The West Foundation was one of Village Enterprise’s earliest institutional funders at a moment when the organization was poised for growth. We were drawn to Village Enterprise because of its unique grassroots approach to alleviating poverty in Eastern Africa. This organization provides the resources and support necessary to help the poorest people living in rural areas. Its leadership used the West Foundation’s well-timed support to pilot and develop innovative programming, scale high-impact solutions, and attract additional funders to Village Enterprise’s proven micro-grant model.
Over 12 years of support, the West Foundation’s grants to Village Enterprise totaled $245,000. The focus of these awards ranged from building training curriculum, to piloting new microenterprise models, and expanding successful efforts such as Village Enterprise’s Smarter Market Analysis Risk Tool (S.M.A.R.T.).
Village Enterprise has evolved in scope since this partnership first began. In 2002, it had a budget of just $300,000 and now the budget has reached over $1,600,000. This year, approximately 48,000 individuals now experience a significantly higher standard of living thanks to the 2,400 businesses seeded through the training and micro grant program and those numbers are increasing year after year.
In 2013, in partnership with BRAC research and evaluation unit, Village Enterprise launched a 3-year randomized control trial (RCT) to rigorously evaluate its impact and inform programmatic decision making for maximum results moving forward. The study will also contribute to the ongoing policy debate in the field of international development on the optimal mechanisms for poverty alleviation.
We at the West Foundation are incredibly excited to see how the passionate and talented staff of Village Enterprise works to move thousands more individuals out of extreme poverty in the future.
As the West Foundation’s inaugural Program Officer, Samantha is responsible for developing and supporting partnerships with its constituent organizations, as well as establishing communications with potential new partners for the gifting program. Currently based in Indianapolis, Indiana, but originally from Johnston, Rhode Island, Ms. Alarie-Leca’s first sojourn in the Hoosier State occurred when she attended the University of Notre Dame for her college experience, eventually graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in French and Francophone Studies in 2007. Samantha also holds an M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership from the school of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, which she earned in 2013. While at Penn, she served as a Fellow for the prestigious Lipman Family Prize with the Leadership Office at the Wharton School of Business.