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  • Writer's pictureGrowing Up Africa

Keep Going!

What do we have in common? Funding!

When Growing Up Africa began, as a concept, we knew in advance that fundraising would be our biggest challenge. That's when we adopted an 80 - 20 Model. "I've tried over my lifetime to figure out what makes for a giving heart." I am not sure I have found all the answers; but what I do know for sure, " asking is not a crime." There is a wonderful term used in the world of philanthropy, donor fatigue. I think we have all experienced that kind of fatigue, even within our own families, the daily asking amongst family members can also generate a lot of anxiety. Many of us are on random lists of organizations, causes, and more, those who NEED resources to do their life-changing work.

When I said we are in a pretty infamous company, I was referring to the Obamas. It has been 8 years since the Obama Presidency. They are still trying to raise the money to commence construction on the Obama Presidential Library and related complex for Chicago's southside. I might note an astounding project which will change the landscape of an entire community. Developments of this scope and scale take an enormous amount of planning, cooperation, resources, time, and hard work.

The Obama Center : more than a museum or presidential library

Small donations can reap huge rewards. I never understood why many do not see a small donation as important, if not more important, than one large donation. Even a 10 R donation goes a long way to reaching a more ambitious goal, especially crowdfunding.

Growing Up Africa, on the other hand, "just got the ball rolling." We believed that if we showed what we knew we could do, that would encourage others to join us. "The verdict is still out on that decision." Without our heroes, our mentors, friends, and volunteers, we would never be able to bring our humanitarian work to scale. Our outreach projects have brought a spirit of unity. "In a word, our greatest gift to the community of Devland, Soweto." "Showing-up!"

Devland Soweto Education Campus - main building

As I am sure you have read in our updates, our fundraising has been a huge disappointment. One recent fundraising request brought in R 4,200, and what we like to call our yearend request brought in R 27,000. These are the funds needed to pay labor, to fund our outreach projects and where sponsors are not accessible. How do we manage? We do a lot of self-funding. There are many preconceived notions, assumptions, perceptions, and uninformed observations that float in the space of philanthropy, all because of the lack of much needed "homework" and "follow-up." It is important to look into why you will donate and if you do, follow your donation. For those doing the hard work, it is about passion & impact. Most donors and sponsors are about tax benefits, BBBEE scoring or SED, etc. "These two very different intentions are a challenge to reconcile at the best of times."

Message from our Founder

"As Founder and Director of Growing Up Africa, moving into the New Year, we will complete the final touches to our current project; I want to share one more issue and maybe the most important. Almost a year and a half ago, one of our suppliers canceled their commitment to supply. Someone I hardly knew, out-of-the-blue, came forward to fund and supply that one item. It was a "one-off" contribution and was clearly stated as such. I thought sharing this information might be useful. Instead, it was construed that one single donor was funding the entire project or worse, that unending funds were sitting in a bank account for our use. This misinformation, or as I call it, project gossip, has caused a huge amount of stress for all of us, especially those giving the lion's share.

Besides the funding challenges, it is important to remember that sustainability is only possible when we engage, empower, educate, and work together for the greater good.Funding is necessary no matter the 80 - 20 Model." A mentor and friend shared these encouraging words. Keep going! And that's just what we intend to do. God Bless and a Happy Healthy New Year Deborah A. Terhune Founder

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