Grassroots efforts propel new Unbound platform

Members of the Prosperina community in Guayaquil, Ecuador, climb the newly constructed stairs. The community is now able to reach the main street safely without the risk of slips or falls.

Understanding the immense capacity of families to improve their lives and communities is at the forefront of what drives Unbound. The mindset that those living in poverty have the solutions to overcome it inspires Unbound teams to seek novel ways to motivate and support families. From personalized benefits for those sponsored, to the new Agents of Change community development grants, the teams listen to allow the people’s concerns and ideas to shape the assistance they receive.

One core Unbound belief is that building community will counterbalance the process of poverty and isolation. The innovative Agents of Change platform connects grantors to people within a small community closest to the problem to be solved. The community identifies the need, develops a pragmatic solution and seeks partners to aid in the work. The process is competitive and involves applications, budgets, and an analysis and review aspect to help ensure initiatives will be successful and beneficial. Unbound facilitates the grant-making process by providing the structures, monitoring and tax benefit to the grantor.

“Eliminating extreme poverty from our world will require increasingly targeted and tailored approaches,” Dan Pearson, Unbound’s director of international programs, said. “It will require greater participation and control by the communities themselves. We need their expertise and ideas.”

The standard grant amount awarded is $500 per group. In many instances, groups have leveraged that support with volunteer help and other resources available to them. In 2018, Unbound awarded $300,000 in Agents of Change grants, funding initiatives in seven countries. Some of these projects included reforestation efforts in Guatemala, the construction of stairs on a hill in Ecuador, the installation of a public restroom in a community in the Philippines and the restoration of a soccer field for youth activities in Colombia.

By giving families opportunities to learn life skills, while trusting in their wisdom and abilities, Unbound encourages them to be a solution for ending poverty, and have confidence that it can begin in their homes and neighborhoods.

Each community grant offered promotes more civic-minded global citizens. Each project completed establishes more agents of change in the world.

Unbound Comfort Rooms. Pictured (from left) mothers Pearl Joy, Emelita and Daryl stand in front of the “comfort room” their group installed to allow community members access to a nearby, sanitary public restroom.