The St. Nicholas Africa Fund is a Charitable Works project of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, San Anselmo, California, a 501(c)(3) organization. Your contributions go directly to people personally known to us, and are fully tax-deductible.
The Fund has provided more than a third of a million dollars over the past decade in direct aid to Uganda, South Africa, and the Congo— some of the poorest countries of the world— for education, medicine, family assistance, vocational training, and even start-up capital for small businesses.
The program began in 2003 when long-time St Nicholas parish member John Burnett worked as Dean of the Orthodox seminary in Kampala, Uganda, and began to organize support for high school students who were in danger of dropping out for lack of fees. Because Mr Burnett later worked as Director of Studies at the seminary in Johannesburg, South Africa, the program sometimes sometimes helps Congolese and Zimbabwean refugees in that country as well.
The Fund has mainly focused on helping poor students finish their secondary education, but because we have a fairly close relationship with each of our recipients, we occasionally provide medical, nutritional, and housing assistance when needed; and we’ve sponsored some of our graduates in vocational or even university programs, or helped them start small businesses. Our main goal and purpose is for our recipients to become self-sufficient, for in our experience of Africa, when one person has a job, about ten people eat.
The Fund is directed by Mr Burnett, with the ever-faithful and hardworking assistance of Mr Billy Hasimwe Mambo, our Program Manager in Kampala. Mr Mambo keeps a close eye on each of our recipients personally, and makes sure that every cent remitted to Kampala reaches its intended purpose. Our Assistant Director is the Parish Treasurer, whose accounting skills keep us right on top of our finances on this side; and the Director of the Parish’s Charitable Works Ministry provides advice and practical backup as needed.
We strive to provide support for our recipients at least through the end of high school or vocational training, but on occasion we also support university students, especially in medicine or STEM subject. Typically, we help our kids for 6 or 7 years.
When we send funds to the Program Manager, he either pays the required expenses directly, or places the money directly in the recipients’ hands to buy clothing, food, books, etc. We keep strict accounting of all transactions, and accounts are audited by the Parish at the end of each year.
You’re not likely to find a charity where you’ll have a more direct impact on someone’s life. We have almost no overhead, and we know each of our recipients face-to-face.
You can contribute by clicking on this Paypal button (you don’t need a Paypal account, but can use Paypal to pay safely and securely by credit card)—
—or by sending a check to
St Nicholas Orthodox Church
102 Ross Avenue
San Anselmo CA 94960 USA.
See our list of current projects.
And contact us from the link at the bottom of this page if you have any questions, comments, or wish to sponsor a student or address a particular need.