Educate Lanka

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Educate Lanka

Silver Spring, United StatesEntire Country, Sri Lanka
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

According to UNESCO, 71 million children in secondary school age were out of school in 2010. Participation in higher education remains at only 7%. Among many factors, poverty has been identified as the biggest impediment for access to education. In Sri Lanka, nearly 200,000 students drop out of school every year. Among these are thousands of promising students who could become the future leaders of the country. With over 1 million Sri Lankans accounting for $5 billion annual remittances, we developed a unique micro-philanthropic platform that crowd-funds mainly from the global Diaspora community to underwrite the cost of education of deserving students through micro-scholarships. Our unique high-impact model provides funders a platform that transfers 100% of their funds to the students.

About You
Organization:
Educate Lanka Foundation, Inc.
About You
First Name

Manjula

Last Name

Dissanayake

Title

Founding President

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Educate Lanka Foundation, Inc.

Organization Country

, MD, Silver Spring, Montgomery County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Entire Country

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Project description
What are your organization's top three priorities in the next year?

1). Implement our global chapter expansion strategy to facilitate our scale on the ground in Sri Lanka
2). Strengthen our financial sustainability and expand our web presence and donor engagement
3). Move from a centralized operations to a decentralized governance and operational structure

Your project
Project Support
Need #1

Consumer/Audience Acquisition

Need #2

Message & Brand Strategy

Based on your first choice of the eight technical categories you selected above, what is your specific project need? Please be specific!

Having operated Educate Lanka's crowd-funding platform from the Greater Washington DC area with proven impact during our pilot period, we are focused on a two-fold expansion strategy for next five years: 1). chapter-level expansion across global Diaspora strongholds to extend our reach to new philanthropic markets for direct student sponsorships; 2). global-level strategy to increase fundraising revenue to underwrite the cost of overhead and administration of our scaled up operations. Therefore, our project need is also two-fold: 1). develop strategy to extend operations from a centralized to a more decentralized chapter-level structure in new customer markets across the developed world; 2). develop strategy to increase global-level fundraising through high net-worth donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors. While we have already begun putting together high-level strategies for these two expansion areas, we hope American Express executives could guide and advise us on implementation and proper execution of those strategies to meet our impact goals over the next five years.

What three characteristics or qualities do you prioritize in working relationships/partnerships?
1.

Transparency: in communication and delivery

2.

Retention: of commitment and service

3.

Satisfaction: maximizing the return (financial or otherwise) on investment/donation

Will support from American Express be focused on your organization overall or a specific product/service? Please describe.

Since the need is for strategy on our expansion of core programs, the support from American Express will be focused on our overall organization. However, we have identified two specific areas within the overall strategy for the Serve2Gether consulting opportunity.

Have you focused on the above area previously? If so, please explain, including whether you have worked with outside consultants before.

Yes. We have focused on the area before at a very high level. We have begun efforts for chapter expansion strategy by engaging outside pro-bono consultants from NYU Stern MBA Program (Stern Consulting Corps) who are currently assessing our current operations, market research, and analysis for future financial need and gaps. However, they are not focusing on the execution, implementation, and operations of global chapter strategy or on the global-level fundraising strategy to underwrite our cost of scaling.

Are you able to commit 3-5 hours/wk over 10-12 weeks?

Yes

Are you able to meet virtually or at a convenient in-person location?

Yes

Are you able to meet in the city where your organization is based?

Yes

Impact
Rank your three intended outcomes of this project:
1.

An implementation strategy for chapter expansion

2.

An operational guideline for decentralized governance structure

3.

A global-level fundraising strategy to meet our overhead and administrative needs for scaled up operations

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

To-date, operating on a volunteer-basis from just one location through our online crowd-funding platform, we have provided nearly $150,000 in micro-scholarships to nearly 500 promising students from underprivileged backgrounds who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to achieve the education they deserve. This equals to funding of over 1,500 school years and an indirect impact of over 2,000 individuals through the ripple impact our students create in their families and communities. Among the 500 future leaders whose education we have funded, nearly 100 have already completed higher education, realizing their academic potential and opportunities for employment.

What is your project future impact after receiving professional support from American Express?

With the support of American Express, we will be able to successfully implement our expansion strategy that would allow us to scale our operations to nearly 40 global chapters with an overall annual operational budget of nearly $1 million. With such scale in operations, we would directly impact nearly 5,000 deserving students with over 10,000 school years of funding. These future leaders who receive the opportunity to realize their full academic potential would have indirectly impacted the lives of over 20,000 through the immediate positive ripple impact they create in their families and communities, leading to social, human, and economic growth of the nation.