Self-help for youth and families to end poverty worldwide.

Discover the extraordinary organizations behind our stories. Our family of 30 members in 3 generations believes intention matters — and that we all can change the world, one hour, one dollar at a time.
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WHERE WE FIND HOPE

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From our foundation director.

headshot Stories from a journalist’s notebook about poverty and injustice being overcome one person, one project, one village at a time. What we sow, even at the grassroots level, does reap impact in the world we are changing together. SUBSCRIBE

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Pay-It-Forward Leadership Training Program Transforms Youth into Visionaries

Saturday, September 27th, 2014
Students in Asante Africa's Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator (LEI) program are turning challenges into opportunities, using a pay-it-forward model to create a meaningful ripple effect in their communities. Guest post by Erna Grasz. (READ MORE)

Waste at Work: Indian Entrepreneurs Turn Dung into Dollars

Saturday, September 20th, 2014
A quiet movement by young social entrepreneurs across north and east India finds ways to turn waste from plants and animals into jobs for the ultra poor.
(READ MORE)

The Rise of Gender Capitalism

Saturday, September 13th, 2014
Investing with a gender lens can create financial and social impact for everyone, by increasing women’s access to capital, promoting workplace equity, and creating products and services that improve the lives of women and girls. Guest post from Stanford Social Innovation Review. (READ MORE)

Mobile Midwifery Delivers Health to Ghanaian Moms

Saturday, September 6th, 2014
One mobile phone app delivers time-sensitive text messages or voicemails to pregnant women and new mothers; the other is for nurses. Together they are doing wonders for maternal and pregnancy health care and raising community awareness at the same time. (READ MORE)

Hard Truths In Nonprofit Storytelling

Saturday, August 30th, 2014
On her first trip abroad as The School Fund's new CEO, Drika Weller finds herself at gunpoint in Kenya. She bravely shares her honest feelings about the experience and how it will inform her work going forward. (READ MORE)

Investing in Haiti's Homeless Youth

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
Too many teenagers live in the streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. They came here to make money to support their families, but their real dream is to go to school. (READ MORE)

Turning Philanthropy on Its Head in Haiti

Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Every citizen of and ex-pat from Haiti has a story: where they were on the day of the January 2010 earthquake. Many Americans also recall how the horror of that day brought Haiti into the forefront of the world's attention. . . briefly. Guest post by Karen Ansara, whose family launched a fund to support grassroots rebuilding by Haitians, for Haitians, long after the disaster. (READ MORE)

Giving Birth in a Graveyard

Saturday, August 9th, 2014
Skees Family Foundation Director Suzanne Skees traveled to Africa with The Grameen Foundation to gather stories of their efforts to end poverty through technology. The story of Leticia, a pregnant mother in Ghana, shows how even the poorest families can change their future when given half a chance. (READ MORE)

Face to Face with Tanjit from Assam

Saturday, July 19th, 2014
Earlier this year, Director Suzanne Skees visited the field with Upaya Social Ventures. She gathered stories and saw firsthand the wonderful work our grantee partner is doing on the ground in India. As part of our foundation's commitment to provide storytelling support to our partners, Suzanne has written several Face to Face profiles highlighting the amazing individuals that are changing their own lives and the future of their communities. (READ MORE)

Parliamentarian to the Slums: Former Kibera Resident Shows the Children of Poverty How to Climb Up to Power

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
Today we feature the inspiring story of John Medo, the first student of our grantee partner The School Fund. John meets Ken Okoth, a member of the Kenyan Parliament and a former resident of the Kibera slums. Together, they discuss the power of education. (READ MORE)

Inverting the Power Imbalance: Testing a New Grantmaking Program that Enables Nonprofits to Do Their Jobs

Saturday, June 28th, 2014
It sounds ludicrous—and it is: Often we donors throw roadblocks in front of the very programs we seek to support. Requiring reams of application pages, hours of preliminary meetings, and acrobatics of performance if and when we fund, is crazy-making for the social entrepreneurs and nonprofits we supposedly trust to solve our most entrenched environmental, financial, educational, and social problems. (READ MORE)

Lucas: "I Want To Be a Pilot. I Just Love It from My Heart."

Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Lucas can recall many times when his family went to bed hungry. Now that he's back in high school with his fees supported by our partners, The School Fund, he dreams of becoming a pilot. "Education is always the light," Lucas says. "No education will lead to a life full of darkness." (READ MORE)

First-Time Visitor to the U.S.: An African Writer Reflects on Culture and Food

Saturday, June 14th, 2014
26-year-old fiction writer and healthcare educator Caroline visits the U.S. for the first time on a fundraising tour with our partner, Gardens for Health International. Feeling at once warmly welcomed and culture shocked, she looks for common ground between our two countries. (READ MORE)

Girlbosses: Six Women in Our Family Step Up to Lead Our Social-Change Work

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
Today we look inward to write about some exciting changes happening within the Skees Family Foundation. This year, we’ve expanded our board of directors, welcoming new family members across three generations. Listen in as they speak about how they landed in their leadership roles—and how they intend to wield their collaborative power. (READ MORE)

Saving for Change: Finding Financial Inspiration from Women in Benin

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
Guest post by Eden Rock from Freedom from Hunger explains how her organization supports grassroots growth of savings groups, where Africa's poorest women show remarkable discipline by setting aside savings from their subsistence earnings of $1-2 per day.
(READ MORE)

Philanthro-Fads: Trends in Philanthropy That Do—and Don’t—Work

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
Earlier this week, our director wrote a frank article discussing lessons learned through our foundation's philanthropic efforts. Today we feature it for our Seeds of Hope readers! (READ MORE)

The Dirt on Seed-Funding Social Change

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Skees Family Foundation intends to help end poverty worldwide. How? By investing in the smartest leaders of the most innovative programs that provide a self-help path to a life of choice and prosperity. Director Suzanne Skees explains in this piece for Stanford Social Innovation Review.
(READ MORE)

Celebrating Mothers' Role in Building a Healthier Future for Families and Communities

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
Gardens for Health International (GHI) works in East Africa to end childhood malnutrition through food aid, education, and empowerment. Meet Naomi, a former GHI client and HIV+ single mom who's become a role model to impoverished women in her rural community, and a leader in the fight to end poverty.
(READ MORE)

An Interview with Felix M.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
Today we feature an interview conducted by John Medo, the very first supported student of our grantee partner, The School Fund. John spent time earlier this year in Iringa as an intern for TSF and an assistant to TSF advisor, Fuad Abri. John recently traveled back home to Karatu in Northern Tanzania where he will continue interviews with students there. In early 2014, before he left Iringa, John interviewed Felix M., who has been supported by The School Fund since 2014. (READ MORE)

Room to Dream: A Reflection on Rwanda

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
What connects us to a family whose members were murdered, or an HIV+ single mother living in abject poverty? A lot, says a genocide survivor who just returned from a visit to the homeland she still loves. Guest post by Marie Kagaju Laugharn. (READ MORE)

We Have Seen What These Women Can Do

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
Today's guest blog post features Kathleen Colson of The BOMA Project. The BOMA Project is a U.S. nonprofit and registered Kenyan NGO with a proven track record, measurable results and a transformative approach to alleviating poverty and building resiliency in the arid lands of rural Africa. (READ MORE)

Vittana's New Bold Move

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
As an organization faces success, it also has to grapple with strategic questions. Today we feature Vittana, who has had a lot of success with their mircolending program for students around the world. This post gives us insight into their decision-making behind their most recent change. (READ MORE)

I want more. Now.

Saturday, March 1st, 2014
Guest writer Katy Geisert is a stay-at-home mom living an ordinary American life . . . except for her extraordinary part-time work for an organization called Catalytic Women, that brings women and men together in a synergy of giving that just may get Katy what she wants.—Now. (READ MORE)

What Rural Africa Can Teach America About Healthcare

Friday, February 28th, 2014
"Ihangane" means "to be patient" in Kinyarwanda, the native language of Rwanda. This week we feature a guest blog post by Wendy Leonard of The Ihangane Project (TIP), a healthcare and enterprise nonprofit working in a rural village hard hit by HIV and malnutrition. TIP believes that "With patience, one person at a time, one idea at a time, one project at a time, we can make a lasting positive impact on the lives of many!" (READ MORE)

Partnering for Peace: V-Peace Scholarships Send Survivors to School in the U. S. and the World’s Most Dangerous Places

Friday, February 14th, 2014
Sometimes, in a world where as many as 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will be raped in our lifetimes, and 1 woman in the Congo is raped every minute, we feel compelled to do something. We wanted to help wage peace in a powerful, lasting way, so we collaborated with V-Day to turn survivors into students. Read what’s possible when vision meets trust. (READ MORE)

Lamb’s-Head Stew: The Local Treat That Got This Widowed Mom off the Street

Saturday, February 8th, 2014
One moment changed Eulalia's life: Her husband died of a heart attack at age 34. She had to deal with her grief as well as become the sole breadwinner and a single parent for her three kids. Seven years later, she's moved her food-selling business from a street cart into a restaurant of her own: Her specialty is a Peruvian delicacy: lamb's-head stew. Part 5 of our 5-part series from Peru. (READ MORE)

Big City, Big Dreams

Saturday, February 1st, 2014
Feeling like she's always running in circles, Anali runs a small weaving microbusiness, studies accounting at university, and cares for her partner and daughter at home. She left a rural village, population 400, in the Andes Mountains to pursue her dreams in the city of Juliaca, and Anali is already banking on a brighter future for herself and her kids. Part 4 in our 5-part series from Peru. (READ MORE)

