Is the Future of U.S. Foreign Aid in the Hands of Small Nonprofit Organizations? Maybe.

Written by Susan Appe, author of Hubert Project E-Case “Nonprofit Leadership Across Borders”

Susan Appe

Official foreign aid by the U.S. government was on the chopping block while I was working on this E-Case, which is about a small, international nonprofit organization working in international development. It seemed to be good timing, as I have found that these organizations are a growing trend and might now play an important role in how Americans contribute to development projects abroad. As such, I was moved to write a short piece for The Conversations about the topic of “do it-yourself” foreign aid while drafting up the E-Case.

Small, international nonprofit organizations like FIOH-USA in Buffalo, New York, directly relate to my research and teaching interests about nonprofit organizations’ contributions to international development. These organizations can be looked at through the lenses of nonprofit leadership, volunteering and giving, and globalization. They exemplify the expressive functions of the nonprofit organizations and they are not, at least not yet, consumed by the nonprofit performance management craze. All the while, they are shaping how U.S. communities like Buffalo understand global poverty and how Americans give to international causes.

I have found that there is often an immediate friendship among strangers who care about international causes. My experience visiting FIOH-USA’s board for the first time in Buffalo exemplified this. When I was planning a visit and arranging to stay the night, a FIOH board member was quick to offer to host me at her home. I had met her previously but very briefly. And, in response, I did not hesitate to accept!

During my visit, at a FIOH-USA board meeting in March 2017, I was able to see the expressive functions of the nonprofit sector in action. The agenda included a report out from the African Programs committee, brainstorming fundraising ideas, and a discussion about needed website updates. The meeting was an active demonstration to how passionate these FIOH-USA volunteers are about projects in Kenya.

Perhaps something for which I am most grateful when doing the E-Case is learning that groups like FIOH-USA want to tell their story. Global citizenship is something that they feel they are living in their day to day, and frankly, they want to share this. I am glad they have shared their work–both the wins and the challenges–with me and the Hubert Project.


A few images from my experiences with FIOH:

In February 2017, I visited the village of Mawego outside of Kisumu, Kenya. FIOH-USA is funding the construction of a borewell. From left to right: Susan, Joash, and Patrick

In February 2017, I visited the village of Mawego outside of Kisumu, Kenya. FIOH-USA is funding the construction of a borewell. From left to right: Susan, Joash, and Patrick

Board members and I visit before the board meeting in March 2017. From left to right: Linda Glaeser, Susan Appe, Ellen Dragos, Rachel Turner

Board members and I visit before the board meeting in March 2017. From left to right: Linda Glaeser, Susan Appe, Ellen Dragos, Rachel Turner

This is a flyer for a fundraiser the Buffalo-based FIOH volunteers organized to support their projects in Kenya

This is a flyer for a fundraiser the Buffalo-based FIOH volunteers organized to support their projects in Kenya

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