About Little Boost Children's Fund

Giving Vulnerable Kids a Little Boost

We love “hidden gems,” grassroots operations which go unnoticed by traditional charities. We contribute funds to these organizations based on our values.

  • Our contributions directly or indirectly benefit vulnerable children.
  • Donations go directly to the kids. Administrative overhead is paid for separately.
  • We emphasize locally developed solutions.
  • We provide educational support.

Little Boost Children’s Fund is registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity under the name Little Boost Press Inc, its flagship organization. Your donations may be tax deductible subject to IRS regulations.

How Did We Get Our Name?

Well, there’s a story behind it, actually an entire book. In April 2020, Paul Higdon, founder and President of Little Boost Children’s Fund, released his debut work of non-fiction, Hope and a Future: Life, Survival, and Renewal on the Streets of an African Slum. The book chronicles the remarkable life of a street boy, John Maina, who lived in the slums of Nairobi. Eventually John and Paul became so close that, in an African sense, they are father and son. At the very end of the incredible, inspiring story of his life as an orphan, John shares with Paul a poignant reflection:

“There are many people who had better dreams than me. They wished to be doctors or pilots, and they tried their level best. But no one gave them a boost. That’s what most of us need, Dad, just a little boost.”

Moved by John’s words, Paul named the firm for his self-published book “Little Boost Press.” At the same time, he also founded Little Boost Children’s Fund, which receives all proceeds from the book as well as additional gifts from generous donors.

About the Book

Hope and a Future is an interwoven narrative. It is the true story of the harrowing life of John Maina, a street boy from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya; the moving story of the remarkable friendship which John and Paul forged; and Paul’s personal journey, sharing the spiritual challenges of working in Africa. Published in April 2020, the book became the #1 New Release in Amazon’s African Biographies section. The book can be purchased on Amazon. Visit the book website for more information and photos.

What readers are saying

Hope and a Future left me urgently turning pages to find out what happened to one little boy coping with impossible odds.”

“You will not see the world in the same way after reading this book.”

Hope and a Future simultaneously entertains, engages, informs, and inspires.”

Our Hidden Gems: Little Boosts make a Big Difference

Hope House Street Boys Home

Nkubu, Kenya

Life on the streets is dangerous, grueling, and violent. In African slums, far too many young men are abandoned to this harrowing existence.

Ten years ago, Hope House was founded with the mission to rescue and shelter street boys. Rehabilitating undisciplined boys with substance addictions is an enormous challenge, and Tom Gikundi and his father, Pastor John, have been remarkably successful. Now housing 35 young men ranging from elementary school through technical college, Hope House has received extensive support from Little Boost Children’s Fund and many generous donors.

Besides the necessities of new shoes and dishes for the entire home, tuition to trade school has been provided for three boys. A new chicken coop was constructed to house up to 100 fowl which the boys raise to sell in the local market. And at Christmas time, they received new sports equipment and a brand-new big screen TV!

Mi Escuelita

Dallas, Texas

This not-for-profit prepares pre-K Hispanic children with English language skills allowing them to smoothly enter elementary school. The organization has been existence for 42 years and serves 800 children through 11 locations in the Dallas metropolitan area. Little Boost Children’s Fund has helped Mi Escuelita develop professionally produced educational videos for children to continue to learn at home while school is closed during the pandemic.

Ivakale Primary School and Community

Ivakale, Kakamega County, Kenya

With no water source on school grounds, students had to walk an hour to the nearest spring. Time away from class as well as frequent illness due to poor hygiene from lack of water were hurting the academic performance of the school’s 500 students. Little Boost Children’s Fund helped the community meet its financial commitments to its international partner, The Water Project. Two rainwater catchment tanks, two hand washing stations, and six latrines were constructed on the grounds of the Ivakale Primary School which have benefited both the students and the entire community.

Ribui Elementary School Lantern Project

Ribui Valley, Meru County, Kenya

It’s hard enough to get kids to study, but in poor rural villages without electricity, children often can’t do their schoolwork even when they want to. So, an imaginative donor who had recently traveled to Kenya decided to introduce technology to help out. She and a friend funded the purchase of solar powered lamps to allow kids to read after dark. When classes re-open, the pilot program will be conducted among eighth-grade students studying for their secondary school entrance exams.

And a big shout out goes to Iconix, the manufacturer of this wonderful product.

Little Boost Children’s Fund supports small businesses

Neighborhood Grocery Kiosk

John Maina, the main character of Hope and a Future, has made his living as a barber. During COVID, however, John’s business was severely impacted. So, he decided to partner with Judith, a neighbor, to open a grocery store. Assembling scrap materials, they were able to erect a small frame structure. Pooling their funds, they purchased some fruits and vegetables from the market in the city center and carried them to their neighborhood. Little Boost Children’s Fund helped them buy sheet metal to complete the structure as well as acquire an inventory of charcoal and cooking oil. They now have a fully stocked convenience store!