"This New Health Plan Forces Us Women to Focus on Our OWN Health"

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Healthy workers not only feel happier, they work more productively to earn higher incomes for their families. Freedom from Hunger, an integrated-services microfinance provider, has led the way in connecting their clients to affordable healthcare. We check out a clinic in Juliaca with Irene, Sabina, and Mery to see how the plan works in real life. Part 3 in our 5-part series from Peru. (READ MORE)

Mentoring Mom: Home Handicrafts Business Expands to Hire Youth

Saturday, January 18th, 2014
A stressed, angry wife struggling to support a seriously ill husband and three children figures out a way to mechanize her output and produce four times as much merchandise in four hours a day. Now she's rebuilding her home, and employing three high-school kids. Her savings through the group circumvented a second family health crisis, because she had money in the bank to cover it when she needed kidney surgery. Part 2 in our 5-part series from Peru. (READ MORE)

Weaving Natural Resources into Family Wealth

Saturday, January 11th, 2014
Family breadwinners: Mother and daughter-in-law live and work side-by-side high in the Andes Mountains on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Using ancient pounding and looming techniques, they run a busy microenterprise and have earned enough to invest in their homes, computers, and education. Part 1 of our 5-part series from Peru. (READ MORE)

What’s Wrong with Working for a Nonprofit?

Saturday, January 4th, 2014
"At a nonprofit, no matter how effective your service is, your growth is continually dependent on the generosity of someone other than your client:" Our new social-entrepreneur board member, Elisabeth, lists all the reasons she resisted working for a nonprofit . . . then explains how she wound up working full-time for nonprofit Venture for America and volunteering part-time for our foundation. (READ MORE)

Analysis to Action: What's Next for Our Foundation

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
Testing our intentions against our outcomes just isn't enough. We asked ourselves at the close of an introspective year, how will we apply what we've learned? (READ MORE)

Impact Study: Can a Small Foundation Make a Difference?

Saturday, December 21st, 2013
Our mission is to end poverty worldwide by supporting self-help programs in education and jobs creation. As we approach our ten-year anniversary in 2014, we wondered if our foundation's effort and investments were getting us anywhere.—So, we spent 2013 on research to discover what impact, if any, we and our partners have had. (READ MORE)

Banana Farmer Saves Her 5-Pound Baby's Life, with a Garden

Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Fearful for her malnourished three-month-old son's life, single mom Geraldine enrolled in Gardens for Health International's three-month training program to learn alongside other families how to plant nutritious crops and cultivate chickens. She's reaped double rewards, learning to nourish her own body to produce rich breast milk for baby Cederic, who's rapidly gaining weight, on his way to becoming a thriving toddler—with an empowered mom. Guest post by Julie Carney and Jessie Cronan. (READ MORE)

Peace through Jobs: PBMR Prepares to Move Youth from Jail and the Streets into Employment

Saturday, December 7th, 2013
These young men on Chicago's South Side know they could earn $1,000/day selling drugs, but what they want is the chance to work an honest job at $800/month. Our partners at the PBMR peace program are finding ways to get their kids employed—and we're proud to be funding their new jobs-training initiative. Guest post by Father Dave Kelly. (READ MORE)

Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 4 of 4

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Ana, Arvin, and Alice again with her U.S. supporter Amy. Part 4 in our 4-part series. (READ MORE)

Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 3 of 4

Saturday, November 16th, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Daniel, Francisco, Joanna, Haward, and Timothy. Part 3 in our 4-part series. (READ MORE)

Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 2 of 4

Saturday, November 9th, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Neneng, Alice, Ruel, and Kathy. Part 2 in our 4-part series. (READ MORE)

Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 1 of 4

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students. In Part 1 of our 4-part series, meet Wilmar, Lusiana, Segundo, and the Vittana leadership. (READ MORE)

Empowering Women: The Story No One Knows

Friday, October 11th, 2013
Whole communities change when women gain access to education and employment, and the resulting choices over family size, healthcare, and financial management. Behind the politics and statistics, there's a story not yet told, of who and what it takes to get there. (READ MORE)

The Karimu Kids: Building Bridges of Wood and Culture: Part 4 of 4

Saturday, September 28th, 2013
The last in our series takes you to this summer's building of bridges of all types: a modern footbridge for residents to traverse during the rainy-season floods, an Internet bridge to communicate with the world, and an intercultural bridge of learning that's changing lives on both sides of the Atlantic. Meet Karimu's American professor and students from California State University Long Beach, who've learned far more from Bacho villagers than they ever hoped to impart. (READ MORE)

The Karimu Kids: School Is Not Enough—We Want Healthcare and Jobs for Our Families: Part 3 of 4

Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Now that Bacho Village has strong resources to support their hard-working teachers and students from kindergarten through high school, the community addresses hygiene and healthcare for their most vulnerable: women in childbirth, infants, and HIV-positive members, and jobs-creation for the poorest parents through microcredit and farming collectives. Meet the teachers of Ayalagaya Secondary and two students: Florentina and Jackson. (READ MORE)

The Karimu Kids: New School Launches a Whole Village Revitalization: Part 2 of 4

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Part 2 shows how the Bacho village residents used their new primary school as a base for the community to meet and plan to renovate the secondary school and create microenterprise jobs for the adults. Meet two girls: Patricia, who intends to stay in Bacho and be a pediatric nurse, and Happiness, who's going all the way to the Tanzanian president's office. (READ MORE)

The Karimu Kids: From Class Under a Tree to Their Very Own School: Part 1 of 4

Sunday, September 8th, 2013
Part 1 in our series from Karimu International Help Foundation in Tanzania introduces you to the dedicated teachers and eager students—including future pilot Andrea and wealthy politician Pascalina—at Ufani Primary School. (READ MORE)

"We Just Need Dependable Income"

Sunday, September 1st, 2013
Sanjeev, like many breadwinners around the world, cares for three generations of family in his home. Now that he doesn't have to chase after middle-men and their payments, he's thrilled to be more busy than ever making a good living with his ancient craft. (READ MORE)

The Flash Point of Anger

Friday, August 16th, 2013
Guest post by graduating high-school senior Cody, who joined Summer Search during a time of turmoil in his family and himself and soon faced, head-on, a rage he didn't even realize was inside him. Cody tells his story in his own words, and reveals where he ended up. (READ MORE)

"Gun Laws Won't Impact Us Here" in the Line of Fire, Say Peace Workers: Part 4 of 4

Sunday, July 28th, 2013
In Chicago, the U.S. city that suffers the highest rates of gun violence and murder, a small team of unlikely adults employs a surprising technique to try to keep their kids alive. Here in Part 4, we conclude our series with the voices of the young men themselves. Listen in on an informal peacemaking circle, where members from opposing gangs, and sometimes on opposite ends of a crime, talk about their struggles and dreams. (READ MORE)

"Gun Laws Won't Impact Us Here" in the Line of Fire, Say Peace Workers: Part 3 of 4

Sunday, July 21st, 2013
In Chicago, the U.S. city that suffers the highest rates of gun violence and murder, a small team of unlikely adults employs a surprising technique to try to keep their kids alive. Part 3 in our 4-story series traces the Native American origins of the peacemaking circle and exposes the people behind the work at PBMR.
(READ MORE)

"Gun Laws Won't Impact Us Here" in the Line of Fire, Say Peace Workers: Part 2 of 4

Sunday, July 14th, 2013
In Chicago, the U.S. city that suffers the highest rates of gun violence and murder, a small team of unlikely adults employs a surprising technique to try to keep their kids alive. Part 2 in our 4-story series dives into the systemic poverty and violence on the South Side, and the holistic program PBMR built based on feedback from their neighbors here. (READ MORE)

"Gun Laws Won't Impact Us Here" in the Line of Fire, Say Peace Workers: Part 1 of 4

Sunday, July 7th, 2013
In Chicago, the U.S. city that suffers the highest rates of gun violence and murder, a small team of unlikely adults employs a surprising technique to try to keep their kids alive. We're honored to launch Part 1 in a 4-story series that will run through this month. (READ MORE)

"I want a very different life for my granddaughter."

Saturday, June 15th, 2013
Bindu Das, a weaver in northeast India, isn't sure exactly how old he is . . . but he's old enough to have seen a lot of danger for and disrespect of women that he hopes his little Neha will not have to endure. He's working to build a different outcome for his community in Bihar. (READ MORE)

Steps to the Summit: Sophomores Plan Their Journeys to Mountaintops, Then College

Saturday, June 1st, 2013
The newest crop of Summer Searchers prepares to tackle their past and future, all on the wilderness trail, this summer. Ready or not, they're going off the grid, lugging supplies on their backs, and seeking the leader within. (READ MORE)

Romance in the Rainforest: Microentrepreneurs Make Time for Love

Saturday, May 25th, 2013
We're all working hard to pay the bills, feed the kids, and build the life and world of our dreams. This ordinary couple work night and day, but they share long-lasting chemistry and humor that keep the daily grind full of ... possibilities. (READ MORE)

The World We Want

Saturday, May 18th, 2013
The end of poverty. Equal opportunity for all. We're just an ordinary family with a vision of a world where everyone has access to education, jobs, peace, and possibility. (READ MORE)

