A Weekly Profile of a Local Nonprofit Organization
Journeys of Solutions Inc., incorporated in 2008, helps volunteers organize service projects that will benefit people living in developing countries.
Often the volunteers organizing the projects have traveled to developing countries, visited communities there and returned home with a desire to improve the lives of the people they met.
JOS was the brainchild of Rick French, owner of Pack, Paddle & Ski Corp., a company based in South Lima, Livingston County, which offers outdoor adventure trips to locations worldwide. The idea originated with a trip French led in 2007 and the desire of travelers in his group to help people they saw.
JOS aims to be an incubator for volunteer ventures, stoking the possibility that some projects might spin off over time and become free-standing nonprofit organizations. Its mission then is to serve two constituencies: volunteers in their efforts to help people, and the beneficiaries of those volunteer efforts. Moreover, JOS will help volunteers develop their own projects or enable them to participate in projects that already exist.
JOS also works with foreign volunteer organizations as an American counterpart for fundraising.
While volunteers often travel to foreign project sites—and they pay their own way to do so—a literal journey is not required for a service project to receive help from JOS. The organization can help send assistance overseas without people actually traveling there.
To support volunteers’ ventures, JOS provides advice on project logistics, help with fundraising and with donor communications through the website and digital media. Because JOS is an all-volunteer organization, it can keep overhead costs low and ensure almost all donated funds are applied directly to aid projects.
JOS has more than a dozen current projects in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Many involve one or two people working on a particular effort in countries such as Kenya, Nicaragua and India.
But JOS also is involved with larger, continuing projects.
Scholarships have been funded for orphans to attend a high-performing English-language primary and secondary boarding school in the Karatu district of Tanzania. JOS has funded the education of 16 children since 2009.
Houses have been built in the same region of Tanzania for poor Mt. Kilimanjaro trekking porters and their families and for homeless widows who become second-class citizens after their husbands die.
Another long-term effort, the 4 Walls Project, has enabled volunteers from the Rochester area to participate in building brick houses for impoverished residents of El Sauce, Nicaragua. Since 2009, the project has built more than 120 safe and sturdy homes to replace crumbling, makeshift housing there, while also building relationships between the Americans and Nicaraguans who work together on construction. Volunteers also have included local high school and college groups.
JOS has no paid employees and no office. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 28, Webster, N.Y. 14580, and its website is www.journeysofsolutions.org.
Financial record Year ended Dec. 31, 2016
Contributions, gifts, grants $117,253 100
Total revenue $117,253
Grants $109,273 97
Bank, credit card fees 1,398 1
Insurance 1,275 1
Printing, shipping 434 less than 1
Miscellaneous supplies 110 less than 1
Total expenses $112,490
Excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenses $4,763
Board of directors:
Robert Kuehl, president
Yvonne Dupuis, treasurer
—Researched by Bill Alden
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