FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. All donations are tax deductible in the U.S. to the fullest extent of the law. Please consult your tax advisor for any questions you may have about making your donation. After making a donation on Serengeti Scholars, you will receive an official tax-deductible receipt at the email you provided. EIN 452938830
Serengeti Scholars is a global crowd-funding platform that enables anyone to donate as little as $5 to directly fund education for students and families in need. Serengeti Scholars is a Project of Build Tanzanian Family Futures, a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, based in Connecticut, USA.
100% of every donation made on Serengeti Scholars directly funds education for the student you choose. The operating expenses are covered separately.
Yes. Our goal is to be 100% financially sustainable through corporate partnerships, foundation grants, and individual sponsorships.
Instead of donating to a specific student, the General Education Fund enables donors to have their donations allocated by us to help students in need, with exceptional circumstances.
Of course! We are 100% transparent. Period. All of our financials are available.
In order to be eligible for Serengeti Scholars Sponsorship:

1. Bright students from lower income families, who have expressed interest in furthering their education, but lack the funds to do so. To qualify for the Serengeti Scholars Program, student must have obtained a passing grade on the National Education Examinations as verified by our Project Manager(s.)
2. Orphaned children and those whose parents suffer from incurable diseases like Cancer and HIV/AIDs and are below poverty level, but who meet the criteria in item one, above.
3. Students who are at acceptable grade level but are at great risk of leaving schools or being dismissed from school due of failure to pay school fees
4. Students who are motivated by education and whose parents are also committed to education of their children as well as cooperating with us. These students may be admitted to the Program by exception that may include passing grade or income. These decisions will be initiated by a Project Manager in TZ, and approved by the Serengeti Scholars Directors in the US.
5. At the outset we will accept one child per family so that others can also have this opportunity. As the Project grows, more than one student per family may be considered.
No. Serengeti Scholars only posts profiles for students who are unable to afford the education they need. Our Project Manager and local institutions use their knowledge and experience to vet the students that apply for Sponsorship. However, in most cases, our Program operates in communities that are so deprived economically that it is unrealistic to expect anyone living there to be able to afford the type of education education Serengeti Scholars’ donors fund.
When evaluating students for eligibility, we confirm that they meet our criteria. We cannot see and evaluate students ourselves, so we trust that our Project Managers and local institutions are choosing the best students to qualify for the Program, in their particular setting. Then, we post the students profiles, as we are able. In the instance we have more profiles than we can fund at any one time, we do our best to post the most qualified students first.
The cost of sponsorship includes government fees to go to school, a uniform set, supplies and books.
Profiles are posted on Serengeti Scholars until they are fully funded. We work closely with our Project Managers to determine how many profiles we are able to fund based on current donor demand. If donor demand increases, we increase the number of profiles our local institutions can submit for funding, and vice versa. We also keep an emergency reserve in our General Education Fund equal to the total number of unfunded profiles we’ve accepted to ensure we never promise sponsorship to a student that we can’t sponsor.
In rare cases, a student may not go to school that was funded for them on Serengeti Scholars. This may happen if a student decides against attending school at the last minute, , or passes away before the school year is started or completed. If this happens, Serengeti Scholars will give donors the option to reallocate their donations to another Serengeti Scholars student or receive a full refund.
We take student and family privacy very seriously. It’s important to us that every student posted on Serengeti Scholars understands what the Program is and how it works. Our Project Managers and local institutions are responsible for ensuring that every student, family, and school understands Serengeti Scholars and explicitly wishes to participate in the Program. If a student doesn’t wish to be featured on the website, we give them the option to have their sponsorship funded via the Universal Fund without ever appearing on the website.
Local institutions are on-the-ground organizations that recommend students for sponsorships, and schools that provide reliable education to underserved populations in low-income countries. In order for Serengeti Scholars to form a relationship with a school or local institution, they must maintain the highest of ethical standards and fit the following criteria:

1. Must be a registered legal and licensed entity in its country of operation.
2. Must have a history (at least 3 years) of providing reliable education.
3. Must have a strong positive reputation within the local and national educational community.
4. Must provide safe and ethical education and be well respected by the people they serve.
5. Must agree to allow Serengeti Scholars to perform due diligence, initial and ongoing, to ensure compliance with specified financial, legal, and ethical regulations.
If you know an organization that is interested in partnering with Serengeti Scholars, please feel free to email us at barbara.poole145@gmail.com, or begin a Live Chat on SerengetiScholars.org. We are always looking to learn more about quality local institutions and schools that align with our values.
Yes, 100% of your donation covers the cost of education for the student of your choice. Your donation is not pooled into a general programming fund, unless you want it to be. Your donation does not go to help run Serengeti Scholars operations, and your donation does not go to fundraising activities. Serengeti Scholars ensures that your donation is wired to the School your student attends.
Being completely transparent about where your donation goes is one of our highest values. We ensure 100% transparency in a number of different ways:

1. Direct transfers: Serengeti Scholars’ funds are transferred directly to our Schools for the purpose of covering the cost of the students’ education. They are never handled by the students are never released to anyone for discretionary spending.
2. Random audits: Serengeti Scholars conducts random audits to ensure that the information provided in each student profile is true and accurate.
The Project Managers identify a student that is qualified but cannot afford even low cost education and submits the profile to Serengeti Scholars. If the profile meets our criteria, we accept it and guarantee the School, student, and his/her family that we will cover the cost of sponsoring that student. Serengeti Scholars posts the student profile online, Serengeti Scholars donors fund it, and the School allows the student to attend class. At defined periods during the school year, the Project Manager sends Serengeti Scholars US based Foundation an update about the student’s school performance. Once Serengeti Scholars receives the update, we send it to the donors who supported that student.
Serengeti Scholars transfers funds to each School via a verified TZ bank account, by International Wire twice per year. We bundle international transfers periodically in order to reduce the cost of international transfer fees. Sponsorships funds received in the school accounts must be allocated to the Serengeti Scholars students by name within one month of the Wire being initiated in the US.
Credit card companies and banks decline cards for many reasons. To ensure your financial information remains secure, Serengeti Scholars does not receive details about why your card was declined. Unfortunately, this means we can’t resolve the problem for you. If your card is declined, please contact your credit card company or bank for help completing your donation.
If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, please email your question to barbara.poole145@gmail.com and we will respond to you within 48 hours. If we receive multiple questions about a similar topic, we will add that topic to this FAQ so that it will be easily viewed by others.