our process 

Informed giving.
Trustworthy programs.
Hope for humanity.

Love Builds Where Suffering Breaks

Our Process Q & A

What makes Third Ladder unique?

We offer a full-service process that includes vetting existing international humanitarian programs, grant distribution, guiding and supporting our partners in their charitable contributions, walking their gifts to their intended humanitarian destination to relieve human suffering, and monitoring the use of funds through an extensive reporting system.

How are programs vetted?

Program vetting is a comprehensive application process that includes a review of an organization’s financial standing and history, on-site visits to verify methods and results, and meeting with finance managers, program managers, and beneficiaries face-to-face. Programs that are approved for an annual grant must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Third Ladder.

What is the Monitoring and Reporting process?

Our MOU specifies the exact use of funds and outlines a reporting system that includes quarterly submission of receipts and Budget vs. Actuals financial statements, direct communication from program directors, and impact reports. We confirm what has been spent and its documented use reconciles with the MOU and adjust accordingly. Annual grants are dispersed in quarterly installments, allowing for financial and impact progress reports to be submitted throughout the quarter and prior to complete grant fulfillment. Programs must remain in compliance to receive each scheduled quarterly wire.  Stipulations and conditions for the return of funds, if we determine a recall to be necessary, are outlined in every MOU.

All programs are required to submit a new grant proposal annually with a detailed budget for consideration, evaluation, and approval every year.

We facilitate a secure process for your financial gifts to go directly to approved programs and a  diverse portfolio of humanitarian needs. We can apply your gift to critical needs, or you can designate it toward the specific program that addresses a particular human suffering to which  you choose to bring hope and restoration.

Monitoring and reporting follow your gift past delivery and through to its use and point of direct  program services and impact.

What are direct program services?

Local direct program services through our initiative, Aria, enable us to collaborate with senior and memory care centers, veteran support programs, healthcare institutions, and trauma aftercare centers to provide music therapy for individuals and families. You can designate your gift toward these services currently supporting the metro Atlanta community.

What is the personal donor charitable giving portfolio service?

Your relationship to Third Ladder and humanitarian work is more than transactional; together we step into the life and world of someone who is suffering to offer love through meaningful and appropriate action. Since we began, Third Ladder has offered a unique service to all existing and prospective donors.  With a personal consulting session, our team listens to your passions and goals for giving. We advise on existing program grant opportunities that share your particular passions and develop a focused or diversified allocation plan to these programs to meet your giving goals. Regular meetings provide updates to you on the specific impact you are making. Think of this as similar in its fundamental purpose to a personal financial advisor that helps you allocate investments.  Charitable giving is a very different investment that is strengthened and maximized by specific experience and skills. It crosses borders and cultures and is entrenched in the unpredictable and high-risk landscapes of trauma, darkness, and a multimillion-dollar global
conglomerate of intricacies, dynamics, and intentions.

Together, our team brings over 50 years of experience in the combined fields of direct trauma care, international and cross-cultural relationship building, humanitarian program evaluation, small business operations, grant distribution, accounting, and therapeutic services that equip us to offer you valuable support to your humanitarian charitable giving.

Alternatively, if you are seeking a simple, competent process that does not require more of your over-extended time to execute, you can rest assured our team will apply our experience, knowledge, and heart to receiving and disbursing your gift.

We refer to our donors as our partners because you can have a voice in the process. We guide your gift from the beginning to honor your intention and to meet legitimate need, foster accountability, and ensure you know real results, real stories, and how you changed lives in a hurting world.

How is this unique?

When you give to a nonprofit and humanitarian initiative, you typically give to a larger pot that meets ongoing need that may or may not be in real time. In most charitable giving relationships, you are multiple layers removed from the boots on the ground. Most people aren’t in a position to be able to travel to visit an international program in a world only growing in the need to verify what is true and real. An individual donor cannot obtain a contract to ensure the use of funds or receive a detailed program or review financial data; it is not practical to request financial statements pre, mid, and post program, or to specify what need you are supporting and for whom. You do not know what happens to those who receive your support or have measures of
success personalized for your giving.

There is inevitable risk in humanitarian giving, whether sending funds directly overseas in trust to an organization unseen, or to entity structured to receive gifts without your direct involvement or multiple layers of accountability. Our process affirms and respects your stewardship of your limited and personal resources to lower risk with third-party oversight, credible research, and invaluable experience to navigate the nuances and challenges of humanitarian work, program accountability, relationships, eyes on the ground, and follow-through. This allows you to apply the height of care to your resources, intention, and the part of your life you entrust to another in the personal sacrifice of charitable giving.

What is included in program services?

  • Quarterly international program grants
  • Humanitarian program identification and vetting
  • Extensive experience in humanitarian needs, knowledge to recognize red flags and methods that work
  • On-site visits and associated travel expenses
  • Verification of activities
  • Establishment of an MOU to specify use of funds
  • Extensive program accountability
  • Monthly report requirement from grant recipients
  • Quarterly financial reconciliation for Budget vs. Actuals from programs
  • Quarterly wire designation and approval for grants
  • Relationship building with program directors
  • Donor designated giving to approved programs
  • Annual proposal process from international programs to renew MOU
  • HR for direct program services
  • Direct therapeutic program services through Aria

How much of my donation goes to direct program services?

Our current policy is for every gift given, 75% is directed to direct program services and 25% serves to sustain operating expenses. We are a young organization, and while this breakdown is soundly within reputable acceptable and advised standards for nonprofits, it is our goal to see the percentage allocated to direct program services continue to increase. In FY2023, we were able to exceed our goal and direct 79% of income toward direct program services.

What are strategic goals for Programs?

Our measurable goal is to increase our total grants by 3% to each program approved for an annual grant

Did you know you can schedule a personal consultation call with our team?  Click the button below to reach out to us.

Our Commitment to You

We want you to see the ways in which your investment is being used.

Your direct impact

For each gift you give, 75% goes directly to program grants and unique due diligence services, and 25% supports the infrastructure to evaluate programs, facilitate giving and provide responsible oversight.

Our Financial Accountability

Accountability and transparency is of utmost importance to us.  Our 990 and Annual Report detail our financial statements.

View all financials here

Our Process

Every approved program in our grant portfolio goes through a rigorous vetting process.  Once approved, the monitoring and reporting process includes monthly reports, quarterly financials, and strategically scheduled routine site visits..

“It is an equalizer among us that each one of us can be a ladder as much as each one of us needs one at times to lift us out of the broken into the beautiful.”  Naomi Zacharias Zumback, Executive Director