Home-based business

Tom Gikundi, the founder and head of Hope House street boys’ home, and his wife, Ruth, both lost their jobs as a result of the COVID pandemic. Furthermore, the on-site assistant at Hope House had to return to his village, so Tom needed to live full time at the shelter to care for the boys. In order to help support the family during this stressful time, Ruth decided to start her own business, selling used shoes and clothing, and making mats. Little Boost Children’s Fund and some generous donors contributed money to help Ruth purchase clothing and shoe inventory, and to acquire the raw materials for fabricating mats.

Little Boost Children’s Fund provides COVID relief

Food Security Relief

Meru County, Kenya

Covid-19 has ravaged the lives and livelihoods of people across the entire globe. Among the most vulnerable have been subsistence farmers who struggle to feed their families even in the best of times. The pandemic has threatened these populations with starvation. Ripples International, one of central Kenya’s leading children’s welfare operations, as well as community leaders of the Ribui valley have launched food security relief programs. With the generous assistance of Americans and Canadians, Little Boost Children’s Fund has provided sustenance to hundreds of families.

Sanitary Pads

Ribui valley, Meru County, Kenya

Food security is not the only need for isolated villages cut off from local markets. Hygiene needs must also be taken care of. Here we see Lucy Mukaria, local parliamentarian and national representative for women’s rights, distributing kits of sanitary napkins to the girls and young mothers in the Ribui valley.


Our Board

Candace Young-Schult

Candace Young-Schult holds an M.Ed. in counseling and a Masters in Social Work. She worked as a public-school psychologist for 25 years in Illinois. Candace and her husband, Roy, moved to Leucadia, California in 1994 where she has been active in the local Jubilee Chapter focused on ending global poverty. She is active in her church community and volunteers with Community Resource Center which serves underserved members of the community.

Candace is a vocalist and artist, working in acrylics, watercolor, and jewelry making. She has traveled the world, visiting the cultures of 41 countries, helping build a church in the Yucatan and chaperoning young people on the Children as Teachers of Peace trip to the Soviet Union. She sees herself as a peace ambassador and global citizen..

Married to Roy since 1977, Candace is the stepmother of three married adults and the grandmother of six.

Shelly Kacergis

Shelly Kacergis is a retired corporate banker living in Marietta, Georgia. She is a faithful volunteer for the Amani Women Center and Books for Africa, as well as an avid tennis player. She has traveled to Kenya twice with Women’s Journey to Kenya where she saw opportunity to invest in empowering the women. Partnering with local friends in Kenya, she has supported 100 women start businesses of raising chickens. And more women will be helped as they “pay it forward”, contributing their new chicks to other women’s groups. She also recently established vertical gardens to assist families with food security in an area with scarce water and little space for growing crops. She is committed to promoting sustainable, self-help projects as new opportunities are identified. Shelly is an Indiana native and graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Gilbert (Budd) Friend-Jones

Gilbert (Budd) Friend-Jones currently serves as a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida. He serves on the board of the North American Interfaith Network, and has led Jews, Muslims, and Christians on interfaith pilgrimages in Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, and Turkey. A native of West Virginia, he earned his doctorate at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C., his M. Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary, and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Frostburg State University. He has published two books and numerous articles. Prior to moving to Sarasota, he served Congregational churches in Maine, Minnesota, Virginia, Georgia, and Illinois.

From the Founder of Little Boost Children's Fund and Author: Paul Higdon

I thoroughly enjoyed my 36-year career in international finance. During that time, I had the honor of serving for six years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of a children’s welfare operation in central Kenya. Based on that work, I was presented a Global Volunteer Award by Bank of America.

Since I retired from my professional banking career, perhaps the most rewarding endeavor has been composing my first book, Hope and a Future: Life, Survival, and Renewal on the Streets of an African Slum, which chronicles the true story of a street boy, John Maina, who lived in the slums of Nairobi. Eventually, John and I became so close that in an African sense, we are now father and son. On its launch in April 2020, the book rose to the rank of #1 Hot New Release among Amazon’s African biographies. In conjunction with its publication, I created a public charity, Little Boost Children’s Fund, whose mission is “Giving vulnerable kids a little boost.” All proceeds from the book go directly to the fund.

I hold academic degrees in philosophy, politics, and economics from Cornell, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins and continue to enjoy a wide range of intellectual pursuits, especially early Christianity, and modern history.

My wife, Linda, is a classical pianist, an award-winning filmmaker, and now runs a tour company offering a unique “Women’s Journey to Kenya.” We are proud parents of two sons—Lars, and his wife, Brei, are environmental scientists, and Nils, is a professional jazz drummer. Linda and I live north of Chicago on the edge of the Kettle Moraine forest in the southern lakes region of Wisconsin. We share our home with five cats, who graciously allow us to serve them.