Since the start of our Mission: Impact campaign we have received so many encouraging calls and emails sharing love and support during this time of financial need. Thank you! We would like to post below answers to some commonly asked questions about our need to run this campaign.
We have been hearing about Freedom Global growth even up through the Valentine’s Ball this year. Why is there such a sudden financial concern that is so critical to continuing the school and farm?
The need for immediate financial support at Freedom Global is primarily the result of three circumstances:
Shortfalls in Revenues in our businesses:
Freedom Global currently has four businesses: Uhuru Shambas (Freedom Farms), Dairy Cows, Freedom Artisans and Pig Rearing. Of these four businesses working to support Uhuru Academy two of them are working through financial challenges.
- Uhuru Shambas (Freedom Farms): Over the past six months we have seen dramatic cutbacks in revenues generated from produce sales to our two largest customers. These cutbacks were through changes in management at the customer’s operation and do not reflect any negative performance by our Kenyan employees. The loss of these sales has resulted in our farms not only not breaking even, but rather we are now losing $3,700 per month. Since it is unlikely that we will regain the business we have lost we are exploring ways to reduce costs while still meeting the lower demand level.
- Pig Rearing: Over the past year we have built up our pig rearing business so that we now have 130 pigs and are selling 10-12 per month. Ultimately, building to a steady revenue stream for our pig operation is taking longer than we had hoped. We have brought in $2,500 revenue from our pigs, but have seen $7,500 in expenses due primarily to high pig feed cost. Over the past two months our pig rearing staff have been working to find creative ways to reduce the cost of pig feeds so that we can make this operation profitable.
An increase in our monthly cost base.
- Uhuru Academy: We are currently spending $4,000 more per month at Uhuru Academy than we were at this time last year. This is largely due to increased enrollment. The expenses are being incurred in teacher payroll ($1,200 per month), food and other supplies ($1,300 per month), uniforms and textbooks ($800 per month), field trips and other events ($500 per month), and other miscellaneous increases.
- General Administrative Costs: We are also spending about $500 more per month in general and administrative costs. These increases are due to additonal Kenyan staff members on our core staff, an increase in general supplies and more maintenance required on our aging vehicles
Significant One-Time costs
We have incurred several one-time costs that have caused a financial strain
- As a ministry we decided to cover the cost of work visas for our USA staff living in Kenya: $3,500.
- Our farm landlord required one year of land rent paid up front: $3,500
- We have spent $25,000 purchasing cows for our dairy farm. Although this was largely separately funded it was likely, to some degree, a matter of redirecting funds from one campaign to another within Freedom Global.
Is this a one-time $156,000 campaign?
Our vision as a ministry has always been to raise money in the USA that will financially support our work in the developing world, exclusively Kenya now, until our businesses become strong enough to fund our education initiatives and discipleship programs. Once the businesses are financially supporting the rest of our work in country we will consider our ministry financially sustainable and then be able to exclusively invest our donations into capital expansion. This campaign aims to help us raise $13,000 per month not simply a one-time donation goal of $156,000 ($13,000 X 12 months). Monthly donations allow us to have steady income and project forward our financial status so we can make wise decisions as we build-up our school, businesses and discipleship program. So, while the $13,000 per month current campaign is designed to meet specific needs, we will continue to actively build our monthly donations to help insure a steady influx of working capital.
What are the immediate repercussions if Freedom Global is not able to raise $13,000 per month to support our programs in Kenya?
Ultimately, we can only run the programs that we can financially support through our Kenyan businesses, US donations and Uhuru Academy school fees. At the end of this fundraising campaign the Freedom Global board and staff will be taking a sober look at what funding we have coming into the ministry from all sources. Our prayer is that we will have raised enough to keep everything going with strength. In the case that there is a financial short fall we will have to examine what we are able to keep running and make a strategic plan to reduce the size of our ministry and build back up over time. Sadly, this does mean that we will have to consider if we can continue running Uhuru Academy and our farms since both are key contributors to our financial expenses climbing to a critical level.
What is Freedom Global doing to ensure that we are not in this place again financially in 12 months or anytime moving forward?
While the majority of these financial issues that have caused the critical need for us to run this Mission: Impact campaign could not have been foreseen we are still putting every structure in place to ensure that we are not in the same financial crunch down the road. Here are a few tangible items we have already put into place.
- Dairy Cow Business: This past year we have launched a dairy farm that is already proving to be profitable. Currently we have 13 dairy cows and have been given the funds to purchase another 7 dairy cows. Each dairy cow cost $2,000, but will realistically bring in as much as $185 profit per month for ten months out of the year. If our future cows bring in as much as we are seeing with our current cows then we could see as much as $35,000 + come in from these twenty cows annually. We expect to have our twenty cows milking by October.
- Freedom Artisans: Our Freedom Artisans business is small, but growing. Last year we saw almost $8,000 come in as we sold necklaces, bags, and home goods made in Kenya. This year we’re developing a direct sales arm to Freedom Artisans so we can expand our sales team.
- Uhuru Academy: Every year we take a look at the Uhuru Academy budget, compare it to our business and USA financial support ability, and then make a decision as to our ratio of impoverished students to paying student at the school. Currently we have a 60/40 ratio and in November we will again be assessing if that is the correct ratio so that we can handle the financial demand at Uhuru Academy.
- Monthly Donations: The reason we are shooting to raise monthly support through our Mission: Impact Campaign is so we can make sure each month we have plenty in our accounts to keep the whole Freedom Global ministry going strong. Growing our monthly donors will help us ensure we are not operating off large one time donations that may be here this year but not in years to come.
- Grants: This year we hired a professional grant writer. Our conservative expectation is that we will receive between $100,000-$250,000 annually to help support our school and businesses in Kenya from these grants.