Our Approach

Explore this page to understand how our theory of change guides our work.

 
 
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Global Context

767 million people experience ultra poverty or extreme poverty...

767 million people experience ultra poverty or extreme poverty...

...which means they earn less than $1.90 per day...

...which means they earn less than $1.90 per day...

...and 1 billion people live below the local poverty threshold.    (1/7 of our global population)

...and 1 billion people live below the local poverty threshold.
(1/7 of our global population)

Over half of those experiencing extreme poverty live in sub-saharan Africa. 256 million live in South Asia, 71 million in East Asia and the Pacific, and 34 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. 10 million live in Europe and Central Asia.

Over half of those experiencing extreme poverty live in sub-saharan Africa. 256 million live in South Asia, 71 million in East Asia and the Pacific, and 34 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. 10 million live in Europe and Central Asia.

Without enough income, these individuals generally lack access to resources such as education, healthcare, adequate shelter, and property – leading to what is often termed the “poverty trap.”

 

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What We Do

 

We support early stage programs that create sustained economic improvement and dignity for the ultra-poor.

Early Stage Programs  As a small foundation with small amounts of capital to deploy, we want to maximize the impact behind every dollar distributed.

By committing funding to a program that is in its early stage, we take a higher risk position with the belief that by signalling confidence in testing or validating a program’s effectiveness, we help our partner catalyze additional capital from other funders to expand its reach and impact more widely.

Sustained economic improvement decreases an individual’s dependence on charity and improves their situation over the long term.

Ultimately, it is characterised by an increase in disposable income and savings for households. This in turn leads to improvement in other factors such as shelter, health, education, and security.

Dignity  Sustained economic improvement also leads to increased autonomy and an improved sense of dignity. While a change in dignity cannot be measured with the same precision as a change in household finances, we believe it is a critical (and inherent) program outcome. By increasing self-sufficiency, and by building a stronger sense of self worth and confidence, participants can not only live beyond basic survival but also begin to pursue their dreams. Moreover, they are better prepared to navigate any challenges life may throw in their way down the road. In this way, increasing dignity also leads to increased resilience.

 

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How We Work

 
 
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1.  GRants and Impact investments

We deploy funding through GRANTS and IMPACT INVESTMENTS.

 
 
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2.  Build strong relationships

We build strong, trusted relationships with partner organizations who are deeply integrated with local communities and committed to serving the ultra poor. We value open, regular communication, and support our partners when appropriate with strategic development and other resources as needed or available. Our partners also inform our own organizational strategy and operations, as we strive to be a learning organization and a model for other foundations in this space.  

 
 
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3.  catalyze awAreness and funding

We catalyze awareness and funding through investing in programs at an early stage, and through communicating with other funders. By signalling commitment to a partner program early, we contribute to a “multiplier effect” – whereby our partner can more easily raise additional capital from other funders. By communicating with other funders and continuously developing a network, we cast a wider net to direct additional capital and resources to our partner programs – ultimately to graduate more people out of extreme poverty.             


 
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How we measure progress

 
 
 
 

We prioritize the following 3 indicators across our partner programs:

 

# of jobs created

# of jobs created

This includes dignified jobs or small business ownership opportunities that enable a self-sustained path out of poverty.

Income Improved

Income Improved

Through this metric, we validate our assumption that a new job or business ownership opportunity increases an individual’s income enough to support their household’s basic needs and beyond.

# of lives touched

# of lives touched

 

A new and improved source of income generally benefits an entire household. This indicator measures the total number of individuals who benefit from our partner programs. 

 
 

We also emphasize the following indicators to assess our progress and We seek out partners who have the commitment and capacity to report on some or all of the following:

 

 
 
Asset Ownership

Asset Ownership

Education

Education

Healthcare

Healthcare

Shelter

Shelter

 
 
Household Savings

Household Savings

Women

Women

Dignity

Dignity

 
 
 
When an individual’s income improves and multiple people across the household benefit, we infer that shelter, education, and health indicators also improve. We believe that income improvement leads to broader positive outcomes for individuals, households, and communities.
— Gwen Straley, Executive Director
 
 
 
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Track future Investment 

To better quantify our “multiplier effect,” we track how much additional support and funding partner programs raise as a result, at least in part, from 3rd Creek Foundation’s early engagement.