It's been a great year at Asia’s Hope. We pray that you’ll be encouraged as you join us in celebrating God’s blessings on our staff and kids and our partners around the world.
Dear friends and supporters of Asia's Hope,
After a financially challenging 2015, I'm happy to report that Asia's Hope has ended 2016 in great financial shape, high spirits and unified purpose.
As we enter 2017, our 15th year of ministry, we do so with deep gratitude to God and to his people, by whose generosity and courageous leadership we have achieved more than any of us had ever thought possible.
I remember the very earliest days when there were only a few of us. We had visited Cambodia on short term mission trips, and simply wanted to raise some money to give to the amazing Christians we'd met on the ground. We had no idea what we'd become, how God would take our five tiny loaves of bread and two scrawny fishes and multiply them to feed the multitudes.
I recall vividly my meetings with with Dave Atkins, Asia's Hope's co-founder, at the McDonalds in Mansfield, Ohio. Like so many other makers, inventors and entrepreneurs, we sketched out our vision on the back of paper napkins. A lot has changed since then, but the values we articulated over french fries and sodas still hold true today.
We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to build an organization that was "indigenous, grassroots and multi denominational." We had no idea that by 2016 we'd be running two schools and 32 orphan homes serving nearly 800 children and employing nearly 200 staff in three countries. But we were certain that, whatever the size and scope, we wanted to maintain those three values. And we have.
Today, 100% of our staff — from national directors to night watchmen — are indigenous, and are citizens of the countries in which they serve. Although we've grown, we are still a grassroots organization: we rely so heavily on the hard work of partnering churches, small businesses and individual supporters that we are able to maintain a large project portfolio with a tiny administrative staff and even tinier fundraising and marketing budget. And we enjoy a multi-denominational base of support that reflects the diverse beauty of the body of Christ.
As we look forward to our next 15 years of ministry, the principles — and the people — that brought us here will remain as a strong foundation for what I'm praying will be a period of significant growth in all areas of our ministry, growth that will allow us to care for more vulnerable children in more places, changing the world not only for Asia's Hope kids, but for orphaned and abandoned children worldwide who will benefit from the care and funding models we're innovating today.
I invite you to take some time to look over this report and join all of us in thankful prayers that God will continue to prosper Asia's Hope for his glory and for the good of the vulnerable children that he loves so deeply.
John McCollum, Executive Director
In 2016, giving to Asia's Hope was up significantly from the previous fiscal year. We ended 2015 with an income shortfall that depleted nearly all of our unrestricted cash reserves and forced us to temporarily access funds initially restricted for other use. 2016, however, was a very good year for Asia's Hope, and we ended the year US$273,448 in the black, allowing us to replenish key funding categories and return the organization to the net positive position we've enjoyed in past years.
Overhead, in the non-profit world, includes fundraising, administration, management and general expenses. The average U.S.-based non-profit spends more than 30% on overhead. An "A" rated charity spends at least 80% on its programs and no more than 20% on overhead. Despite an increase in spending in nearly every category, Asia's Hope maintained in 2016 an exceptionally low overhead rate of 11%.
According to CharityWatch, a non-profit organization's fundraising is considered "highly efficient" if it spends less than $25 for each $100 donated. The average non-profit in America spends $37 to raise $100. At Asia's Hope, we spend only $.20 on fundraising per $100 raised. That's not two dollars, that's twenty cents.
This extraordinary cost-to-donation ratio is made possible by our whole-home sponsorship model that provides the majority of our operating funds from long-term funding partnerships rather than one-off donations, and by our shared cost strategy that sets aside 18% from every donation received to fund contingencies, administrative costs and projects that do not currently enjoy the support of long-term sponsorship. So whereas other organizations require an ever-growing, full-time fundraising or "development" staff, we have to date been able to spend the lion's share of our funds on personnel and projects that directly benefit the children in our care.
As Asia's Hope grows, we know that we won't be able to sustain such preposterously low cost-to-donation ratios. In fact, we're eager to increase our capacity to raise money from a larger body of individual donors. But we remain committed to stretching every dollar to its limits and maintaining a lean administrative and development budget that maximizes the value of every contribution.
Many groups talk about the value of empowering local leaders, but few have the will, the patience or the faith to build an international organization with a 100% indigenous workforce. At Asia's Hope, we believe deeply in the wisdom, knowledge and spiritual authority of our Cambodian, Thai and Indian staff. Humble and mutually-accountable cross-cultural relationships take a lot of work, but provide immeasurable benefits to the staff, the kids and the organization as a whole.
