Our community of support grew in 2017 by an amazing 340 people, leading to an increase in annual revenue by 15%. This is largely due to new and successful fundraising events hosted by our donors; grants from foundations and unions in Ontario; our first gifts of stocks; our committed monthly donors; and of course, individuals and families who believe in empowering young women and girls with access to higher education.
Beautiful World continues to keep our program spending high. In 2017, we spent $562,385 on our programs. This meant 312 girls and young women in Uganda, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, had access to secondary and post-secondary with all the tools and support needed to succeed. With an annual grant from a private family foundation to offset the cost of operations, 100% of every donation goes directly to our programs.
In 2017, our operating costs remained consistent with prior years. Operations includes the salary of our single paid staff, the International Program Manager, as well as office supplies, postage, and marketing materials. As mentioned above, these expenses are offset by a generous donation from a private family foundation, allowing for every donation received to go directly to our program funding.
2017 was an exciting year for fundraising, as our Annual Gala almost doubled in attendance. We also launched our online fundraising pages, and hosted our first Breakfast event with 150 people – the majority of whom were new to the Beautiful World community.