2013 Microphilanthropy Initiative Update

NEW! Click here to view a video message of gratitude from the three MAHA students who benefited from your generosity.

A new Internet crowd-funding venture, known as the Microphilanthropy Initiative, was launched at the Friedman School last spring. Through this initiative, annual fund donors were able to target their gifts to support people and programs they found especially meaningful and then track the project’s progress online.

One of the initial priority areas seeking funding was financial aid for students in the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program at the Feinstein International Center. Support of the MAHA program gives mid-career international aid workers, like Rachael Ameyo Were, N13, FG13, the skills needed to reach those in the most vulnerable situations. In the winter of 2012, Were was in Mogadishu, Somalia, assessing relief needs after a severe drought that had displaced thousands of homeless and hungry Somalians to the streets. As she walked through the scattered informal settlements of the city, she was startled by a paradox: side by side coexisted a bustling modern economy and a destitute population in slum-like conditions. She couldn’t help but ask, “Are we doing this right?”

Were grew up in Kenya, where she dedicated more than eight years working in international relief and development aid programming. She also spent a few years as a teacher in Somalia for SOS Children’s Villages, a nonprofit that promotes childcare, health, education, and children’s rights in developing countries. Her goal is to ensure that the needs of the urban poor are reflected in relief aid programming. Now, having graduated, she has brought all she learned at Friedman to her work.

Each microphilanthropy project had a champion, or angel investor, who donated half of the funding target and led outreach efforts. One of the first angel investors was Cristiana Falcone Lady Sorrell, N01, F01, who gave $25,000 to MAHA financial aid to help students like Were. She is the senior advisor to the chair of the World Economic Forum and a member of the Friedman School Board of Advisors.

“I was awarded a scholarship myself, so now that I can afford it, it is my turn to enable young practitioners to succeed,” She says. “I am proud to be able to help lead the initiative and empower the next generation of international humanitarian aid professionals.”

Special thanks to the Microphilanthropy Initiative’s champions

Diversity Funding: James Rabb, M.D., AR

Humanitarian Assistance Financial Aid: Cristiana Falone Lady Sorrel, N01, F01, AR

Dillard Internship: Edward Swan, A63, TR Emeritus, AR

HNRCA Student Innovation Fund: Johanna Dwyer, R.R., D.Sc.

Frances Stern: Helene Fulchs, AG75, Carole Palmer, AG69, and Patricia Kearney, AG78

2013 Graduating Class Gift: Lisa D’Agrosa, Franciel Dawes, Elliot Hohn, Lisa Massini, Lorena Macias Navarro, Jackie Parr, Micah Risk, Vicky Santoso, and Caitlin Wong