THE EDUCATION FUND

Education is the origin and cornerstone of our work.
The Education Fund allows us to keep educating students at all levels despite fluctuations in sponsorship contributions.

Our Education Fund assists a variety of students so that they can keep learning. Most of these students had sponsors who are no longer active, or come from families that have not yet been sponsored.

The Fund was started in late 2020 through two large gifts. This funding made an immediate impact on education, enabling us to commit to several years of support for over two hundred young people now learning in high schools, universities, and vocational training centers.  


The Education Fund is now open for donations from anyone with a passion for investing in academic and trade opportunities for youth. You can be a change maker by supporting students eager to learn, so that one day they will build a better future for their families, their communities, and their country.

Friends of Kenya Rising is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EDUCATION FUND

How does the Education Fund differ from sponsorship?

The Education Fund fills the gap between sponsorship income and immediate need. The Fund provides support for education at all levels, as needed, whenever we do not have enough support from sponsors and general contributions.

Close to half of our education-related expenses are now provided for by the Education Fund. Many students and their families do not have sponsors, and we often don’t have sufficient funding from families who are sponsored to cover all the education costs. Meanwhile, sometimes sponsors pay late, or finish up and drop out. We don’t want to allow any of these US-side issues to disrupt the education of young people in need.

Who does the Education Fund support?
The Education Fund assists a variety of students, including:
  • Students whose sponsors are no longer active
  • Students from new families for whom we do not yet have a sponsor
  • Students from larger families in our Family Care program, when the sponsorship support we receive is not enough to ensure all young people stay in school
  • Students from the most economically vulnerable families who complete our 3 to 4 year Family Care program, so that learning continues and families do not return to poverty because of school fees
What do you ask from supported students and their families?

We ask families to contribute as they are able. Post-high school, we ask students to volunteer in their communities before offering them scholarships for university or vocational courses. After completing tertiary courses, we know that graduates typically earn more and help with their younger family members’ educations.

We do not provide blanket, complete support to all students from all the families in our programs. In many cases families are now able to pay a good part of their children’s educational expenses. In other cases, such contributions from families are still not possible or are very small. This is where our Education Fund steps in, to help where the need is greatest.

After high school, students applying for assistance from the Education Fund are asked to first “give back” by volunteering for six months within their communities.

We’ve also seen that in Kenya, older youth who are educated usually earn more income and use it to support the education of their younger siblings. 

Students who are able to develop their talents through education today will have brighter futures tomorrow. In the long run, the next generation born to more-educated families are more likely to receive education themselves, and less likely to live with hunger or poverty.

Apart from school fees, what does the Education Fund pay for?

The Education Fund supports all manner of educational needs.

Depending on a student’s course and family situation, support from the Education Fund may include tuition alone, or it may also include learning materials, school uniform, a laptop when required, transport & lunch money, and/or a stipend for living on university campus.

Does the Education Fund only support top-scoring students?

No. Our support model is unique because it’s not only for top students. .

Our greatest motivation for offering a student support is their need, not their academic ability. Every student we support is needy. Some are becoming nurses and chemists, while others are getting vocational training to become tailors, electricians, and farmers.

Our greatest motivation for offering a student support is their need, not their academic ability. Every student we support is economically needy and might otherwise not be able to continue their education. Some are becoming nurses and chemists, while others are getting vocational training to become tailors, electricians, and farmers.

Is the Education Fund only for high school, vocational, and university students?

No, the Education Fund is not restricted to high school and tertiary education. This is simply, and overwhelmingly, where we have the greatest need for funding.

The Education Fund may also be used to assist primary school students where sponsorship support is not available. And it can be used for special trainings and workshops that help young people develop skills for their adult lives.

Should I give as a sponsor, or support the Education Fund?

Either. Or both. The Education Fund is open to everyone regardless of whether they are sponsors.

Sponsorships are the core of our education funding. Some current sponsors may wish to also support the Education Fund with gifts large or small. This is wonderful!  Those who have never been sponsors are also invited to support the Education Fund.

Meanwhile, supporters who have wrapped-up years of sponsorship may now prefer to support the Education Fund rather than begin a new sponsorship. If you are one of these people, the Education Fund offers you a terrific opportunity without any longer-term commitment to assist students so they can continue learning.

We also need more sponsors, just as much as we need support for the Education Fund. The two avenues of support work in tandem. If you’re someone who wants to walk with students and their families over several years of progress, please reach out to us about starting a new sponsorship. It is through both sponsorships and the Education Fund that we are able to ensure so many students progress in school.

Will I have a personal relationship with the student(s) I support through the Education Fund?

No, this is how we organize sponsorships but not how the Education Fund works. The Fund is a pooled resource to help students who do not have individual or family sponsors, or whose sponsors’ contributions do not cover all education costs.

Upon request, we can provide you with a list of the names, schools, and courses of students your Education Fund gift supports. But we are not promising to share with you frequent updates about, photos of, and letter exchanges with the student(s) your gift is assisting.

If you’re looking specifically for a personal relationship with an individual student and his or her family, sponsorship may be a better option for you.

You will see the impact of your Education Fund gift through success stories that we publish from time to time, and conversations we may have with you to update you on the overall impact of your contribution. 

Why should I support students in Kenya when there is great need close to home?

