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ProPoor's mission is to empower NGOs, donors, and individuals by providing the tools to connect, and by facilitating the exchange of information.

Established in 1998, ProPoor is committed to the dissemination of information and promotion of sustainable development initiatives, in response to the needs of under represented and marginalized sectors of society in the South Asia.

ProPoor has developed a comprehensive Internet portal containing information about South Asian non-governmental organizations, funding agencies, events, projects, jobs opportunities in social development, success stories of individuals as well as organizations, and other relevant links.

ProPoor establishes an electronic forum linking nonprofits across South Asia to facilitate exchange of experiences, systems, administrative best-practices, material resources, and other valuable information.

Working with a small but fiercely dedicated staff, in less than five years, ProPoor has built a website that showcases the details of nearly 13,000 nonprofits across South Asia. ProPoor allows internet users to identify NGOs by name, region, or area of focus. It opens channels for benefactors to find projects to support and opens lines of communication among charitable organizations. In addition ProPoor contains detailed developmental news, donor appeals, project reports, and discussions.


Listed in inverse alphabetical order. :)

  • Yoo-mi: Yoo-mi The International development specialist, she has been to over 50 different countries. Despite her achievements, Yoo-Mi is serves humbly in any way she can. She leads the ProPoor team.

  • Vandana: The ServiceSpace India coordinator, VandanaVandana is a Pune-ite whose daughter had an IQ of 170 at the age of 6! With her incessant, boundless energy, she oversees local chapters in India while responding to the tons of emails we receive.

  • Samihita: A UC Berkeley graduate who has done development work in India and is currently evolving creative ways to bridge service, spirituality and social action.

  • Nisha: a software researcher by profession and a green activist by night, Nisha is always digging for news from the trenches of nonprofit activity ... all of which is reported fresh and vital on our site and newsletters.

  • Nipun: Founder of ServiceSpace, who helps out with vision level thinking and lends a hand wherever necessary. Nipun aims to "bring smiles in the world and stillness in his heart."

  • Jayesh: Jayesh Parikh Founder of MobiApps and a dedicated humanitarian, Jayeshbhai started this effort in 1998. From helping develop ProPoor's vision to heading ProPoor's outreach efforts, Jayesh serves as an inspiration for all ProPoor volunteers.

  • Jean: A talented & inspiring graphic designer, Jean loves helping people and is an ardent admirer of the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi. Check out some of her ecards to see her flashes of inspiration.


No pitches, no hierarchies, and the only aspiration: to be the agent of positive change in the lives of its volunteers. To the average business tycoon, this model of ServiceSpace would simply not result in measurable progress. So imagine the skepticism when Jayesh Parekh, founder of MobiApps and ProPoor, first found out that ServiceSpace was creating enduring social change with a completely volunteer run infrastructure. He followed the activities of ServiceSpace and within a year, he had become convinced that the only way for ProPoor to become sustainable was to adopt the volunteer model.

ProPoor, a nonprofit based in Kolkata, India, began with Parekh and two of his closest friends in 1998. Their vision was to establish a portal linking Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) across South Asia in meaningful ways and facilitating easy access and exchange of valuable information between NGOs and donors. With a small but fiercely dedicated staff, in less than five years ProPoor built up a site that today showcases details of close to 13,000 nonprofits across South Asia that can be located by name, region or area of focus. In addition, the site hosts sections on developmental news, appeals by NGOs, project reports, and inspiring stories of service.

An inspiring story of service itself, ServiceSpace began almost four years ago with a handful of young techies in Silicon Valley. Today it involves thousands of volunteers across the globe who help build high quality websites for nonprofits free of charge. Although designing websites and providing various forms of technical and non-technical assistance is its forte, ServiceSpace's primary purpose is to invite people everywhere to participate in the joy of service, and to that end, it constantly looks for ways to expand its circle of giving.

So when ServiceSpace founder Nipun Mehta chanced to run into Parekh, it wasn't long before the two were discussing possible synergies. It was a meeting that eventually led to a pivotal decision. In a gesture reflecting the genuine commitment of its founder to the cause of service, ProPoor decided to hand over its operations to ServiceSpace, trading in salaried support for sheer volunteer power. Describing the circumstances that prompted the decision, Parekh called it "a meeting of 'hearts' in the spirit of service."

The meeting between Parekh and Mehta came at a time when ServiceSpace was actively expanding its programs in India, where it has a large volunteer base. With the establishment of local chapters in several key cities, including Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, ServiceSpace is now gearing up to strengthen ties between volunteers, nonprofits in the community, and various other service-oriented initiatives. ProPoor's experience within the regional NGO sector and its power-packed database of relevant information augment ServiceSpace activities in India. ServiceSpace has the considerable strengths of its extensive infrastructure and numerous corporate and community ties. Furthermore, ServiceSpace's large volunteer base would drastically reduce the overhead of running the ProPoor site while dramatically increasing opportunities to serve.
All nighters on April Fools Day!

After extensive discussions and a degree of soul-searching on both sides, Mehta and Parekh agreed that taking ProPoor in a completely volunteer-run direction was the best way to carry forth its mission. "By this transfer of responsibility ServiceSpace will help further a shared goal," explains Yoo-Mi Lee, CF volunteer and one of the driving forces behind the India chapters. "It means we will be able to reach more people more effectively."

Discussing the potential of this new venture, Mehta points out that, "Both ServiceSpace and ProPoor address multiple audiences -- information seekers, volunteers, donors and so on -- that all share an interest in service. Merging our audience will energize all their activities."

As ServiceSpace volunteers rush to complete the technology migration, along with plans for a new user-interface and enhanced user experience before its target deadline, March 31st 2003, they are simultaneously exploring various other ways in which it can carry forward the shared vision of both organizations. "We hope to build on the existing ProPoor platform to provide wide-spread capacity building and direct services to people doing charitable work in South Asia and also to create rich opportunities for volunteers, " says Mark Jacobs of ServiceSpace who with Lee, is currently volunteering in India.

Today, ServiceSpace has a growing list of significant achievements to its name. Functioning as an 'incubator of compassionate action', it has been responsible for piloting a series of unique projects and ideas. Pledgepage, an online donation site, recently made headlines as a dotcom being taken over by a dotorg. A second project, CommunityShops, provides rural artisans with a global platform with the use of the internet. "Initiatives like these are a very exciting step in the evolution of service on the web," says Mehta, " and we are honored and humbled to be continuing the excellent work they started."

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