FBB’s Millennium Development Goals track record

By Stephanie Jackson Ali

This year, we’ve been talking a lot about the Millennium Development Goals. As we’ve stated, we are now incorporating these eight goals into the decision-making process in selecting our beneficiaries, and we’re working to educate our members about the goals and what they aim to achieve.

So what, specifically, are we doing now to even better achieve their integration in our charity vetting process? And how has Foundation Beyond Belief done so far in representing these goals—before we even intended to include them?

Our priorities going forward
As of Quarter 2 2013, our charity vetting process now includes a set of questions about which Millennium Development Goals an organization is working to achieve with its programs. This may be none, one, or a multitude of the goals, but all should still work in line with the mission of the organization. Charities are given extra consideration for specifically mentioning that they are working to achieve one or more of these goals.

Furthermore, while breaking down which goals we’ve previously covered with our featured beneficiaries, we realized certain goals just hadn’t had as much recognition as they deserved. These goals are given extra weight in our vetting process now, so we can better represent all types of work being done, across the globe, to help developing countries catch up to other nations.

Will the fact that a charity works toward the Millennium Development Goals (or doesn’t) make or break a charity by itself? No, but it does help our staff and interns get a better picture of the work being done, and gives an edge to one organization over another that may be relatively equal, all other points considered.

How we’ve done thus far
In the early spring of 2013, one of our interns, who had experience in studying the Millennium Development Goals through master’s level coursework and time in an international refugee agency, helped FBB look back through past beneficiary records to see which goals had been represented by these beneficiaries.

By going through, mission by mission and program by program for each past beneficiary, we were able to see that we had actually done a pretty solid job—no goal had fewer than nine organizations that worked either directly or indirectly in achieving that goal through one of its major programs.

Certainly, however, some goals were more represented than others. FBB has long been dedicated to The Natural World and Poverty and Health as large-scale program areas, and, thus, the goals of environmental sustainability (Goal 7) and relieving extreme hunger and poverty (Goal 1) were far more represented than the next closest goals.

We also discovered many program areas that had been overlooked, even within those overarching areas of poverty and health. HIV/AIDS (which is combined with malaria and tuberculosis reduction in Goal 6) and child health (Goal 4) were the two least represented areas, and are realms we are working to represent more heavily in the coming quarters.

Even with some fields less represented, we were rather proud of our overall representation. The beneficiaries we’ve chosen have sometimes represented only one area (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Goal 7, for example) and sometimes multiple goals (last quarter’s Buddhist Global Relief touches upon four or five goals with their programs, depending on which partnerships are running at a given time).

Those that don’t necessarily fit into a goal (our LGBT or secular-focused organizations) have goals that are just as valuable in mind—goals that affect the well-being and human rights of citizens all around the world.

We’re excited about the diversity of organizations the MDG guidelines will help bring us, as they ensure we consider a full range of work being done across our world. We hope to use this opportunity to educate our community about the continued work that must be done worldwide to even the gap between developed and developing—even as the goals themselves come to an end in 2015.

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