Patti and Laurence communicated across time zones, hindered by language barrier and technology glitches. Together, they defined the mission, developed goals, and wrote the organizational by-laws. Next Life Foundation was taking shape. In April of 2015 the IRS approved Next Life Foundation as a 501(c)3 organization. NLF was officially a non-profit corporation, ready to begin ministry. Meanwhile Laurence was navigating similar waters as he sought non-profit (NGO) status for Next Life Foundation – Tanzania
The Tanzanian Board of Directors takes on a different look than their American counterparts. Rather than becoming a recognized school, the goal in Tanzania was to be a non-government organization (NGO) that worked for the betterment of the community. That decision provided for less government red tape and allowed for a broader range of ministry possibilities as the ministry evolves and grows with time.
With the necessary organizational work in place, it was time to develop plans for the school curriculum, prepare an operational plan for the center, find and upgrade a building to house the establishment, and look for the operational and teaching staff to man the project. All of these functions were handled by Laurence and the Tanzanian Directors with help from other nationals from northern Tanzania.
A vocational center for some of the young people of Tanzania was ready on paper. The next task for both of the partners became physically making the facility a reality.
In America, it became the duty of Next Life Foundation – America to share the story with as many people as would listen. That job fell almost totally on the shoulders of Patti Griffiths as she directed the organization. As Patti shared her heart for the young people of Mbuguni her story became compelling. Funds began to come in from America and the work proceeded in Tanzania.
The chosen school building needed major remodeling to serve the needs of the tailoring students. It was a huge project for the Tanzanian economy but American dollars go a long way there. For about six thousand dollars and a lot of hard work, the school was ready and NLF had a school building rented for the next three years.
Funds were raised to provide the equipment needed including about a dozen treadle sewing machines, furnishings, material and supplies for projects and to hire staff to operate the school and teach the students. In March of 2016, twenty young women began the sewing course. We taught them a valuable skill but even more important, for the first time in their lives, this opportunity taught them to dream, a fact that we simply take for granted. Next Life Foundation had been birthed and had “LIFE.”