We are really proud of the innocent foundation which was set up as a registered charity in 2004. The company had supported community organisations from day one, but as profits grew it felt right to make the commitment to charity more formal.
(Pragya, Indian Himalayas - residents are snowed in for 7 months of the year)
How does it work?
The employees, shareholders, EBT and company of innocent drinks give 10% of profits to charity, the majority of which goes to the innocent foundation. In practice this means that the foundation gets a minimum donation of £250,000 each year and the donation gets bigger the bigger the company profit is.
Just like all charities there is a Board of Trustees who are responsible for the charity’s management. They decide how and where the money is spent and make sure the foundation is doing the right things. Our Trustees are the three founders of innocent plus the lovely Christina Archer who has lots of experience of working with the sort of projects we support and brings an external perspective to things. Alan, who also works for innocent, acts as Treasurer for the foundation.
(Vegetable growers, Project Find your Feet - we've been partners since 2004)
Then we have a team of innocent staff who volunteer their time to keep everyone in touch with what's going on with the projects we support. There are 17 people involved this year.
Finally, there is a foundation guardian whose job is to make sure everything goes smoothly, find great projects to fund and manage the relationships with our amazing partner organisations.
How do we decide what to fund?
The foundation Trustees review the strategy each year and decide how we will work and what we will fund.
In 2012 the focus is on sustainable farming for a secure future, working in the developing countries where innocent sources fruit (we use the UN Human Development Index to decide where the greatest need is).
We like to keep things simple and for the time being the foundation is funding projects run by experts – UK and European based small and medium sized NGOs.
We are really proud of what has been achieved to date. We have had the opportunity to support over 40 projects so far and invested over £1.5 million in projects which have had an impact on over 360,000 lives. This wouldn't have been possible without you, our drinkers. Thank you.
We like our funding to be used for leverage where it can be, and our partners have used it to generate a total of almost £6.9 million, which has impacted 530,000 people’s lives.
There are some really exciting new projects coming up, and two of us from Fruit Towers will soon be preparing for visits. Keep your eyes peeled as we're going to bring you more info in the coming months.
Feedback Madagascar is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we support.The project we support promotes yam farming with training on yam cultivation techniques, the creation of demonstration plots and household plantations. Working with twelve community forest management associations, over 250 people are already producing and yams are taking off.
Famous for providing the fuel for Usain Bolt’s sprinting successes, the yam is commonly confused as a sweet potato (they are un-related), they are similar in properties.
“Anyone for yams?”
The project is based around the Malagasy rainforest, where people are reliant on inadequate rice and cassava harvests; the cultivation of yams reduces the impact of the annual famine and dramatically ups people’s nutritional intake.
And yams are fun. To raise awareness of yams and their benefits, alongside rainforest conservation, there are now yam festivals. Associations take stands, organise competitions, cook offs, speeches and full-on carnival singing and dancing.
As part of the project, training on culinary techniques is included to make the most of the yam.
Here are 6 of their suggested recipes:
- Yam Pudding
- Yam Crisps
- Yam Pizza
- Yam Soup
- Yam salad
- Baked Yam.
Here in Fruit Towers, we think they all sound delicious and the soup sounds like a great defence against winter.
If you fancy trying your hand at Yam Pudding, here is an embellished Western version:
800g grated uncooked yams
120g golden syrup
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
120g brown sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 160˚c
- Grease baking dish (approx 8”x8”x2”)
- Combine all ingredients
- Bake until a knife comes out of mixture clean, approx 1 hour.
- Serve warm with cream or ice cream
For more information on Feedback Madagascar, please visit our foundations page: www.innocentfoundation.org/ or their own website: www.feedbackmadagascar.org
Did you know 80% of the Indian population live on less than $2 a day?
Jeevika Trust (http://www.jeevika.org.uk/) is one of the amazing charities the innocent foundation supports to fight poverty in rural India. Jeevika Trust has touched more than 100,000 lives over the last decade and continues to work with people on the margins of rural society – low-caste and tribal people, especially women – to help them build and sustain their individual, family and community livelihoods.
Last week, Jeevika Trust organised a sponsored walk to raise money to support their water projects. This is the event Geraldine and her boyfriend took part in. The route is roughly 6 miles (10 km) long, which was harder than she thought it would be. Incredibly, millions of women and children walk this distance every single day, sometimes twice a day, to find and carry back water for their family.
To start the walk, they were warmly welcomed by Rosemary and her boyfriend Matt in Hampton Wick. Rosemary discovered India during her gap year, teaching English and drama classes to children and fell in love with the country. She is now Jeevika Trust’s Communications and Fundraising Officer.
After a quick chat with Rosemary and Matt, they were off to Bushy Park. It lies North of Hampton court Palace and is full of stags and deers roaming freely so they made friends on the way…
The route itself offered diverse landscapes, lovely paths, bubbling steams, and kept them entertained watching old and young alike on sport pitches and cycle paths. The last part of the walk was along the Thames…
Ending in a private garden on the river, where they over-indulged with tea and lemon drizzle cakes. They enjoyed meeting with Andrew (on the picture below with Rosemary), Jeevika Trust Director, to learn more about their projects in India: http://www.jeevika.org.uk/whatwedo/CurrentProjects.htm.
So a big thanks to Jeevika Trust for organising such a great event. May they continue the fantastic work they do in India.
How to try and sum up 14 pretty incredible days in a single blog post...
I've met over 50 rather special individuals who have benefited directly from our innocent Foundation
Drunk about 20 cups of hot milk, straight from the yard
Been given one jack fruit
Had 2 delicious coconuts from the tree
Been lucky enough to sit in on 3 of the monthly meetings run at local village level by disabled people for disabled people, where the big decisions get made.
And almost been launched through the roof of 1 Indian bus (note to self: never, ever sit on the back row).
Trying to give a picture of all the people that I've met is a lot more difficult. I've been totally blown away by the sheer determination to drive change that I have witnessed this past fortnight- but one of the most striking examples I've seen is a man I met called Poundurai.
ADD met Poundurai at a Federation meeting for disabled people that they attended about 5 years ago. He wasn't in a leadership role at the time, but they noticed his potential and began working with him more closely over the years to support the work that he was doing.
5 years on, and he now represents over 2300 disabled people in a block of over 40 villages in his area. He's the elected President of the Disability Development Trust, a co-ordinator of the governement disability programme, and Leader of the National Federation for the Blind, fighting tirelessly to make sure that disabled people get a fair deal. He and his team have helped more disabled people get bank loans than any other group in the area, they've taught parents of severely disabled children how to teach their children to wash and dress, and they've ensured that when things aren't right, they're addressed.
When I was there, we spoke to a lady whose postman had been skimming 500 rupees for himself off the government benefits that he was supposed to be delivering her in full each month. Apparently this is rather common.
From the look on Poundurai's face, I suspect the postman might think twice about it next time.
As some of you will know, I'm currently in India working with one our innocent foundation partners, disability charity ADD. I've been here for 10 days now, and it's been quite the adventure.
We had our innocent foundation day yesterday so I sent across a little video across of some of the things I've seen and learnt this week, which we thought we'd share.
Pop the kettle on, stick the headphones in, and learn about some amazing people. What they are doing is truely remarkable.