International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

Pilot Light Foundation

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • www.pilotlightfund.org

Mission Statement

Pilot Light supports sustainable, income generating projects in Africa. We strive to create a solid foundation for future generations to build upon. When individuals can support themselves they can establish a sustainable and thriving community for generations to come. Lasting self-sufficiency, secure interdependent communities, and self-determination are all that we hope for our future. We build resiliency by working on the relationship between the individual and the community. The idea of the pilot light is that we will light a small spark that can grow into a larger fire, after we are gone...

Main Programs

  1. Pig and Rabbit Cooperative
  2. Batwa Development Project
  3. Coffee Farmer Cooperative
  4. Rice Farmer Cooperative-Kihihi
  5. Honey Farmer Project
  6. Mother/Child Development Center
  7. Youth with Disability Entrepreneurs Program
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Africa

ruling year

1997

Principal Officer

Self-reported

Carol Levy

Keywords

Self-reported

Sustainable Income, Social Enterprise, Africa, Extreme Poverty, Cooperatives

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EIN

38-3331960

 Number

7399719240

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

International Economic Development (Q32)

International Agricultural Development (Q31)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

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

Pig and Rabbit Cooperative

Murama is a village located in the Bugesera district in eastern Rwanda. The village is one of the poorest regions in Rwanda with an average annual income of under 150.00 USD. It is home to 100 households and approximately 5,000 people. Unlike most of rural Rwanda where individual homesteads are scattered across the hilly landscape, Murama has several umudugudus (settlements) of closely spaced dwellings.

The government built these settlements after the 1994 genocide in order to house genocide survivors and returnees. Only 5 km from the village, close to 20,000 people were massacred during the 100 days of killing. As the country continues its difficult but remarkable recovery from the genocide, Murama is living proof that economic development can play a significant role in the reconciliation process.

The tightly spaced dwellings of Murama, make food production and farming difficult. Pilot Light worked with members to determine collectively grown crops with market viability that could enhance unity and provide it’s members with an income and a stable food source for the community

Members can take advantage of local markets. The High pork prices in neighboring Nyamata and the city of Kigali. provide an excellent market for the pork raised by the Murama Pig Cooperative. Rabbits quickly provide a much needed food source for the community. High in protein it is a key factor in battling malnutrition in children of Murama.

From 12 sows and one boar. The cooperative has grown. As of April 2015 there were 195 pigs in total. This farm is being used as a demonstration farm. Networks are formed when other farmers come for trainings. In June 2015 a butchery was built. The project aims t o make Murama an area that specializes in pigs and rabbits

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

$7,621.00

Program 2

Batwa Development Project

The Batwa pygmy tribes have been evicted from their ancestral forest. These original inhabitants of central Africa lived in these forests as hunter gatherers until 1991, when due to deforestation they were abruptly and forcefully removed from the forest to create National Parks. Though promised land and compensation from the government, they have received nothing. In southwest Uganda, the Batwa are presently found in Kabale, Kanungu and Kisoro. Now a significant minority, they are suffering unimaginable poverty, disease, illiteracy, stigmatization, and often are forced to beg for a living. There is an estimated 25,000 Batwa living in western Uganda. They are one of the poorest people in the southern hemisphere. They face systematic discrimination.

When we first visited the Batwa in the spring of 2011, we were shocked to find them living in conditions unfit for farm animals. Their standard of living was significantly lower than the neighbors living directly around them. Our intention, in that first visit, was to begin a goat cooperative to help them improve both nutrition for their children and to help them start up a sustainable business of raising dairy goats. We quickly realized, however, that it would be impossible to focus solely on income generating activities without first addressing the pressing issues of safe housing and food security.

Community Support. As Hunter Gatherers the Batwa are new to farming and in need of not only of practical agricultural skills but the support of their new community to adapt to a new and unfamiliar life. By partnering locally with African International Christian Ministry, we are best able to engage the community and meet the large scope of needs of the Batwa with respect and dignity.

