The STARS Foundation commits to affect the lives of 20 million people across 100 countries by 2020, by developing two key programs:
The Impact Awards will be expanded to strengthen more outstanding NGOs working with disadvantaged children and communities in the countries ranked highest for under-five mortality by UNICEF. STARS will extend its coverage to NGOs based in 20 more countries on the UNICEF ranking, taking the Awards into 100 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Pacific and the new regions of Latin America/Caribbean and CEE. STARS will also add Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as a new Award category in addition to its existing categories of children's Health, Education and Protection. STARS will collaborate with new donors to offer more Impact Awards to the best performing NGOs each year (as determined by their fulfillment of STARS's eight criteria of effective practice, listed above).
In addition, STARS will launch 'STARS Projects', a new operational unit focused on establishing 'shared value' partnerships between corporations and NGOs to serve 'base of the pyramid' communities and markets. By first working with its founder Al Dabbagh Group, STARS will pilot innovative models of collaboration between companies, high performing local NGOs and the communities they serve, that blend commercial and social value for the participants. STARS Projects will incubate and develop new solutions, in the form of innovative products and ideas, to pressing development needs.
STARS's expertise in identifying outstanding local organizations that work with disadvantaged children and communities will be a viable asset to this commitment. Furthermore, their innovative support package that combines unrestricted/mission investment funding, capacity-building consultancy, and media exposure will be an important contribution to the highly responsive partnership approach of this commitment. A key STARS asset is also its portfolio of pre-evaluated NGOs, along with an understanding of their needs and the wider context in which they operate.
Over the course of the commitment, the financial and non-financial assets of Al Dabbagh Group will be leveraged alongside other partner organizations' assets.
In 2013, STARS will expand the number of Impact Awards offered to 16 NGOs across 80 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions, and include a new category of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) alongside the existing categories of child Health, Education and Protection. STARS will also determine key stakeholder capacity and appetite for developing a shared value program called STARS Projects.
In 2014, STARS will expand its Impact Awards to new regions, Latin America/Caribbean and CEE, taking the Awards to the top 100 countries in UNICEF's under-five mortality ranking. STARS will also identify its first partners for STARS Projects, in addition to Al Dabbagh Group and develop the next phase of collaborations.
From 2015 through to 2020, STARS will continue to scale up the Awards across the four categories of Health, Education, Protection and WASH, with a target of reaching 10 million people by the year 2020. It will take to market a number of innovative products and ideas from STARS Projects with the goal of reaching an additional 10 million people by the year 2020. Furthermore, STARS will build a platform for capturing and sharing knowledge across both the Impact Awards and STARS Projects, in order to explore all areas of complementarity and leverage impact.
Statistics remain startling: each year nearly 7 million children under the age of five die, most from preventable and treatable diseases; more than 120 million children are not in school; many millions of children face abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence; and around 1.5 million deaths each year are caused by diarrhea, which kills more children than malaria, AIDS and measles combined.
The STARS Foundation was founded by Al Dabbagh Group ten years ago as its global philanthropic arm in the belief that local organizations are best-placed to respond to the needs of their communities and the children in their care. All too often these organizations are constrained by a rigid approach to funding, which can limit their effectiveness. STARS takes a different approach, one that is built on more responsive relationships aimed at enhancing local impact and empowerment, so that disadvantaged communities can develop their own solutions to their problems.
Research conducted by the STARS Foundation in 2010 on 650 NGOs in its network reveals that 52% of these NGOs have no unrestricted funding or core operating support, which significantly inhibits their effectiveness. To address this, the STARS Foundation has focused on strengthening outstanding local organizations and recognizing their deep and lasting impact on entire communities, inspiring others to reach similar standards of excellence. The foundation's main program, the STARS Impact Awards, is underpinned by a rigorous NGO evaluation process developed with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP which assesses applicants against eight criteria that reflect the hallmarks of effective practice. These criteria are: delivery and impact of programs that improve the lives of disadvantaged children, governance and accountability to stakeholders, effective finance and administration, use of technology, innovation and flexibility, networking and collaboration with other organizations, human resource management, and inclusion and access. The Awards combine $100,000 of unrestricted funding with tailored consultancy support and a package of media benefits, offering organizations the flexibility they need to respond to local challenges and plan for the future. Using this approach, STARS has since identified and awarded over $3.5 million in unrestricted funding to 40 outstanding local NGOs reaching over 1.5 million beneficiaries.