Annual Letter ’16

January 2016

Dear Friends,

The year 2015 was a very rewarding one for the Dewan Foundation.  We made a record number of grants, supporting 46 organizations.  For the third consecutive year grant spending exceeded $200,000.

Our work in 2015 builds on past successes.  In the last three years, we have made a concerted effort to support U.S. non-profit organizations working overseas.  In almost every case, these are smaller organizations making a person-to-person, heart-to-heart connection with the poor and disadvantaged.  Altogether, we added 14 organizations working overseas with a first time grant since 2013.  We branched out to countries where the Dewan Foundation had never before made a grant including India, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Kenya.

We made our first overseas grants back in 2001 in Honduras, and expanded from there.  Since the inception of the Dewan Foundation, we have supported the work of 40 organizations working in 16 countries around the world.  Each of them addresses the difficulties of people living in poverty, sometimes in deplorable conditions.  As the former executive director of one of our long-term overseas partners stated, “Good deeds shine brightest in the darkest places.”  That is where we have been trying to keep our focus.

We have provided grant support in quite a number of out of the way places that, candidly, we had never heard of before.  These include a range of locations in Africa such as Lubango, Ndola, Gweru, and Chepnyal and in Central America including Chimaltenango, Guaimaca and Peten.

Overall, our grants for overseas work represented a substantial financial commitment from the Foundation.  This is particularly the case in Liberia, where the Foundation’s largest grantee operates, in Honduras, where we have been an active grant maker for the longest time, and in Guatemala, where we have funded the largest number of individual grantees.  Altogether, since 2001, grants in Africa and Central America accounted for 96% of total support for U.S. non-profits working overseas, a commitment of over $875,000 in assistance.

Our grant program balances global concerns with local needs.  We continue to maintain long-term relationships with a significant number of Chicago-based organizations working in the city and suburbs who we consider “core grantees.”  Much of this activity concentrates on helping homeless people with training and preparation to re-enter the workforce as well as case management and support services for those on a longer track who need to resolve any of a number of employment barriers.

Their situations, like the people served by Dewan Foundation grants overseas, can at times appear insurmountable.  Yet we remain hopeful and undeterred that we can make a real difference for good in the world, if only on a modest scale.

We appreciate your support and good wishes as we continue this work.

 

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors

John and Susan Dewan Foundation