What is ODFL?
ODFL is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation founded to address third world poverty while empowering American teenagers to improve their world. It does this by collecting just one dollar from each of millions of US high school students and then channeling those funds into small-scale infrastructure projects in developing world countries.
ODFL works with qualified Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to fund and implement such projects as schools, water wells, irrigation systems, sanitary waste disposal, vaccinations, and other simple, low cost projects. These projects have the potential to dramatically improve the capacity for self-sustenance — or even of life itself — for tens of millions of people.
ODFL was founded in 2006 at Los Altos High School in Los Altos, CA. It is operated by students with the help of teachers in Los Altos, Mt. View, and Bakersfield, CA.
How Does ODFL Work?
ODFL helps US high schools manage fund-raisers, aggregate their monies, identify qualified NGOs and worthy projects, and oversee the projects’ implementation in developing countries. Conceptually, ODFL’s operation looks like this:
ODFL maintains the highest of standards for both its NGO partners and the projects it funds. It ensures that monies are properly spent and enables students to monitor the way their projects improve lives of thousands of people.
The nexus connecting U.S. students and developing world villages is a web site built with industry standard hardware and software. The site provides training tools to help schools operate fund-raisers, offers profiles of qualified NGOs, and presents case studies of successful projects. It brings together millions of people from the US and the developing world to create a singular humanity working to reduce human suffering.
The Need in the Developing World
One billion people live on less than $1 per day. Three billion people — almost half of humanity — live on less than $2 per day. Three million children die every year of dehydration and the pill to cure it costs $.10. Five million people die of malaria and the pill to fix it costs $.25. These and myriad other problems consign these billions of people — and their children — to permanent destitution. Unless they’re addressed, these problems will only get worse. This need not be.
The Need in America
Ironically, American high school students have needs as well. They are hungry to find a purpose larger than themselves. They have an impulse for compassion. And they have a longing for self-efficacy. ODFL allows tens of millions of American students to connect to others through altruism and civic engagement, and to demonstrate a sense of self-efficacy in their lives. It allows them to directly improve their own world while making themselves into “bigger” people.
Small Scale Projects
Clean drinking water. Basic vaccinations. Reading materials. Often, the smallest thing stands between destitution and self-sufficiency. Such things cost much less in developing countries than they do in the U.S., allowing small contributions to make such a large impact. It is exactly such low-cost-high-impact projects that allow ODFL to help improve living conditions and the potential for growth in developing world countries.
Small Grain Fundraising
ODFL fundraising is based on a very fine-grained contribution model: only $1 from each donor. The size makes it virtually impossible for any person to not want to participate. Yet it is precisely when all of these minute donations are added together that such small donations become so powerful. ODFL has built a “Fundraiser in a Box” to help U.S. schools organize and carry out successful fundraisers. The process is magical for students and teachers alike!
Successes and Visions
In its first full year of operation, ODFL:
- Built a school in Kenya for 45 students who had been studying in a horse barn
- Set 452 bicycles to Africa, our “Wheels of Wonder” used bicycle collection drive
- Bought desks for 60 students at a primary school in Malawi
- Raised $3,000 for victims of the China earthquake
- Provided milk cows for 120 orphans in Kenya, feeding them protein for 8 years
- Donated 4,000 pounds of food to the Bay Area Second Harvest Food Bank
- Built a 3-room school in Nepal for 84 students with no school at all
These are the kind of low-cost, high impact projects that ODFL undertakes, helping both donors and recipients, both here and abroad. Bigger people. Better world. That is our mission. Please join us!