elea Foundation defines spheres of activity and invests in projects

22 December 2009

In its second year of operations, the elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization has made substantial progress in building its organization. The four-member elea team gained valuable experience, working and making contacts in three different regions of the world. These insights were then used to define themes for its activities and establish working relationships with individual partner organizations. The elea Foundation’s mission is to give people living on less than USD 2 a day access to the opportunities of globalization, and thereby contribute to improving their living standards.

The elea Foundation received around 120 proposals for investments in 2009. Some two dozen of the projects came within the scope of the Foundation's remit, and were carefully examined by the team. The Foundation then made seven investments targeting three areas: developmental applications of renewable energy; organic farming and fair trade in agricultural products; and vocational skills training for disadvantaged young people. CEO Andreas Kirchschläger stated: “This focus arises out of our conviction that these are areas in which entrepreneurial activity can be particularly effective.” In geographic terms, the elea investments include countries in three southern regions: Colombia and Bolivia; Cameroon and Madagascar; and India and Thailand.

Solid groundwork in a complex and multifaceted environment

The Foundation’s investments cover a range of themes and geographic locations, and also involve different forms of collaboration, ranging from one-time start-up investments, through multi-year project support, to a stake in a venture philanthropy undertaking with social and economic goals. The project partners include small local networks, major international NGOs, and companies and organizations specializing in particular fields and geographic areas. Yet they all have a number of features in common: an entrepreneurial, impact-oriented and cost-effective approach, a trusted team of committed individuals, and the opportunity for elea to make a practical contribution that extends beyond purely financial support. Peter Wuffli, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, commented: “Working in this complex and multifaceted environment is often a harrowing experience, but it is also fascinating. It can provide huge personal satisfaction. Given the magnitude of the challenges, however, it also calls for a degree of humility. We consider it a great privilege to be working in this field, committing ourselves with passion and dedication to implementing ideas that have a positive, specific and visible impact on the lives of thousands of people.”

The elea Foundation wants to achieve sustainable, positive and tangible impact to the direct benefit of people challenged by the globalization process. It will target the poor at the base of the pyramid through entrepreneurial philanthropic projects that align ideas with capital.

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