Foundation for Sustainable Development

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Founded in 1995, the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is an international 501(c)(3) non-profit that envisions a world where all people have the opportunity and capacity to direct economic, social, and environmental resources toward sustainable outcomes that improve lives and communities.[1]


FSD’s mission is to achieve community-driven goals through asset-based development and international exchange in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[2]


FSD offers student internships, volunteer global service trips and group programs, providing pre-departure and in-country support. Programs include development theory and practical training, continuing educational and cultural activities, personal and group reflection sessions, and accommodation and transportation support. All locations have a site team available 24/7 to provide cross-cultural, development and safety & security support.[3]

Community Partner Training and Program Support[edit]

On-site workshops led by FSD Field Staff train community partners to create economically and environmentally sustainable programs through community assessments, grant proposal development, project design and management, financial management, and monitoring and evaluation. FSD also connects its partners to experts and other local resources.[4]


FSD's Grantmaking Program supports community-driven projects and training initiatives for partner organizations in the sectors of Child and Maternal Health, Gender Equality, Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, Microenterprise, Microfinance, Youth and Education, and Applied Technology.[5]

International Development Training Programs[edit]

FSD’s International Internships, Gap Year, ProCorps Volunteering, and Global Service Trips equip students and professionals with training in grassroots sustainable development while also providing human resources and technical support to partner organizations.[6]

FSD’s International Internship Program offers 9-52 week placements at any FSD site with one of 300 Community Partners for students and young professionals looking to gain international development experience and training.[7] FSD’s Gap Year Program offers similar placements for pre-college students 17+.[8]

ProCorps Volunteering offers 2-12 week placements at any FSD site. It's a short-term program for individuals and groups with several years (5+) of professional experience related to one of the sectors FSD works in. ProCorps Volunteers work directly with FSD's NGO Partners to apply their expertise to community needs worldwide.[9]

Global Service Trips provide short-term field experience in international community development. For one to four weeks, groups of at least eight volunteers provide support for one of FSD’s community-based partner organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.[10]

Giving Circles[edit]

Giving Circles expand the grant fund by promoting longer-term philanthropy. Through a series of meetings, Giving Circle members learn about pressing issues and responsible grantmaking, and then decide collectively how they can make the greatest impact with their pooled funds.[11]


FSD’s program sites are in six countries and 10 cities, where for almost two decades the organization has supported more than 300 community partner organizations and trained more than 3,000 volunteers.[12]



Salta is surrounded by the Andes Foothills in the Lerma Valley of northwest Argentina. FSD's community partners support Salta’s local economy by boosting agricultural profits, promoting traditional arts, teaching small business skills and addressing social problems for youth development.[13] Recent projects include that of local organization Changuito Dios and Intern Jackson Lee, which implemented a series of workshops and training for mothers and caretakers to increase teachers’ and students’ educational experience.[14]



Cochabamba lies in a valley of the Andes mountains. Through it is among Bolivia’s most economically and socially progressive cities with a strong grassroots political movement, infrastructure remains particularly underdeveloped.[15] Many of FSD's community partners address infrastructure, education and social entrepreneurship. Recent projects include that of local NGO El Centro de Rehabilitacíon Infantil Nutricional and Intern Billy Baumgartner, which combated malnutrition by training adults in health & cleanliness, nutrition, agriculture, gardening and microfinance.[16]



Jodhpur is home to over one million residents and some of the most famed Indian landmarks. Due to its desert setting and conservative cultural practices, the city faces environmental, labor-related and educational development issues. FSD's community partners work on topics including of HIV+ advocacy, preservation of Rajasthani oral traditions and artisanal crafts, and community-driven water management. Recent projects include that of Intern Sophia Davis and the Jodhpur Network of People Living with HIV (JNP+), a local NGO that seeks to break down stigma so HIV positive people can better access opportunities. With the support of FSD and Sophia, JNP+ started a home for HIV+ orphans.[17]


Udaipur is a popular tourist destination, yet the city’s wealth disparity creates a lack of supporting infrastructure. FSD's community partners assist grassroots organizations to establish local management committees, which generate awareness and encourage political and social change.[18] Recent projects include that of Intern Michelle Trone and the Institute for Local Self Government, which worked to promote governance at the village level by providing training programs for elected women representatives.[19]



Kakamega offers natural beauty and an authentic representation of East African village life, yet most of the population falls below the poverty line and many farmers face growing environmental degradation. FSD's community partners focus on sustainable technologies as well as healthcare measures that target pressing medical issues.[20] Recent projects include that of Intern Supriya Prakash and Western Education Advocacy and Empowerment Program, which initiated the Sustainable Beekeeping Empowerment Program for local women to generate income and support their families.[21]


Mombasa is a center of international trade and cultural diversity that struggles with high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, pollution and poverty. FSD’s community partners support human rights work, educational and empowerment trainings, counseling, legal assistance and awareness campaigns.[22] Recent projects include that of Intern Aman Bali and local NGO Total War Against AIDS Youth Foundation, which started a poultry farm to enhance local youth nutrition, grow professional education and generate revenue to support TWAAYF's ongoing efforts.[23]