Seeds of Hope

Sunday, April 28th, 2013
What are "Seeds of Hope"? World-changing social entrepreneurs; passionate nonprofit directors; and courageous students, survivors, and workers strive every day to build a better life. Their stories will feed your hope. Subscribe to get or stay on our mailing list. (READ MORE)

India: My 5-Star Experience in Uttar Pradesh

Sunday, April 21st, 2013
Blistering sun beats down in a rural village far from plumbing, electricity, or comfort; yet we had an experience that far surpassed our expectations. Sometimes, travel brings the happiest surprises. (READ MORE)

Making Sense of What's Senseless

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
A psychiatrist/professor puts the Boston Marathon into the almost-sacred cultural context many of us natives, visitors, and Boston-transplants know well, and asks, will heartbreak ever feel the same again? (READ MORE)

Leader of Weavers

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
A man in a north India village shows what happens after decades of scrounging for unsteady work and meager meals, when simple a change in his ecosystem brings orders to his door. The power of social entrepreneurship connects Shivanandan to his local social-mission weaving business in Bihar, to our jobs-creation partners at Upaya Social Ventures in Seattle, to our U.S. family—who also could not eat if not for a steady paycheck. (READ MORE)

Frances Faces Her Fears, with Support from Hikers on the Same Path

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
17-year-old Frances grew up in a large, Mexican-American family so stressed by kids and bills that she learned just to be silent and smile. When her mentor kept asking, she began to think she might matter to the world, more than she'd imagined. It took the support of her hiking group in the mountains of Wyoming to convince her to trust them, and herself. Read her story in her own words. (READ MORE)

Small Grant Makers Lead Gains in Foundation Giving, Says Study

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the fastest-growing segment of philanthropy is among people just like us: the little guys. Skees Family Foundation believes that any old person, in any circumstances, can change the world one volunteer hour, one social-investment dollar, at a time. You're proving us right. (READ MORE)

Recession Recovery, Microfinance Style

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Our San José, California friends at Opportunity Fund offer business, education, and immigration microloans to the working poor in the U.S. Through a 2:1 matching-grant program, their clients also have socked away $13 million in savings since 1998. And the rest of us are learning to save: from 1% of U.S.income during the pre-recession boom, to about 4% now. Read what innovative nonprofits can teach the rest of us about profits . . . (READ MORE)

What's Next for Impact Investing: How to bridge the "Pioneer Gap" and support entrepreneurs in the earliest stages

Friday, March 8th, 2013
This piece by our partners at Upaya Social Ventures shares realtime case studies from three social enterprises to show what's needed in-between the desire to create jobs as a means toward poverty alleviation, and long-term, large-scale programs that actually succeed. (READ MORE)

V-Day Update on Rising to End Violence in the City of Joy, Congo

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Eve Ensler, founder of our partner V-Day that works to end violence around the world, has been in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the last month. She shares her experiences with the women at the City of Joy center for healing education, and agriculture, and how the movement for peace feels youthful, vibrant, reaching far beyond the rain-soaked paths of Africa. (READ MORE)

“The People’s Chef” launches affordable, nutritious cooking classes for low-income families

Friday, March 1st, 2013
“Breaking bread is so symbolic, all around the world. We’re going to have fun in this class and offer one new choice each day.”—Chef Anthony Head, “The People’s Chef” (READ MORE)

A Taste of Africa in the Heart of America

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
A small group gathers on a snowy winter's night to feast for peace. (READ MORE)

Politics and Philanthropy in Bed Together

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
Really, do we have to get political in order to effect social change? Spending a week in the capital listening to senators and advocates, journalists and filmmakers, we discovered a surprising alternative to polarized paralysis. (READ MORE)

One American Family, United in Resilience, Equality, and Effort

Monday, January 21st, 2013
A moment in time: at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, poet Richard Blanco, the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, tracks a ray of sun across the hills and valleys of America, retraces the steps of our ancestors, and maps out a constellation of hope for our future together. (READ MORE)

The Myth of Universal Love Can Be Overcome, One by One

Monday, January 7th, 2013
A thought-provoking New York Times op-ed asks whether we truly can evolve to care for all of humankind. (READ MORE)

It's the American Way: One Ordinary Woman Builds Equal Opportunity for Disabled Children

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Today, on the United Nations' "Day for Persons with Disabilities," we celebrate one small woman who rallied resources she didn't even have to create equality and care for kids with disabilities, just like her son. (READ MORE)

2012 Annual Report Celebrates Our Partnerships

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
Gauging our progress this year in our foundation's triangle of intentions: seed-funding innovative programs to end poverty; engaging three generations of family members in collaborative giving; and telling stories of unsung heroes doing the real work to equalize opportunity and end poverty worldwide. (READ MORE)

Indie Jazz Singer Sends Kids to School

Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Grammy-nominated musician Carolyn Malachi has launched her new video for "Free Your Mind" as a fundraiser: Every click buys one hour of class time for high school students in East Africa. (READ MORE)