Homes and food security first. A lack of basic shelter profoundly affects the Batwa’s ability to survive. Once safely housed the Batwa can focus on food production. By building homes that provide adequate shelter and establishing farmer field schools that increase yields we can dramatically improve outcomes.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

Program 3

Coffee Farmer Cooperative

Kebisoni Coffee Farmers Cooperative, located in the Rukungiri District of Western Uganda, is predominantly an agricultural community. Though a richly fertile land the population survives primarily on subsistence farming of crops of plantain, beans, peanuts, and fruit, as their biggest source of food. To provide for all other needs (education, health, housing) the community relies on a small often unrealized income from coffee. Commercial Coffee production has the propensity to raise the economic stature of entire communities. Business development focused on improving yields and increasing market access will dramatically improve outcomes for individual families as well the entire community of Kebisoni.

Coffee is a dynamic crop. It holds enormous economic potential for entire communities. Like many coffee cooperatives around the world that have dramatically impacted poverty, the challenge is not only to produce a quality coffee product but to gain access to the specialty markets that pay a fair price to the farmers. The farmers of Kebisoni have formed such a cooperative.

Trees and Bicycles. Pilot Light provides the 500 members of the cooperative with the funds necessary for each farmer to have at least 200 trees, and because most farms are located deep in the villages the loans also provide funding for bicycles. The bicycles allow the farmers to transport their own beans saving transportation charges and exorbitant middlemen costs during harvest.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

Program 4

Rice Farmer Cooperative-Kihihi

Located near the town of Kihihi. the land is very fertile and the farmers are already growing many crops, including a large quantity of rice. However, very much like the case of our Coffee Farmers Cooperative, commercial rice growing has not been lucrative, because the farmers lack the ability to process their own rice and store it until good market prices are available. By improving yields and increasing market access we can enable the farmers to significantly increase their income in a sustainable way.

Solving Market Challenges By Developing Cooperatives that can obtain stature through collaboration and collectively compete in existing markets, in local partnership with the Literacy, Action Development Agency.

Improve Yields and Quality through Teaching. Teach best farming practices and assure access to Village Savings and loans. Assist in achieving Fair Trade Certification.

Providing the Seed Capital. It’s necessary to rent more land, buy improved seeds, build a Storage and Processing Plant critical to economic stability.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

None

None

Budget

Program 5

Honey Farmer Project

Northern Uganda was severely affected by the Lord’s resistance Army (LRA) insurgency. Children abducted by the LRA rebels were forced to participate in war crimes against humanity against their will. Many of the children lost their lives. Young girls were given out as sex slaves to commanders. Some girls contracted HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of them became child mothers at tender ages, children bearing children with the LRA rebel commanders while in captivity.

With relative peace, the region is in a critical and historic period of transition. Most of the surviving formerly abducted children and youths have returned home only to face numerous challenges. Child mothers are particularly affected, although some are accepted by their families, the majority are rejected. Most of these children lost many of their formative years in captivity and have outgrown school going age. They further have no skills to get or create jobs. Rejected by family and neglected by society, formerly abducted children/youth are among the most vulnerable in northern Uganda.

Local Resources are Accessed. Honey production is chosen as the most viable income source. Pilot Light, partnering with Children of Peace Uganda begins the Honey Farmer Project where children too old to return to school can learn a trade and the skills necessary to support themselves.

Hives are Built and Bees Brought In. Bee Keeping, and hive management, and best business practices are taught. As honey sales increase the program is expanded.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence. The project currently serves 58 beneficiaries in 58 different households and is growing. Proving that through economic empowerment lives can be rebuilt. Communities can be rejoined.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Crime/Abuse Victims

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

Program 6

Mother/Child Development Center

In 2014, Pilot Light partnered with the Mother and Child Development Center (MCDC) in Kigali, Rwanda to further develop the project formerly known as the Market Cooperative. The project now aims to go beyond helping these urban women who work in the market to increase their income. It empowers women socially, economically and literally through skills development and providing early childhood development to the vulnerable children through childcare at the MCDC Center.

For the Mothers of Kigali, working in the market poses many problems. Unable to both work and care for her children, a mother must either bring her young children with her, (where they are often left running around amongst strangers or sitting without any stimulation all day long) or leave them at home with a neighbor or sibling that may not be old enough to look after them properly. They are often abused or neglected by other adults when left alone. This means the older girls will be kept out of school to care for younger siblings and the younger children with no stimulative activities will not develop as they should. Women with children are forced to leave work early, also lessening their income. Many market vendors are not lucky enough to be able to get the permits needed to work within the confines of the actual marketplace and are forced to make their sales outside of the walls illegally. They are often arrested for doing this, but they have no other options for earning income.

