Why “Tiny Beam”?
- According to the dictionary, the noun “beam” means: 1. a ray or shaft of light; 2. a long, sturdy piece of squared timber or metal used to support the roof or floor of a building.
- Tiny Beam Fund focuses on helping people understand things (i.e. letting a shaft of light into a dark space). Tiny Beam Fund also wants this understanding to form the base and basis on which solutions are built (i.e. using the understanding as supporting structure).
- “Beam” as a verb means “radiant smile” which gives an image of hope and confidence even though the problem Tiny Beam Fund deals with is a grim one.
- Tiny Beam Fund is sensitive to the fact that it has only a tiny amount of resources. It is only trying to fill some cracks and clear some bottlenecks. It is careful not to wear a hat that is too big for its head.
What is the legal status of Tiny Beam Fund?
- Tiny Beam Fund belongs to the category of organizations commonly known in the U.S. as “private foundations”. (The funding of these entities usually comes from a single source such as an individual or a family or a corporation. All private foundations in the U.S. are required by the Internal Revenue Service to distribute a minimum of 5 percent of their assets each year for charitable purposes such as providing grants.)
- Tiny Beam Fund is registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit organization, and incorporated in the state of Massachusetts in January 2019. It has also applied for tax-exempt status which is pending approval.
What motivated the formation of Tiny Beam Fund?
- The founder of Tiny Beam Fund has long been troubled by all the negative impacts associated with rearing animals for human consumption using the industrial food animal production model, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
- Tiny Beam Fund was formed to support the search for solutions to this multi-faceted problem which inflicts grievous harm on animals, people, and the environment. Tiny Beam Fund aims particularly to highlight the fact that coming up with comprehensive, enduring solutions that work beyond developed economies is immensely challenging, and requires a deep, clear, firm understanding of the problem.
- The decision to establish a private foundation was also informed by the promising start of a project called Burning Questions Initiative (BQI) launched in 2016. BQI is now Tiny Beam Fund’s flagship initiative.
Who lead it?
- Although BQI and Tiny Beam Fund is conceived, led, and funded by a retired academic librarian, ever since its early days it has received invaluable guidance and assistance from a small group of individuals who help to shape it. They come from the philanthropic sector as well as academe and not-for-profit advocacy organizations. They are all seriously concerned about the problem of global industrial food animal production and work in their own ways to address it.
- Tiny Beam Fund’s strengths are well suited to the programs it offers. Its founder has been a keen observer of industrial food animal production for many years. It is familiar with global perspectives and low and middle-income countries contexts. It has strong affinities with front-line organizations and funders wrestling with the problem as well as with the academic research sector which can play a significant role as knowledge generators and explainers to shed light on the problem. Tiny Beam Fund is nevertheless mindful of the headwind and pitfalls that it may encounter; it is not walking into this space presuming that things can be done easily.
- Tiny Beam Fund draws inspiration and learns from organizations such as Innovation for Poverty Action, Education Endowment Foundation, Lenfest Ocean Program, Campbell Collaboration. A key feature shared by all these groups is their partnership with academic researchers. The robust evidence and data provided by these researchers have proven to be remarkably useful in improving practitioners’ work.
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