The Restore Scholarship Project

In late October of this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Gulu, Uganda where I attended the graduation ceremony of Restore Leadership Academy. Twenty-five students, in blue caps and gowns, received their high school diplomas. It was an amazing and inspiring day. I wish you could have seen their faces – full of hope for the future.

    Question: So what’s next for these students?
    Answer: College.
    Question: How are they going to pay for college?
    Answer: With Improbable Philanthropy Scholarships!

If we sell 1000 books, we’ll give each of these graduates a scholarship toward their first year in college, and we’ll award a special scholarship to Samuel Obomo, the class valedictorian.

And here’s the great part – the Restore students see this as a loan and upon graduation, they’ll pay it back, not to me, but to another new graduate in need of a scholarship!

Started in 2007 by Bob Goff with just 30 students and a couple of teachers, today Restore Leadership Academy has grown to 19 teachers and over 260 students in the Ugandan equivalent of middle and high school. The school is rapidly rising to the top in countrywide test scores.

These students have been through so much as a result of growing up and living in a country impacted by war. While the backgrounds of the students vary, nearly all of them grew up in northern Uganda during the civil war. An overwhelming percentage of them have had one or both of their parents die due to either the war or disease.

In spite of these tragedies, you’ll never meet a happier, energetic, and ambitious bunch! Their resilience and hope for the future is an inspiration to see. Let’s help them with that future as they grow up to lead a country in need of what they can uniquely offer.

Be a part of The Restore Scholarship Project today by purchasing a book here.

The Lift Project

In 1997, Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest on Vanderbilt’s campus, founded Magdalene house. Magdalene is a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.

Thistle Farms is their social enterprise.

Thistle Farms employs 35 Magdalene residents or graduates. While working at Thistle Farms, women learn skills in manufacturing, packaging, marketing and sales and administration. It is a supportive workplace where women acquire the skills they need to earn a living wage, support themselves and their families.

Thistle Farms has a need. In their manufacturing facility, the utility elevator has long been defunct. In fact, the elevator shaft has been covered with sheet rock. Currently, women must carry 50 lb boxes of product from one floor to another or push them around the building on carts.

A utility elevator would make a huge difference in their work environment, and increase productivity in their business. Ultimately, it is yet another way the lives of these women and their families can be impacted for the good.

Let’s get them that lift! Until it is built, all net profits from the sale of The Boy, the Kite, and the Wind will go toward a new lift for Thistle Farms.  Selling 2000 books equals a new lift! Check out the film that tells the story of “The Lift Project.”

Film by Eric Staples

Update: July 22, 2012.

As of July 22 The Lift Project was completely funded! Thanks to all of the generous folks at Cross Point Church in Nashville for putting us over the top by purchasing 1100 books on Sunday!

The Compassion Project

In 2011, Improbable Philanthropy was able to begin its work before any books had been sold.  When Al began to write a check to Jonathan Bouw for a year’s worth of work on the illustrations in this book, Jonathan asked that the money be donated to Compassion International!  Thus the first $10,000 was donated and has provide the start-up costs for two child survival centers.  Here’s what that money goes to:

Millions of children around the world die before their fifth birthday because of preventable causes such as malnutrition, malaria, and pneumonia. Compassion’s Child Survival Program is there to help these children survive and thrive. The Child Survival Program starts as early as we can enroll a mother in the program, even before the child is born. Working through local church partners, Compassion provides nutrition, medical assistance, parental education and social support for mothers and caregivers to help the world’s most impoverished children survive the first few years of life. The program serves children up through age three when they can hopefully be registered into the Child Sponsorship Program.