Alumni, friends, colleagues, parents
We are delighted to announce the start of our first fundraising drive for Pivotal Places. The goal of this CSU-student run non-profit is to support building capacity for sustainable communities in places experiencing combined pressures of climate change, poverty, and urbanization.
Pivotal Places raises money to support research and engagement that makes a difference. It allows past and present students to invest directly in projects that have a positive impact on the lives and well-being of some of the poorest and yet most resilient communities in the savanna regions of northern South Africa (www.pivotalplaces.org
Our goal is a modest one – to raise $4000. The first priority is creating a 501c3 account with the CSU Foundation. Once we open this account, all future donations to Pivotal Places will be tax-deductible; however, we don’t want to just open an account, we need to start working right away!
To launch the non-profit and invest in the greatest immediate impact, we are focusing on a pivotal place and community that we have been working with for over 15 years. In the Hamakuya region, near the Zimbabwe border, our partner, the Tshulu Trust, runs a community research base that hosts study abroad groups and international research teams. This place has changed the lives of countless students from a host of programs across the US and internationally, including University of Chicago, Northwestern University, North Carolina State University, Harvard, and Arizona State University among many others.
Many CSU students already have wonderful memories of the camp, because it is an essential ingredient in the CSU Communities and Conservation study-abroad program. Significantly, it is also the sole source of employment of 15 extraordinary Hamakuya community members who act as research field officers and support for our student researchers and study abroad programs. From this base, moreover, student groups move out into local villages, in homestay experiences that bring considerable income to families in need.
Tshulu Camp is in urgent need of refurbishment, so that it can continue to host CSU and other international programs and provide income to nearby villagers, many of whom have no employment and who survive on 15 liters of water a day. But the funds we raise will do more than that. Focused on water provision, sustainable farming, and renewable energy, our construction projects will serve as a model for the hands-on teaching of sustainability principles that are appropriate to arid savanna conditions.
We are asking for donations, no matter how small, to support the launch of a new CSU Foundation account, and renovations at Tshulu Camp that will include solar pumps, lights, tent repair and new decking for platform tents, water reticulation, and low impact sewage treatment. A small part of this income will also go towards paying for labor and training for local, Venda speaking villagers who will undertake the renovations themselves.
Thank you for considering this worthy cause!