Plant With Purpose

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 2/7/2022. To update the information in this column, please email:


Plant With Purpose works at the nexus of poverty and environmental degradation to transform the lives and land of farming communities through environmental restoration, economic empowerment, and spiritual renewal. Founded in 1984, Plant With Purpose is a Christian nonprofit that catalyzes the talent and ingenuity of farming families to transform entire watersheds. Of people living in poverty worldwide, up to 85% live in rural areas (OPHDI, 2014). Most struggle to grow enough food to feed their families and send their children to school. Plant With Purpose equips impoverished farming families to change their circumstances and land and to live with hope. We do this through sustainable agriculture training, land restoration, savings-led microfinance, and local leadership development.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Plant With Purpose
4747 Morena Blvd.
Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92117-2117


Phone: (858) 274-3718


Organization details

EIN: 330052976

CEO/President: Scott Sabin

Chairman: John Steel

Board size: 12

Founder: Tom Woodard

Ruling year: 1984

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1991


Plant With Purpose facilitates a holistic community development model that integrates economic empowerment, environmental restoration, and spiritual development through sustainable agriculture training, reforestation, savings groups called Village Saving and Loan Associations (VSLAs), local leadership development, and church mobilization. Plant With Purpose operates programs to serve rural farming families facing poverty in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, and Thailand. Overall, participating families see a 55% reduction in poverty.

Economic empowerment is achieved through community-led Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) where groups of 15 to 30 members meet to save income, take out loans, and contribute to a social fund. Access to these rural financial services leads to improved livelihoods, increased education for children, and financial resilience. The groups also provide a forum for teaching sustainable agriculture techniques and for developing faith and a sense of community. VSLA groups rely on intensive training to create sustainability. In the first year, trained staff members work closely with groups. Facilitators then regularly perform quarterly monitoring and oversee the end-of-cycle audit. In the words of partnering farmer Felicite from Burundi, "Before, we were in extreme poverty and hopeless to have credit. As soon as I joined my savings group, everything changed." Plant With Purpose partners who have participated for three or more years are twice as likely to be actively saving cash as nonparticipants (95% vs 48%). Participants have 2.5 times as much savings in reserve as nonparticipants.

Environmental restoration is achieved through teaching sustainable agriculture techniques and through tree planting campaigns. A multi-year environmental core curriculum covers topics such as composting, agroforestry, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, and whole ecosystem health. Partnering farmers and schools plant millions of trees, including native species as well as non-native species that benefit the community (e.g. trees for fruit and fodder). Sustainable agriculture techniques increase farm yields by 37% and crop diversity by 40%, allowing families to eat healthier and improve their farms. Partnering farmer Anastazie from the DRC explains the impact of Plant With Purpose training, "Before receiving training, production was low, bringing in little income, but now we are beginning to see good results. Before, my children ate once a day, but now my house eats two meals a day." In addition to increased farm yield, Plant With Purpose's environmental restoration program is transforming the land. While most rural communities see vegetation decrease each year due to deforestation, participant communities see this trend reverse and vegetation increase over the course of several years. As tree cover increases, flora and fauna return, water supplies regulate, and carbon is sequestered from the air. Amidst a changing climate, these efforts to restore the environment have increased the resilience of rural farmers and the land they call home.

Spiritual renewal is realized through leadership training and through church partnerships and mobilization. These efforts increase a strong commitment to community and reconciliation and have resulted in an increased sense of confidence, self-worth, and faith. Participating families are 10% more likely to agree with the statement, "I have the ability to improve my life." 95% of participants say they, "feel pride in the work they do now." Further, participants are 14% more likely to agree with the statement, "Members of my community work together to change things that are wrong in my community."

As a means to ensure effective programs, regular monitoring and evaluation activities are prioritized by both in-country staff and by North American staff members. Quarterly metrics and yearly strategic planning in each country ensure short-term success and allow for mid-year improvements as needed. Annually, field programs participate in a self-evaluation process, seeking feedback from participants on impacts and needed improvements. Larger, triennial impact evaluations measure success on outcomes through participatory workshops, analysis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), quantitative household surveys, Difference-in-Differences, and other techniques. Plant With Purpose has also piloted a number of novel monitoring techniques and continues to pursue best-in-class practices in evidence-based development work. Plant With Purpose measures effectiveness against baseline indicators, and program staff can adjust activities based on determined strengths and weaknesses.

Plant With Purpose is a nonprofit organization and contributions to it are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. In addition, it is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and is a member of Accord Network.

Mission statement

Plant with Purpose, a Christian nonprofit organization, reverses deforestation and poverty in the world by transforming the lives of the rural poor.