Options and opportunity. For mothers whose only option is working in the markets of Kigali, providing for their family also meant leaving their youngest children in dangerous and often abusive situations. In 2014, Pilot Light partnered with the Mother & Child Development Center to form a business development program and career training and childcare for these women.

Training and support. During the five month course Women are trained in the careers of either catering or hairdressing and nails. While they are being trained their younger children receive childcare. Good healthcare and parenting skills are learned, and both the women and children are provided with counseling on HIV/AIDS, genocide trauma, and to deal with any issues of domestic abuse and sexual abuse.

Building a community of empowered women means women helping women. As the groups graduate and new groups come in, the graduates of the MCDC help train the new women as their way of giving back. A revolving fund provides seed capital for consecutive graduates. Currently a bakery is being built. Here woman will receive training in catering, and profits from the baked goods will ensure sustainability of the project. In the future more diverse career trainings will be offered and services will be expanded to support the women as they transition into their new careers.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Female Adults

None

Budget

Program 7

Youth with Disability Entrepreneurs Program

Throughout Uganda, the disabled remain an especially compromised and vulnerable group. Existing government programs to alleviate rampant poverty in communities do not involve or include people with disabilities fully. Culturally a discrimination and stigma from other community members make life and livelihood for the disabled and their families especially challenging. Disabled youths are a particularly vulnerable group. With few opportunities life can be miserable. Yet, despite their disabilities these youth and their families can fully engage in income generating actives, if only given a chance.

Throughout Uganda, the disabled remain an especially compromised and vulnerable group. Existing government programs to alleviate rampant poverty in communities do not involve or include people with disabilities fully. Culturally a discrimination and stigma from other community members make life and livelihood for the disabled and their families especially challenging. Disabled youths are a particularly vulnerable group. With few opportunities life can be miserable. Yet, despite their disabilities these youth and their families can fully engage in income generating actives, if only given a chance.

Build Workshops, Provide Tools, Training and Support. They become successful Welders, Candlemakers, Mushroom Farmers, and Green Pepper Farmers. Education in Group dynamics and business management.

Initiate Social Inclusion through Economic Empowerment. Economic independence is the impetus necessary to dispell stigmas and improve public perception of people living with physical disabilities. Social inclusion can begin community by community with the younger generation.

Category

Africa

Population(s) Served

Disabled, General or Disability Unspecified

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Physically Disabled nec

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

International

Africa

Social Media

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE CAROL ANNE LEVY FOUNDATION UA DTD 122396
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31

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Operations

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

Pilot Light Foundation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Carol Levy

BIO

Founder & President: Carol studied anthropology at UCLA, always having a special interest in Africa. She was a dealer of ethnographic art and owner of World Collection Gallery in Los Angeles, which took her traveling in West Africa on buying trips and fed her love for the art, culture and history of the countries she visited. Carol was a national board member for the US Fund for UNICEF for 4 years and was one of the founding board members, serving 17 years on the US Fund’s Southern California Regional chapter.
It was through Carol’s travels with UNICEF to Uganda that she made friends and contacts in Africa that brought her attention to the types of problems that Pilot Light is focusing on. Carol lives in Los Angeles with her husband and has two adult children. Carol has worked hard to build relationships in those areas hit hardest by poverty and malnutrition.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"We empower individuals to claim their own dignity, conceive their own future, and construct the networks necessary to sustain it. We are community sourced and community informed. We tailor programs to fit the community and never the other way around.

We learn from one another. We provide necessary tools and practical training to create innovative solutions that meet the community’s specific needs. We enable people to become more than self sufficient - we help them become pillars of their community.

As a program grows we can fortify it. We act as intermediaries. We offer guidance into emerging markets . Assist developing market share through formation of co-operatives and strategic alliances. We open new networks, we bridge gaps, and enhance commerce through product accreditation.

When our partners can support themselves they can reclaim their own identity. They bring meaning, purpose, and definition to their future. We strive to create solid foundations for future generations to share and build upon. We promote Independence through Interdependence - Community Unity through Individual Opportunity."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Carol Anne Levy

No affiliation

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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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?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

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


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ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

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


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BOARD COMPOSITION

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


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BOARD PERFORMANCE

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