The Resource Foundation
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The Resource Foundation (TRF) is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit non-governmental organization that cultivates productive relationships between sustainable private development organizations in Latin America and selective donors worldwide by leveraging capital and information resources to increase the self-reliance and living standards of the disadvantaged.
TRF has provided more than $24.5 million to support over 400 projects in 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2006, more than 4.68 million individuals benefited from projects in the following areas:
- Micro-enterprise training and credit
- Health care and education (HIV/AIDS care and prevention)
- Education and vocational training
- Environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture
- Low-cost housing and potable water systems
- 1 History
- 2 Partnerships
- 3 Programs
- 4 Affiliations
- 5 External links
Loren Finnell founded TRF in 1987 to empower the working poor in Latin America and the Caribbean to break the cycle of dependence and poverty and build better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Established on the belief that local solutions are substantially more effective than expatriate ones, TRF has pioneered the movement of supporting locally driven development initiatives. To that end, TRF partners with private individual and institutional donors and private development organizations in 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. With a philosophy of offering "a hand-up, not a hand-out," all programs are sustainable, self-help programs that enable participants to improve their own futures.
TRF works with individuals, foundations and corporations to help them practice optimal, engaged philanthropy by identifying and funding projects that meet their desired philanthropic objectives, conducting due diligence, handling actual fund transfers, preparing proposals and semi-annual progress reports and providing training and assistance related to their giving strategies. Staff members periodically visit programs to monitor and evaluate project impact.
TRF has a network of 40 well-respected non-profits throughout Latin America and the Caribbean that are implementing programs related to micro-enterprise, education, vocational training, health, environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, low-cost housing and potable water, targeting disadvantaged populations such as children, women and men living in poverty. It offers its members specialized services to help them reach more communities more effectively. Specifically, it provides assistance in networking, organizational training and capacity-building, technical assistance, fundraising and representation.
TRF also supports an additional 75 nonprofit organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean that have been identified by or for donors.
TRF places contributions received from foundations, corporations, religious groups and individuals into a Development Fund that is used to support selected socioeconomic development projects. Examples of these are presented below.
SERVIVIENDA in Colombia is producing 10 prefabricated houses each day. These units, which cost approximately $2,500 each, are affordable by even the lowest-income families thanks to SERVIVIENDA's credit plan, which has a 99% repayment rate. Built of cement slab, metal, hard wood and tile, the homes are simple, sturdy, attractive, easily transportable and can be erected in four hours by the families that purchase them. Over 85,000 units have been installed, benefiting more than 500,000 persons. OEF in El Salvador and CESAP in Venezuela have similar programs.
Urban and rural micro-enterprise
ACODEP in Nicaragua and CREFAC in El Salvador each offer a micro-enterprise program composed of training, technical assistance and credit. They provide training on job skills (carpentry, weaving, canning), small business management (cash flow, accounting, cost control, production, marketing) and use of credit. Actuar Famiempresas and MEDA in Colombia, FEM in Venezuela, FINCA and FUNDEBASE in Costa Rica, ADOPEM and MUDE in the Dominican Republic, FUNDACEN in Guatemala, FUNBANHCAFE and IDH in Honduras, ACP and CADEP in Peru, OEF in El Salvador, CAME in Mexico and IPRU in Uruguay also have micro-enterprise programs.
Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambienatales Dorothy Baker (CEADB) and DESEC in Bolivia are working with dispersed, indigenous communities, combining environmental education, protection and technology with improved farming techniques, which leads to higher yields, increased self-reliance and greater quality of life. Programs address water conservation and management, soil erosion, terrace farming, use of solar energy for greenhouses and family homes, crop rotation, animal husbandry, composting and reforestation. FUNDAEC in Colombia, FEPP in Ecuador, FUNBANHCAFE in Honduras, FMDR in Mexico, CADEP in Peru and CESAP in Venezuela likewise administer sustainable agriculture projects.
Environment/eco-friendly productive activities
FVSA in Argentina, ARBOFILIA in Costa Rica, SalvaNATURA in El Salvador and FUNDACIÓN TIERRA VIVA in Venezuela promote environmental conservation through education and ecological reserve management. For example, ARBOFILIA is working to reestablish an ecosystem that begins with mangrove forests on the coast, extends through the lowland rain forest and culminates in the highland cloud forest. Reconnecting the corridor is crucial for protecting the area's endangered flora and fauna. ARBOFILIA has also combined environmental issues with income-generating projects.
Basic education and job skills training
ORIGEN in Chile and FUNDAEC in Colombia provide low-income and at-risk youth with an accredited high school degree. They also offer vocational training in trades such as carpentry, metalworking, farming and animal husbandry so that the graduates may build better futures for themselves and their families. UNETE in Mexico provides training in computer skills for children enrolled in the public elementary school system. FUNDAEC also serves the adults in the community through vocational classes. SUPERATEC offers youths and adults the opportunity to acquire computer and personal development skills.
Children's interactive museums
PAPALOTE, El Museo del Niño in Mexico City and TIN MARIN, Asociación Museo de los Niños in El Salvador have each created a hands-on, interactive facility aimed at helping children learn about and understand the world in which they live. Exhibits emphasize science and the environment. Foundations and corporations sponsor school field trips for underprivileged children to visit the museums.
FESPERAN offers primary health care services in hard-to-reach Amazon communities and manages a clinic in Santarém, Brazil. It also operates a mother and children's health center, a facility that rehabilitates undernourished children, teaches their mothers proper dietary practices, and in general improves the health/sanitary conditions in the surrounding area. OEF in El Salvador, CADEP in Peru, IMIFAP in Mexico and MUDE in the Dominican Republic also have primary health care programs. FUNDACION HUESPED in Argentina offers prevention information and education about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, facilitates research and training for health professionals, and raises public awareness about the need for specialized services for affected individuals. HUESPED has been on the frontlines of the fight against HIV/AIDS in Argentina since 1989.
Potable water and sanitation
Agua Para el Pueblo in Honduras is active throughout the country's rural areas, promoting self-help, highly participatory potable water and sanitation programs in underprivileged communities. FESPERAN in Brazil, FEPP in Ecuador and CESAP in Venezuela manage similar programs.
TRF is registered with the Agency for International Development.