Jody Graff, Alan Jacobson, Kevin Dietrich, Nicole Doenges, Tristine Harding, Kathleen Madamba, Yesenia Perez-Cruz, Maggie Ruder and Annie Trencher

ex;it foundation

Grant Awarded: $17,000

ex;it foundation helps improve the lives of people in underdeveloped communities by creating sustainable opportunities for personal growth such as engagement with the arts.

ex;it foundation worked together with fifty Rwandan genocide survivors from the Rugerrero village to create income-producing activities such as cooperatives to produce sunflower cooking oil, which can help generate employment and income towards improving the health and education in the village. Two cooperatives that produce sunflower oil have been established, employing about fifty people and currently producing an estimated 20 to 30 liters each day.

As the only source of income in the village, the objective is to create an identity and brand for the sunflower oil product and cooperatives and provide information to consumers on the health benefits and quality of sunflower oil.

Most cooking oil products in Rwanda are imported from Uganda and the Republic of Congo; however, many Rwandans would prefer to support local community products, if available. The goal is to support the sales and marketing of cooking oil and to generate enough income to improve the quality of food and nutrition for the 500 people in the community. Ten percent of all income is distributed in the village for food and health supplies. Ninety percent goes directly to the members of the cooperatives and their families. The hope is to grow the cooperatives to include more members of the village and surrounding communities.

From an academic point of view, an equally important objective is to allow graphic design students to fully participate and be engaged in a live project. But more significantly, to be involved in a philanthropic endeavor and to use their training and design skills for a humanitarian effort that will affect the lives of many. It is crucial to instill in our future designers an interest in using their time and talent to help others, rather than just for monetary benefit.