The Steps Foundation is pleased to announce that we have funded an additional $50,000 for microloans in East Africa through Kiva. In places like East Africa, where people are often living on less than $1/day, having access to low cost credit can mean the difference between self-sufficiency and a continuing cycle of poverty. Microloans through Kiva are just what many people need to kick start a business or cover an otherwise crippling expense. These loans are especially helpful for women who can be empowered to provide for their families.
Thank you to everyone who has supported these loans! They are truly making a difference in the lives of people who just need a hand up.
After visiting Pout, Senegal where Sara’s brother-in-law, Sidiya, is from, and in the country where her sister does malaria research, Sara and Ryan worked with them to redo the maternity ward at a local health clinic that was in a very scary state. In a country where maternal mortality is 1 in every 54 mothers, and infant mortality is 54%, the need was very clear. Sara is excited to see it when she travels to Senegal this July!
The maternity ward before (left) and after (right).
We are excited to have made our next round of grants! While we (Ryan and Sara) were in East Africa last summer, one of the biggest areas of need we saw was giving people a head start to work and get themselves out of poverty. We saw a lot of people that had a desire to work, there is just a lack of opportunity often and start-up funds to begin a business. We love what Kiva is doing all over the world, partnering with local NGOs to provide loans for those in need to star their own businesses. What is amazing is that there is a 98.97% repayment rate, and you can then reinvest the funds that are repaid into another person to help give their business a start! Steps has invested $50,000 in microlending for East Africa, and made a $5,000 donation to Kiva to keep loans going.
We have funded another clean water project in Mozambique, donating $10,000 to Iris Ministries! It’s amazing to think that this amount can change the lives in an entire community, extending the life expectancy, preventing illness, allowing young children to be able to attend school, and many other ramifications.
We recently received these photos from the hospital in Pemba, Mozambique! The Steps Foundation contributed $50,000 towards this project in 2012. It is very exciting to see progress being made and know that the hospital is that much closer to bringing better health to many in the Pemba area!
Steps is excited to have written checks for 100% of the money raised by our runners at Chicago Marathon to go to funding short term and long term food security in Northern Kenya, which is experiencing a severe food crisis. Ryan and Sara committed this year’s funds from the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to honor the late Sammy Wanjiru, who died suddenly this year after winning the Chicago Marathon in 2010. In his honor, $65,000 in emergency aid from World Vision will be provided to people throughout Northern Kenya where drought has caused failed crops, resulting in famine (Steps donated $13,000 and it was multiplied 5x by matching gifts).
Also, $13,000 was donated to KickStart, which will result in the following:
205 People out of Poverty in Kenya
41 New rural entrepreneurial farming businesses started
70 Children in school for the first time – or attending better schools
23 New job positions will be created
(Pictures of work KickStart is doing will be up shortly!)
Steps is committed to supporting organizations and initiatives that believe in fighting poverty through health. To learn more about these grants and organizations please view our fall grant announcement.
Founded by Wesley Korir, elite marathon and dear friend of Steps, Kenyan Kids provides education, healthcare, and farming assistance to community members near Wesley’s home village, Kitale, Kenya. When Wesley’s brother was 13 he passed away from a snake bite, an injury that could have been prevented had there been accessible health care in his village. After that Wes made it a life goal to ensure others would not have to endure the pain his family experienced by such a tragic loss.
How we helped:
In 2010 Steps started a 26.2 challenge which raised funds to build a hospital in Kenya’s Rift Valley. We are happy to say the hospital is currently under construction and we will continue this partnership, helping them find ways to staff and supply the hospital upon completion.
The Hall Steps Foundation run/walk mentoring program 2010
What they do:
This was Steps flagship program aimed at increasing exercise through community involvement in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.
How we helped:
Steps provided a year of funding to get the program rolling. Adults of all fitness abilities came together Saturday mornings at the Garfield Conservatory to run or walk with children from the community. They worked together to improve their fitness and build relationships to strengthen their neighborhood. After a terrible storm came through and tore down many trees blocking the running/walking path used by Steps and other community members, the program STEPped up and cleared the path for everyone’s use, a project that was many weeks down on the over-worked city’s priority list. This self-supporting program is still running strong today!
Back on My Feet is a nonprofit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of those experiencing homelessness by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem. Back on My Feet (BoMF) does not provide food nor does it provide shelter, but instead provides a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership. All members – regardless of race, education or socioeconomic status – join together to move their own lives forward as well as the lives of their teammates. BoMF is a 6-9 month program that works with individuals living in homeless facilities.
How we helped:
In 2010 as both Ryan and Sara were preparing for amazing performances during marathon weekend, Steps took a moment to make a donation to the newly formed Boston chapter of Back on My Feet. Steps provided grant money to meet the needs of 6 program participants.
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor.
How we helped:
In 2010 Steps provided a grant to support a lawyer’s salary who worked with local authorities to ensure the victims’ rights were cared for and appropriate action was taken against the perpetrators.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. From October 2009 through September 2010, World Vision responded to nearly 80 major disasters and humanitarian emergencies, assisting 15 million people. In addition to addressing immediate and short-term needs, World Vision seeks to work with national governments, where appropriate, and families on long-term recovery plans. World Vision believes that finding comprehensive and sustainable solutions will help to minimize the impact of future crises.
How we helped:
Developing countries often face a shortage of clean water which can impact health, food production, economics and even education (teachers are unlikely to move to communities where clean water is scarce and older children will spend hours fetching clean water for families). In 2010 Steps made a donation to help provide clean water to villages in Kenya.
Global Children’s Movement was started in response to the vast needs facing children today. It istheir passion to provide a holistic approach in providing for, protecting, and restoring children at risk around the world. Understanding that issues of injustice are closely intertwined, we endeavor to influence arenas of society towards justice and restoration. Through a variety of efforts, we dare to dream that love can bring a generation back to life.
How we helped:
Global Children’s Movement is in the process of building 4 children’s orphanages in Bungoma, Kenya that will cost $40,000 each to build the house from ground-up and another $900/month to run which includes 8 orphans, house parents and their family, education, food, transportation and medical care. In 2010 Steps provided a grant to help make this project a reality.
Young Runners motivates elementary-school through high-school students to set and achieve personal fitness goals. Young Runners uses the structure and popularity of a team to help kids learn valuable lessons about how to set goals and make activity part of their daily lives. With the help of their coach, participants learn to run distances from 1 to 6.2 miles without stopping.
How we helped:
New York Road Runners provides this program free to schools, youth clubs, and before/after-school programs in underserved communities in New York City. Steps sponsored a year of programming for a school in an underserved community in each of the 5 boroughs of New York City.