A recent article published in the Minnesota Star Tribune shed light on Minnesota’s philanthropic efforts. The article revealed that the state’s top 100 nonprofits had donated over $24 million to global philanthropies in 2012.
Scott Jackson, president of Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Global Impact, names the Twin Cities as one of the four or five largest concentrations of philanthropic dollars in the United States. This is a result of the hundreds of nonprofits operating for the cause of foreign aid.
This comes as no surprise to Minnesotans, as they routinely rank among the top states in volunteerism, civic engagement, corporate giving, educational attainment, per capita international adoption and peace corps volunteers. Minnesota is, as Jackson puts it, “an amazing stronghold of people concerned about the world.”
There are hundreds to choose from, but these three nonprofits exemplify Minnesota’s commitment to global philanthropy by not only giving money but also providing training and service to create sustainable solutions to poverty.
Based in Minneapolis, Children’s HeartLink works in partnership with pediatric cardiac programs in underserved regions of the world to promote sustainable cardiac care for children with heart disease.
The nonprofit has programs partnering with 13 hospitals in six countries on three continents, all working for the purpose of ensuring that children have access to quality care for the treatment of heart disease.
Children’s HeartLink began in 1969 by sending volunteer teams abroad to perform cardiac surgery but has evolved over the years to provide training in areas of need, empowering the people to take care of themselves.
Tractors for Africa
In December 2014 Louis Ricard, Mark York and Maurice Hurst created Tractors for Africa. This Wayzata-based organization just delivered their first tractor to a co-op of farmers in Burkina Faso. Tractors for Africa was born as a result of York’s experience working with farmers in West Africa. He recalls the agricultural technology in the region as being equivalent to that of the United States 150 years ago.
In the U.S., there are plenty of tractors in working condition, collecting dust for the simple reason that they are too small to meet the needs of today’s large farms. Ricard, York and Hurst strive to find and acquire these tractors and send them to Burkina Faso where they can be put to good use rather than rusting in a junkyard.
With the help of donations, Tractors for Africa finds and restores tractors and other farm equipment. Then, they ship the machinery to a co-op of farmers in Burkina Faso and spend two months training the farmers to use their new equipment.
American Refugee Committee
The American Refugee Committee, or ARC, is an international organization aimed at providing humanitarian aid and training in refugee communities. Over the past 35 years, they have tended to millions of beneficiaries in 11 countries, providing shelter, clean water and sanitation, healthcare, skills training, education, protection and any other support necessary for refugees and displaced peoples to start anew. Clearly, they serve as a stellar example of global philanthropy.
ARC strives to help people survive crisis and conflict by rebuilding lives of dignity, health, security and self-sufficiency. “They are committed to delivering programs that ensure measurable quality and a lasting impact,” and are praised for their efficiency in providing aid; 92 cents of every dollar donated went to help victims of conflict and natural disaster in 2015.
These organizations, along with hundreds of others based in Minnesota, share a collective goal of providing help and hope to those who need it most in their own communities and in communities all over the world. A strong volunteer spirit and desire to serve help to make Minnesota a leader in global philanthropy.
– Aaron Parr