Only three of Asia's Hope's 204 staff members are Westerners — our executive director, administrator and project manager — and all of them live in the United States.
In 2016, the board of Asia's Hope identified three priorities that will form the basis of our strategic planning for the next 5 to 10 years. These priorities demonstrate our belief that God has given us a uniquely successful model for family-style orphan care, and is offering us a leadership role that will affect not only the lives of the children at Asia's Hope, but vulnerable children around the world. These priorities are:
Enriching the lives of existing Asia's Hope kids and staff
To ensure that each Asia’s Hope child is given the opportunity to emerge from our care an educated and equipped individual empowered to serve their family of origin, their community and country, and the church with their uniquely realized talents and spiritual gifts, we must generously fund university and vocational training scholarships, increase caregiver training and provide additional support staff.
Expanding the number of children in our care
To support the addition of new homes, new staff members and new initiatives, we must build our organizational capacity, adding key communications, finance, and programming capabilities. We must pursue new funding partners and new funding models to ensure the longterm financial viability of a larger organization.
Extending our model of care to future generations
To extend the promise of indigenous-run, family style care to future generations of children inside our organization and beyond, we must free up our existing leaders, promote or hire younger leaders and invest in the development of the leaders of tomorrow. We must also develop materials and venues that will allow us to advocate for our model and train practitioners, administrators and funders to replicate Asia's Hope's successes in communities serving vulnerable children around the globe.
In 2016, we added a sixth children's home to our ministry in India. The Kalimpong 6 home is sponsored by Sacred Space Church in Worthington, Ohio. Sacred Space is a small, "baby" church plant, and it's encouraging to see a congregation make such a significant commitment so early. The cost to feed, clothe and house these 18 children represents a significant portion of the church's overall budget. Please join us in praying that God will richly bless them for their extravagant faith.
We also began construction on two new houses in Battambang, Cambodia. The Battambang 11 home is sponsored by The Chapel (Akron, OH), and will be ready to welcome 20 children and live-in staff in Summer 2018. The Chapel also sponsors our Prek Eng 1 and Battambang 6 (Cambodia) homes. They also have underwritten a significant portion of the secondary education costs for the kids living in the 10 homes on our Battambang campus.
The Battambang 13 home is sponsored by the Wesley and Dawn Polsdorfer family (Columbus, OH). Construction on BB13 will be finished Spring 2017, and the new kids will arrive in Summer. The Polsdorfers have dreamed of supporting an orphan home since adopting their daughter Andriana from Russia 18 years ago.
We're grateful for the generosity of The Chapel and the Polsdorfers. Thanks to their courageous leadership, 40 children who are now living at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation will soon be rescued, and will find a new family at Asia's Hope.
At Asia's Hope, we provide family-style care for orphaned children at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation. We work in countries and communities that lack adequate social services to care for vulnerable children, and where kids who have been permanently separated from their parents by death, abandonment, incarceration or migration face lives of near-certain poverty, sickness and neglect. They live each day in danger of being abused and even trafficked into sex slavery or forced labor.
Thanks to the generous support of churches, businesses and families in the U.S., Canada and Australia, we've been able to provide comprehensive care to these children, not only protecting them while they're young, but providing them the tools they need to succeed as adults, permanently breaking multigenerational bonds of poverty and despair and transforming their communities.
In 2016 we rescued 40 new children, placing them in loving, Christian families. In 2017, we anticipate adding at least 40 more vulnerable children from tough city streets and destitute villages in Cambodia, Thailand and India.
And at our schools in Prek Eng and Battambang in Cambodia, we're helping serve — and preserve — impoverished but intact biological families. Currently, more than 200 students from the communities that surround our schools receive a high-quality education for free or at reduced cost, depending on their family's financial need.
In January 2016, we dedicated our newly-constructed middle and high school on our campus in Battambang, Cambodia. This facility, along with a beautiful new soccer field, was made possible through the generosity of Crossroads Church (Mansfield, OH), sponsors of our Battambang 3 and Battambang 7 children's homes. Special thanks goes to Steve and Deb Ritchie, Crossroads members who underwrote the majority of the costs for land purchase and construction. Grace Community Church (Goshen, IN) also contributed toward construction, furnishing and startup costs for the school, which opened for classes in August 2016.
