Why The Motley Fool Plans to Invest $75,000 in This Pencil

As investors, we all know the greatest value and future return is generated when dollars are invested wisely.

That means that sometimes even a small amount can provide one heck of a great return.

So we want to share with you an exciting opportunity to invest better... but not in stocks.


Our Foolanthropy campaigns seek out great opportunities to make our dollars really count. During the season of giving and love, we ask for help investing in communities across the world. By building educational foundations, we can give the gift of so many brighter and more successful futures, and make the whole world a better place.

This year, The Motley Fool is partnering with Pencils of Promise. Our goal is to band together with our global Foolish community to improve people's lives around the world through education.

Click here for a fantastic place to invest your tax-deductible giving before 2013 ends, or keep reading to discover more about this amazing organization.

Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun shared his remarkable story with us earlier this year in a visit to Fool HQ. An avid backpacker, Adam decided a few years ago to ask one person in every country what they most wanted in the world.

A boy in India had a simple answer: a pencil.

I reached into my backpack, handed him my pencil, and watched as a wave of possibility washed over him. A smile erupted and his eyes brightened. And I saw then the profound power and promise brought through something as small as giving a pencil to just one child.

After arriving back home, Adam raised $25,000 from friends and family to build a school in Laos, which he dedicated to his grandmother.

He soon quit his job as a consultant at Bain & Company and turned the business skills he'd acquired toward building schools.

"Nearly everyone I knew thought that I was an idiot for leaving my job, but I realized that I had to pursue what I was passionate about."

What's so special about education?

It provides widespread, long-lasting benefits:

Education goes beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Education is the basic building block of every society, and it is the most important tool for alleviating poverty and inequality. Education allows people to better provide for themselves and their families, creates opportunities for economic growth, helps improve health by fighting the spread of diseases and reducing mother and child mortality, and encourages good governance and stability within a community.

Pencils of Promise believes every contribution, big or small, makes "an incredible impact on our students in the developing world."

Every $25 can give one student education for a year, setting young kids on the road to a better life. It's an awesome investment.

Since Adam founded Pencils of Promise five years ago, the results have been remarkable: 159 schools built and thousands of students served:

The educational gains have been remarkable:

Here's what explains the effectiveness and success of Adam's model:

  • Giving 100%: Private donors already cover Pencils of Promise's operating costs so that every cent of online donations goes directly to building and operating schools.
  • Smart planning: Adam's assembled a smart, experienced team to maximize the impact of every project. Their methodology focuses on geographies that are politically and socially stable, willing to invest in the future of education, not over- nor undersaturated by NGOs, and that display a measurable need for schools.
  • Build and hire: Pencils of Promise partners with locals. Villages show their commitment to education by agreeing to contribute 10%-20% of building costs in the form of materials and labor.
  • Local sourcing: Using local supplies and workers for construction boosts local economies. It also means donation dollars are utilized cost-effectively.
  • Monitoring: Pencils of Promise carefully tracks every investment it makes so that it can work with schools to constantly improve their impact. They also send construction photos and updates once the school is complete, so we can see where our dollars are going and the direct impact they make.

So what can we do to build a world in which many more children have access to education? Uniting our own resources together as a community, we can gather a great holiday season gift that will reach very far.

Pencils of Promise believes every contribution, big or small, makes "an incredible impact on our students in the developing world."

Every $25 we donate can give one student education for a year, setting young kids on the road to a better life.

With The Motley Fool community, we're aiming to raise $50,000 for the Season of Promise campaign. This investment will build two schools in Guatemala. And if we raise $75,000, we'll be able to build three schools.

The Fool has made a $5,000 initial contribution, will match up to $5,000 in employee contributions, and will donate an additional $2,500 if we as a Foolish community reach 750 individual donors.

So now's your chance to chip in with us alongside the many Fools who are helping to make sure that every child who wants an education has access to a school. (Remember to claim your 2013 tax deduction if you contribute before the year-end deadline.)

Click here to find out how you can help, too.

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The article Why The Motley Fool Plans to Invest $75,000 in This Pencil originally appeared on Fool.com.

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