This is the impromptu speech I delivered during the presentation of $10,000 checks to both Education in Sight and XiXi Garden.
“First off, we want to thank you, Andrew, for being a great source of information throughout this entire process. Your dedication to EIS not only shows in how much EIS has grown since 2012, but also in your willingness to make time to speak with us, even when it was very inconvenient for you. (to group) I wanted to share that Andrew was actually going through airport security when the due diligence team called him to learn more about EIS, and that he was embarking on one of the first trips through which Chinese students have the opportunity to serve abroad. (to Andrew, co-founder of Education in Sight) We also really appreciate your taking the time to get up at 4 am to answer more of our questions after we voted for EIS to be one of the four finalist organizations. You were really charismatic and engaging, even at 4 am in the morning!
Overall, we have been very inspired to learn about the connection between vision and education, and by your well-researched and proven plan for EIS’s expansion. You provided substantial and convincing answers to each of our questions, which goes to show all the thought you and other EIS leaders have put into every detail of your operations. We’re also excited to see how many solid partnerships you have, and how many more you will have in the coming years.
We were also very impressed by the fact that you collected a lot of information about the current Program Manager’s experiences this past year, and used that information to create a thorough, month-by-month plan for the Program Manager’s responsibilities moving forward. We’re excited to be a small part of helping EIS implement a plan to achieve a more comprehensive and sustainable impact, which is the kind of impact our Model Foundation’s vision states that we seek to support.
When we asked you what would happen if we weren’t able to fully fund the ~$13,000 Program Manager salary (because we had a lot of other organizations that were also interested in our funding), your answer was really memorable. You mentioned that it could be an option to just hire a Program Manager for just 6 months, but that it was not ideal. You then mentioned that if there were really no other sources of funding, because no other foundations are generally willing to fund an organization’s capacity building costs, that you would be willing to pay out for it of your own pocket. Your response really demonstrated 1) how urgently EIS needed the Program Manager to move forward in its expansion, 2) the confidence you had in the well-researched business model of your social enterprise, and 3) your eagerness to reach the goals you’ve set for EIS in one year, two years, and five years.
We really wanted to fund the Program Manager salary in full, to help him/her achieve the relationship building that is essential for the continuation of EIS’s time-sensitive work, and the continuation of the partnerships between EIS and other organizations / government bureaus. But I wanted to say that we also really wanted to support the work of XiXi Garden, which is the first organization to provide comprehensive sex education for children in China. (to Hua XueMei, founder of XiXi Garden) As a student from the US, I relied on my peers to help me understand the complete dearth of sex education in China, and the immense need for children to empower and protect themselves with this knowledge that I’ve always taken for granted. As a Model Foundation, we wanted to recognize the social pushback that XiXi must combat as it reaches out to schools and other stakeholders, and we recognize that the community activities and PR that XiXi requested funding for are urgently needed — not only for educating children and their families, but also for beginning to fundamentally change the larger social attitude around sex education. We are so excited to see the future of XiXi’s endeavors and how a change in attitude would lay the foundations for other organizations to either partner with you, or even implement their own ideas for providing children with comprehensive sex education.