Council on Foundations

Upaya Announces Partnership with the Skees Family Foundation

 Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce its partnership with The Skees Family Foundation (SFF). The formalized relationship will provide the organization with the financial and creative support needed to develop jobs and improve the quality of life for the 1.4 billion living in the most extreme poverty. 

An active supporter of Upaya since its incorporation, SFF has been instrumental in developing outreach messaging and materials, advocating on the organization's behalf, and providing funding critical for the launch of Samridhi's community dairy initiative. Now with this formal partnership, the Santa Cruz, CA-based family foundation has reinforced its commitment to Upaya's mission.

“Working closely with the Upaya team through their launch, we saw firsthand that they walk their talk of 'triple Ts': tenacity, transparency, and trust,” said SFF Founder and Director Suzanne Skees. “Convinced of the impact Upaya could have through training locally-led businesses and providing reliable employment for the ultra poor, we viewed this partnership as a chance to leverage a small grant to get two great organizations - Upaya and Samridhi - off the ground.”

Running through 2012, the funding provided by the Skees Family Foundation will allow Upaya to further its commitment to the Samridhi project. It also gives Upaya the resources to continue the search for the next wave of entrepreneurs creating new opportunities for the ultra poor.

"One of the the most daunting things for a new organization is generating interest in a cause that may not yet be part of the mainstream discussion," said Upaya Executive Director Sachi Shenoy. "To have an ally like SFF willing to back its time and expertise with a generous grant really shows a genuine belief in our work," she said.

Suzanne is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The Council on Foundations Re:Philanthropy blog. For more information on her writing and the Skees Family Foundation, go to