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We started the year off right by supporting organizations seeking to stop rape, educate young people in Pakistan, use flight to protect the natural environment, restore families to self-sufficiency, and bring the necessities of life to all people. Our Q2 beneficiaries are just as innovative and goal-oriented. This year, each quarter we are featuring an ENCORE beneficiary. Now’s your chance to find out more.
Human Rights – The Innocence Project of Texas
Our Q2 encore beneficiary is The Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT), first featured in Q2 2011. Since then, IPOT has continued to make great strides in educating the public, both in Texas and around the nation, about wrongful conviction issues. The organization is mainly made up of dedicated volunteers, and often has up to 500 cases seeking their help.
IPOT not only works to free those wrongly convicted of serious crime, but works on several education campaigns to cut down on the number of wrongful convictions before sentencing. IPOT also continues to be an advocate for the wrongfully convicted after they are released, recently helping get a bill passed to improve payments from the State of Texas to those freed due to wrongful convictions. For their continued work to save lives in the state with the highest execution rate, Foundation Beyond Belief is happy to again feature The Innocence Project of Texas as one of our beneficiaries.
Trees, Water & People (TWP) is founded on two core beliefs: “Natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management; and preserving local ecosystems is essential for the ongoing social, economic, and environmental health of communities everywhere.” This drives TWP to work with a community-based approach. They work with groups and leaders already in a community to implement community-led projects designed to face the specific needs of that area.
This ensures long-term success by having community members dedicated to, and involved with, the success of the project. Trees, Water & People works on numerous projects throughout Central America, the American West, Tribal Lands, and Uganda. No matter where they are, local people and their natural world come first. Trees, Water & People truly understands the connection between humans and the land we inhabit.
Poverty and Health – One Acre Fund
When you come across a unique way of giving, you just have to support it. That is how Foundation Beyond Belief feels about the model used by One Acre Fund (OAF), which supports small farmers, most of whom are female, in Sub-Saharan Africa. OAF does not operate through handouts, but abides by the “teach a man to fish” ideology.
Their service model provides farmers with inputs, such as seed and equipment, on credit. They then follow through with education on the best ways to plant, harvest, and store their crops. Finally, farmers are assisted with access to markets to sell their excess product, thus giving them a future source of income and a way to pay back their microgrants. On average, One Acre Fund doubles the profitability of every planted acre. They keep rigorous records of their results, further ensuring their model can be used again and again across the globe to help other farmers get more out of their small patches of land.
Education – Bernie’s Book Bank
American education reformer Horace Mann once said, “A house without books is like a room without windows. … Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it.” Our Q2 Education beneficiary takes this quote to heart. Bernie’s Book Bank works to increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers, and school-age children throughout the Chicago area.
Bernie’s has done their research, and they know how important it is for young children to have books in the home. They also know that for low-income families, it is very unlikely to happen. Therefore, for the past three years, Bernie’s team of dedicated volunteers has collected, sorted, and distributed more than 1 million books to children in need. They hope to expand their efforts out of Chicago and serve as a model program across the country. We know we can help.
Challenge the Gap – T’ruah
Our Challenge the Gap category is all about finding that common ground between varying worldviews while still respecting the differences. T’ruah, this quarter’s beneficiary, stands apart at doing just that. T’ruah works across cultural and religious differences on multiple human rights campaigns.
Their principles include “We must do what is just and right.” For T’ruah, this flows from Jewish tradition, but it fits just as well with the humanist principles of Foundation Beyond Belief. This ability to reach across any perceived divide makes T’ruah a stand-out candidate for Challenge the Gap.