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A peek into Compassionate Eye Foundation’s future

March 13, 2012

“When you live in Gugeletu, you’ve got two options in life….
it’s either you are a gangster or you are going to school but I choose to go to school.”

“There’s a lot ahead of me and I am ready for it.” I must dream of things that will make me successful.”

“I live to all I trust and all I trust becomes something that I own.”
Quotes from schoolchildren in video from Fezeka High School, Guguletu Township, South Africa

As with any good business and just like the young children who are quoted above, Compassionate Eye plans for the future. CEF recently completed the Board Chair Academy program through Vantage Point (an organization that works with non-profits to improve their governance, management, and planning) to assess its strengths and areas which require improvement. The work with Vantage Point proved to be very valuable. CEF learned that it is doing well for a new, small organization, however, as a result of the Vantage Point process, it is strengthening its governance and creating more of a strategic approach for its board. It has added new skilled members to its board and will be transforming the roles on the board to improve its efficiency and to enable better big-picture thinking.

CEF has an ingenious funding method in its photographic royalty stream. Robert Brown, the Board Chair of CEF, says that both CEF and Getty Images have a common goal to expand the number and range of images to produce more royalties. At the same time, CEF knows it must be nimble to adapt as the digital world increasingly impacts traditional media which then has an effect on photography. Advised by Rob Daly, a CEF board member and well-respected UK photographer, CEF engages the volunteer services of the best stock photographers in the world (96 different photographers have participated to date). By choosing its locations carefully and hiring experienced producers and others to work the shoots, often for reduced costs, CEF ensures that the photos are highly attractive to purchasers. And to ensure that it continues to flourish, CEF is investigating other funding sources.

CEF has grown to the point that it now has projects in seven different countries in four continents. CEF has learned that partnering with knowledgeable, in-the-field organizations and choosing projects which are best suited to their mission statement increases the impact of CEF’s money. By having diverse operations and using partnerships, CEF has the flexibility to move its funds to where they can best be used. It also benefits by emphasizing sustainability and knows that communities where CEF has been involved have a better ability to survive even when conditions worsen.

Compassionate Eye has shown that with small steps and well thought out planning, it can deliver on its mission. If you would like to donate or volunteer knowing that your money and time will be well-spent, you can contact Compassionate Eye.

Next post, Compassionate Eye – What can you do when the rabbits don’t breed?

All photographs courtesy of Compassionate Eye.

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