It's been a story of rags to riches to rags again as the people behind Invisible Children this week announced plans to close their headquarters in California.
All the way back in 2012 (that's right, TWO years ago, god we're so old, epic unreal class old etc.), a video by a non-profit group called Kony 2012 went hugely viral. In fact, as of now the video has been viewed over 100 million times on YouTube, which qualifies as pretty popular in our book.
In case you're not familiar with the events thereafter, it encouraged people to donate and to help them bring Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army who captured children and forced them to fight in his wars, to justice. They were inundated with donations and raised over $5 million in 48 hours, but then they were hit with a pretty huge backlash, with everyone from keyboard warriors to foreign policy experts claiming that much of their information was wrong and allegations that they were misusing the money that they had raised, which eventually lead to Jason Russell (one of the co-founders and the video's narrator) having a very public breakdown.
It also hit their margins, as by mid 2012 according to BuzzFeed, the company boasted "$26.5 million in revenue and $17 million in net assets. By mid-2013, the organization had $4.9 million in revenue (their lowest since 2005) and less than $6.6 million in assets".
All of this has lead to the eventual decision to close the doors of their California headquarters, with the loss of 22 jobs there, as well as beginning a 12-month handover process that will see the number of jobs with their organisation in Africa reduce from around 100 to about 25.
They will also handover many of the initiatives and programs that they undertook in central Africa, including the Early Warning Network, which allowed communities affected by LRA attacks to communicate with one another and warn each other of LRA activities near by. CEO Ben Keesey told BuzzFeed that "it’s the end of Invisible Children as most people know it", and that they would "go back to the strategic drawing board, so to speak".
As it stands, it is believed that Kony is still in hiding, but Keesey remains positive, saying of the closure that "even though we’re announcing this before the capture of Joseph Kony, the Invisible Children story is one of gigantic progress and huge impact in peoples lives".