TechnoServe: Bottom Line Meets Bottom Of The Pyramid


When he founded nonprofit TechnoServe just over a half-century ago, Ed Bullard espoused a point of view that was downright radical for the time. Namely, that profits and poverty abatement aren't antithetical, and that the two can actually support one another.

Of course, this perspective has become almost mainstream in today's business world. TechnoServe has expanded to 29 countries, connecting big corporations with small farmers to help them prosper and grow their businesses. And they're at the top of their game: Impact Matters, which rates nonprofits based on their impact, has rated TechnoServe as the number one nonprofit in cost effectiveness for reducing poverty.

And as TechnoServe CEO Will Warshauer stresses, their initiatives are not charity: "We’re even against subsidies," he explains. "If we can help people get into commercial relationships that really work on straight commercial terms, that’s what will last over time, and that’s what we’ll scale up."

And 51 years on, the organization's goals couldn't be any clearer. "Our main success metric is the extra money that our clients earned in total," Warshauer states. "That was almost $190 million last year. So, for some of these families....[it's] the difference between having their kids be able to go to school or not; having a metal roof on their house or not; being able to afford medicine when their baby gets sick or not."

For more on this tremendously effective org, check out this week's Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine (in both text and podcast).


A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization

Federal Identification Number (EIN): 46-3416157

P.O. Box 6654
San Rafael, CA 94903