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Image source: Fistula Foundation.

First off, we have some exciting news to share. Last week, The Motley Fool's Foolanthropy campaign supporting this year's partner, Fistula Foundation, met and exceeded our original goal of $75,000. (Visit the site here.) We're tremendously thankful and touched by the outpouring of generosity for this cause. We've provided the funding for life-changing surgeries for nearly 200 women afflicted with fistula.

Of course, our culture here at The Motley Fool focuses on exceeding goals and consistently outperforming -- in investing and everything else. Therefore we're rallying and aiming to exceed our $100,000 fundraising stretch goal before the campaign ends on Jan. 31.

In a bit of coincidental but perfect timing, Kate Grant, CEO of Fistula Foundation, visited our headquarters last week -- within 24 hours of when our Foolanthropy campaign achieved that base goal.

Kate's visit was an occasion of celebration, sharing, and inspiration, and we learned even more about the organization's incredible work helping women afflicted with fistula to reclaim their lives.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Kate for a few minutes so she could share a few of the salient points about fistula and the organization's hard-hitting, cost-effective work. You can watch our interview in the following video.

Kate's comments give you a quick overview of why the organization's work is wonderful and important. One powerful aspect of charitable giving that Kate and I talked about -- on camera and off -- is the concept of the "ripple effect" of good. This is what we mean when we talk about the power of "maximized giving" -- when your dollars make a heck of a lot of impact.

Kate shares the success story of former patient Sarah Omega, who exemplifies the ripple effect, showing how the Fistula Foundation's outreach has positive effects that reach far beyond the individual, medical benefits of a simple surgery. Curing this terrible condition can allow a woman to reunite with her family, reintegrate with her community, and regain her productivity. This frees otherwise suppressed human potential, which benefits the patient, her loved ones, and her community in both a psychological and economical sense.

In Sarah Omega's story, we can see how the benefits can radiate outward to an even greater degree than we realize when we donate to a philanthropic endeavor. Today, Sarah's entire life has turned around, and she works as a fistula advocate in Kenya, raising awareness and reaching out to help other women find their way to treatment and regain their lives, just as she did.

In short, the $450 price tag for the life-transforming surgeries that the Fistula Foundation arranges sounds like a better "investment" all the time -- in fact, it's impossible to know how much good they could end up doing across the world.

Giving all year round
Over the course of this campaign, we've aimed not only to spread awareness of this issue, but also to raise money to help hundreds of women -- and thanks to the many people who have been generous with their time and money, we can call our campaign a success. As of this writing, we've raised enough money from our generous members, readers, and friends of the Motley Fool community to fund surgeries for approximately 178 women.

However, we'd love to start 2016 on a giving note, showing that philanthropy can be on all of our minds all year round by blasting through that stretch goal. Visit the Foolanthropy fundraising site, and remember: Even spreading the word about fistula and the Fistula Foundation is a great contribution to the cause.

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