Pro Bono Pro

A Program of Voluntary Assistance


PRO BONO PRO (PBP) is a simple concept. It is not new but in one format it fills a main void in the lives of several talented people by providing a forum and a framework for professionals to apply their knowledge and experience to worthwhile societal needs thereby enhancing the quality of life in their communities and enriching their own life. Pro Bono Pro provides the umbrella which ensures continuity between people, ideas, projects and benefits; it is the glue that holds the professionals, the beneficiaries and the sponsors together. It also has the flexibility to grow, and duplicate or enlarge the positive outcomes anywhere else.

The primary motivation for PBP comes from the oft expressed desire byvolunt2many professionals, individually or collectively, to make a contribution to their communities. The desire is strong and genuine, and, in many cases, results in the professional(s) participating in one or more activities for a period of time. Often, however, the activity ends; the timing is not convenient for long-term involvement, follow-up is not clear or simply there is just nothing appropriate available to do at a given moment. Interest sags and good intentions cannot be translated into something tangible and useful. While many professional organizations place a high value on pro bono activities they do not relate to "local" needs, and do not collaborate with other professional societies to sponsor a synergistic program. Individual sponsors do not join with national organizations to address a local need.

PBP seeks to fill these national voids while maintaining a strong local focus.

PBP participants consist of three groups:
  1. Donors - Professionals (the term is used in the broadest possible sense. Donating time, expertise and/or cash.)
  2. Recipients - Specifically defined groups who are the primary beneficiaries.
  3. Sponsors - Individuals and organizations who support the various projects in the program with cash and in-kind contributions.

It is possible that some roles, especially between (a) and (c), may sometimes overlap. Typical examples of Donors include engineers, scientists, lawyers, doctors, accountants, real estate and insurance professionals, building contractors, etc. Typical recipients include schools, local governments (cities and counties), nonprofit groups (churches, youth groups), and community service groups for disadvantaged and the handicapped, and cultural groups. The sponsors may include: individuals, foundations, industrial corporations, financial institutions, societies, individuals, business organizations and government agencies.

Generally, FUNEN identifies the project and programs after detailed consultation with community leaders, business leaders, legislators and government. Each project is the responsibility of a project leader and the goals, schedule and budget are defined. Commitments are obtained from the sponsors and recipients. PBP donors are contacted and the project begins under the leadership of the project leader.

Nature of Projects and Programs
FUNEN does not limit the project themes except that they generally be consistent with the Statement of Purpose. Individual projects, therefore, are under continuous evolution. Currently, some of the activities that PBP participants can be involved in are:

  1. Education - Examples: improvement in technological base; mentoring, counseling; increasing awareness in pollution control, environment, science, engineering, hygiene, and preparing new teaching materials.
  2. Technology - Developing solutions in networking, telecommunications.
  3. Management Assistance - Examples: Assistance in management, financial planning, grants, contracts, and facilities planning.
  4. Assistance - to seniors and the disadvantaged Examples: counseling, vocational training, jobs, and recreation.
  5. Community Assistance - Examples: improve recycling programs, improve building codes, advise in engineering, transportation, job development, and financial planning.
  6. Research and Development - medical, environmental and communication projects.
  7. Policy Development - public-private partnerships; infrastructure, global trade and development; environmental management.
  8. Enrichment of Cultural Experiences - art, multimedia creations, cultural interchange.

Volunteers for Prosperity (VfP)
FUNEN participates in the Volunteers for Prosperity program, a new initiative sponsored by the Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation (PVC) of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The Program is a part of President Bush’s USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Service Initiative which encourages Americans with professional skills to volunteer with private voluntary organizations working in countries around the world. FUNEN welcomes inquiries from professionals to become involved in this exciting new initiative.

Countries of Activity - Currently FUNEN focuses on volunteering opportunities in India. In 2004 we are planning to add Central American and African locations.

Sectors of Activity - Education (schools, colleges, and professional post graduate institutions); Environmental Management; Energy; Infrastructure development; healthcare; public policy development.

Placement and Support - Volunteers will be placed in organizations with which FUNEN has a working relationship. They include schools and colleges, hospitals, community service organizations, public agencies, and businesses. Currently, no financial support is available for overseas volunteer assignments. However, we are working on developing support arrangements with participating organizations and international sponsors

How to Become Involved? - If you are interested send us an E-mail under the subject: "VfP". Please state the sector of activity, desired nature of work, type of institution, and length of time available. Also include a brief description of your professional background. We will contact you to discuss the possibilities.

Participation will be solicited by contacting individuals and associations involunt each group. Contacts will be made through mail, interviews, announcements in journals and papers, and request to leaders of various groups. Considerable flexibility will be built into the program as to the location, amount of time, frequency and type of contribution. In the first three years, the goal will be to have up to two-dozen projects in operation involving up to 100 professionals. The function played by a participant may be: to advise, inform, teach, improve, assist, lead, write or show by doing. A set of solid working relationships are expected to develop and sustain through the years.

We invite you to become an active participant of Pro Bono Pro. You need not limit yourself to the topics listed above. We are always ready to listen to a good idea and devote our energies to making it happen. Geographic location is not a constraint because a number of our activities are based on electronic communication.

Contact us by e-mail, phone or by letter to join this unique program. See the contact page for details.