Executive Director John McCollum, board member Dr. John Campbell (and wife, Bobbi) joined a delegation from Crossroads Church for the dedication service. We were honored by the presence of the Battambang Provincial Governor, Chan Sophal, who gave the keynote address. We were also joined by various local and national dignitaries and government officials, and by our Cambodian National Director, Savorn Ou, and the entire Asia's Hope Battambang family. After the official dedication ceremony, all of the guests enjoyed a dinner under the stars. And after the official delegations departed, John McCollum, Dr. John Campbell and the whole Crossroads team joined the kids in a late-night dance party.
The school serves 140 Asia's Hope middle and high school students and nearly 100 children from the local community. Though it has not even finished its first academic year, the school is already considered one of the finest in Battambang. The soccer field is enjoyed on a daily basis not only by our staff and kids, but by teams from the surrounding area that we've invited for friendly matches and tournaments.
The Chapel (Akron, OH) has graciously provided funding for the first academic year. But we are currently seeking a sponsor — or sponsors — to take on the US$7,200 monthly budget for 2017 and beyond. If you, your church, your family or place of employment would like more information about this urgent need, please contact us today!
Thanks to Grace Church (Wooster, OH) and Geoff and Kay Jollay of Chets Creek Church (Jacksonville, FL), we've invested in significant upgrades to the athletic fields on our Wiang Pa Pao and Doi Saket campuses in Thailand. These facilities provide daily benefit to 9 of our 10 homes in Thailand, and allow us to bless kids from the local community who often join our staff and kids for practices, games and tournaments.
Our Wiang Pa Pao campus currently houses two children's homes sponsored by Grace Church (Wooster, OH), a widow's ministry, a farm that provides fresh produce and pork for our staff and kids, and a church that serves not only our staff and kids, but those of other Christian ministries in the area. In response to changing government regulations that came into effect after the 2014 coup, we've submitted to the regional authorities a new master plan for the campus that includes improvements in fire suppression and electrical systems, construction of security walls and gates, paving of roads and driveways and the expansion of both children's homes' living, cooking and bathing facilities.
We're praying that God will provide a sponsor or sponsors who will come alongside Asia's Hope and Grace Church to provide the funds to implement the next phase of this plan. This spacious property has room for seven more children's homes. Those homes will provide loving families for more than 100 orphaned hill-tribe children who are today living at extraordinary risk of exploitation. But we can't begin recruiting sponsors for those homes until we have made these essential improvements to the existing facilities.
If you know of an individual, church or company who can help us with the US$130,000 we need for the first phase of this $275,000 project, please contact us today.
As Asia's Hope has moved from an individual child sponsorship model to a whole home sponsorship model, almost all of our children's homes are now fully supported by a single church, business or family. We have been working to move three of our four homes at our Doi Saket 1 campus into the latter funding model. In 2016, Chets Creek Church (Jacksonville, FL) committed to fully sponsoring one of those homes. Chets Creek has been a long-term supporter of Asia's Hope Thailand, and we look forward to seeing this partnership deepen as they get to know the 20 children, and build long-term relationships with those kids and the adults who care for them.
Holy Moses, a barbershop in Columbus, OH operated by Justin and Jaime Perkins, has committed to fully sponsoring another of the homes. This leaves one of the homes available for sponsorships.
If you know of an individual or organization that might be interested in picking up this sponsorship for US$3,800 a month, please contact us today.
Thirteen years ago, we welcomed our very first group of kids to the Asia's Hope Children's Home in Battambang, Cambodia. We promised them more than just a place to stay. We promised them a family. We also promised them that, if they finished high school, we would pay for them to attend university.
In a country where only 18% of the most recent generation of Cambodians have graduated from High School, we could never have predicted that 87% of Asia's Hope students could be expected to graduate, and that more than 90% of our graduates in Cambodia would seek post-secondary education. These extraordinary outcomes hold across our entire organization. We couldn't have known that in 2016, we would have nearly 800 children in our care across all of our projects — with 90 of them enrolled in 4 year university programs.
As our executive director has observed, "It's a good problem to have. But it's a problem nonetheless…
As we neared the end of 2015, we needed to raise an additional $37,000 in order to meet the expenses of our university students. This was a daunting challenge, but by the end of the school year, we had raised the necessary funds to keep all of our young scholars enrolled, making good on our promises to these hardworking kids.
In 2016, giving for the scholarship fund was up by 31%. This includes both unrestricted scholarship funds (money to be used for any student in any of our homes) and in restricted funds (money to be used only for a specific home’s current or future scholarship needs). This growth in scholarship giving represents an encouraging trend. But we need to continue this trend, significantly increasing our educational funding in order to meet the needs of the next generation of students that will be graduating from high school across Asia’s Hope’s 32 children’s homes.
