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December 22, 2016

ALB Family,


As 2016 draws to a close, it is a great time to reflect on our progress this year and overall – for all of us as individuals and ALB as an organization. This year has had its ups and downs to be sure, but looking at the larger picture, we’ve made some great progress. We’re about 10 years old now, we’ve just added our third alumni, and we have three more students in school.


Our mission has been to help transform Africa by educating the next generation of ethical and brilliant leaders. It would be nice to say we’ve educated dozens or more, but we’ve worked hard and done a fine job getting this far. Reflecting back on our success and culture, I want to share with you one of the biggest highlights of 2016 for me: pay-it-forward.


That was our theme for the 2016 Gala – to whom much is given, much is required. Our board and supporters give for different reasons, but we are all very blessed to live in the US and be successful by almost any standard. We’ve been given much, so we pay it forward to help others. For our scholars, our culture requires that they recognize the sacrifices people have made to help them have this opportunity, and that when they return to Africa, they pay that forward in some way.


John spoke at the Gala about the volunteering he’s done in Africa, including speaking to the high school students supported by Austin’s own Moja Tu. Yves recently posted that he and his General Electric colleagues had been volunteering at an orphanage in Cote d’Ivoire. Another obvious (and very helpful) way is for our alumni to make donations back to ALB to support the scholars who come behind them.


Of course, that can be a bit of a challenge. Some countries in Africa make it difficult or impossible to send funds out of the country. Also, if you’ll recall when you had your first “real” job out of college, you probably didn’t feel much like sharing a whole lot of your income. But, like John before him, I’m VERY proud to share with you all that starting a few months ago, Yves has been making regular donations back to ALB to help enable TK, UK, Diana and Wambui to continue their education. In fact, thanks to his generosity and the generous matching provided by the GE Foundation, next year Yves will likely be one of our top 3 individual donors!


Think about that! A young person in his early 20s living in West Africa, where a dollar goes a LOT farther than it does here. This is a tremendous difference in lifestyle for Yves. He is “walking the talk,” and I couldn’t be more proud.


As you close out on 2016 and you’re counting your blessings (and doing your giving!) please think of Yves and our ALB Scholars, and know that (1) our board covers all expenses, so all donations go 100% towards mission; and (2) donations made today get recycled in the future by our alumni as they pay it forward… so your donations are TRULY the gifts that keep on giving.


Donate here and visit our website to keep up with ALB happenings.


Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a very prosperous 2017 to you and yours!


Rick Reeder
President and Founder


Tags: Diana Esmat, John Kidenda, Rick Reeder, Takalani Malivha, Ukairo Ukpai Ukairo, Wambui Mburu, Yves Mafolo