For us, the answer to this boils down to two things: absolute level of need and magnitude of impact for the money given.

Talent is universal but opportunity is not. Our Education Fund helps people who come from families that survive on a few dollars per day.

We are certain that the young people you will support through our Education Fund come from backgrounds that are almost immeasurably more economically needy than anything found in the United States. For example, some students in our programs had never owned shoes before our support, and received their first pair as part of a school uniform purchased with funds from donors like you.

You will also have a greater impact than closer to home because you can assist so many more deserving youth with the same amount of money. This is because costs for education are relatively low in Kenya, and they’re extremely high in the United States. The difference is 25- to 50-fold.

A $200,000 gift that would pay for a single four-year private university degree in the US can fund, in Kenya:

  • 28 4-year university degrees in Kenya.
  • 56 4-year high school diplomas for boarding scholars.
  • 4-years of day high school plus 2-years of vocational training to 76 young people who aren’t top scholars and therefore face the biggest barriers in building successful adult lives.

Meanwhile, needy students in Kenya have fewer alternative options than their counterparts in the United States. High school in Kenya is not free. Universities in Kenya do not have financial aid offices. The few scholarship programs available are highly competitive and usually reserved for students in the top 1% academically. We feel the other 99% of students also deserve to develop their talents.

How do I give to the Education Fund?

You can contribute to the Education Fund in many ways.

  • Check:
    You can mail a check to us at: Friends of Kenya Rising • 3 Echo Lane • N. Sherman, CT 06784
  • Credit card, debit card, PayPal, or ACH bank debit:
    The Education Fund’s page on our website has a donation widget where you can donate online.
  • Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from an IRA:
    You can support the Education Fund through Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA. Such a distribution may offer you significant tax advantages. Talk with your tax preparer or the trustee of your IRA for more information, or read more on the IRS website.
  • Stock transfer:
    You can support the Education Fund through a transfer of stock. One big advantage of giving stock is that you may save a lot on Capital Gains taxes. Please reach out to our Treasurer John McFadden to learn more about this option (call 518-429-5746 or email treasurer@friendsofkenyarising.org)
  • Bequest:
    You can create a legacy by writing Friends of Kenya Rising into your will. When doing so, you can specify that all or part of your gift is intended to support the Education Fund. Please click here to learn more about future giving.

We will be delighted to discuss the best giving option for your situation. Please feel free to reach out to us.

You’re asking for big gifts. What if I hope to give a smaller amount?

The Education Fund is not just for larger gifts. No gift is too small, and all donations to the Education Fund make a difference.

Still, we are actively searching for a few compassionate people that want to have a very big impact.

Will my contribution be put to use right away?

Yes.

Your gift will be used to support students now, although we will do so with an awareness that each young person’s academic journey may last for a number of years into the future.

How is the Education Fund different from an endowment and how will is be sustained?

We believe in helping students today where we see young people eager to keep learning. To us and to the communities we serve, this is a higher priority than keeping money aside for many years in order to help students we don’t yet know.

The Education Fund is not an endowment meant to last forever because we would need a huge amount of money to support so many students from bank interest alone. We are, of course, very open to a “forever” endowment if the level of support we get is truly immense. Until we reach there, however, we believe that it makes more sense to educate today’s youth, with confidence that as they progress in their careers they will be able to fund the education of their younger siblings, their future children, and others in their communities.

We are planning for the Education Fund to be sustained with gifts in the near-term, gifts in the long-term, and “future giving” that comes from bequests to the Education Fund written into estate plans.

If the Fund is running low at any time, we will scale back opportunities for new students we haven’t started supporting, while maintaining our commitment to students already enrolled.

Why should I include Friends of Kenya Rising’s Education Fund in my will?

When you include Friends of Kenya Rising in your estate plan, your generosity helps us to continue offering assistance to young people seeking knowledge.

Your future gift will keep students in school, and in the long run those young people will earn more and turn around to support others in their family and community.

We will scale up or down our support for new students as funding allows. The fact that your gift will come in many years does not diminish its importance.

If we are already in your plans for future giving, we still welcome you to talk with us about it. Our long-term planning will benefit tremendously from being aware of support that will come, even if that’s a long time from now.

You’re a relatively small organization. How much can you actually handle?

A few years back we were two organizations figuring out our future. Today we are standing strong as Friends of Kenya Rising, and we are very much able to handle larger gifts. The level of funds we are currently stewarding demonstrates that.

We will also be pleased to share more with you about our Kenyan partner’s internal capacity to use your funding, and also the ways that your generosity will be overseen and controlled. Please reach out to us in order to learn more.

If you join us in supporting the Education Fund, you can do so with confidence that your help will go directly and transparently toward assisting young people who want to learn.

If I have another question, not listed above, How do I ask it?

We welcome you to talk to us about this opportunity to make an impact through our Education Fund. You can ask questions from us on a phone call, Zoom call, email exchange, or an in-person meeting.

We would love to learn more about what motivates you, to discuss with you what kind of impact you wish to have, and engage together with you to see if the Education Fund is aligned with your giving goals.

Feel free to reach John Chisholm (Executive Director) at 978-999-2683 or by email at john@friendsofkenyarising.org. You can also reach Carra McFadden, (Board President), at 802-490-0552 or carra@friendsofkenyarising.org.


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