By 2020, we could have more than 225 children enrolled in university each year. This means that over the next 15 years, we need to generate $5.3 million in contributions to our scholarship fund, raising an average of $380,000 per year.
In 2017, we are looking to establish new church, corporate and individual funding partnerships, and we're praying that existing partners will increase their contributions to the scholarship fund.
If you know of an organization or individual who understands the transformative role of education in the lives of under-resourced communities, please let us know about them, and let them know about the bright, hard-working kids at Asia's Hope.
In 2016, we made significant changes to our elementary education strategy in India. After months of discussion and with the guidance of our Indian co-directors Sunil Tamang and Amber Gurung, we closed the doors on the elementary school we had been operating since 2012. Although our children had received an adequate education in our school, we concluded that, at this time, we lack the financial and human capital we would require to sustain a level of excellence consistent with our values in an increasingly complex regulatory environment.
Real Wood Floors (West Plains, MO), which had sponsored our school in India, has stepped up once again and has increased its level of funding, allowing us to send our kids to local private schools that have the resources to give our children the high-quality education they'll need to succeed in a highly competitive Indian university system. We are thankful for Real Wood Floors' courageous leadership, and we're looking forward to partnering with other businesses to meet the needs of this generation of students and the next.
With nearly 800 children in full-time care, 200 staff, 32 homes and two large schools, we have a wide range of expansions, expenditures and exigencies for which we are trusting God and his people to provide. From $175 bikes to $175,000 buildings, the opportunities to invest in Asia's Hope are nearly endless.
If you would like to talk about helping us meet any of these needs, please contact us today.
In Luke 19, Jesus illustrates the dynamics of the Kingdom of God with a parable.
He tells the story of a nobleman who left his land to be crowned king in a distant empire. He gathered together ten of his servants and entrusted each of them with a modest quantity of his silver.
After some time, the master returned as king and asked his servants to account for their stewardship of his funds. Each of the servants had made different decisions regarding the investment of the silver — some did nothing at all with it, some invested it modestly and accrued a modest return. One servant said, "Master, I invested your money and made 10 times the original amount." To the servants who did nothing, they were stripped of their position and their resources. To the ones who invested modestly, the master gave a modest reward.
But to the servant who had multiplied the value of the gift ten times over, the king exclaimed, "You are a good servant! You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward!"
Many times, we at Asia's Hope feel like the servant who has just been put in charge of ten cities. We started out with nothing. But we always aspired to lead courageously in the name of the Master and for the sake of His precious kids.
And God has rewarded us with ever-increasing levels of responsibility. More, in fact, than we ever knew we could handle. But the Master hasn't just given us a huge job, He's also provided a growing roster of faithful, courageous people who have taken up the mantle of administering our "ten cities." Or, in our case, 32 children's homes in three countries and six cities. And a couple of schools.
And we've been faithful with that charge as well. So as we look forward to our next 15 years, we believe that God will continue to increase not only our impact but our responsibilities as well. The work is not finished, and won't be until the Kingdom comes in its fullness. There are 150,000,000 orphaned and abandoned kids in this world. There also are tens of thousands of churches, hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of families who need to find a real, Jesus-shaped purpose.
There are battles to fight, homes to be built and injustices to be overcome. And while we certainly don't believe that we've been called to address all of the world's problems, we do believe that by enriching the lives of our existing kids and staff, expanding the number of kids we can care for at Asia's Hope and extending our unique model of family-style orphan care to other courageous leaders around the world, we can spend the rest of our lives engaged in difficult but meaningful endeavors. And we can hand this ministry off to future generations — confident that we've left nothing on the field, that we've never shied away from risks, and that we've left our successors tools they need to do more than we could ever dream.
If you've read this far, we have to assume that you're in, you're up for the challenge and you're trusting along with us that God believes our ability to do His work in His strength for His glory.
And if you'd like to join in the fight by making a generous contribution to our work, you can do so online at our website. Or you can contact us via email or phone and we'll help you think through what role you can play in rescuing, restoring and raising orphaned and vulnerable kids.
Asia's Hope provides family-style, residential care for orphaned children at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation in Cambodia, Thailand and India. Click to make a tax-deductible donation or send a check to Asia's Hope: 296 W. Fourth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201. Call us 614.285.5813 or email us. | Asia's Hope has earned the Guidestar Exchange Seal for its commitment to transparency and accountability.
More than 75% of Asia’s Hope’s project funding comes from ongoing, recurring donations from almost three dozen support alliances. We thank God for these long-term, mutually-beneficial partnerships.