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The Need

1 out of every 6 children in Malawi
is considered vulnerable.

Malawi is the 9th poorest country in the world

1.3 million children are orphans

61% of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day

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Orphan care in Africa needs to change drastically.

Right now, 1 in 6 children in the East African nation of Malawi is considered vulnerable. These children are living below the poverty line in need of school supplies, food, and support right now. The good news is that we are addressing this age-old problem in a revolutionary way: helping children today while building the financial capacity of their communities for tomorrow.

Of children do not complete middle school

Of children drop out of school by the fourth grade.

Of children under five are stunted by malnutrition.

The needs of each Malawian community are great.

But the entrepreneurial spirit of the local people is greater. It creates the opportunity to have lasting change on Malawi’s children. One of the biggest myths is that children are placed in institutions because they have no parents. The truth is that most are actually in institutions because their parents or extended family cannot afford to feed, clothe, and educate them. goods for good equips local people with the resources to pull themselves out of poverty and raise these children in their home villages, in a nurturing environment, surrounded by friends and family.

We provide sustainable solutions

To address this great need, we create innovative solutions for Malawi and its orphans. These solutions ultimately result in sustainable community support and increased orphan care services.

The Work

We build the financial capacity of communities in Africa
so they can provide orphan care.

nearly 80,000 vulnerable children receiving better care

10 small businesses launched

$26,000 generated from
community enterprises

We do good by building small businesses.

We approach orphan care in a revolutionary way, by applying the proven principles of microenterprise. We believe this is how we will once and for all tackle the orphan crisis; and our community partners agree. We partner directly with Malawian community centers to equip them with the resources and industry knowledge required to launch successful small businesses. In so doing, they become fiscally equipped to care for orphans. They also create jobs and boost the local economy.

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There is a strong market for affordable poultry in Malawi and an attractive balance of risk versus return. Chickens are resilient to climate fluctuations during the dry and rainy seasons and do not require as much land as larger animals that graze. We give our farms competitive advantages by installing green technologies, such as drip irrigation, solar power, and rocket stove heating to keep our chicks healthy and warm.

Capitalizing on the success of our Tailor Training Program, we ensure our tailors have the opportunity to turn their skills into income. Tailors in Malawi often run their own private shops, limiting their ability to source large contracts and grow their businesses. We demonstrate the power of jointly owned enterprises by helping our tailors form co-ops and win major clothing and accessory contracts in both the African and U.S. marketplaces. In 2012, one community center’s co-op sewed over 300 tote bags using excess fabric from KnollTextiles and designs by Cynthia Vincent for sale across the United States. Other co-ops have completed contracts for school uniforms and work suits for agriculture companies.

90% of Malawians support themselves through subsistence farming, harvesting crops to feed their families.1 This means that almost all Malawians are engaged in agriculture, not for profit, but as a means of survival. It also means that agricultural knowledge is widespread. Many children grow up helping their relatives grow food for the family. We give our community centers the chance to turn farming for survival into farming for profit.

How it works:


We tailor each business plan to the skill levels and market access of our unique partner communities. Because of our thorough five-phase process, each enterprise is financially independent by the end of year two and operationally independent by the end of year three.

Partner Assessment + Community Buy-In: Our model capitalizes on the existing entrepreneurial zeal of our local partners and our long-standing relationships with the communities. goods for good uses strict partner criteria to assess each community center's capacity to run a successful enterprise. We prioritize employing vulnerable people, including those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and ensure a gender balance amongst those employed.

Business Plan Development + Training: goods for good and its partners perform a comprehensive market survey to determine the most viable type of business for each center. We then facilitate extensive management and financial training in partnership with the International Labour Organization. Armed with this knowledge, our leaders create a business plan in partnership with goods for good. Each plan includes a budget, which controls for risk, addresses market fluctuations, and sets the community up for success.

Enterprise Launch: Once the business plan is complete, we provide the startup capital and technical support for the first year of operation. To ensure financial independence in year two and insure against future shocks, the community center deposits 50% of the first year's profit into a savings account. The remaining 50% of profit is allocated between direct orphan care programs and operating support for the center. 70% of that profit finances orphan care programs, including school scholarships and nutrition programs. The remaining 30% supports operations, such as staff salaries and center improvements.

Monitor + Evaluate: goods for good's local staff closely monitors and evaluates the business.

Solvent Enterprise: During years two and three, goods for good will continue to monitor the enterprise. The community will continue to save funds and invest the remaining profit in orphan care programming and operations. By the end of the third year, goods for good will drastically cut back monitoring of this program and leave the enterprise to function independently.

In the beginning, we did good by providing goods.

Goods such as pens, shoes, and fabric met the immediate needs of orphans. Now, we do good by strengthening the long-term financial capacity of community centers while still addressing the urgent need to keep orphaned children in school.
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Goods give children the chance to achieve today.

A child’s opportunities to achieve almost always depend on his or her education. Our bundle of goods is a passport to an education. It includes uniforms, pens, and shoes, to keep orphans and vulnerable children in school. These goods also ease the financial burden on families that take in orphans, helping keep children in their communities and out of institutions.

The passport to an education:

28,237 uniforms

Uniforms are required for children to attend school. But their $3 cost often prevents orphans from being able to afford them. Rather than simply give away uniforms, goods for good provides surplus fabric to community centers for vocational tailoring programs. These training programs teach adults marketable skills and give them the chance to form a community enterprise and earn an income. As a graduation requirement, our tailoring students sew uniforms with excess fabric, which are then donated to local orphans.

1.4 million pens

The cost of pens is often a major barrier to education. Since we began our pen program in 2007, we have consistently witnessed an increase in school attendance and in students completing assignments, and a decrease in piecework performed by students trying to earn money for school materials. All of the pens we provide are new, unused surplus materials from the United States and Malawi.

