elea Foundation sustains its position despite the difficult global economic environment and continues to grow

28 December 2011

The elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization looks back on a successful year. It is true that deteriorating economic perspectives and turbulent financial markets have challenged the foundation as well as many other institutions. Nevertheless, elea was able to further strengthen its portfolio of engagements to fight poverty with entrepreneurial means. Moreover, the circle of philanthropic investors has been enlarged and the organization expanded.

Peter Wuffli, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, explained: "Our engagements are about to reach a level of maturity where sustainable impact becomes visible and we see ourselves confronted with new questions such as the change in our role over time and the possibilities for long-term sustainability after our withdrawal." As elea only became operational in summer 2008 it is still too early to report about successfully completed projects. With some of our investments we are, however, starting to see very encouraging steps towards financial independence.

Especially the vocational skills building programs - one of elea's three priority investment areas in addition to new technologies and global value-chain businesses - made substantial progress.

Together with another Swiss foundation elea supports a local social entrepreneur in Hyderabad (India) in establishing a vocational skills training center, where young men will be trained during four months as plumbers, welders and electricians, according to the needs of the local labor market. It is expected that they can multiply their wages after graduating from these practical training courses. Tuition fees as well as income, generated from affiliated services and manufacturing offerings, should make it possible to cover operational cost over time, thus leading to economic sustainability independent of charitable donations. For another investment elea is partnering with a private entrepreneurial organization specialized on Latin America and the Interamerican Development Bank to help improve effectiveness and efficiency of approximately 800 „Mom&Pop shops" in La Paz (Bolivia). This capability building program allows the owners of these shops (70% single mothers with 2-4 children) to adopt more entrepreneurial ways of running their business. During an initial phase around 240 shops completed the program with an average increase in sales of about 50%.

Furthermore, the concept of Philanthropic Investment Management for third party investors, which has been launched a year ago, has become reality. Already five investors are supporting the idea and are impressed by elea's commitment to professionalism and to an impact-oriented performance reporting. Andreas Kirchschläger, CEO of the Foundation, commented: "We are very grateful for these engagements of like-minded personalities and institutions. They enable us to expand our activities and our respective impact." In order to compare the different investments and to measure their social impact, elea developed its own elea Impact Measurement Methodology. The tool allows the justification of investment decisions and ensures the most effective allocation of elea's resources within its guidelines. As a consequence of the progressing investment portfolio and the commitments of external philanthropic investors, the organization was further strengthened: Sibylle Käser and Stefan Kappeler have joined the elea-team with great enthusiasm early September.

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

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