ODFL’s mission is to improve life chances for some of the poorest people in the world. We do that in two ways.
- We build small-scale infrastructure projects in developing countries.
- We offer people here at home the chance to help bring those projects into being.
The infrastructure projects are straightforward. They include classrooms, medical clinics, latrines, libraries, and other such facilities. You can see more than a hundred of these under Proof the Vision Works. These projects do one of two things:
- Reduce suffering
- Improve opportunity
Consider reducing suffering. In Nepal, our birthing centers vaccinate newborns against 11 of the most common childhood diseases. Without this, a child will spend most of its early years in disease, contagion, or death. The serum for the vaccination costs $3.
The Nepal Ministry of Health estimates these vaccinations avert $3,000 in suffering and lost productivity. That’s a 1,000-to-1 return on investment in reducing human suffering. That’s what we mean by “improve life chances.”
Or, consider improving opportunity. Our Girls’ Equality Project provides washable sanitary supplies to help adolescent girls deal with their periods. They help thousands of girls stay in school for three more years.
The kits cost $5, but are free to the girls. Helping an adolescent girl stay in school for three years for $1.67 per year may be one of the highest returns-on-human-investment in the world. It’s another example of “improving life chances.”
The mission here at home is equally inspiring. It is to engage millions of people in small acts of altruism by offering them the chance to help bring these projects into being. Why?
First, it is those acts that fund the projects. But more importantly, it’s because we are bigger when we help others. We’re working to grow a generation of bigger people, people who are intentionally engaged, and knowingly effective, in bettering their world.
Someone once asked Abraham Lincoln, “Who is the biggest man you ever saw?” Lincoln replied, “The biggest man I ever saw was one who stooped to help a child.” We instinctively understand the beauty, and the wisdom, in this reply.
If we can enlist millions of people into small acts of altruism, acts that not only help others, but make the actor themselves a bigger person, we will bring about that better world that we all long for, because bigger people act differently than do small people.
They’re more inclusive. More compassionate. More collaborative. They are stewards of their world, rather than simply passing through. This is why our tag line is, “Bigger People. Better World.” One brings about the other, and both are beautiful.
Bigger People. Better World. That is our mission. Join us.