2011 in Review

This last year was a year of learning and growth. In just our second year of operation, we focused on growing our volunteer-base, developing our projects, and defining our mission and vision with more granularity.

In preparing for the new year, we took a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished this last year.  Here are some major milestones that our team met this past year:

VPI Overall

  • Became an official 501(c)3 organization
  • Hosted three successful fundraisers- one in DC, one in NY, and one virtual fundraiser
  • Improved website operations
  • Created, maintained social media tools (facebook, twitter, blog)
  • Got a lab space in DC
  • Created two videos as spots for social advertising
  • Recruited over 20 new members for VPI, growing it from about 14 in 2010 to 38 current members
  • Got accepted to 1% for the planet, globalgiving, crowdrise, pledgemusic, guidestar, and google nonprofits as official charity
  • Became official partner in the 2012 SF Marathon
  • Created cost model and VPI overall business executive summary to prepare for angel and seed investors in 2012
  •  Successfully fund raised over $2,000 to support VPI projects
Biodigester Team

  • Placed in the 2011 WJF competition
  • Partnered with the University of Michigan’s SAESC
  • Completed the business plan, including an educational plan to teach the locals to build and sell their own reactors
  • Developed a partnership with Zingerman’s Deli to operate the first prototype and attempt to produce methane gas to run their coffee roasters
  • Had the first successful prototype design validated in Brazil
  • Submitted an article to the Michigan Water Environment Association to be published in an upcoming magazine
  • Created a new Washington DC- based team
  • Began the design of a second Biodigester prototype
  • Completed installing the solar panels, computers, and back-up batteries for a school of 1050 children
  • Completed building alpha prototype and designing the beta prototype
  • Advanced to Round II in the 2012 WJF competition (ongoing)
  • Developed relationship with SCIndia NGO in India
  • Completed in-country feasibility assessment with SCIndia
Bamboo Bikes Team

This week, most of us will visit our loved ones, enjoy wonderful meals, and give thanks for what we have. This is a tradition built on the early beginnings of celebrated philanthropy. While we may enjoy a bountiful meal, many around the world may never experience this in their lifetimes.

People around the world must choose between paying for food and water or having a source of light for the evening; riding into town to sell goods or attending school; investing in fertilizer for a better crop, or purchasing medicine for their sick children. At this time of the year especially, I am reminded of how fortunate I am and I believe that no family should have to make these decisions.

I am proud be a part of a team working towards developing sustainable technologies and solutions to improve the quality of life for communities around the world. We are working this holiday season, just like any other time of the year, to ensure that more people around the world can have access the basic necessities that I am thankful for, such as such as light, heat, and access to transportation.  Whether we are assessing best way to design a bamboo bicycle to increase access to transportation, a biodigester to provide clean energy to cook food and heat water, or a solar lantern to provide light in a home, Vort Port International strives to make lives better.

Vort Port International is unlike most other non-profit organizations in that we incubate ideas from the ground up and address issues from environmental, social, and economic standpoints. We are currently developing three projects in India, Madagascar, and  Uganda focused on decreasing deforestation and pollution, and increasing access to transportation, electricity, and light. We are working to partner with multiple organizations and Universities to expand and distribute our work around the world. We are 100% volunteer-based , so every dollar from your tax-deductible donation will go directly to our projects.

Please give back to those in need this holiday season by supporting our efforts. Your active participation in our events and generous financial support will help ensure that we can continue to make a positive impact on underserved communities. By participating this year, we want to offer a small token for your support with our gift levels, which can be found on our website (www.vortport.org/give). Thank you for believing in us, and helping to make the world healthier and better place. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season!

It is truly a pleasure and honor for me to work with everyone in our organization. Everyone who works with us is a volunteer. To think that they put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to create a world without poverty is moving and inspiring. These volunteers know that with the right tools and skills, families within a community can work to change themselves, and create lasting positive change in our world. I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity to work alongside these volunteers and communities, and can’t wait to see what this organization will accomplish this coming year.

Happy New Year!

Merry Walker, Co Founder and Executive Director

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