Twenty Years of Significant Philanthropy . . .
- [The size of their endowments, and the media awe surrounding the
large, global, philanthropic foundations (Gates, Turner, Goldman,
MacArthur, Pew, Rockefeller, Ford, etc. etc. ) obscures the great
virtue of persistence, modesty, and intelligent, caring grantmaking.
Over the past 20 years, the MUKTI FUND has devoted itself to
supporting worthy, local sustainable development projects in St.
Kitts-Nevis. Michael Dively has provided this "history" of the Fund
as a supplement to their 2003 annual report (in the US, all
non-profit institutions are required to make public reports about
their activities), and as a punctuation mark to the end of the Fund's
activities in the Eastern Caribbean.
This chronicle illustrates the great good that can come from such an
activity. The report does not document the exact amount that the Fund
started with, but you can see that the Fund's endowment did not
exceed a million dollars until 1991 --- almost halfway through its
At a time when public policy seems to glorify a 'shock and awe'
approach to the world, it's refreshing to see the alternative. Thanks
to Michael Dively and the directors of the Mukti Fund for the lesson
and best wishes for the success of the Fund's future directions.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that Judith
Towle, Island Resources' chief financial officer, has been a director
of the Mukti Fund for several years, and that Mukti has provided
important resources to some of the projects we have supported in St.
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MUKTI FUND HISTORY
by Michael Dively, Co-founder, Director and Treasurer
[with supplemental observations by bruce potter]
Our First 20 Years
The name mukti comes from Sanskrit and means liberation. Mukti Fund
was established in 1983 to help expand individual awareness and
improve the quality of life through community projects.
Our First Twenty Years - 1983-2003
1983 - Mukti Fund was incorporated in Michigan on June 24th by
Michael Dively, a professor at Albion College and Martin Dupuis, a
recent Albion graduate. They were joined by Michael Fennessy on the
board, and Martin Dupuis was elected President. Five grants totaling
$1,250 were made to Michigan organizations.
[--- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1983 at 1258 points.]
1985 - William Moody of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund replaced
Michael Fennessy as a trustee. Focusing on the idea of grant-making
in a small geographic area and encouraged by William Moody and Thomas
Fox of the Council On Foundations to explore grantmaking in the
Caribbean, Michael Dively made his first trip to St. Kitts. A
decision was made to concentrate grantmaking on the newly independent
country of St. Kitts-Nevis. The first international grants were made
including one to the St. Kitts-Nevis Foundation for National
Development to establish a direct mini-loan fund.
1986 - Thomas Fox was elected trustee. The NEW YORK TIMES ran an
article about Mukti Fund entitled "Small New Philanthropy with Modest
Goals". Following discussions between Michael Dively and Ricky
Skerritt of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce
(CIC) [Skerritt is the current manager of the West Indies Cricket
team], a community Small Grant Program fund was established and
administered by CIC until 1993.
1987 - A partnership of the CIC, the Ministry of Education, the
Kellogg Foundation and the Mukti Fund established the Academic
Excellence Recognition Dinner honoring outstanding students and their
teachers. This program continues annually, now underwritten by the
local business sector.
1988 - The Mukti Fund established a project to bring books to the
libraries on St. Kitts and Nevis. This collaboration with the
International Book Project brought over 22,000 books to the Islands'
libraries during this decade-long program. To ensure local input into
the Fund's grant-making, an Advisory Committee was established which
originally consisted of Ricky Skerritt, Charles Wilken, and Tapley
1989 - A grant to the Business and Professional Women on St. Kitts
assisted the purchase of their bookmobile van. The Fund's largest
date grant to date - $10,000 - was made to the Government of St.
Kitts and Nevis following Hurricane Hugo. After a year-long process,
the trustees of the Mukti fund adopted their first five-year
1990 - The Mukti Fund trustees held their first meeting on St. Kitts and Nevis.
1991 - Judith Towle of the Island Resources Foundation (IRF) was
elected trustee. The Trustees established a Trustee discretionary
grant program. A multi-year collaboration with Florida Association
for Voluntary Agencies (FAVA/CA) assisted the Beautiful Basseterre
Committee with its architectural heritage project.