Ciudad Sandino[edit]

Ciudad Sandino is a city located outside of Nicaragua's capital, Managua, and has the distinction of being FSD's first site, established in 1995. Nicaragua's economy is based on agricultural exports, and with over 50 percent of residents living below the poverty line, it is the poorest country in the Americas. FSD's community partners work to combat the city's poor infrastructure, high unemployment, and extreme poverty.[24] Recent projects include that of Intern Caroline White-Nockleby, who worked with local NGO Masaya Sin Fronteras to train 20 women in farming techniques to start their own agricultural collective.[25]


Tola, a municipality on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, is home to over 60 communities of subsistence farmers, salt miners and fisherpersons. Poor infrastructure, low socioeconomic indicators and health concerns challenge these rural communities.[26] In response, many small businesses are developing services for the local market, and FSD is proud to support local coops, including: Cooperativa Servicios Múltiples, which sells affordable food staples and has started a revolving loan program; Cooperativa Buen Diseño, a sewing cooperative that provides uniforms for local schoolchildren; and Cooperativa Grupo Genesis, the first female-led enterprise in the region.[27]



Jinja is the second largest town and commercial center in Uganda. Though agriculture thrives from water access to Lake Victoria and The Nile, Jinja faces widespread poverty, unaffordable energy supplies, and inadequate healthcare and educational services. FSD's community partners create locally-driven environmental, health and microfinance initiatives.[28] Recent projects include the Phoebe Education Fund for HIV/AIDS Orphans and Intern Elizabeth Gilbert, which initiated a workshop to increase disease prevention and knowledge about health rights.[29]


Masaka straddles the equator. The majority of the population relies on agricultural and livestock farming for sustenance and income. Scars left by the 1979 civil war are still apparent in Masaka, from the ruins of municipal buildings to widespread poverty and lack of infrastructure. However, the growing number of community-based organizations are making considerable strides in the region. Recent projects include that of The AIDS Support Organization and Intern Margaret Kennedy, which developed a sustainable farm as an alternative form of education for those who cannot afford a university.[30]

Ongoing Work[edit]

FSD’s community development efforts have maintained an ongoing project sustainability rate of nearly 80 percent, addressing health, social, environmental, and economic issues by responding to community priorities and offering training, grants, and volunteer support to community partners.[31]

Annually, FSD supports more than 200 projects and invests more than $800,000 in partner communities, and its work directly impacts the lives of (on average) 150,000 people around the world.[32] From a women’s beekeeping business in Kenya[33] to nutritional education for mothers in Nicaragua[34] and cook stove projects in India,[35] FSD works to listen to community priorities and support local leaders.


  1. ^ "Foundation for Sustainable Development". Idealist. Action Without Borders. 
  2. ^ "Our Mission". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  3. ^ "Programs for International Internship, Gap Year, and Volunteering". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  4. ^ "Capacity Building". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  5. ^ "Grantmaking". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  6. ^ "Programs for International Internship, Gap Year, and Volunteering". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  7. ^ "FSD's International Development Internships Impact Communities". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  8. ^ "FSD's Gap Year Program Gives Students International Experience". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  9. ^ "Advance a Community through FSD's International Volunteer Program for Professionals". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  10. ^ "Join FSD's Service Trips to Support Grassroots Community Development". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  11. ^ "Giving Circles". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  12. ^ "Foundation for Sustainable Development: Overview". LinkedIn. LinkedIn Corporation. 
  13. ^ "Argentina" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  14. ^ "Salta, Argentina". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  15. ^ "Bolivia" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  16. ^ "Cochabamba, Bolivia". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  17. ^ "Jodhpur, India". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  18. ^ "India" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  19. ^ "Udaipur, India". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  20. ^ "Kakamega, Kenya". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  21. ^ "Beekeeping Brings Financial Freedom in Kenya". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  22. ^ "Kenya" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  23. ^ "Mombasa, Kenya". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  24. ^ "Nicaragua" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  25. ^ "Ciudad Sandino". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  26. ^ "Tola, Nicaragua". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  27. ^ "FSD Support Tola Coop Partners with Awarded Grants". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  28. ^ "Uganda" (PDF). Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  29. ^ "Jinja, Uganda". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  30. ^ "Masaka, Uganda". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  31. ^ "Foundation for Sustainable Development: Overview". LinkedIn. LinkedIn Corporation. 
  32. ^ "Internship (Kakamega): Foundation for Sustainable Development". Idealist. Action Without Borders. 
  33. ^ "Beekeeping Brings Financial Freedom in Kenya". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  34. ^ "Nutrition in Nicaragua: A Community Takes Charge". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 
  35. ^ "Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and FSD - Saving energy, growing micro-economies in India". Foundation for Sustainable Development. 

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