Good Shepherd Sustainable Learning Foundation (Good Shepherd SLF) closed its fifth year of operation with a strong cash position in support of our mission to secondary/high school students in Cameroon.
Our five year anniversary is cause for celebration, as we are reminded that fully one-third of nonprofits falter or fail in comparable time frames.
The pie charts here illustrate the source and use of funds for the five-year period. The breadth of support for our mission, as demonstrated in the Revenue Chart, is deeply appreciated by our Board of Directors and by our Cameroonian Board of Governors.
We wish to highlight with gratitude the $ 160,000 cash contribution of Sister Jane Mankaa, Chair of Good Shepherd Academy Association in Cameroon, representing 8% of all funds raised to date. Through her entrepreneurial efforts of raising and selling chickens, Sister Jane has purchased all land needed to build Good Shepherd Academy, including surrounding farmland for outdoor classrooms. This cross-cultural partnership based on faith, mutuality, and transparency sustains our work on many levels.
With Phases 1 and 2 of construction successfully completed, our campus is ready and awaiting the enrollment of eager students as we closely monitor the political turmoil in NW/SW Cameroon. Weekly discussions with Sister Jane Mankaa, and the Good Shepherd Academy Assoc. Board of Governors in Cameroon, keep us up-to-date on developments on the ground. In addition, our two Cameroonian-American Board members of Good Shepherd SLF are in regular contact with government officials and we engage in frequent communication with the United States Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Barlerin.
As we await the re-opening of Good Shepherd Academy in Bafut, we turn our attention to strengthening our foundation attributes that are associated with successful nonprofits. Successful nonprofit management goes beyond just dollars in the bank.
As we look to the future, we continue to focus on:
Our mission has not changed, but the importance of our mission grows stronger as we acknowledge that the youth of Cameroon will be their country’s future leaders. These young leaders need to be equipped with not only leadership experience, but strong communication and management skills. We continue to work with our Cameroonian partners in building a strong education curriculum.
We have taken steps with our Cameroonian partners to develop the Good Shepherd Academy brand by utilizing campus resources for the benefit of the larger Bafut community, such as our 2018 Good Shepherd Academy Camp which hosted 71 overnight campers for the month of July. We continue to “in-source” all materials and supplies to Cameroonian businesses, providing strong economic benefit to the community in both employment and business support.
When we learned of the humanitarian crisis developing in Bafut, with acute shortages of food and basic human necessities like soap, we worked with our counsel to make funds available within the scope of our mission statement. These funds, critically needed for life support to more than 100 families, were raised with a special humanitarian relief outreach in December 2018.
We adapted our capital plan to include full funding of two new structures as need was identified. A new administrative building was completed to create more available classroom space. An expansion of our existing gate and security wall/fence assures the complete integrity of the campus perimeter.
Prudent financial management
In the past year, the Board created a designated reserve fund, separate from operations, to capture scholarship donations. We recognize the importance of these reserves to solve timing problems related to scholarship needs and to be segregated from any future operating shortfall.
We maintain three to six months cash on hand in our operating accounts.
Diversified revenue sources
We are ever grateful for the generous support of so many individual donors, and continue to diversify sources of revenue with income from family foundations, corporations/businesses, domestic and foreign nonprofits, churches, and dioceses. The diversity and number of supporters grow each year, and we are truly grateful.
Aggressive expense management
We remain committed to managing administrative and fundraising expenses at the lowest possible levels. Over the past five years, only 9.5% of total funds raised were spent on administration and fundraising expenses. This is remarkably below the nonprofit industry average of 25% for nonprofits similar to ours.
The Board has begun the process of developing a strategic plan for the next phase of construction, several years in the future, as student population growth dictates. Both our Board of Directors and our Cameroonian Board of Governors will benefit from member expansion and Board training. We will transition in both our roles, as our partnership shifts from construction supervision to operations management of the school.
The success of Good Shepherd SLF has been made possible by your involvement and generosity. When needs have been articulated, you have responded! What began as a dream, has become a reality in five short years, exceeding expectations on both sides of the Atlantic. For you we give thanks daily, as Good Shepherd Academy continues to be a beacon of light on a hill for our Cameroonian neighbors, giving them hope as they imagine a better tomorrow.
Their Dream. Our Mission. YOU Made It Happen!
Dr. Nche Zama