Katharina Cavano l Palladium - Feb 02 2022
From DC to Ghana: Announcing Our Communities Fund Winners

Source: Action Through Enterprise

For the past 20 years, Palladium has committed 1.5 per cent of its profit to the company’s global giving platform. Through this platform and in partnership with the Kyeema Foundation, Palladium funds humanitarian relief efforts, supports community projects nominated by employees, and runs an annual Challenge Fund to tackle a major global problem.

Established in 2004, 20 percent of Palladium’s annual giving is reserved for the Our Communities Fund, which has since donated over USD 800,000 to a range of activities and initiatives identified and recommended by Palladium employees. These small grants build on the strength of communities to enhance or expand the skills, capacities, and assets of people in the areas in which Palladium works.

This year, after an extensive search and several applications submitted, the committee chose two winners: Jobs Have Priority based in Washington, DC and Action Through Enterprise in Ghana. “When we’re looking for Our Communities projects, we’re looking for a unique mix, impactful projects,” notes Sinead Magill, Palladium Managing Partner. “In some cases, these aren’t necessarily the obvious choices but they’re the ones that really create an impact or are small interventions that catalyse a change.”

The key part of the Our Communities projects Magill adds is that they must be projects that our staff are either embedded in or connected with outside of work and link us really closely to the communities where Palladium is working.

Jobs Have Priority

A community-based, non-profit social service organisation, Jobs Have Priority (JHP) helps people experiencing homelessness seek, obtain, and retain employment and secure housing. Founded in 1988 as a ‘job club’ in a city shelter in downtown DC, JHP has since expanded its scope of work to better serve the area’s homeless population by providing education, life skills, and vocational training.

“Each day our staff walk by many of the homeless people in the Washington, DC area, and this is the perfect jumping off point for Palladium to not only get a better understanding of our own neighborhood, but it’s a chance to get engaged with and be a good member of our community,” says Palladium Director of Thought Leadership Eduardo Tugendhat and nominator of Jobs Have Priority. “One of the really neat things about JHP is that the focus isn’t just about getting homeless people into shelters, it’s a more holistic approach of providing them with the skills and competencies needed to get them into jobs.”

Though JHP is an agency whose mission and focus is helping those experiencing homelessness to get jobs, they recognise that employment isn’t possible without a level of stability, and prioritise ensuring that the people who walk through their doors’ basic needs are addressed before moving forward with solutions for employment.

The grant from the Our Communities fund will support general operating expenses to assist homeless and at-risk people in the Greater Washington, DC Metro Area achieve self-sufficiency and sustainability through comprehensive case management and critical supportive services. The project will run for a year and provide outreach services such as housing assistance and employment and vocational training programs.

Action Through Enterprise

In Ghana, Action Through Enterprise (ATE), is helping local communities to move out of the cycle of poverty through access to education, food, and income security through small business development and dry season farming, along with support for disabled children and their families.

With nearly ten years of experience, the organisation has made significant impact in the lives of individuals, families, and rural communities through delivering, developing and scaling development initiatives in partnership with communities in Lawra, Ghana. To date, ATE has supported over 1,800 children with school meals and materials to access education, supported 170 families with disabled children to access services and increase inclusion, kickstarted 95 sustainable small businesses, 9 dry season farms, and piloted a program for 9 female apprentices to gain vocational skills.

“I had the privilege of visiting Lawra, Ghana, when I joined the board of trustees at ATE,” notes Priyanka Devani, Palladium’s Education Director and nominator of ATE. “What I discovered was a truly innovative approach to eradicating poverty in a small, remote and forgotten community - this involved passionate and dedicated local staff who understood the community and the barriers they faced, worked hand in hand with them, listening to their needs and co-creating a holistic set of initiatives to really address the root causes of marginalisation and poverty in the area”

The Our Communities funding will help ATE establish a new hub in Bagri Junction and address extreme poverty in four rural communities in Lawra, Upper West Region, Ghana. The project will run for a year and deliver improved access to education, increased income for rural households and support for special needs awareness through increased inclusion of disabled children and their families.

“We can’t support all of the projects that apply, though we wish we could, but we do want to support and encourage our people who are involved with projects to further cement those relationships,” adds Magill.

As Magill adds, the goal with the Our Communities funds is not for it to be transitory or one and done deal. “Rather, we want to build on existing relationships and inspire our people to get involved or volunteer in their communities and bring forward thoughts and perspectives from organisations they may be involved with outside of Palladium.”

To learn more contact LMIP@kyeemfoundation.org.