Trickle Up

Trickle Up

[ Trickle Up] is a nonprofit international development organization that empowers people living on less than $1 a day to take their first steps out of poverty. Founded in 1979 by Glenn Leet and Mildred Robbins Leet, Trickle Up has been providing people in extreme poverty the assets to create a sustainable livelihood and a better quality of life, for nearly 30 years. In partnership with local agencies, Trickle Up provides poor people with business training and seed capital of $100 to launch or expand a microenterprise and savings support to build assets. Trickle Up currently works in eight countries: India, Nepal, Uganda, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

Trickle Up has held Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1987. Currently, Trickle Up is working with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor or CGAP on a project in Bandhan, India which was a grant recipient in CGAP's Pro-Poor Innovation Challenge, PPIC.

Although participation in Trickle Up is available to all people who meet meet specific social and economic criteria, the organization concentrates on reaching women and people with disabilities, who are disproportionately represented among the world’s poor. Trickle Up starts or expands more than 10,000 microenterprises each year. Of every $1 Trickle Up spends, 86 cents goes to programs and services. All of this is done with donations, which can be made at the [ Trickle Up website] , because fundraising and administrative expenses are funded by the board and various foundations. [ [ Financial Statement 2006] ] [ [ Annual Report 2006] ] [ Independent Charities, America. [ "Trickle Up Program, Inc."] [ Independent Charities of America Website] retrieved 04/16/08 ] [ [ Charity Navigator - America's Largest Charity Evaluator | Home ] ]


Trickle Up was established in 1979 by Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet with the mission to help the lowest-earning people worldwide take their first steps out of poverty by providing conditional seed capital and business training essential to the launch of a microenterprise.

The program was born when the founders traveled to one of the Caribbean’s poorest nations, Dominica. The Leets recognized what other poverty alleviation programs were missing: that even the world’s lowest income people have entrepreneurial potential. The model they created was simple, but effective. With the assistance of local agencies and $1000 of their own money, Glen and Mildred gave ten people grants of $100 to launch their own microenterprises. The Leets provided them with Trickle Up business plans and reports to track business expenses and earnings. New business activities ranged from building blocks to selling eggs, jams, and school uniforms. Some of those businesses are still operating today. Results were overwhelmingly positive in terms of quality of life improvements for our entrepreneurs.

Grants versus Loans

Trickle Up offers grants, not loans, because it targets the extreme poor, people living on less than $1 a day, who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to obtain a microloan or otherwise access traditional financial services. In 2005, Trickle Up Monitoring & Evaluation Officer Vimala Palaniswamy published a report, [ "Grants Versus Loans,"] regarding the use of microgrants and microloans.


Trickle Up provides business training, seed capital grants and support to help people launch a microenterprise. It focuses on reaching women and people with disabilities, who are disproportionately represented among the world’s poor. Trickle Up starts or expands more than 10,000 businesses each year. Once they have launched their businesses, microentrepreneurs are able to provide better nutrition, health care and education for their families.

Trickle Up identifies potential microentrepreneurs with help from local organizations that are active and trusted in the regions where Trickle Up works. Once an entrepreneur has been identified, Trickle Up works with its local partners to provide him or her with business training, seed capital of about $100 to start a business, and a connection to savings groups. After business planning and training, Trickle Up releases the first half of the grant to the new microentrepreneur to cover launch costs. This capital might go to purchasing a sewing machine for a tailoring business, or buying a table, chair, and parasol to set up a food stand in a local market. Once a business is up and running, the second half of the grant is released, allowing microentrepreneurs to grow their businesses further. In addition to the seed grant, Trickle Up teaches people the skills they will need to run successful and profitable businesses, such as keeping records, balancing accounts and reinvesting profits in their businesses.

A vital, final piece of the Trickle Up program is connecting microentrepreneurs to savings groups to encourage participants to save money for the future. Entrepreneurs may turn to savings in the case of a medical emergency. Others might draw on these funds to expand a business, pay for a wedding, or buy safer, more suitable homes. No matter what, having savings means that families who once lived hand-to-mouth are better prepared for whatever life hands them.

