Written by Amy Benner
For the Daily Sound
September 2, 2010
This is a tall order, but the foundation is hugely optimistic about its plan of action, which involves “impact investing”— that is, partnering with communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs to invest in and start businesses that aid people in developing countries around the world.
“There is a growing community of social investors in Santa Barbara and beyond who want to engage their business minds with their philanthropic hearts,” said Eleos Foundation Executive Director Andy Lower.
This model gives people what they need — access to clean water and medical care, for example — in a manner that establishes long term, sustainable development and avoids creating dependency.
“Eleos seeks to provide opportunities for capital to flow to the most effective opportunities for making a difference in health and education in the developing world,” Lower said.
The foundation, which gets its name from the Greek verb “Eleos” (“compassion with action”) started early in 2007 and just finished its first project, which brought 16 investors together to invest $160,000 in Healthpoint Services Global.
The effort established E Health Point medical care units in rural India. These provide clean water, medicine, and diagnosis, “bringing” doctors through tele-medical technology to patients who normally would have to travel to the cities for medical attention.
Eleos hopes to create PIIP communities here in Santa Barbara and beyond.
This involves Eleos hosting many educational events like “Business Minds in Africa” and “Who are social entrepreneurs” to “raise awareness of the realities in the developing world” as well as co-investment opportunities,” said Lower.
This November, 26 people will run in the Santa Barbara International Marathon to bring 26 facts about extreme poverty to the public’s attention. Eleos did the same thing in last year’s marathon.
Seeing just one of those facts, however, is chilling enough.
“In 2010 over 26,000 children died unnecessarily from extreme poverty,” said Lower. “Another 26,000 will die tomorrow, and another 26,000 the day after. Not only is it immoral, the fact that there are long term, sustainable solutions to make a difference means that it is quite frankly ridiculous.”