A Prototype That Paved the Way

The Malian Foundation began in late 2002 with a simple, catalytic question: where do nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations go for management assistance and advice on information technology? Simon Malian, an IBM consultant at the time, realized that major consultancies concentrated on major nonprofits, while smaller consulting firms charged too much for the budgets of smaller nonprofits. He created a charitable foundation to help close the gap.

The core of Simon's vision was the Empowering Communities Program. It allowed non-profit organizations globally to have access to the same level of expertise as corporate heavyweights. At the same time, it developed and shared a priceless knowledge base that would advance humanitarian efforts through improved operational efficiencies. Coverage by the United Nations Development Program's World Volunteer Web Initiative which was later reposted by a number of outlets such as BytesForAll, led to an explosion in new clients with many of them seeking to partner on key projects, some of which required expertise beyond the off-the-shelf solutions provided. These conversations pinpointed an additional need that contributed to the Foundation's evolution: the development of the Consulting Services Program in November 2004. Simon's initial vision for providing bespoke pro-bono technology consulting was surpassed beyond expectations as the program took on a life of its own. The consulting service offering matured into a full-service pro-bono model ranging from fundraising strategy to expansion planning.

The story of the Foundation is best told in the work of its clients and the people those clients have reached. The Goodwill Social Work Centre in Madurai, India delivers essential health, education and social services to rural and underserved populations. To make its work better known and to build bridges to the international NGO community, the Foundation help create a vibrant website. The Foundation also helped develop technology resources to enable Goodwill to launch Community Technology Centers for low-income communities in South India.

The Foundation's work has been acknowledged by leadership organizations and major media outlets. The Foundation was awarded Senior Membership in the World Association for Non-Governmental Organizations, a prestigious designation that recognizes non-profit organizations that have an international impact. The Foundation partnered with the University of Technology, Sydney, to create the Malian Foundation Community Partnership Prize. We have worked hard to make Foundation what it ended up becoming, and we are enormously proud of what we and our members have achieved together.

Over the past decade, the management assistance sector has closed the gap. Increasing numbers of affordable services have been developed that target charities. Low cost models such as Freelancer and Upwork have made obtaining help more affordable. Specialist sources such as VolunteerMatch and TechSoup have proliferated. Because of these developments, there is no longer a role for the Foundation's services.

The original challenge, and the Foundation's response, led to the establishment of reliable resources for the world's nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations. The Foundation, its staff, and its supporters thank you for your partnership, invite you to continue the work and wish you well.