Give STL Day Spotlight: Under the Same Tree
By Ranen Miao
Community Investment Intern
The pernicious effects of cyclical poverty have been documented to trap hard-working people in impoverished circumstances, with little to no hope of escaping.
Under the Same Tree is an organization dedicated to leveling the playing field by investing in single mothers to prevent the effects of poverty through economic empowerment. By partnering with innovative, resourceful and hard-working people and addressing the roots of poverty – a lack of capital – they effectively help families move from cycles of poverty into cycles of holistic empowerment.
Under the Same Tree currently operates in Kenya, Uganda, Haiti and St. Louis. They approach economic empowerment through two steps: the first is by offering loans to single mothers who want to start their own small business. The second is finding sponsors to pay for schooling, medicine and nutrition, allowing mothers to focus on the growth of their business. By connecting these members across their communities, Under the Same Tree builds powerful networks that help uplift those who have historically been denied the connections and opportunities of the more fortunate.
“Many in East Africa have faced their businesses temporarily closing due to COVID-19 restrictions,” explained Chelsea McMillan, Director of Administration. “This has left these families without any source of income, unable to buy food or pay rent. It also means they will face the discouraging process of rebuilding their businesses once things stabilize again.”
This increased need spurred Under the Same Tree’s participation in this year’s Give STL Day, where they nearly quadrupled the amount of money raised one year earlier.
“We have been very encouraged by the funds raised through Give STL Day and the generosity this day highlights,” said McMillan. “Especially in this time, it has been very impactful in helping us continue to support the families we serve.”
In the future, Under the Same Tree is eyeing expansion into more areas. As McMillan put it, “the goal of our organization is to see more areas supported and the areas where our program is being implemented continue to thrive independently as a community.”
Through continuous conversations with partners in new countries and regions that may need their service, Under the Same Tree may be expanding their program in Haiti and other regions in the years to come.