One of NFI’s goals is to be a voice for fatherhood on Capitol Hill. Over the years, for example, we have helped push through funding that supports organizations seeking to equip dads.
So, while there is funding for programs providing needed services to fathers, there is a general lack of funding available for organizations to obtain the “capacity-building” training and services they need to build long-term sustainability.
What is capacity-building? It is what organizations need to be more effective in their service delivery in the present and more viable organizations in the future. Leadership development, organizational development, program development, and community engagement would all qualify as capacity-building services.
That is why we have created an initiative to inform Congress that federal fatherhood grantees should be allowed to use a portion of their funds to procure capacity-building services and training.
While service delivery is the most important use of grant funds, those services need to be delivered by effective organizations – and that is where capacity-building comes in. It will help organizations do a better job serving fathers and ultimately lead to better outcomes for children.
We have set up a page on our website where you and/or your organization can make your voice heard! The grant program for fatherhood programs will be reviewed in Congress later this year, so now is the time to ensure that future grantees will have the flexibility to use some of their grant funds for capacity-building.
Here is what we would like for you to do:
As an individual – Use our special webpage to send your opinion directly to your members of Congress. The more voices that come on board, the more persuasive we can be!
As an organization – Sign on to become an "endorsing organization" of this effort to allow federal fatherhood grantees to use a portion of their funds for capacity-building services. Your organization's name will be listed alongside National Fatherhood Initiative as a supporter or this important advocacy effort.
We will soon inform Congress and the White House of all the people and organizations that are behind this effort.
Thank you so much in advance for helping us in this important effort. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Vincent DiCaro, NFI’s Congressional liaison at email@example.com.
I recently attended the 10th annual Cause Marketing Forum (CMF) conference in Chicago to learn about how non-profits and corporate brands can support important causes together. During the conference keynote, musician Kenna made a special appearance to share about Summit on the Summit – a campaign he created raising awareness and funds to provide clean drinking water by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Working at NFI has given me “fatherhood glasses” and what stuck out to me from Kenna’s story was that it was his dad who inspired him to create this campaign.
Kenna is an Ethiopian-born American musician. He told the audience at CMF that he attempted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate his second album but could not finish due to a reaction to anti-altitude medication.
When his dad asked him why he wanted to climb the mountain, Kenna replied that he felt like he hadn’t reached his life’s mountain yet. His dad reminded him that he had been born at 19,000 feet altitude and perhaps he didn’t need the anti-altitude medication. “You were made to climb that mountain, Kenna,” his dad said. “Maybe you have added something artificial to your life, like the medication, that is keeping you from reaching your life’s mountain.”
Kenna’s dad told him he wanted to dig a well in his native country, Ethiopia, to provide clean drinking water. Though he was born in Ethiopia, Kenna grew up in the United States and he took clean drinking water for granted.
Then, he learned that his dad had almost died from a waterborne disease that left him in great pain through his teen years. This disease killed many others in his community. Around the world, over one billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water.
Kenna says his father’s experience with this global crisis made him realize his dad did not come to America and provide a good life for his family just so his son could walk a red carpet and be famous. His father’s story and his close relationship with his dad motivated Kenna to help his dad fulfill his dream of providing clean drinking water to his native community and others in need around the world.
Kenna created Summit on the Summit to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team of celebrities (including Lupe Fiasco, Emile Hersch, and Jessica Biel), humanitarian workers, corporate brands like HP, and the United Nations.
The extreme nature of their effort was intended to raise awareness of the extreme need for clean water. Watch a video about this project here.
The campaign was successful! Months later, Kenna returned to Ethiopia, which includes some of the driest parts of the earth, to dig a well 50 yards from where his father had contracted a waterborne illness years before. Kenna continues to campaign for access to clean drinking water even though his climb is done.
Kenna says, “Everything I wanted to accomplish as an artist I had done. I wanted to do something that would impact the world, but I never thought I’d do that by impacting my own family. It’s been the most meaningful existence.”
At NFI, we say “fathers change the world one child at a time.” In this case, Kenna’s father truly made an impact on the world. His relationship with his son motivated his son to devote himself to a cause close to his father.
While your children may not have the celebrity status Kenna was able to leverage for an important cause, you are making a difference everyday by shaping what your children care about and value. You never know what they will be motivated to do because you invested in their life.
How have you been inspired by your dad?