Monday, June 16, 2014

Wikipedia Entry on Elevita

Elevita friend Rachel Call has written a Wikipedia entry on Elevita.  Though still in the approval process at Wikipedia, we feel Rachel offers a great summary of who we are and what we do.  The text of her article is here:

Operating as an international online boutique, Elevita supports artisans from developing countries in achieving greater economic self-reliance by providing them with a wider world market for their products. Run completely by volunteer management, Elevita is a registered non-profit organization and uses 100% of its sales profits to fund meaningful humanitarian projects, focusing primarily on education.

Troubled by the extreme poverty they witnessed while on a trip to India in 2010, Kirsten and Keyne Monson yearned for a way to provide the many impoverished, but highly talented, artisans they’d met with access to a wider market for their goods.  They partnered with John and Shelley Hoffmire and decided to create a website which would act as an online boutique.  Through the website, artisans can connect with buyers from all over the world, rather than rely solely on the small and highly competitive tourist industry in their local areas.  All profits earned by Elevita from goods sold on are then reinvested into local humanitarian projects.

Organizational Structure
Committed to paying fair wages to all of its artisans, Elevita purchases its goods at prices set by the artisans themselves. Elevita then sells the goods on as inexpensively as possible, aiming to drive more sales with low prices. As items sell quickly, Elevita purchases more goods from the artisans, empowering them with a growing market and new economic opportunities. One hundred percent of profits earned from the online boutique,, are reinvested into humanitarian projects in developing countries.
Elevita is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers. Working as a volunteer advisory board, Elevita keeps in regular contact with both their artisans and their supporters, providing project updates on their blog,

Elevita aims to assist artisans and artisan groups that: (1) have limited access to markets, (2) live in distressed areas, (3) are handicapped or otherwise marginalized, (4) work to educate women and girls. Supporting individual artisans and cooperatives from developing countries throughout Africa and Asia, Elevita’s artisans live in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, India, the Philippines, Tanzania and Uganda.  Elevita’s artisans craft and sell items such as clothing, bags and purses, jewelry, items for the home, nativities and ornaments.

Although Elevita’s primary focus is on creating a wider market for artisans living in developing countries, they couple 100% of profits earned from with donations from supporters to carry out various humanitarian projects.

Secondary School Girls’ Hostel
Working in partnership with His Highness Maharaja Hanwant Singhi Chartable Trust, Elevita built a Secondary School Girls’ Hostel in Rajasthan, India. With construction starting in October 2013, the hostel will provide a safe place for girls from desert villages to stay while attending school.

BELIEVE International Scholarships
Partnering with BELIEVE International, a local organization in the Philippines, Elevita also provides scholarships to young, motivated Filipino students, allowing them to pay required public school fees.

Small Entrepreneurial Grants
In addition to purchasing goods from artisans, Elevita also provides small grants to promising entrepreneurs to assist them in growing their businesses.  In February 2014, Elevita provided funding to launch a capiz shell enterprise in the Philippines. Working with a local entreprenur, Elevita purchased an oven to help dozens of local women earn supplemental income by producing and selling capiz bowls, frames, jewelry and other goods.  Elevita has also provided funding to a Cambodian women’s cooperative to purchase sewing equipment which would enable the women to have a livelihood.

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