Kenyan Woman Transforms Herself from a Beggar into a Lender

Friday, November 23rd, 2012
Malawan Lejalle used to beg for credit at local shops so she could feed her family. Now she and her partners own a successful business in Northern Kenya, and they’re using their savings to send 17 kids to school. (READ MORE)

It's Up to Me to Speak My Father's Last Words

Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Guest post by 17-year-old Aaron tells the story of how he was orphaned at 14 and quickly became the man of the family. He recalls yearning for his dad, sinking into sadness, and then pulling himself up toward his life goals—with a little help from Summer Search. (READ MORE)

It's About Trust: Balancing Relationship with Risk in Social Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
How do we choose among many social entrepreneurs in an increasingly blurred field of
for- and non-profits aiming for social good? Eavesdropping on two goat farmers in India, I wondered if our strategy had something in common with theirs. (READ MORE)

Empowering India's Women through Education and Healthcare

Sunday, October 28th, 2012
On the road in India with guest blogger Gerry Levandoski: His second piece offers more detail on how and why we add education and healthcare to microfinance programs. (READ MORE)

Finding Hope Against a Landscape of Dire Peruvian Poverty

Monday, September 24th, 2012
This is no Venice: shacks slide down toward the Amazon River in this east-side slum of Iquitos, Peru, a rainforest community of 65,000 facing crime, drugs, trafficking, domestic abuse, poverty, unemployment, 30% literacy, annual flooding, and lack of jobs, clean water, hygiene, and healthcare. What our team witnessed and why our partners can't wait to begin work here. (READ MORE)

Outside the Walls: Two Views of Kolkata, India

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
Guest blogger Gerry Levandoski gives a vivid tour of two cities—the sheltered and the street-dwelling—he glimpsed all at once, on our first day together traveling with Freedom from Hunger. (READ MORE)

How America Gives: See How You and Your Neighbors Compare

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
This study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows trends that may surprise you: giving by income, state, city, and age. Guess who gave the most?—those who earned the least. (READ MORE)

Teaming Up for Greater Impact

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
Sometimes, a little overhead reaps far greater efficiencies. We hired a back-office team to manage administrative, accounting, and archiving for us, so that we can focus on program advising and storytelling for our partners. Reported by Manuela Badaway for Reuters. (READ MORE)

Social Entrepreneur Creates Dairy Jobs Where No One Else Dares to Go

Friday, July 13th, 2012
Working in a region of India infamous for its dire poverty and corruption, Lokesh and his team studied dairy-business models and value-chain needs until they figured out a novel way to lift families out of poverty—while also building a profitable business. (READ MORE)

Self-Determination for Families: More Power to Melinda Gates!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
What kind of life could families create if they had basic access to birth control? The Gates Foundation plans to find out, by providing contraception to 120 million women in the developing world, focusing especially in Africa. (READ MORE)

Keyra Believes "I Can Do Anything" as Summer Search Changes the Odds for Her and 2,000 Low-Income Students

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
This story, published by a local Silicon Valley newsjournal, shares the growing success of a student mentoring and adventure program we seed-funded in its startup years: Summer Search Silicon Valley. (READ MORE)

V-Day Rocks the World with Inclusive Tragicomedy about Girl Power

Monday, June 25th, 2012
This weekend V-Day opened "I Am an Emotional Creature" in Berkeley, CA and it's a sassy, shocking, clever, joyful collage of cultural and violent crimes against girls—and the power of whom we discover when they break free. (READ MORE)

Changing the World One Mind, One Song at a Time

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
Grammy-nominated indie-jazz singer Carolyn Malachi teams up with The School Fund to keep students in school with the power of music. (READ MORE)

The Emotional Adventure of Leadership

Friday, June 15th, 2012
Our family has many leaders; perhaps yours does too. We all lead quietly in various contexts, just by our being. Peter Bregman suggests that we need not always be "in control." (READ MORE)

75% of Young Americans Donate Money and Time

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, citing the just-released 2012 Millennial Impact Report, reveals 20-35-year-olds' propensity to volunteering, fundraising, and giving—particularly for organizations with whom they have an established relationship. (READ MORE)

Happy Graduation to Our Family and the World

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
It's graduation season and we're happily celebrating two college grads in our family, Brienne and Elisabeth. We're even more excited that through our new social-impact investment in Vittana, we'll help give thousands more kids a shot at school, too. (READ MORE)

Life Lessons from an Energy-Management Guru

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project offers 12 life-lessons as he turns 60. His thoughtful blogs are always worth a pause, and his "lessons" can transform our day at any age. (READ MORE)

Photojournalist Tells Stories of Pain

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Award-winning photographer Nancy Farese reports from the DRC and Rwanda on "Telling Stories about the Pain of Others" through images and words. (READ MORE)