Trickle Up also continues to work with local partner organizations to provide microentrepreneurs with additional business support services, including links to ongoing sources of capital, like microcredit. In an innovative pilot program in West Bengal, India, Trickle Up is now working with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor to graduate 300 women from the Trickle Up program to eligibility for microcredit. In this way, Trickle Up functions as the first step out of extreme poverty – and the first stop on the microfinance continuum.

Trickle Up’s approach has proven to be overwhelmingly successful: after the first year, about 90 percent of Trickle Up businesses continue functioning.


Trickle Up is funded by individuals, corporations, and government and multilateral organizations, including USAID and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.


Trickle Up has held Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1987.


Trickle Up is given high ratings by charity watchdog, Charity Navigator, for its efficient and effective use of funds. Eighty-four cents of every $1 donated goes directly to program support.

External links

* [ Trickle Up Website]
* [ The Charity Navigator]
* [ Independent Charities of America Website]


# [ Independent Charities of America ICA]
# []
# []
# [ The Charity Navigator Website]
# [ Vimala Palaniswamy, "Grants versus Loans"]
# [ Winter 2007 Update]
# [ Spring 2007 Update]
# [ Trickle Up catalogued]
# [ CGAP Pro=Poor Innovation Challenge Project]
# [ UNESC Special Consultative Groups]

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  • trickle — trick‧le [ˈtrɪkl] verb [intransitive] to move somewhere slowly and in very small numbers or amounts: • Only four or five customers had trickled in by 11:30. • Details of the programs have trickled out over the past weeks, but haven t been widely …   Financial and business terms

  • trickle — (v.) late 14c., possibly an aphetic variant of stricklen to trickle, a frequentative form of striken to flow, move (see STRIKE (Cf. strike)). Related: Trickled; trickling. The noun is 1570s, from the verb. Trickle down as an adjectival phrase in… …   Etymology dictionary

  • trickle — ► VERB 1) (of a liquid) flow in a small stream. 2) (trickle down) (of wealth) gradually benefit the poorest as a result of the increasing wealth of the richest. 3) come or go slowly or gradually. ► NOUN 1) a small flow of liquid. 2) a small group …   English terms dictionary

  • trickle — [trik′əl] vi. trickled, trickling [ME triklen < ?] 1. to flow slowly in a thin stream or fall in drops 2. to move, come, go, etc. little by little [the crowd trickled away] vt. to cause to trickle n. 1. the act of trickling …   English World dictionary

  • Trickle — Tric kle (tr[i^]k k l), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Trickled} (tr[i^]k k ld); p. pr. & vb. n. {Trickling} (tr[i^]k kl[i^]ng).] [OE. triklen, probably for striklen, freq. of striken to flow, AS. str[imac]can. See {Strike}, v. t.] To flow in a small,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trickle — Tric kle, n. The act or state of trickling; also, that which trickles; a small stream; drip. Streams that . . . are short and rapid torrents after a storm, but at other times dwindle to feeble trickles of mud. James Bryce. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • trickle — index distill, exude, paucity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • trickle — [v] run out crawl, creep, distill, dribble, drip, drop, exude, flow, issue, leak, ooze, percolate, seep, stream, trill, weep; concepts 146,179 Ant. flow …   New thesaurus

  • trickle — trick|le1 [ˈtrıkəl] v [I always + adverb/preposition] [Date: 1300 1400; Origin: Perhaps from the sound] 1.) if liquid trickles somewhere, it flows slowly in drops or in a thin stream trickle down/into/out ▪ The tears trickled down her cheeks. 2.) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • trickle — trick|le1 [ trıkl ] verb intransitive 1. ) if a liquid or a substance such as sand trickles somewhere, a small amount of it flows there slowly: A solitary tear trickled down his cheek. We let the sand trickle between our toes. 2. ) if people or… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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