What do we do?

In addition to job-training for needy people in Fort Wayne, the house of the Friends of the Third World helps sell products made by exceptional enterprising groups in the Third World, including the Bombolulu Workshop for the Handicapped in Mombasa, Kenya, as well as trying to help Nicaraguan Medical Aid.

History of the Organization

Friends of the Third World (FOTW) began in 1972 when students and teachers formed a fundraising project to aid the hungry. FOTW currently operates job training programs at its building in Fort Wayne and markets handmade crafts from 80 partner groups in 35 countries. Our most recent financial report shows that almost 80% of the sales price of an item goes back in the form of fair trade payments to the producers. Three paid staff supervise volunteers who contributed more than $100,000 worth of donated labor in the past year.

Monies are being raised to provide handicapped access to our 126 year-old building; to repair the roof and purchase some computer programs for job training.

In addition to donations and grants reported in the Spring report, staff and board have been busy writing requests for support. So far this summer we have received three affirmative responses:

Leave a Legacy

In spite of tragedy, Americans have shown a willingness to work for the common good in immediate crisis. And in times of economic slowness in America are really times in which we do need to count our blessings and recall our sense of community more than ever. However, serious problems such as hunger and homelessness are also great emergencies, affecting each of us and diminishing the quality of life for all. Alleviating or eliminating poverty will take a major societal commitment. But America has the ability and resources.

America is the richest country in the world, yet we do not yet adequately care for our poor. Even when times are good, charities struggle with chronic social problems. When times are bad, emergency needs for food, clothing, etc. grows, but donations to charity are cut back. Today about 15% of American lives under the poverty level (including the newly unemployed) which means that 85% have at least enough income to afford basic necessities. Compared to many countries, America is a rich land. Even during the Great Depression only 30% were unemployed. Again we recognize that we as a country have the resources.

True charity (whose root word means brotherly/sisterly love) offer friends and provides positive benefits to both the giver and the recipient. Charity is not so much about money as it is about a relationship.

Even those who cannot donate money still have something to give. And those of us who think we have nothing need to look deeper. Even for the rich, only about 10% of their assets is held in cash. Most Americans own an incredible amount of “stuff”. Most of us, even those who are currently “in debt” have the control of much more than we realize. And 3/4 of us have no plan for what will happen to it when we’re gone (the state then writes our last will and testament.) With planning, a person can actually “give to charity” from monies otherwise owed in taxes, which is perfectly legal.

We at Friends of the Third World want to encourage average people to consider leaving a gift of property, life insurance, or other assets in a will. It is a way to continue support for your values and concern for human needs over the long term. If you’d like more information about a long-term gift, please call our administrator, Jim Goetsch, for a confidential discussion.

Friends of the Third World financial reports are available on request or from www.guidestar.org, a nonprofit human development agency.

We continue to share a concern for the environment. We print on recycled paper and have furnished our center with used furniture, used computers and we reuse boxes and packing material for our mail order business. We recycle used postage stamps (tear off the corner of the envelope) to be sold to collectors as a small fundraiser.