We are excited to announce that over the next few months Crossroads Springs Africa (CSA) and Friends of Kakamega (FoK) will be joining together as one, combining our programs and resources under the umbrella of a new organization named Friends of Kenya Rising (FKR).
As you have undoubtedly noticed, both organizations have been working closely over the last few years. Both CSA and FoK share programs and staff on the ground in Kenya, and they share the mission of assisting students and their families in Western Kenya as they rise above poverty. On the ground in Kenya, their programs are already almost indistinguishable; they are two U.S. funding sources for one Kenyan organization. Between them, they currently support more than 350 students in their primary, secondary, and college studies, and we also assist these students’ families, over 1,000 people, through farm support and other family-focused programming.
CSA and FoK were both founded close to two decades ago as a response to the overlapping crises of stubbornly deep poverty, HIV/AIDS, rapidly growing numbers of orphans, and financial barriers to schooling. CSA’s program to support the education of extremely needy children was initiated in Hamisi, while FoK’s began in Kakamega Town only 20 miles north of Hamisi. Students from both organizations hail from all over the region, and there is no real geographic difference. We are already one, and we now are making it official by joining together.
In 2004, CSA co-founder Alison Hyde and FoK founder Sukie Rice began to share joys and challenges of doing very similar work. Five years ago, after the Kenyan government had fully stepped up to ensure primary education for all, Alison contacted Sukie to tell her that CSA was working on a change of focus toward secondary education. FoK then worked with CSA to facilitate our plan of assisting needy students so they could access otherwise unaffordable high school education. We’ve only grown closer since.
We’ve been working on this in the background for more than a year. FoK founder Sukie, in a letter that she wrote two months before her passing this July, said that “as [our] programs developed it became clear that they were doing the same thing
and that there would be SO much more to offer the work of each organization if they were to combine in some way.” CSA’s and FoK’s board members could not agree more.
One of the greatest advantages of collaborating with a fellow and nearly identical nonprofit organization is saving on costs: one newsletter, one website, one accounting and donor management system, one focus, one strategy. In collaboratively moving our mission forward we will also have the advantage of new ideas, new solutions and new programs. There is strength in numbers. By joining forces with a like-minded entity, we will strengthen our voice and the work we do in pursuit of our mission.
Completing the formal consolidation will take some time. Friends of Kenya Rising is now fully registered and is awaiting its 501(c)3 IRS designation, which may take a few more months. We are deep into the process of finalizing joint by-laws, policies, and financial plans, and also building our joint website and combining our communications. Both CSA and FoK will remain operational until Friends of Kenya Rising is strongly functioning on its own, which we expect to happen early next year.
Our work continues whether we call ourselves CSA, FoK or Friends of Kenya Rising. Our assistance to students and families in Western Kenya continues and will be stronger than ever as one. We whole-heartedly thank all our sponsors and donors, and we want you to know that we’re as committed as ever to carrying on the work that you have supported these many years. We envision a smooth consolidation and hope that you share our enthusiasm for this exciting opportunity to become a more robust, strong, powerful voice that fights to combat poverty by supporting needy children and families.
You may contact us at any time to ask questions or learn more. Those who wish to discuss this with Alison Hyde, Leah Bennett or John Chisholm, please reach out to them. All are especially excited about this because by joining together, they have even more confidence that Friends of Kenya Rising will endure, grow stronger, and continue its tireless efforts to assist needy students and their families as they rise above poverty.