A Kilometer Can Be the Difference Between Life and Death

Schaffer&Combs partner Arthur Combs recently traveled to a rural area in western Kenya, near the Uganda border, for our client, the Tiba Foundation (www.tibafoundation.org).




James and I are acting as joint executive directors for Tiba. We were engaged to move the org from a grassroots nonprofit to a scalable philanthropy with a very tight mission.  Our Kenyan partner has an outpatient clinic in a remote region that served 14,000 people last year, has nearly 500 community health workers out in the field, and is about to break ground on the first module of a beautiful new community hospital.  There is a lot to fund, and a lot to help manage.

As part of the practice of professionalizing, we’ve been working for the past six months to introduce an innovative Philanthropic Investment Management program to replace the traditional donor-recipient model. Based on an early venture capital model, this approach stresses partnership, metrics, and constant flexibility, rather than immense grant applications that ties local partners to years-long plans with little room to respond to changing conditions. We believe this is an innovation that may have real legs, and will be reporting on it a good deal in future.

In the meantime, one of the things we learned was how a single kilometer can mean the difference between life and death. Our Kenyan partners convinced us that one area that needs investment is transportation. This two-minute video tells the story.

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