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MEDA continues to expand its reach in creating business solutions to poverty, growth made possible by record gifts from supporters, the organization’s annual convention in Tucson was told.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, MEDA impacted the lives of almost 843,000 clients, working in 76 countries with 26 active projects, along with 543 investment and investment partners.

Project spending, which supports program activity, was up 16 percent over 2018.

Donations totalled $10.8 million, an increase of 32 percent.

Treasurer Zach Bishop noted a “very positive financial outcome in the past year.”

Year-end results showed total revenue of $39.9 million and an operating surplus of over $3.7 million. MEDA will add $3.3 million into its risk capital fund for future investments to complement program spending and bolster its operating reserves.

The organization has reached its $50 million Building Enduring Livelihoods fundraising campaign goal. That money, combined with $300 million in institutional funding, will allow MEDA to have a positive impact on the lives of 10 million clients, related businesses and their families.

Campaign chair Rob Schlegel saw the effectiveness of MEDA’s approach during a trip to Tanzania. He praised MEDA’s focus on working with lead firms — the most influential firms in a sector — to maximize impact. Those firms can reach far more farmers and small entrepreneurs than MEDA could, he said.

“This (lead firm) model leveraged MEDA’s investment and helped many more families than if we invested at the small, individual level.”

Schlegel dreams of seeing MEDA help more entrepreneurs and give more families a sustainable future.

MEDA president and CEO Dr. Dorothy Nyambi noted several high- lights of the past year.

Among these were the move of MEDA’s headquarters to new office space, and work on Vision 2030, a new strategic plan. A draft strategic framework, which will initially look at a five-year planning horizon, has been presented to the board.

As part of the new strategy, ME- DA’s efforts will be more geographically and sectorally focused, with an emphasis on impact measurement. Eighty percent of what MEDA does is in the agriculture and agribusiness area. As the organization moves forward, it will explore how to be more strategic in its focus, she said.