Educational Institutions

Aruna Partnership, Inc.

  • Rockport, MA
  • http://www.arunapartnership.org

Mission Statement

Aruna Partnership, Inc (formerly Friends of India, Inc) is a small organization with a big impact. For over 20 years we have partnered with Shanthimalai Trust in South India to offer quality education to children in need, support for women's development, professional training, medical care, marketing of Fair Trade handcrafts, and financial aid for those in crisis. Our long-term commitment has focused on working with villagers to create programs that become independent and self-sustaining. Because Aruna Partnership is run entirely by volunteers, 100% of donations to our programs go directly to those in need in India.

Main Programs

  1. School Sponsorship Program
  2. Professional Training Program
  3. Handcraft Project
  4. Om Shanthi Project

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Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Aruna Partnership currently serves 80 villages in the Tiruvannamalai District of Tamil Nadu, India.
The population suffers from illiteracy, poverty, unsanitary conditions, and lack of employment opportunities. At the same time, the region is culturally and spiritually vibrant. Arunachala, the majestic mountain at the center of this area, has been considered sacred by the Indian people for centuries and is a site of pilgrimage for visitors from all over the world.

ruling year

1991

President

Self-reported

Marian McClelland

Vice President

Self-reported

Robin Walden

Keywords

Self-reported

school sponsorship, professional training, handcrafts, support for elderly and disabled

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EIN

04-3106756

 Number

8312016565

Also Known As

Aruna Partnership; Aruna Designs

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (B12)

International Economic Development (Q32)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (E12)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our long-term partnership with Shanthimalai Trust has allowed us to be extraordinarily responsive to local needs in offering education, job training and employment opportunities to thousands of impoverished villagers in South India. The success of Aruna Partnership reflects the selflessness of our founders and the clarity of their vision, the generosity of our donors, and the active commitment of our volunteers, our local partners, and the villagers themselves. The dignity and self-respect they have attained has reawakened many villagers to the richness of their cultural and spiritual heritage. Most recipients of support have a deep longing to serve others, “to give back", a moving testament to the gratitude they feel for what they have received.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

School Sponsorship Program

Aruna Partnership has established a school sponsorship program in which American and Canadian sponsors pay $35/month for 10 years to underwrite the educational, nutritional, health and transportation needs of poor village children. Most of the sponsored children attend the Sri Ramana Maharshi English Medium School founded by SRDT and some attend local Tamil schools.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 2

Professional Training Program

The program offers higher education and vocational training to students living below the poverty line. Support includes college fees, room and board, transportation, study materials, employment workshops, vocational training, and job counseling.

Category

Education & Technology

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

None

Budget

Program 3

Handcraft Project

Aruna Designs, our handcraft project, partners with the Shanthimalai Handicrafts Development Society, a resilient Indian Fair Trade business that provides ongoing training to artisans. As an importer, we pay fair trade market prices to our sources in India so that the artisans can make a living wage and have good, flexible working conditions compatible with caring for their families. Since many of the women are poor and of low caste, this work is truly a lifeline.

Category

Folklife & Traditional Arts

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

None

Budget

Program 4

Om Shanthi Project

The Om Shanthi Old Age Home offers refuge to elderly widows and handicapped, abused or abandoned women. The Om Shanthi Training Program teaches to young widows skills in handcraft production and offers medical care and jobs at a living wage to the widows and other young women at risk. All programs of the Om Shanthi Project provide safe haven and a sense of community to women who would otherwise be isolated and vulnerable to abuse.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Female Aging/Elderly/Senior Citizens

Females, all ages or age unspecified

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    All activities of Aruna Partnership are expressions of the living compassion realized by our founder, Dr. Hugo Maier and his wife, Anne Maier.

    Aruna Partnership's primary goal is to support local efforts to improve the lives of impoverished villagers in the Tiruvannamalai district of South India through education, increased employment opportunities, and access to medical care. Our long-term commitment allows us to develop enduring relationships and programs that become self-sustaining.

    As volunteers, a secondary but essential goal is to keep our overhead to a minimum, so that donated funds go directly to those in need in India.

    In the next 3 years, we hope to increase our outreach, allowing more donors to have an opportunity to participate in this inspiring project.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    To work effectively with local residents, we have partnered for over 20 years with the Shanthimalai Research and Development Trust (SRDT) in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. A beacon among nonprofits in the area, Shanthimalai is well known for its integrity, compassionate approach, and long-term success.

