Executive Director John McCollum with children from Asia's Hope India

Executive Director John McCollum with children from Asia's Hope India

From Executive Director John McCollum

Director’s letter  

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.

Warmly,

 

John McCollum, Executive Director  john@asiashope.org


Financial summary

A year of growth

Giving in 2016 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$XXX,XXX in the black, allowing us to replenish key funding categories and return the organization to the net positive position we enjoyed for X out of the last 10 years. Despite an increase in spending in nearly every category, we maintained in 2016 an exceptionally low overhead rate of 11%, versus a national average non-profit overhead rate of more than 35%.


Strategic Priorities and Plan

Enriching, Expanding, Extending

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.


Structural Improvements

The Grand Project

In 2016, we also made significant progress on what we've sometimes called "The Grand Project," a series of structural improvements across our organization designed to prepare us for the significant growth we're anticipating over the next 15 years.

Many of our internal policies — including some essential registrations, bylaws and partnership agreements — were established when we were a much smaller organization. We've been working hard with our national directors, board members and executive staff to identify and replace the pieces that no longer serve our growing ministry. We've completely replaced our Code of Regulation (our "Constitution," so to speak), and have written a much more thorough and relevant body of policies that address everything from human resources to conflicts of interest. We still have a ways to go, but 2017 should see the full implementation of most of The Grand Project. As a result, we're entering 2017 with a policy base that not only accommodates our current needs, but gives us room to grow. 


Making room for more

New homes in India and Cambodia

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.

 Children from the Kalimpong 6 Children's Home, sponsored by Sacred Space Church (Worthington, OH)

Children from the Kalimpong 6 Children's Home, sponsored by Sacred Space Church (Worthington, OH)

 The Battambang 13 Children's Home, sponsored by the Wes and Dawn Polsdorfer family, will be welcoming 20 new children by Summer 2017.

The Battambang 13 Children's Home, sponsored by the Wes and Dawn Polsdorfer family, will be welcoming 20 new children by Summer 2017.

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 to welcome 20 children and live-in staff in Summer 2018. The Chapel also sponsors our Prek Eng 2 and Battambang 6 (Cambodia) homes. They also have underwrite 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.


Investing in our children and their communities

The Asia’s Hope Secondary School in Battambang, Cambodia

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 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 guest 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 has been enjoyed 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!


A place to grow and thrive

Improved and expanded athletic facilities in Thailand

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.


Preparing the way for future growth

Significant changes underway at our Wiang Pa Pao, Thailand campus

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.


building long-term relationships

New opportunities for “whole-home sponsorship” in Doi Saket, Thailand

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 longterm 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.


A good problem to have

Extraordinary academic success poses challenges to Scholarship Fund

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 could 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, continuing to significantly increase our educational funding in order to meet the needs of the next generation of students that will be graduation 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.


A new school year brings new schools

Better education for the kids of Asia’s Hope India

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), sponsor of the Asia's Hope India Elementary School, 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.


Trusting god to provide for our needs

Endless opportunities to invest

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 a list of current needs, please contact us today.


Entering our 15th year poised for growth

Courageous Leadership for 2017 and beyond

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