The Fund's total grants since 1983 exceeded $100,000 and the
endowment grew to more than $1,000,000.
[---The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1991 at 3168.]
1992 - The first multi-year grant to IRF was made to support
institution and program development for St. Kitts and Nevis
environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which continued
as a Mukti Fund priority for the next 12 years.
1993 - The Fund's endowment was turned over to two investment
managers with instruction to implement a socially responsive
investment screen. Administration of the Small Grant Program
established in 1986 was transferred to the St. Christopher Heritage
Society (SCHS)in partnership with the Nevis Historical and
Conservation Society (NHCS)and continued until 2002. A multi-year
grant was made to the SCHS for its long-term institutional growth,
including employment of an Executive Director. The trustees adopted
their second five-year strategic plan for 1993-98.
1994 - Thomas Fox was elected Chair and William Moody Vice-Chair of the Fund.
1995 - The first of several grants was made to the Atlantic Center
for the Environment to allow a resident from St.Kitts or Nevis to
participate in its fellowship program.
Grants made by the Mukti Fund since 1983 totaled over $250,000.
1996 - Under the sponsorship of CIC, a grant assisted two experts
from the Project for Public Spaces, Inc. to explore public space
issues and traffic congestion. In partnership with the Nevis
Co-operative Credit Union a revolving micro-loan fund was established.
The Fund's endowment surpassed $1,500,000. [---The Dow Jones
Industrial Average closed 1996 at 6448.]
1997 - The tenth grant was made to the Small Grant Program, which had
disbursed more then $70,000 in local small grants since 1986.
1998 - In celebration of the 15th Anniversaries of the Federation of
St. Kitts and Nevis and Mukti Fund, commemorative grants of $15,000
each were made to the School of Continuing Education at the
University of the West Indies for the revival of the Leeward Island
Drama Festival on Nevis, and to the Department of the Culture of the
Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for a mural at the Bradshaw Airport
in Basseterre. Judith Towle was elected Chair.
1999 - The first installment of a four-year $50,000 challenge grant
for the new National Museum in Basseterre was made.
The Mukti Fund endowment reached $2,300,000. [The Dow Jones Average
ended the year at 11,497.]
2000 - A Trustee Recognition grant program was established in honor
of their dedicated service. The first grant honoring Thomas Fox was
made to Williams College for summer internships in the Caribbean and
Africa. After much reflection and to better reflect the philanthropic
interests of the founder, a new United States based gay and lesbian
program was established and the first grant was made.
By the end of 2000, total grants of the Mukti Fund since 1983
2001 - Weston Milliken, an organizational consultant, was elected
trustee. The trustees agreed to phase out the grant-making program on
St. Kitts and Nevis by the end of 2004 and begin full funding of the
new domestic gay lesbian program in 2005.
2002 - The second Trustee Recognition grant honoring William Moody
was made to the Atlantic Center for the Environment. In consultation
with local NGOs, the Trustees established an exit grant strategy with
formal grant proposals solicited from them. The seventeenth and final
grant was made to the Small Grant Program, where over $140,000 has
been awarded for more than 100 small grants to local community
groups. The eleventh and final grant was made to IRF to support
institutional and program development for local NGOs. Over the years,
Mukti Fund grants to IRF totaled $150,000 of which two-thirds was
awarded as small grants to environmental NGOs on St.Kitts and Nevis.
2003 - As the 20th anniversary approached, grants implementing the
exit strategy continued to the SCHS, NHCS and to support the new
Total grants since 1983 reached over $800,000, and the Fund endowment
had shrunk to $1,800,000 due to the decline in the stock market [At
June 1, 2003, the Dow Jones Average stood at 8898.]
* * *
Michael Dively, Co-founder, Director and Treasurer
Martin Dupuis, Co-founder
William Moody, Vice-President
Weston Milliken, Secretary
Judith Towle, Chair
For further information, write or call
Michael Dively, Director, Mukti Fund
1616 Atlantic Blvd. #1
Key West, Fl 33040
Tel (305) 296-4055/ Fax 1-(305) 293-9811
Island Resources, the Virgin Islands and Washington
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