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January 16, 2013

In Vibrant Village’s third year we continued to grow, expand our programs and positively impact lives in the communities we support. Direct program expenditures and grants in 2012 increased by about 50% from the prior year and totaled approximately $1.6 million.

International Programs

About 75% of our program expenditures and grants are focused on international projects, and I continue to be pleased with the impacts being reported in our supported communities. We annually fund most of these international programs at the $100,000 to $250,000 level, and it’s quite heartening and rewarding to see how much positive change this amount of funding can bring. A dollar sure goes a long way in these places. Here are a few of our notable and important accomplishments during 2012:
 
• In the highlands of Northern Ecuador, we rehabilitated a five kilometer-long irrigation system, bringing mountain spring water to 140 families in the village of Paragachi. Our bio-intensive agriculture program in the region now includes over 200 families, seven schools reaching 300 students, and a vibrant senior center. The agriculture program is providing clear and obvious benefits for these families in their health and well-being. During 2012 we held teacher trainings based on the Waldorf program providing critical tools to significantly increase teacher effectiveness and student learning. I encourage you to view the recent video of our work in the region that was done by Blind Lyle films. We directly employ 15 local staff for our projects in Ecuador.
 
• In northwestern Ghana, around the village of Fielmuo, we completed drilling on 12 new boreholes and repaired 50 old and unused wells. We organized and trained 13 Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committees to manage the boreholes and constructed one mechanized borehole and water distribution system. In the education sphere, we built 200 dual-desks and delivered 360 textbooks and 25,000 workbooks for the local school. We also contracted local seamstresses and tailors to make 375 new school uniforms for students. In 2013 we will continue our efforts in water and education, focusing on teacher training and further classroom improvements, books and supplies.
 
• Working with our program partner, Mercy and Sharing, we continue to provide 100% of the operating funds for the John Branchizio School, serving 600 students in one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We expanded the school through the 10th grade in the current year and plan to add 11th and 12th grades over the next two years. This school is truly a beacon of hope and pride in this community with all students receiving passing grades. As these students become young adults we are looking at ways we can help these students transition to careers or college.
 
• In Northern Haiti we worked in the villages of Paulette and Phaeton to rehabilitate the communities’ water systems and upgrade our feeding program, continuing to provide hot, healthy meals to more than 900 children and elders each day. We also provided direct assistance to many families near Cap Haitien who were impacted by the big floods in November, and we are funding a program through FINCA granting hundreds of micro-loans to women entrepreneurs. We are planning multi-faceted upgrades to this program in 2013 as the economic situation in Haiti continues to worsen.
 
• During the early part of the year, our grant of $133,000 was used by our operating partner Amman Imman to build and complete a new, deep borehole and water storage facility in the Azawak Region of Niger. This borehole now serves nearly 25,000 people in this very dry and harsh desert area, providing life and sustenance. In response to the ongoing drought in Niger we also established a grain distribution and cereal bank project, serving 400 of the families hit hardest by the drought. 
 
In addition to the above, we continue to fund major projects in the highlands of Guatemala and Jakarta, Indonesia. For the coming year we are planning to explore and develop new programs in Kenya and Nicaragua. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

 

Local Programs

We are committed to supporting impactful programs through partner organizations in our Portland and D.C. communities. We increased our local funding by over 80% during 2012 and expect to grow Vibrant Village’s Portland-based grants by a similar amount in 2013.
 
In Portland, Oregon, we now have a new Program Manager, Laura Koch, who oversees our local initiatives. During 2012 we made 15 general operating grants ($5,000 - $10,000) to organizations in Portland working on issues of food security, arts, education and community development. We made larger project-based grants to support the work of I Have A Dream Foundation at Alder Elementary in East Portland, to Verde for their work on the Let’s Build Cully Park project and to Urban Gleaners to increase their capacity for food distribution. In 2013 we are excited to support local organizations on projects relating to Cradle to Career education initiatives.
 
In Washington, D.C., we are the primary funders of an important project by Potomac RiverKeeper to educate the local population on the importance this river, which is truly the lifeblood of the region, providing drinking water to a population of 4 million people.
 
An important advancement for Vibrant Village during 2012 was the launch of our foundation website, www.vibrantvillage.org. We will share news and stories from the communities where we work and update you on our successes and challenges. We hope you’ll follow our progress and invite your feedback and ideas. 
 
Best wishes for the coming year,
 
Ken deLaski
Founder & President 
FEATURED
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