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About Trickle Up
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Trickle Up empowers people living on less than $1.25 a day to take the first steps out of poverty, providing them with resources to build sustainable livelihoods for a better quality of life. In partnership with local agencies, we provide training and seed capital grants to launch or expand a microenterprise and savings support to build assets. 

We empower the world's poorest people to develop their potential and strengthen their communities. We pursue this goal in a way that encourages innovation and leadership, maximizes resources and promotes communication and cooperation among all Trickle Up constituencies.

We work in India, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Trickle Up believes in people and their capacity to make a difference in their own lives.


With an estimated 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, there is an immense need for high-quality economic development programs that can produce sustainable change in the lives of the poorest. Founded in 1979 and a pioneer in the microenterprise development field, Trickle Up has over three decades of experience in successfully raising income levels of very poor households around the world. In 2010, Trickle Up served 7,690 participants. With an average of 5 people benefiting from each Trickle Up-supported enterprise, over 41,000 people will improve their quality of life as a result of our work this year.

Reaching the poorest: Trickle Up serves people at the very bottom of the socioeconomic scale. Studies show that microcredit institutions serve moderately poor and low-income households living on at least $2 a day per capita. Trickle Up’s unique approach is designed for households whose per capita income is less than $1.25 a day, the international standard for extreme poverty defined by the World Bank. Households living at this level of poverty lack the collateral to qualify for formal microcredit services and, because of their extreme level of vulnerability, are not in a position to benefit from a development strategy that carries the risk of further indebtedness.

Our program: Trickle Up’s poverty reduction strategy includes a one-time seed capital grant, called a Trickle Up Spark Grant, which provides our participants with the necessary startup capital to launch or expand microenterprises. We also provide highly structured business and livelihood training and facilitate the formation of community-based savings groups comprised of Trickle Up participants. Working together, these three components effectively boost household incomes and enable our participants to build a base of skill and capital to make continued progress out of poverty.

Women as the engine of economic progress: More than 90% of Trickle Up participants are women, both because women’s access to capital is often restricted due to social and cultural constraints and because they consistently direct economic resources toward household needs. Trickle Up provides a pathway toward economic and social empowerment, helping participants build financial independence, gain self-confidence, and take on larger roles in their households and communities. Our partners: We deliver our program through a large network of high caliber grassroots organizations that provide outreach and recruitment, training, administration of Trickle Up Spark Grants, support for savings groups, and follow-up monitoring. Training and capacity building for our partners is provided by our expert field teams, based at our regional offices in India, Mali, and Guatemala.

Measuring results:The impact of our work is measured in increased household incomes and savings, and improvements in quality of life such as food security. We are committed to the principle of accountability and have developed a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation program that uses the most current industry-standard measurement tools to collect quantitative and qualitative data.

Organizational Efficiency: With an annual operating budget of $4.4 million, eighty-one cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our poverty alleviation programs. Trickle Up consistently earns high marks by charity rating groups such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau for effectiveness and efficiency.

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