Statement of faith

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating937 of 102276 of 85
Fund acquisition rating890 of 102474 of 85
Resource allocation rating778 of 102470 of 85
Asset utilization rating755 of 102259 of 85

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$61,436$41,641$41,988$3,231,731$77,276
Short-term investments$2,801,736$1,324,881$28,307$28,307$28,307
Other current assets$0$0$7,017$8,814$8,394
Total current assets$3,639,014$2,402,910$319,919$4,277,628$366,978
Long-term investments$111,581$94,660$1,494,920$66,348$65,137
Fixed assets$36,271$31,093$25,949$16,400$20,586
Other long-term assets$1,962,700$2,270,884$3,406,074$0$0
Total long-term assets$2,110,552$2,396,637$4,926,943$82,748$85,723
Total assets$5,749,566$4,799,547$5,246,862$4,360,376$452,701
Payables and accrued expenses$200,385$116,766$120,504$92,719$95,508
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$200,385$116,766$120,504$92,719$95,508
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$31,247$0$0$0
Total liabilities$200,385$148,013$120,504$92,719$95,508
Net assets20212020201920182017
Without donor restrictions$3,114,618$2,294,099$1,479,284$918,841($228,595)
With donor restrictions$2,434,563$2,357,435$3,647,074$3,348,816$585,788
Net assets$5,549,181$4,651,534$5,126,358$4,267,657$357,193
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$7,422,728$4,756,936$5,546,886$8,210,941$3,814,193
Program service revenue$0$0$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$25,702$23,192$20,854$2,886$8,405
Other revenue$398$75,630$0$0$0
Total other revenue$26,100$98,822$20,854$2,886$8,405
Total revenue$7,448,828$4,855,758$5,567,740$8,213,827$3,822,598
Program services$5,079,616$4,218,460$3,825,944$3,490,659$3,574,003
Management and general$542,282$467,013$331,933$270,588$195,878
Total expenses$6,551,181$5,330,635$4,709,039$4,303,363$4,383,009
Change in net assets20212020201920182017
Surplus (deficit)$897,647($474,877)$858,701$3,910,464($560,411)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$897,647($474,877)$858,701$3,910,464($560,411)


Scott SabinPresident$138,118
John MitchellDirector of International Programs$113,412

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 2/7/2022. To update the information below, please email:


Plant With Purpose was founded in 1984 because of the direct link between poverty and the environment. The founder, Tom Woodard, was working for a relief organization in the Dominican Republic. Despite their best efforts to help those in need, food aid was not providing a long-term solution to hunger and poverty. Tom sought a way to address root causes and discerned the close connection between deforestation and rural poverty. The vast majority of families experiencing poverty are subsistence farmers and depend on the land for their survival. Therefore, any long-term solution to rural poverty would have to take into account how deforestation diminishes the ability of small-scale farmers to grow crops. As deforestation leads to smaller yields, families are left with less food and less opportunity to earn an income. The team came to understand that poverty had to be addressed from the ground up because handouts and food aid would never be enough to address the root causes of rural poverty. Plant With Purpose, originally called Floresta USA, was founded to bring a holistic approach to the fight against poverty that integrates environmental, economic, and spiritual solutions. We believe that this three-part approach is the key to creating lasting, sustainable change. Since those hopeful beginnings in the Dominican Republic, Plant With Purpose has expanded its program to walk alongside rural communities in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, and Thailand.

Program accomplishments

Plant With Purpose works in over 894 communities with over 50,000 families worldwide in 40 subwatersheds. Our programs impact over 300,000 children and adults. We catalyze indigenous farming families to affect change in their communities. Together, we have planted over 40 million trees, sequestering carbon through sustainable agriculture and reforestation and transforming entire watersheds. Flora and fauna return, water sources regulate, and land is restored. Together we have formed over 2,000 local Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) which have over $7.9 million in equity, without added outside capital. Women make up 65% of group participants which shows changing attitudes towards women and their contributions in typically male-dominated social structures. Together we are fostering 850 church partnerships and providing leadership training and support. Overall, participating families see a 55% reduction in poverty.

The future of Plant With Purpose and our partners is bright. Our 2025 goal is to work with over 100,000 farming families in 60 watersheds globally, impacting over half a million people and restoring watersheds through sustainable agriculture and reforestation.


Up to 85% of people living in multidimensional poverty live in rural areas (Source: OPHDI) where environmental degradation is a primary culprit of their poverty. Many of these farmers rely on agriculture as their main source of food and income, yet they are farming the land that no one else wants. Soil degradation causes poor crop production, and deforestation leads to erosion and damaged farms, especially for families living on hillsides. This damage and erosion further contributes to reduced crop production and, in turn, food scarcity. Desperate to earn some income, farmers turn to cutting trees in order to sell the wood, further exacerbating the problem.

In addition, many farmers, particularly women, lack employment opportunities and access to formal financial services. A lack of fair access to loans or effective tools to manage cash flows means that any emergency or disaster will cause a family to fall further into poverty.

Combined, these factors lead to severe poverty traps. Parents struggle to feed their families, send their children to school, and purchase tools for their farms, meaning they do not invest in their futures. Farmers faced with poverty often turn to cutting trees to make charcoal for income or for clearing land for agriculture, further exacerbating environmental degradation and ultimately worsening poverty.