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Mini Grants Lead to Big Impact Through the Little Big Fund

At Kapadia Education Foundation (KEF), we are always looking for ways to provide our scholars with continued enrichment and support. One clear need in recent years was that of continued education, particularly in entrepreneurship.

Take KEF scholar Jimmy Kosa, for instance, who took what he learned from his nursing studies and opened his own clinic in rural Uganda in order to provide impoverished community members with accessible medical care. Jimmy, a nurse by trade, was stepping into completely new territory. After all, fundraising, budgeting, and proposal writing aren’t skills typically taught in nursing school; but there is an organization that does know these skills and knows them well: the Little Big Fund.

The Little Big Fund provides tools, mentorship, and networks to amplify social impact projects (like Jimmy’s clinic). The benefits of a partnership with the Little Big Fund were clear, so beginning in 2021, KEF and The Little Big Fund launched the Little Big Bootcamp.

A virtual course designed specifically for KEF alumni, the Little Big Bootcamp focuses on addressing knowledge gaps in fundraising and proposal writing that our scholars may experience. The boot camp consists of writing workshops, mentorship, and hands-on experiential learning. The end goal? To ensure our alumni are ready to approach, engage, and cultivate relationships with funders.

"Little Big Bootcamp of Little Big Fund has a unique ability to teach profound and essential grant writing skills in a practical and understandable way. It reveals the wonder, glory, beauty, and joy of philanthropy and giving back to the community." - Jimmy Kosa

So far, 22 KEF alumni have taken advantage of the Little Big Bootcamp—including Jimmy, who was also the recipient of micro-funding provided through the Little Big Fund. That’s right! Not only does the Little Big Fund serve as a continued education resource for our scholars, but it also serves as their first potential funder.

Three of our scholars received micro-funding in 2022: John, Charles, and Kayaka.

John K.

An alumni of Bugema University, John graduated in 2021 with a degree in Accounting—he is also one of the founders of a football (soccer) academy for community youth. John’s academy is focused on helping the program’s kids discover new talents, cultivate existing talent, enhance their peacebuilding and leadership skills, and improve their mental health.

John K. on his graduation day. He is wearing a black robe with gold trimming across his chest and a black graduation cap with a red tassel.
John K. on his graduation day.

When faced with writing his grant proposal as part of the Little Big Bootcamp, John narrowed down on something the academy desperately needed: equipment and transportation.

All grant proposals that come from the Little Big Bootcamp are reviewed by a committee that consists of members from KEF, the Rotary Club of Ojai, and the Little Big Fund. John, through his passion and dedication to sharpening his craft, caught the attention of the committee and was provided with a $500 grant.

This allowed the academy to purchase three sports bikes for their coaches, external bike locks, soccer balls, a tactical training board, and transportation for the balls and bikes to Kyangwali. The effect of these purchases was immense.

“With the transportation problem for coaches solved, parents were assured of timely training sessions for their kids. The availability of soccer balls also led to an increase in the number of players registered,” shares the Little Big Fund team.

Since receiving his micro-grant from the Little Big Fund, John has won another grant of $2,500! We couldn’t be more proud of him and his commitment to bettering his community. Through this new grant, John is planning on renovating the playground where the academy practices and purchasing new training uniforms and soccer cleats for the team.

Charles W.

Charles graduated from Kampala International University in 2019 with a degree in Clinical Medicine and, in 2020, received a certificate from Harvard’s online learning initiative, HarvardX, in “Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe.” Coincidentally, Charles worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic that same year.

Charles W. volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is taking a selfie while in scrubs and wearing a blue surgical mask.
Charles W. volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many medical professionals across the globe in 2020, Charles and his colleagues struggled to juggle the demands of working the front lines and taking care of themselves. Through our Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund, we were fortunate to provide Charles with a grant to purchase much-needed groceries not only for himself and his colleagues but community members who were also in desperate need of food. He was also able to provide sick patients with soap and used CDC protocols to educate them on safe handwashing practices.

While it has been clear since day one how committed Charles is to medicine, this experience really fortified that he was on the right career path. So, when he went on to complete the Little Big Bootcamp, it was kismet. Charles’ grant proposal at the end of the boot camp delivered him a $470 grant to use on a new project: the prevention and early detection of Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Luuka, Busoga.

NCDs include conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. For reference, about 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection—and the U.S. is a high-income country. Busoga is not. In fact, many residents of Busoga live below the poverty line.

With his micro-grant, Charles was able to recruit and pay volunteers to help in his mission to bring awareness of NCDs to the Luuka community as well as invest in preventative healthcare.

“The impact of the funds was significant,” the Little Big Fund team explained, “as it helped individuals escape the risk of acquiring early-stage NCDs.”

Kayaka Y.

Like Charles, Kayaka also graduated in 2019 with a degree in Clinical Medicine. In a handwritten personal statement Kayaka submitted with his application to Kapadia Education Foundation's scholarship program, he expressed his interest in not only clinical medicine but also community healthcare—a passion he has since pursued.

Kayaka Y. (left) and a team member (right) after receiving face shields through KEF's COVID-19 grant. Both men are also wearing blue surgical masks.
Kayaka Y. (left) and a team member after receiving face shields through KEF's COVID-19 grant.

Since becoming a KEF Scholar in 2017, Kayaka has been inspired to dream big. So it was only fitting that four short years later, he opened his own medical center. Located in the Mukono District of Uganda, the center provides patients with dental care, maternity care, and general healthcare, among other medical resources.

With running your own clinic comes new challenges, though—challenges Kayaka was motivated to overcome. So, in 2022, he participated in the Little Big Bootcamp, where his newfound skills in grant writing earned him a $1000 Little Big Fund micro-grant!

This critical grant has allowed Kayaka to purchase key medical devices and basic necessities (such as waiting room furniture) in order to continue the high-quality care his clinic offers to its residents—many of whom greatly rely on the functioning of the Sanyu Community Clinic. Upon seeing the effects of his new abilities, Kayaka has since been set on continuing his pursuit of funding in order to expand the clinic and its offerings. In fact, Kayaka was recently provided with a grant that allowed him to purchase additional land for his operations!

John, Charles, and Kayaka are only three of the incredible stories to come out of KEF’s partnership with the Little Big Fund. We are so proud of them and every KEF scholar who has taken advantage of this educational opportunity to strengthen their entrepreneurial spirit! The impact has been insurmountable.

Just read the story of Faustin, a KEF alumni who, through the Little Big Bootcamp, strengthened key skills in his work as a social impact leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Just last month, Faustin used these skills to obtain funding for streetlights in his community! The streetlights, fueled by solar energy, now light up the walkways so many individuals used to fear.

"I am grateful for this opportunity and have learned so much. It taught us how to create and take action, see opportunities, and contribute to a better future for our communities. Thank you very much, [Little Big Fund] and KEF, for enabling me to face the best of humanity." - Faustin Z.

By being a part of Kapadia Education Foundation’s donor community, you are playing a role in the lives of these incredible young people. Young people who are facing various socioeconomic challenges to education and are looking for a means to overcome these obstacles in order to improve their communities and livelihoods.

If you are not yet a monthly donor, you can learn how to become one here. →

Interested in sponsoring a student? Click here! →

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