Overseas spending by nonprofit a boost to U.S. security

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TEACHING PEACE: Ahuma Adodoadji, CEO of Plan USA, says about 20 percent of what he raises is spent in R.I.
Posted 8/24/09

PBN: Is the organization’s focus on West Africa?

ADODOADJI: No, we are global. We have offices in West Africa, offices in East Africa. We have offices in Latin America, in Asia. We had one office in Albania. We have a global presence.

PBN: I’m told you were in Ghana when President Barack Obama visited recently. How was that experience, being an American who was raised in Ghana?

ADODOADJI: It was exciting. Here was the first [black] president deciding to make Ghana the first country to visit [in Africa]. Here I was, born in Ghana, and I am the first [black] president of Plan USA. I thought there was some synergy there.

PBN: Where does Plan USA get most of its dollars from?

ADODOADJI: Through our sponsorship portfolio … we currently have about 100,000 Americans who … commit to pay on average about $25 a month per child. … That’s probably 60 percent of our income.

Then we have individual Americans who give us large donations. We’ve had donations of $1 million, $4 million. We get some corporate money … last year it was about $2 million. We’re looking to expand that … About 27 percent of our income comes from the U.S. government.

PBN: How much of every donated dollar goes to administering the organization?

ADODOADJI: Our ratio is roughly about 25 percent [of income spent on administration and programming]. …

Whether I raise [money] in California or I raise it in Rhode Island – I spend about 20 percent here because I have to pay vendors, I have to pay staff, I have to pay utilities. … It’s in the interest of Rhode Islanders to be a partner with me in helping the children of the world. Rhode Island gets a good image for hosting us, but it also gets some real dollars. •INTERVIEW

Ahuma Adodoadji

POSITION: President and CEO of Plan USA

BACKGROUND: Before he was appointed to lead Plan USA in April 2007, Adodoadji says he led a coalition of seven nonprofits. From 2002 to 2005, he was director of emergency and humanitarian assistance for CARE USA. He was World Relief’s director of disaster response, starting in 1998. He started his nonprofit career in 1979, working for World Vision International. He was associate director of the African Governance Program for the Carter Center at Emory University in Atlanta from 1994 to 1996. He then served as vice president of the international program at MAP International until 1998.

EDUCATION: B.A. in theology and philosophy, 1977, London School of Theology; M.A. in area studies, 1978, University of London

FIRST JOB: Selling his mother’s homemade cookies along a roadside in Ghana

RESIDENCE: Providence

AGE: 63

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