FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SPONSORSHIP
Sponsorships are donors’ commitment to support our work uplifting students and their families. Most sponsors continue their sponsorship for several years or more as they join a family on their journey out of poverty.
In rural Kenya, the stresses of poverty cause far too many families to struggle in order to send their children to school and provide the stability at home that children need in order to succeed in school. Since we began our work in 2002, supporters like you have provided the resources to allow youth in western Kenya to pursue their education and for guardians to nurture dignity and well-being in their homes and communities.
By becoming a sponsor, you join a network of supporters who believe in the transformational impact that education can have on a child’s life, and a steady income can have on a family. Because of the support that sponsors provide, all Kenya Rising students and their families have access to the Five Guiding Stars of our Family Care program:
- Education and Scholarships: The next generation will be educated and capable of meeting all their basic needs. We help families with primary school costs, and we offer high school scholarships to families’ teens, and sometimes vocational training or university scholarships to families’ youth.
- Agriculture: Introduction to new crops and markets. Education on modern farming practices. Procuring government-subsidized farm inputs. Seeds and seedlings for more nutritious and saleable crops. Connections to agricultural lenders.
- Basic Needs: Solar lights and water tanks. Collaborative Healthy Home renovations where we provide materials and families provide labor to ensure they have hygienic latrines, leak-free roofs, and secure homes.
- Health: Emergency support for critical medical needs, access to local health service providers, and workshops and information on nutrition, hygiene, and healthy living practices. Encouragement to enroll in the National Hospital Insurance Fund and financial support to pay fees when medical needs are critical.
- Livelihoods: Families earn more to support themselves as they maximize their agricultural income and grow their small businesses. We provide families with training and business capital micro-grants so they can earn on their own.
We use sponsorship resources and general donation to ensure assistance is prioritized where the need is greatest.Although we will pair you with a single family and the children within it, your gifts help to ensure that all Kenya Rising students and families have access to all of the Five Guiding Stars that make up Family Care.
Regardless of each student/family’s personal sponsorship status, they can access education and holistic services that enable them to thrive.
We respect the local leadership and culture of our partners in Kenya, and we believe strongly in the importance of traditional family structures. Our very competent Kenyan staff work alongside family guardians to make decisions about where money is spent.
We are client-driven, not donor-driven, which means we do not allocate resources to families based on the amount that sponsors give. Instead, our local staff guide us in allocating resources based on the needs of each family (while considering the total resources we have available).
You have the unique opportunity to engage with your family during their journey through letters and photos. You can, if you wish, exchange letters with a representative of the family (often a teenage student who is working on their English), and you can also send a note of encouragement to the whole family! Whether you wish to exchange letters or not, all sponsors will occasionally receive photos of the family they support and updates about how they’re progressing.
Want to be more involved? Each year we have two opportunities for sponsors and other supporters to visit western Kenya and see our work. If you join us, you will be able to visit and get to know the family you sponsor, see Kakamega Town and the rural farmsteads outside it, feel the powerful energy of change at our home the Care Centre in Amalemba, and meet the staff who manage our programs and nurture the families we support. We suspended these visits because of Covid-19, but we hope to resume them in 2022.
Sponsorships are now an open-ended “pay what you can” model.
Sponsors generally give between $400 and $1,400 each year, depending on how they are able and feel led.
The minimum amount to be considered a sponsor is usually $400/year ($33/month), while our average sponsor gives $800/year ($67/month), and our most generous sponsors pay the entire cost we incur which is $1400/year ($117/month).
Our current budget is funded half by sponsorships, and half by general donations and gifts to special funds. And we serve families based on their needs rather than what the sponsor pays.
We rely on all our sponsors and value them highly, whatever amount they’re paying. We fund the rest through general fundraising and the occasional large gift.
As you can see, general donations are also really important to us. You can make a general gift here.
Every family is unique, and therefore every family’s needs are unique. Our Family Care model leads to different kinds of expenses for different families.
Our average direct expenditure on each family, including scholarships for students within the family, is roughly $900 annually, or $75 per month. This amount is a simple average, with some families receiving more and others less, depending on their needs and challenges. When we add up the costs of all the services we provide including staffing and home visits, the average we spend on each family is around $1,400 per year, or $117 per month.
With this investment, we are able to provide scholarships that ensure all students in all families attend school, from primary through high school. We also offer scholarships for vocational training and, for top performing students, scholarships for university. Additionally, we provide families with life-changing gifts like solar lanterns and water tanks, new latrines and leak-free roofs for those in greatest need, agricultural training, health support and workshops, small business training, and start-up capital for new micro-ventures so that family guardians can earn for themselves.
We have changed how we request support from sponsors. We made this change to raise more from those who can contribute our full costs, while keeping sponsorship accessible to those who are still supporting a very important part of our assistance to students and their families.
Previously, we had a number of different fixed-fee tiers that depended on the unique situation of student(s) and families supported. This was quite complex for us, and the amount often changed from year to year making it complex for sponsors as well. So, to simplify sponsorship and make it more accessible to those who want to help, we have made our request for sponsorship funding open-ended, a “give what you can” model.
Some sponsors may feel led to contribute the entire costs of supporting a family, including the cost of our invaluable staff, while others pay what they can. Sponsors typically contribute between $35 and $117 per month, or between $420 and $1400 annually, to support their sponsored student(s) and family each year. Sponsorship gifts can be made when convenient, whether that is monthly, quarterly, or annually.
Don’t worry! You can continue to sponsor at your previous level.
If you’re able to go to a higher level we will really value the additional support. If you’re most comfortable where you’ve been, that’s fine too.
We don’t want to lose any sponsors during this transition to “give what you can” sponsorship funding. Please reach out to us if you have any questions, and we will gladly discuss with you. You can reach our Sponsorship and Donor Coordinator Carra McFadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 490-0522.