World Bank appoints Jim Yong Kim

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Let's hope this Partners-in-Health cofounder, with a preferential option for the poor, will turn global banking into a true partnership with those it serves. (READ MORE)

Rwanda Now: Healing the Grandchildren of Genocide

Monday, April 16th, 2012
Huffington Post story shows what happens when social-change activists from two continents ask what's needed and then design sustainable solutions together. (READ MORE)

Finding Family in Rwanda

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Sometimes, travel leads us to the most unexpected discovery of home. (READ MORE)

Rwanda Remembers: Genocide Memorial Month

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
18 years after the genocide in which 1 million residents were tortured and murdered by their neighbors—while the international community turned away—Rwanda remembers, so as not to repeat. (READ MORE)

NOT Like Mother, Like Daughter

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Mother-and-daughter's values clash in rural northern India. Is this what happens to teenagers everywhere, or does living in extreme poverty exacerbate the issues?
(READ MORE)

Love in India

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Trekking through India for three weeks to meet the clients of two of our most innovative partners—Upaya Social Ventures, providing steady jobs for the ultrapoor; and Freedom from Hunger, providing health protection via microfinance networks—we found more than thriving families. We discovered a country full of love. (READ MORE)

Will Work for Peace

Monday, February 13th, 2012
Putting his time and money where his mouth is, Hugh Skees has spent years working for what we all wish this holiday season: Peace on Earth. (READ MORE)

Outlook for Philanthropy 2012

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
The Chronicle of Philanthropy takes a quick pulse among savvy givers on what's coming this year. (READ MORE)

The Power of Small

Monday, December 12th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal talks about our strategy for leveraging power far greater than our grant size through early-stage investment and entrepreneurial partnerships with innovative startups solving poverty worldwide. (READ MORE)

Philanthropy of the Hands: Our Family's Legacy

Monday, December 5th, 2011
Believing that intention matters, we launched a small family foundation to invest a few hours and dollars in programs that end poverty through equal opportunity. Jasmine and Hugh, whose legacy of giving we aim to emulate, still work hard as volunteers. (READ MORE)

Join 1 Million Listeners to Hear the Story of Our Foundation

Monday, November 28th, 2011
TravelTalk Radio discusses our family's deep drive for social justice and our work to effect equality in our own neighborhoods and around the world. (READ MORE)

The Greedy Giver

Sunday, November 20th, 2011
This holiday season, a Huffington Post story claims that when we seem to be giving charitable funds and volunteer time, we're actually the ones receiving. (READ MORE)

(Small) Size Matters

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
This piece was published by Council on Foundations, and it explains why we work so hard to make every dollar count. (READ MORE)

Lessons from the Dance Floor

Monday, October 17th, 2011
Many of the tools I need for work can be found on the dance floor. (READ MORE)

The School Friends: An Unlikely Pair Build Educational Opportunity

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
An American kid growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley innovation and privilege gets a big graduation gift: a trip to Africa. What he finds there is a lifelong best friend, and a life mission to ensure that students everywhere get a chance to earn their diplomas, too. (READ MORE)

Going Back to School to Learn to Communicate

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Lessons on talking and not talking from the Stanford Nonprofit Management Institute (READ MORE)

Why Do We Fund Girls and Women?

Monday, September 19th, 2011
We're often asked why so many of our educational and microfinance programs invest more heavily in women than men . . . (READ MORE)

African Tycoon Wants Education for All

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
Wealthy farmer and Tanzanian native Fuad Abri puts his time, ideas, and contacts to work to achieve equal-access-education in his country and around the world. We had to know: What causes him to care so much? (READ MORE)

The Neverending Bus to Iringa

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
Schlepping through a developing country with few roads on a bus with no shocks makes us wonder what it's like to live your whole life this way. (READ MORE)

Choosing Which Child Should Die in Somalia

Thursday, August 11th, 2011
Hailed as a human-made famine, the severe drought in Somalia combined with terrorist blockage of aid, has 12 million East Africans starving this summer. Malkhadir Muhumed writes for AP on parents making heartbreaking choices no family should ever have to face. (READ MORE)

Tourists Really Can Change the World: Karimu

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Our director, Suzanne Skees, traveled to a small village in northern Tanzania to study the impact of a holistic-care project launched by a pair of teachers with an ordinary background who've achieved extraordinary results working in partnership with students and families to build schools, healthcare, and enterprise. See today's Huffington Post . . . (READ MORE)

"Snapshots in the Field" with The School Fund in Tanzania—Orphaned in Africa

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Lucy John has plenty of reasons to be pleased with herself: at age 15 she has sailed halfway through high school and ranks 4/154 students in her class. She has graceful, willowy beauty, eloquence in 3 languages, and—very important to a teenager—a gaggle of good girlfriends. Read why our questions made Lucy burst into tears. (READ MORE)

