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Finance & Innovation

Meet Melissa Kushner of goods for good

Meet Melissa Kushner. She's one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Waislitz Global Citizen Award, which gives a total of $100,000 to three individuals who excel in their work to end extreme poverty. And she needs you to vote to make her one of the three winners! After Global Citizens around the world pick their three favorites, an expert panel of judges will rank them in first, second, and third place. Melissa could win up to $50,000 with your help! Vote here

Melissa Kushner goodforgood.jpg

Name of Applicant: Melissa Kushner
Organization: goods for good
Title / Position: Founder and CEO
Issue Area(s): Girls & Women | Education | Finance & Innovation | Development
Region of Work: Africa –– Malawi

Vote for Melissa here!

About goods for good

goods for good is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers communities in Malawi to transform orphan care.

With 1.3 million orphans in Malawi, goods for good addresses an urgent need — not by simply providing Malawians with resources, but by empowering them to generate their own. Together with local partners, we build small businesses like poultry farms, tailoring co-ops, and honeybee hives that finance orphan care programs, create jobs, and boost the local economy. Since our founding, goods for good has supported nearly 95,000 children and built ten small businesses.

Mission Statement

goods for good’s mission is to promote the successful development of orphans and vulnerable children by collaborating with community-based organizations to fill the resource gap.

Why Melissa Should Win This Award

My name is Melissa Kushner, and I'm a Global Citizen. I'm an incredibly lucky person who doesn't believe in luck. 

I lost my father three weeks before I was born. However — and here's where luck comes in — I was blessed with two loving parents. One biological, one who adopted me. 

Many children who find themselves in similar situations are not so lucky. This was confirmed during my first job out of college, working with the UN. My role introduced me to the challenges faced by Malawi's 1.3 million orphans, children who often find themselves susceptible to extreme poverty, insufficient access to education, and a lack of basic human needs. 

No child deserves this fate. It is unfair, unjust, and unnecessary. Their futures should not be left up to luck. 

Already hard-wired to care about orphans because of personal experience, my work prompted me to step up and become a Global Citizen. I recognized the path was long and hard, that there was much to learn about Malawi's orphans, but I decided to take action, so I founded goods for good in 2006.

Ten years later, goods for good has helped 95,000 children get the care they need. We've built our model to be innovative and sustainable, to be both immediate and long-term, to reach those most in need and to safeguard the needs of future generations. To do so, goods for good partners directly with Malawian community centers that care for orphans, giving communities the resources and industry knowledge required to build successful small businesses. These centers then become fiscally equipped to support orphan care, all while creating living-wage jobs that boost the local economy. 

Now, our poultry farms, tailoring co-ops, and honey hives are taking luck out of the equation by breaking the cycle of poverty in rural communities. We're giving vulnerable children access to food, medical care, and support. We're hiring local workers who can now afford to keep food on their tables and keep their children in school.  

Our program is working, but as one of poorest countries in the world, Malawi's needs are great. There are still vulnerable children who rely too heavily on luck to go to school, to have a meal, and to get the care they need. 

As goods for good grows, we strive to change this. By 2019, we will grow our budget from $1.2M to $3M so we can launch more businesses that empower communities to get these children the care they deserve. This expansion will include growing the number of chickens, pens, and employees at our existing poultry businesses, as well as the launch of additional honey businesses at the household level. We will uplift the economy to create an environment where the next generation has opportunities that this one lacks.

We all have a responsibility to give these children a chance to achieve their dreams. After all, with a little hard work, you don't have to rely on luck. 

Learn More:

Twitter: @goodsforgood

Facebook: goods for good