289,965 pairs of shoes

Children in Malawi often walk miles barefoot to attend the nearest school. This discourages them from attending regularly and puts them at risk for diseases and injury. Children who do graduate from primary school are only admitted into high school if they own a pair of shoes. We complement the provision of school uniforms and pens with a pair of new school shoes and where possible, a single dose of de-worming medicine. In partnership with TOMS Shoes and the Ministry of Health, we give 40,000 children shoes each year.

The Results

Our work has immediate results and lasting impact.

10 small businesses launched

nearly 80,000 vulnerable children supported since our founding

Over 419 adults trained in marketable skills

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Lasting impact


Funded and expanded orphan service programs, feeding programs, school scholarships, and more

Began and grew the community centers’ savings funds

Trained adults in entrepreneurship, bookkeeping and chicken rearing

Lasting impact


10 small businesses launched

30% increased school attendance

419 people trained in marketable skills

We support 9 community centers, 182 satellite centers, and help nearly 80,000 children.

Because goods for good works in partnership with communities, a little good goes a long way with us. When you make one community center financially sustainable, you help support its satellite centers, and tens of thousands of children in surrounding villages. That’s how we turn each good into a greater good.

Immediate results


1.4 million pens provided

289,865 shoes provided

5,511 children given de-worming treatments with their shoes

39,959 uniforms and garments created with donated fabric

165,843 meters of fabric repurposed

Get Involved

Help us help now.

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Malawi Trip

Interested in traveling to Malawi on a goods for good partner trip? Let us know and our team will contact you with more about our upcoming partner trips.

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Join us in Malawi - Intern

Are you a college student interested in interning in our Malawi office for the summer? Tell us more about yourself and a member of our team will be in touch.

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Join us in NYC - YPC

The goods for good Young Professionals Committee (YPC) is a group of talented and committed professionals, in their 20s and 30s, who donate their time and diverse skills to GFG projects. In addition the YPC hosts our winter fundraising event, the Party For Good. Interested in joining? Tell us more about yourself.

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Help support our efforts in Malawi.

Buy a limited edition KnollTextiles bracelet embellished with crystals from Swarovski® and 100% of the revenue will benefit goods for good.

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Sign up for Amazon Smile and a donation will be made to goods for good every time you shop.

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Buy a limited edition Luzi Tote by Khrima that benefits the Tailoring Program at Luzi Community Center.

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Host an Event

Interested in hosting an event to support goods for good? Let us know and our team will contact you about setting it up.

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Start a Campaign

Interested in fundraising for goods for good? Start a crowd funding campaign. Tell us more about yourself and we will provide the tools to get you started!

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Our Team

We got started by listening to our partners.

goods for good builds the financial capacity of communities in Africa so they can provide orphan care.

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Melissa's Story

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Our Staff and Board of Advisors

Meet our staff

Our Financials

View Financials

Melissa Kushner

Founder & Executive Director

Melissa's Story.

Having lost her father at a young age, Melissa knows firsthand how losing a parent changes the course of a child’s life. Due in part to this experience, Melissa has committed herself to ensuring that the death of a parent does not determine a child’s fate. In 2005 Melissa’s position at the United Nations took her to Malawi, an African country where one million of the country’s 16 million people are orphans. She brought with her basic goods, such as school supplies, and saw the immediate and profound impact they had on Malawi’s children.

Struck by the country’s orphan crisis, the altruistic and entrepreneurial spirit of local leaders, and the big impact of this seemingly simple concept, Melissa founded goods for good. Melissa set up two offices, one in New York City and the other in 
the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe. She spent her first year as the 
Executive Director of goods for good in Malawi traveling from
 village to village, forging partnerships with local community
 centers. Today, these relationships are the foundation of goods for good’s success. In 2012, Melissa and her team launched Community Enterprise in order to couple the immediate impact of goods with the long-term impact of financial sustainability. Click here to learn more about Community Enterprise and how to get involved.

Get Involved Now

Meet our staff

Melissa Kushner
Founder & Executive Director

C. J. Wise
Chief Operating Officer

Christina Bhamu
Program Manager

Bertha Chikungwa
Finance & Administration Officer

Jerryanne Heath Chiume
Development Director

Inga Czaplicka
Development Assistant

Helen Jones
Communications & Operations Coordinator

Blessings Lungu
Program Manager

Maureen Muhota
Program Manager

Simon Mulolo
Program Officer

Robert Mzira
Field Assistant

Gift Nhlane
Business Development Manager

Kathleen Rommel
Communications Director

Raphael Tembenu
Field Officer

United States Board of Directors


Rebecca Levy Anikstein, Esq.

Lindsay Cooper
Managing Director, Julian Wolf

Abby Doft

Donald Felix
Senior Vice President, Citigroup

Afwa Kandawire
Managing Director,
Bank of America

Jeremy Kaplan, MBA
Chief Operating Officer, SK Properties

Whynde Kuehn
Business Transformation Practice Director,
STA Group

Principle, Metanoia Global Inc.

Melissa Kushner, MPA
Founder & Executive Director, goods for good

Mark L. Lakin, Esq.
Co-Founder, Epic Road

Fine Art Travel Photographer
Attorney at Law

Marla Smith
Berkenkamp Realty Group

Malawi Board of Advisors


Timothy Kachule
Chief of Party, Abt Associates

Esnath J. Kalyati
Consultant in Gender, Early Childhood and Social Development

Ralph Felix

Legal Practitioner, Chibambo & Company

Lecturer, Blantyre International University

View our financials

Financial Statements


Financial Statements


Financial Statements


Financial Statements


Financial Statements


Financial Statements


Financial Statements


2012 - 990
Financial Statements