MEDA posts record results for second consecutive year
Indianapolis — As Allan Sauder’s leadership of Mennonite Economic Development Associates ended in 2018, the organization’s success in creating business solutions to poverty reached an all time high.
MEDA set new records, both in donations received and clients served, for the second consecutive year, Sauder noted in his final address to the organization’s annual convention in November. In the year ended June 30, MEDA received $8.2 million in private donations from supporters in North America and Europe, up 31 per cent from a year earlier.
During that period, MEDA worked through 401 partners in 62 countries. Its projects helped almost 103 million families realize healthier, more economically sustainable lives.
MEDA’s Building Enduring Livelihoods fundraising campaign has secured $40 million of gift intentions toward an overall $50 million target, a full year ahead of schedule, campaign chair Rob Schlegel told the convention.
When Sauder became president in 2002, MEDA was reaching about 200,000 clients, with annual revenue about one-seventh of current numbers.
Sauder expressed pleasure about the work that MEDA is currently doing in the areas of promoting gender equality and environmental sustainability. But he also wished that the organization’s sensitivity to environment and climate change issues had been as strong as it is today back when he joined MEDA in 1987. “We are probably at least 31 years late. But that doesn’t mean it is too late, or that there is nothing to be done.”
His successor, Dr. Dorothy Nyambi, brings a wide range of expertise and life experience to the position.
The first woman to head MEDA, she is also the first person of Africandescent to lead the international development charity. She comes from a Presbyterian background.
Nyambi, a bilingual, dual citizen of Canada and Cameroon, worked as a physician for seven years in Africa before moving into international development.
Nyambi sums up her philosophy of leadership by saying that it is “a collective effort, one within which I always seek to have everyone bring their whole self, to solve any problem or idea.”
Empowering MEDA’s partners to do more doesn’t always mean that MEDA will need to do more things, she said. The focus should be on enabling partners and clients to do more of what is relevant to allow them to stay strong and grow.
“The best work happens when we know that what we do is not just work but we are doing something that will improve other people’s lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at MEDA, and this is the opportunity that really drives me.”
“Many organizations aspire to change in the world, but very few have all the elements required… MEDA has proven that is has all of these in abundance. As the incoming leader, I cannot ask for a better foundation.”
New board members appointed at the convention include: Jeremy Showalter of Seattle, a Microsoft veteran who works in global sales with Microsoft Philanthropies Technology for Social Impact Group; and Fort Myers, Fla. resident Verda Beachey, a retired insurance broker who previously served on the MEDA board in the 1990s. Beachey has also worked on the board of the Sarasota MEDA Network Hub. ◆