The Gazelle Foundation’s goals are to find ways to improve life for all people in Burundi. This is a unifying effort that does not favor a specific tribe or group. Secondly, because Austin is home, the Foundation gives back to the local community, specifically helping Austin’s youth.
A key challenge in Burundi is that financial gifts do not often get to where they are intended. We initially addressed this by providing a grant to a well-established relief organization in the country who was already providing tangible relief to their beneficiaries. Since the Songa Project, we have located a manager who has administered the last seven water systems. We are pleased to say that nearly 100 percent of all donations go directly to our work, thanks in part to a grant covering administrative needs. As a near all-volunteer organization, this practice makes best use of our limited personnel resources and simplifies the Foundation’s requirement to retain status as a tax-exempt organization.
As of December 2012, the Gazelle Foundation has served over 15,500 citizens clean, potable drinking water. The goal was to serve 8,000 in 2012 and we came very close by building four systems to a population of 7,845. In 2013, we’re stepping up the efforts to give the gift of clean water to 10,000 more villagers! Through this accessibility, the people of Songa, Burundi have seen a dramatic decline in the existence of waterborne illnesses, an increase in school attendance, and an overall positive change in life. Visit any one of our projects by selecting the links on the right side of your screen.
15,641 – Number of Burundians served as of January 2013
32.8 – Kilometers of pipe trenched through Burundi soil (20.3 miles)
$320,000 – Amount of your donations spent on providing access to clean water
10,000 – Number of additional citizens we aim to serve in 2013
How We Do It:
- System is proposed by our project manager in conjunction with the local government administration.
- Gazelle Foundation reviews, seeking projects that will serve not just general population but infrastructure such as schools, medical facilities, and churches.
- Gazelle Foundation Board of Directors votes and approves funding.
- Legal agreement signed by project manager and Gazelle Foundation, outlining all details and expectations.
- Projects are divided into multiple payments based on the project team meeting specific milestones outlined in the agreement.
- Construction begins, utilizing local villagers for labor.
- After all construction completed, official hand off is signed between project manager and head government official, granting all rights to the system to the people!
The systems we construct become property of the citizens of the villages, helping foster true ownership as well as the understanding that they must maintain the tanks and tap stands.
The Foundation’s initial plans were to encourage youth participation in running events by lowering the barriers to entry. Our goal was to allow more kids to experience Kids K or 5K races and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes through participation, completion and physical fitness. By subsidizing the cost of entry fees for select events, the Foundation can significantly reduce or remove a financial barrier for many families and encourage a healthy, rewarding lifestyle. From 2008 to 2011, the Foundation has sponsored kids in the Dillo Run, St. Johns 5K, Run for the Water, Allison Elementary Running Program and Gilbert Tuhabonye’s Youth Summer Camp.
In 2012 we began a partnership with local non-profit A Legacy of Giving to hold Walk for the Water, a spring event with thousands of kids from more than 30 Austin public and private schools. During the spring school semester, students are taught curriculum that features statistics and detail on the plight of the water situation in Burundi. In April they come together for a one-day walk, raising awareness and funds to help change lives through the Gazelle Foundation. In 2012 these students ages 8-18 collectively donated more than $25,000!
If you are interested in having a member of the Foundation come and speak to your class or organization, let us know! We have a very educational program to share and educate.
Implementation and Distributions
The foundation has implemented its efforts through charitable relief organizations in the past and may choose to do so again in the future. These organizations are chosen based on their:
- Synergy with the goals of the Gazelle Foundation
- Ability to provide direct action to the Foundation’s targeted beneficiaries
- Name recognition to assist in generating visibility and donations
- Qualification with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization
The Foundation’s Beneficiary Committee identifies and qualifies individual organizations. Please contact our beneficiary committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.