Sweet Sleep, Inc.

A bed for every head

Nashville, TN   |  www.sweetsleep.org


Sweet Sleep exists to demonstrate God’s love and hope in Christ to the world’s orphaned and vulnerable children, improving their quality of life. Sweet Sleep accomplishes this mission through the provision of beds to vulnerable children in both emerging countries and in the United States, as well as through our economic development (CO•OP) programs aimed at helping adults caring for vulnerable children start small businesses.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Stuart McAlister

Main address

P.O. Box 40486

Nashville, TN 37204 USA

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NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Economic Development (S30)

Christian (X20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Sweet Sleep is a faith-based, international orphan care 501(c)3 ministry with the mission to demonstrate God’s love and hope in Christ to the world’s orphaned and vulnerable children, improving their quality of life. This mission is fulfilled through God’s promise in Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest. An estimated 46% of the population in northern Uganda lives on less than one dollar a day; twice the national poverty level of 26%, and only 9% of Uganda’s estimated population of 42 million have access to financial services. Furthermore, 80% of the world’s “orphans” have guardians who would care for them, if given the means to do so. Eliminating poverty is a font-line defense and solution to the orphan crisis. In response to these complex challenges, Sweet Sleep has responded by creating cooperative businesses and savings groups called CO•OPs. A CO•OP is comprised of eight to 12 women who represent families of on average five dependents.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sweet Sleep---Beds for Orphaned, Abandoned, and Vulnerable Children

Orphaned and abandoned and children in third-world countries suffer from lack of sufficient or healthy places to sleep at night. Sweet Sleep works with indigenous staff, churches, and NGOs to provide beds and bedding to the most vulnerable children -- specifically those who are HIV+, those who have special needs and disabilities, and refugees. Throughout the year Sweet Sleep coordinates teams to travel to orphanages to build beds and work with the children we serve.  Domestically, Sweet Sleep works with the Department of Children's Services of TN to provide beds to children who are at risk of being placed in foster care. Additionally, through a partnership with United Way, Catholic Charities and Safe Haven shelter, Sweet Sleep will provides beds to children in Nashville who are coming out of homelessness. Since 2003, Sweet Sleep has provided nearly 32,000 beds to children in eight countries, including over 5,300 beds in Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Sweet Sleep's CO•OP (economic development) program is providing sustainability through our new cooperative businesses. CO•OPs are groups of 10 to 15 widows, single mothers, and caretakers who receive business training and startup capital to form a market-based group business. Each CO•OP is also provided a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) fund that allows members of the group to borrow money to start smaller-scale individual businesses. CO•OPs provide immediate sustainability to the individual, and long-term sustainability to the group.

Since its inception in 2016, Sweet Sleep has launched over 65 CO•OPs in Uganda, reaching over 775 households, and meeting the needs of more than 2,600 children; needs such as school fees, meals twice a day, shoes, and clothes. And for the men and women involved, dignity has been restored.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) 2021

Affiliations & memberships

Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability - Member 2021

Christian Alliance for Orphans 2021

Giving Matters 2021

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Each CO•OP is empowered to carry out different income generating activities to earn a living and are offered training opportunities, mentorship and financial seed funding, counsel on scalable market-based business options, mentorship, continuous monitoring support for 12 months after project origination, and demand-driven refresher trainings. Once training has begun, typically within the first two months of the project, the CO•OP is given a financial grant from Sweet Sleep to start an approved, market-based group business of their choosing, which will provide long-term sustainability for the group.

Additionally, a savings group (VSLA) will be established within each CO•OP, from which members will learn to save together, borrow money from a common pool for their own investments, and repay the common pool with interest. The savings group provides banking opportunities, is a resource for emergency needs such as medical care, and is predominantly used for members to start small-scale individual businesses which create immediate sustainability for each family.

All training, monitoring, and reporting is carried out by our indigenous Ugandan staff women and in cooperation with local Ugandan partner NGO organizations.

All told, one CO•OP creates an average of 13 to 15 businesses which support about 60 women, children, and dependent elderly. Since 2016, Sweet Sleep has created 90+ CO•OPs in Uganda, creating nearly 950 group and individual businesses, benefitting more than 5000 beneficiaries. Because of the way we have scaled project initiation and follow up, Sweet Sleep CO•OPs have a 100% success rate to date.

• CO•OP members move from making less than $1 per day to between $5 and $10 per day within the first 12 months
• CO•OP members generally prioritize paying school fees for their dependent children, and most are able to return children to school within the first three to six months
• CO•OP members are able to pay for medical care, provide two meals per day, and purchase basic necessities such as mosquito nets, beds, and household items within the first 3 months

1. Global VSLA Sustainability*:
a. VSLAs operate independently, without additional technical support or funding after 12-15 months.
b. 89% of groups continue to operate longer than five years after receiving training; on average doubling their capitalization and average loan sizes.
c. At any one time, 74% of the available funds are in interest-bearing loans.
d. 98% of members continue from one annual cycle to the next
*source https://www.vsla.net/

2. CO•OP design has been developed from field-based research that has shown that mentoring, diversification and linkage to financial services, and continued education and training are critical to successful outcomes.

All projects are informed by input and involvement of Gulu Women Economic Development & Globalization (GWED-G), local government leaders at District, Sub County, and Village levels, and by the local Project Implementation Committee in order to safeguard the sustainability of the project.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda by equipping and empowering / serving mothers, grandmothers, single mothers, and widows who are caring for the vulnerable children in their villages.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Our programs were developed as cooperative group businesses comprised of women who were caring for orphaned and vulnerable children in their villages. Often times, the group business would take time to grow to a point of profitability. To address this lag in financial independence and sustainability, we added micro-finance savings groups to each CO•OP, so that members could take individual loans and start small scale businesses that provide immediate sustainability.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Our goal is to equip and empower the women in villages in Uganda to provide for the orphaned and vulnerable children in their care. We do this by providing training and resources needed to start businesses and savings groups. These cooperative business groups, called CO•OPs, are fully managed and governed by the members of the CO•OP. Additionally, the group and individual businesses formed by these groups are market-based businesses of the members' choosing. They fully own their business, as well as the revenue generated via interest earned in their micro-finance savings groups.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Sweet Sleep, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Sweet Sleep, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Madelene Metcalf

Madelene Metcalf

Sweet Sleep

Alyson Walker

Minister to Preschool Families, FBC Tulsa, OK

Paul Stringfellow

Edward Jones

Pleshetta Loftin

Persistent Capital Partners, LLC

Dana Maynor


Beth Dunning

Counsel on Call

Karen Tidwell

CAP Partners

Savannah Koehn

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/8/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/08/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.