Spirit in Action's micro-grants support individuals, families, and grassroots organizations in Africa to start small businesses and community programs.
Spirit in Action is founded on Christian principles. SIA grants are available to anyone, regardless of ethnicity, background or faith tradition. We never fund proselytizing activities, instead we encourage everyone’s personal spiritual development.
Our small scale programs provide micro-grants of US$150 and small business training to entrepreneurs with the potential to improve their lives, as well as grants of US$100 – $3,000 to small, grassroots, community-based organizations who are working together to support vulnerable families.
Spirit in Action’s (SIA) work is based on the belief that a small grant and sincere encouragement can enable people to tap into their own potential. We know that this is the most important element leading to better food and nutrition, education, better housing, etc. for people struggling to survive and thrive in the developing world—the opportunity to discover their personal self-worth and collective power.SIA does not act as “experts” about the best ways to create development. Our grantees are the true experts.
Our programs include:
SBF is Spirit in Action’s program to support economic development in developing countries. Spirit in Action has supported 445 small businesses in Kenya, Malawi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, India, and Philippines since the program started in 2003.
Groups of 3-5 people receive business training and a $100 initial grant to start or expand their business. After three months, if the group is successful, they receive an additional reinvestment grant of $50.
The Spirit in Action office receives a copy of the business plan, a 3-month Business Report and a One Year report, so that we can follow the group’s successes and challenges.
Our microgrants are the first step out of poverty and can eventually lead to micro-loans once the businesses are established. Micro-finance institutions, even ones that claim to help the poor, often require high collaterals and have crippling interest rates – we have heard countless stories about families losing their belongings and being charged as much as 48% interest on a two week loan.
Spirit in Action works with people and in areas that are often ignored or exploited by micro-finance institutions.
It is a rarely acknowledged fact that no company in the United States begins without start-up capital from outside investors. These investors are known as “angel investors” because they believe in the business model and they are willing provide the entrepreneurs with the capital needed to get their idea off the ground. SIA follows the same principle; Spirit in Action donors are effectively Angel Investors for people in developing countries.
Sharing the Gift
Rather than ask people to pay back the funds to SIA, we ask them to pay it forward, through our Sharing The Gift initiative.
With Sharing the Gift, groups that receive microgrants from Spirit in Action are encouraged to pass on the gift to someone else. This can take a number of forms, from sharing skills, a baby animal, or a percentage of a groups profit. Sharing the Gift not only helps more people in the community to start a thriving business, it also creates a stronger bond between community members by taking an interest in each other’s well being.
Spirit in Action is not evangelical and does not require anyone to declare his or her faith to participate.
Spirit in Action (SIA) recognizes that micro-grants alone may not be enough to bring a community out of poverty. That’s why SIA offers grants to grassroots organizations and community groups in developing countries for projects that draw on local knowledge and bring people together to improve their communities and the surrounding environment.
Often, our grants are the seed that gets a project going. We support specific village projects that will empower the community. Typical projects address food security (agriculture or animal husbandry projects) or training opportunities (bio-intensive gardening, small business training, reforestation, construction of solar ovens).
We work closely and directly with grant recipients, corresponding months or even years before awarding a grant and monitoring grant progress for two years after implementation. We accept grant requests from current correspondents, other nonprofit organizations with whom we network, and other people connected to SIA.
Spirit in Action was founded in 1996 by Del Anderson (July 17, 1906 – August 20, 2008) to carry on the ministry of loving service that God brought through him.
As Del himself said, “It is our joy, privilege and responsibility to transform God’s dream for us into a working, living reality.”