I had such a blast when Michelle Dunphy interviewed me for her now-on-hiatus podcast, Authors are ROCKSTARS! She recently got in touch about something new she’s doing and I asked her if she’d share it with you. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of those involved in kidlit, some to the extent that they create foundations to make a difference in the world (I’m thinking here of Jane Kurtz, Dana Sullivan, Michele Torrey who co-founded, respectively, Ethiopia Reads, Star of Hope, and Orphans Africa). I’m excited for Michelle to tell you about her involvement with Brighter Tanzania Foundation.

Michelle Dunphy

So, life has taken an interesting turn for me. Up until recently, I was a voice actor and a podcast host. In fact, that’s how Kirby and I met! I used to co-host the podcast Authors are ROCKSTARS!. (We may be back occasionally, but that’s a story for another day.)

Life changed though in 2016. I decided I wanted to spend my time working to make the world a better place. I wanted to get involved politically. This left me with no time for voice over. So, I quit and took on an unpaid position as the Development Director for a small organization called Brighter Tanzania Foundation.

Don’t be fooled by its size. Despite being run by a handful of unpaid volunteers, this organization has accomplished so much since its founding in 2014. It was founded by Felicia McKenzie here in the states and her friend Grace, a teacher she met when she was volunteering on a trip to Tanzania. They decided to open a school for the impoverished children in Arusha, Tanzania. Felicia would run the Foundation from the US, raising the money to cover the costs of running a school and Grace would be be the school administrator and lead teacher. Saving Grace school started with just a few students and now has grown to over 60.

Our facility is currently rented and full to capacity. At this point, we offer classes for nursery to grade 1. The goal is to grow our school with our students and become a fully certified primary school. To do this, Brighter Tanzania Foundation needs to buy land (a minimum of 3 acres is required) and build our own facility.

So, we’re kicking off a crowdfunding campaign shortly to raise the funds and we’re hoping you (being Kirby’s awesome friends and readers) would be willing to help! For now, come on over to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Brighter.TZ.Fund/ and follow & “Like” us. This way, you’ll be kept in the know of what’s going on at the school and when our crowdfunding website goes live.

In the meantime, if you’d like to help right now, we have a lot of ways for you to do so!

  1. Volunteer – We are always looking for more help! We especially need grant writers right now. Check out our listings at VolunteerMatch.org.
  2. Donate to our annual fund – our annual fund goes to pay for the expenses we are already incurring such as rent, books, food (we provide one meal and one snack each day), etc. You can find information on our website on how to donate online or mailing a check.
  3. Sponsor a student through our student sponsorship program. By sponsoring a student, you are covering their expenses for the term or the year, ensuring that they specifically can keep on attending Brighter Tanzania and making it easier on their families to get them there. You can see our list of students looking for sponsorship here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by Kirby’s blog today and check out my post.

Michelle Dunphy is the Development Director for the Brighter Tanzania Foundation. A former voice actor and podcast host, Michelle now dedicates her time to volunteer work. At Brighter Tanzania, Michelle is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing and fundraising strategies which are both cost-effective and time-efficient. This includes overseeing fundraising and implementing new fundraising strategies.  Michelle has recently returned to her home state of Wisconsin after over a decade on the West Coast. She holds a Bachelors degree from Northern Michigan University. In her free time, she reads, runs (slowly!), and plays epic games of hide & seek with her two sons.