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Twenty Years of Significant Philanthropy . . .

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    [The size of their endowments, and the media awe surrounding the large, global, philanthropic foundations (Gates, Turner, Goldman, MacArthur, Pew, Rockefeller,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2003
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      [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.

      Bruce Potter

      (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.
      Kitts-Nevis.) ]
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

      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
      strategic plan.

      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
      exceeded $500,000.

      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
      National Museum.

      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.]

      * * *
      Current Trustees

      Michael Dively, Co-founder, Director and Treasurer
      Martin Dupuis, Co-founder
      Thomas Fox
      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
      e-mail <madively@...>

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