"Snapshots from the Field" with The School Fund in Tanzania — It Takes a Village

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Reporting from Tanzania with The School Fund, an all-volunteer team of university students and recent graduates who raise funds for high school students in developing countries, we meet a young man who turned his life around because somebody believed in him. (READ MORE)

"Snapshots from the Field" with The School Fund in Tanzania—Gaining an Education without Losing Your Family

Friday, June 24th, 2011
Gaining an Education without Losing Your Family: We are traveling through the East African country of Tanzania with the all-volunteer staff of The School Fund, American university students who raise funds for high school students in developing countries, we bring you along to share the culture and students in our "Snapshots from the Field." (READ MORE)

New Local 2 Global Program Launched by Ron Skees

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Putting his finance skills to use for a food pantry serving families in crisis in central Kentucky, Ron logged enough hours as their volunteer treasurer to earn a foundation grant card. Read how Ron's giving just got doubled. (READ MORE)

DRC: Survivors Make the Best Teachers

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Jolie Biringingwa of Bukavu, the Democratic Repulic of Congo, works to overcome the trauma of being raped during wartime by helping care for her siblings and training to become a teacher. (READ MORE)

The Real Motivation Behind Going Public in Philanthropy

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Huffington Post published this piece by Suzanne Skees on what it means to "go public" with our intentions here at Skees Family Foundation. (READ MORE)

Compartamos Talks about Dysfunction in Microfinance

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Mexican microfinance Compartamos's CEO Carlos Danel explains to a Stanford University audience how little his company actually has accomplished in serving the poor. (READ MORE)

U.S.: Unstoppable Jessica off to College

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Our grantee, Summer Search, has created equal opportunity for college for over 1,000 students across the U.S. Read how Jessica, a bright but guarded California girl with struggles no one knew about, learned to open up to people and pursue her goals. (READ MORE)

Our New Family Grant Program Sends Bicycles to Schoolgirls in Sierra Leone

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Family helping families: Our new "Family Grants" program gets East African girls to school on their own bicycles, sent by Village Bicycle Project and sponsored by our own DeoTalSkees family in California. (READ MORE)

Freedom from Hunger Wants Freedom from Malaria--And You Can Help

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Watch a funny video featuring African villagers teaching each other about malaria transmission, and learn how you can help protect more families in a 1:1 matching grant campaign, running right now. Your dollars will double to help deliver training and bednets . . . (READ MORE)

Sri Lanka: Chamari’s Chance at a New Future

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Twice-orphaned in a village destroyed by a tsunami, Chamari worked hard in high school and college—and will soon graduate with an accounting degree. (READ MORE)

Is It Time To Be More Uncharitable?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011
Dan Pallotta, bestselling author of "Uncharitable" and founder of the AIDSRide and 3-Day breast-cancer walk, tells 1,000 foundation representatives that nonprofits should "step boldly" into radically new ways to scale their impact. (READ MORE)

U.S.: Steven Gets a Shot at His Goals

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
High school senior Steven works full-time to help pay his family's rent—but this soccer captain has gotten into summer programs and the college of his choice. (READ MORE)

FEATURED GRANTEE: The School Fund

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Read what's so different about this online crowd-funder for education that they became our newest partner, just weeks after incorporating. (READ MORE)

Africa Improving, Actually

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
New York Times review of new book by economist Charles Kenny ("Getting Better") cites evidence for hope. Read more. . . (READ MORE)

FEATURED GRANTEE: Freedom from Hunger

Friday, March 11th, 2011
How Freedom from Hunger first motivated us to reach beyond our own small-town privileges to get into microfinance; why they were our first partner, and why we still support them today. (READ MORE)

Skees Foundation Launches New Website

Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Now in our 7th year of operation, we're "going public" to share with you: (READ MORE)

Mexico: Literacy Can Save a Life

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
A story by Suzanne Skees on literacy education in Mexico. (READ MORE)

FEATURED GRANTEE: V-Day's V-Peace Scholarships

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Why this growing group of visionary women and men inspired us to establish educational scholarships to really change the outcome for survivors of violence. (READ MORE)

FEATURED GRANTEE: Summer Search

Monday, March 7th, 2011
This high school program combines summer adventures and year-round mentoring, to give low-income U.S. kids self-esteem and college access--and 95% of their students matriculate to a college of their choice. (READ MORE)

FEATURED GRANTEE: Dayton International Peace Museum

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
Across our family's divergent personalities and politics, we all agree that nothing else works unless we begin with peace. Read why our elders have donated years of sweat equity and grants to expand peace education in Ohio. (READ MORE)

Spreading the Wealth

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
The Wall Street Journal reports on how philanthropy varies in countries around the world. (READ MORE)