    Our School Sponsorship Program finds sponsors who are willing to support a child's education for 10 years. Support includes not only school tuition and fees, but also free hot meals and medical care. The Professional Training Program offers vocational training and college scholarships to high school graduates. We would like to expand both of these programs in response to an increasing desire for education among the villagers.

    We partner with the Shanthimalai Handicraft Development Society (SHDS) to provide training, jobs, and outlets for craft sales. Expanding the US market for Shanthimalai handcrafts will support more families by providing training and jobs for women that they can do at home or in neighborhood craft centers.

    Our Care Now Program offers financial and medical aid to those in crisis.

    Aruna Partnership's few organizational expenses are paid for with profits from our handcraft sales or donations designated specifically for that purpose. By participating in GuideStar, consulting with fundraising experts, and drawing upon a larger volunteer base, we hope to expand our outreach within the next 3 years.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    A base of more than 60 volunteers bolsters our nine-member Board of Trustees. Most make annual trips to India, at their own expense, to participate in development programs offered through Shanthimalai. Our close working relationship with Shanthimalai has allowed us to be exceptionally responsive to local needs. For more than 20 years, we have been privileged to observe programs first-hand and to make appropriate contributions of expertise and financial support.

    Within the next few years, we expect to tap into the talent and enthusiasm of a second generation of volunteers, young men and women who have visited India often with their parents, and have been touched by the need of villagers in the region. We hope that their fresh approach will help us tell the story of Shanthimalai and Aruna Partnership in ways that will expand our present donor base.

    As more people become involved, we also expect craft sales to increase. This in turn may allow us to make larger allocations to the School Sponsorship Program and to the Professional Training Program, as we often use profits from handcraft sales to make additional contributions to these programs.

    Because we volunteer our time, pay our own travel costs for site visits, and are blessed with volunteer talent (graphic designers, accountants, IT specialists, teachers, master craftsmen, etc.), we are able to ensure that 100% of donations to our programs go directly to those in need in India.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    We monitor how many students in the School Sponsorship Program pass the standardized State exams given to all students in 10th and 12th grades. This past year, 100% of our students passed the exams, which is a significantly higher success rate than the average for the district, as well as for the State. Our students are often from illiterate families with severely limited resources. The fact that 100% have passed these very difficult exams represents a major milestone.

    We also monitor how many students complete high school. Although girls are under societal pressure to drop out early to marry, and boys to begin earning, the dropout rate has decreased over the years. Today, thanks to dedicated efforts of the Sponsorship Program Coordinator, 98% stay in the program to graduate from high school. The significant increase in the number of graduates going on to college or to vocational training is another clear indication of the Program's success.

    One goal for Aruna Designs, our Handcraft Project, is to be a consistent, regular customer - ordering about $8000 from Shanthimalai Handicraft Development Society every two years. We track sales, and plan to increase the number of venues here in the States where we sell the products.

    We continue to work with Shanthimalai to adapt products to the American market. In the process, it's clear that cross-cultural communications have become more efficient. Because we have worked closely together and have met face-to face every year for more than 20 years, we have experience in dealing successfully with many difficult situations: material shortages, key people leaving or dying, changing societal pressures, and increasing production costs.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Donations to Aruna Partnership have been used wisely and effectively, and have truly transformed lives. The spirit of the project has always been one of mutuality, based on the assumption that we know nothing and are eager to learn from the people we serve. It has been deeply moving to see over the years how dramatically education and job opportunities have increased villagers' sense of self-confidence.

    Until now, we have relied on personal contacts and word-of-mouth to find donors. Because we are a very small organization, we have begun to realize how limited this is. None of us has professional experience in fundraising. This presents our greatest challenge, and we will devote considerable energy over the next few years to finding ways to reach beyond our present donor base.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Aruna Partnership currently serves 80 villages in the Tiruvannamalai District of Tamil Nadu, India.
The population suffers from illiteracy, poverty, unsanitary conditions, and lack of employment opportunities. At the same time, the region is culturally and spiritually vibrant. Arunachala, the majestic mountain at the center of this area, has been considered sacred by the Indian people for centuries and is a site of pilgrimage for visitors from all over the world.

photos




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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Aruna Partnership, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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President

Marian McClelland

Vice President

Robin Walden

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Marian McClelland

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?