Close and personal

A long-term donor reflects on the connections that have kept her engaged with Thousand Currents over the years.

Susan Kahn came home to San Francisco invigorated. After traveling extensively in Guatemala and Mexico in the 1990’s, her sense of wanting to give back to the international community was strong.

So to satisfy her passion for grassroots development, when Susan learned about IDEX*, she became a volunteer and has been a donor ever since.

“My husband and I like to support causes we believe in and like to know where our money is going. I like how Thousand Currents very carefully selects who to work with. I like that Thousand Currents views grassroots groups as having all the expertise that they need, and all they need is funding,” shares Susan.

Reflecting back, Susan, who is a former marriage and family therapist, says she has always been most impressed by the “really close and personal connections Thousand Currents shares with their local partners.”

Susan and her family have had an especially close connection to GRAVIS, one of Thousand Currents’ partners in India. Susan and her husband David, who both share an equal passion for travelling, visited India in 2010 and part of their trip had them meeting with several potential catalyst grantees to find out more about their work. Previously she was also instrumental in helping to plan a delegation of IDEX donors to Rajasthan.

Since her time as a volunteer, Susan has observed tremendous growth in how Thousand Currents gives grants and supports organizations.

It’s a major change how Thousand Currents has moved from funding individual projects to forming long-term partnerships. Thousand Currents approaches their partners with the idea of ‘you know what you need, ‘rather than ‘we are the experts so we will decide what’s best.’

Susan believes that one thing Thousand Currents does best is keeping track of how the resources are being used, but ultimately responding to what the true needs are.

“Thousand Currents is respectful of the people who really know what’s happening on the ground,” Susan explains. “We have great resources here in the U.S., and I like to take part in sharing them.”

Thousand Currents is grateful to Susan Kahn and David Kaskowitz for their continuous support of IDEX and Thousand Currents over the years and for walking so closely with us and our partners.

*Note: Thousand Currents changed its name from IDEX in 2016.

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