having on one girl in Nepal, visit the following link to a short video filmed by the team at PBS's Frontline World.
With the help of those who generously donated to the Foolanthropy drive, this spring, Half the Sky Foundation opened a new Infant Nurture Center in Qingyuan, which is located in China's Guangdong Province. Nannies trained by Half the Sky are teaching 31 babies in Qingyuan what it means to have a constant, loving adult in their lives. By cuddling, singing, and playing with their small charges, the nannies are helping them avoid the problems so common in institutionalized children who have been fed and clothed but not cherished.
Half the Sky (http://www.halfthesky.org/) provides loving care for more than 3,500 children of all ages who are living in 34 of China's social welfare institutions. But there are still so many more children living in other institutions who need help.
Qingyuan was one of those institutions where children needed help. Already, after only a few months of operation, formerly unresponsive babies in Qingyuan are reaching out with love and hope to their nannies and to the world. Their progress would not surprise neuroscientists, who tell us that a deep emotional connection with an adult is as important for a child's healthy development as food, shelter, and medical care. Neither would it surprise Confucian scholar Meng Zi, who 2,300 years eloquently summed up the mission of Half the Sky: "All the children who are held and loved will know how to love others ... Spread these virtues in the world. Nothing more need be done."
In addition to our five official picks, two other organizations reported significant donations from people identifying themselves as Fools. One is a 2005 Foolanthropy recipient, and the other was new to the Foolanthropy community before being nominated last fall.
Humane Society of Louisiana
We were delighted to receive the ongoing support of Fools in 2007 -- over $10,000!
With the second anniversary of Katrina approaching, the support of Fools and other animal-friendly donors from outside of Louisiana continues to be critically needed. The population of New Orleans is halved, and HSLA lost hundreds of key donors and volunteers, nurtured over the course of 20 years.
With ongoing budget shortfalls, HSLA (http://www.humanela.org/) is making an ambitious push. Our PAWS to REBUILD campaign, to raise $300,000 by the end of the 2007, seeks to pay off the existing mortgage on our destroyed shelter building and recoup other Katrina-related costs. And right now, we're wrapping up our "$50,000 in 30 Days Campaign" -- we're $2,227 short with two days to go!
This will help us put more of our resources into doing what we've done for 20 years -- caring for the animals of our state, and aggressively fighting to put an end to dogfighting in our state. HSLA founder Jeff Dorson went undercover to expose dogfighting at a time when the lax laws of Louisiana, a state where dogfighting is a deeply entrenched problem, weren't being enforced at all. Today in our state, thanks to Jeff's pioneering work, dogfighting and other animal abuse is prosecuted as seriously as other felonies.
We've also worked to help change the laws regarding the evacuation of pets during hurricanes in our state. This is critical because so many of the people who died during the storms remained behind because they could not take their pets with them to shelters.
Foolanthropy 2007 kicks off in October with a call for nominations on our Foolanthropy discussion board.
Since being nominated on Foolanthropy's discussion board, Wounded Warriors (http://www.woundedwarriors.org/) has been honored to have received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from members of Foolanthropy. It is a tribute to their generosity, and we appreciate and thank them for their help.
Because of the popularity of our Bahama Bay unit, we will soon purchase a second unit. The unit will be an identical three-bedroom unit that we will modify to bring to American With Disabilities Act standards.
Most of the families that we host are those with fathers killed in combat. For the children, Mickey Mouse has proven to be a tremendous grief counselor. See our Family Stories section. Since last year, Wounded Warriors has been the focus of two CNN stories, which has enabled hundreds of thousands to learn of what we do to help families.
Online editor Carrie Crockett was co-chair of the Foolanthropy 2005 and 2006 campaigns, along with David Gardner. She owns no shares of any company mentioned, although she does donate to the charities above. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value pick, while Whole Foods is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool's disclosure policy gives about 5% of its income to charity.