Tell us about The Adventure Project.The Adventure Project
is a new non-profit established to increase investments in positive social enterprises around the world. Social enterprises do two things: they provide a social good or service, and they create jobs. Everything we do saves lives and increases economic opportunities for those living in developing countries.
Each quarter, The Adventure Project focuses on one humanitarian issue affecting global poverty, and then presents innovative, low-cost solutions to help. And the answers to these problems may surprise you.
For example, our first initiative is trying to prevent respiratory illnesses, which surprisingly is the number one cause of death in children under five-years-old. Instead of providing medicine, our answer is a charcoal-efficient stove.
Most women, and the children strapped to their backs, are breathing in toxic smoke while cooking over open fires – equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. So this holiday season, we’re helping to provide charcoal-efficient stoves to families in Port au Prince, Haiti. Charcoal-efficient stoves cut the amount of charcoal needed in half, and drastically decreases smoke emissions. Reduced charcoal use saves six trees per year, per family, and increases a family’s income by 20%. Remarkable, really.
While most would stop at distributing the stoves to needy families, we go a step further. We’re also helping to build a stove production factory and train a sales force of female micro-entrepreneurs. This way, the stoves can be produced locally, create jobs, and sold at a subsidized rate villagers can afford.Tell us about the coal stocking stuffer, Growing up, my parents threatened to fill my stocking with coal.
Me too! We believe giving should be fun. So we came up with the idea to sell lumps of coal as a way to raise money for charcoal efficient stoves. For every $20 box of coal you buy, you help one family living in a tent camp in Haiti receive a stove. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on your list, naughty or nice. How have your experiences with the charities you support changed your outlook on your own life?
I’ve worked for numerous charities and spent a great deal of time throughout Africa and Haiti. My outlook has mainly been shaped by my travels to remote villages and displacement camps. I noticed that no matter where I went, everyone said the same thing, “Thank you so much for your gift. But what I really want is a job.” I’ve learned that everyone wants the same things as you and me: A chance to earn a living, raise a healthy family, and to be part of a community. I helped start The Adventure Project with that outlook in mind.Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
My co-founder, Jody Landers, is remarkable. She lives in Colorado as a pastor’s wife and mother to six kids, two of whom they adopted from Sierra Leone, West Africa. Our lifestyles couldn’t be more different, yet we share the same vision and work ethic. I don’t know where she finds the time to raise six children and launch an organization, but her passion and energy inspires me everyday.Many people want to do their part for those in need, but don’t know the best way to go about it. What would your advice be to them?
I would say, just start somewhere. You don’t need to be rich or have a lot of free time to give back. Find a cause that interests you, and learn more about it. From there, you might find yourself either so outraged by the injustice, or inspired by the solution, that you’ll take action.
I’m also going to be self-promoting and say, “Join our Tribe!” The goal of The Adventure Project is to build a movement of passionate individuals who share the vision. So we came up with the idea to form a Tribe. The Tribe Members are champions of the cause, educating others and providing outlets for engagement.
About Her / Her Favorites:Favorite NYC charity event(s)?
I spent the last three years helping to launch charity: water, an organization dedicated to giving clean and safe water to people in developing nations. They throw the best charity: ball every December. Hands down.City?
Manhattan. Though I just moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn and I must say, if you forget about all the strollers, this is a great place to live.Travel Destination?
Kenya if you want amazing coffee and the ability to yell, “Giraffe!” from your car. If you want to go off the beaten track a bit, Sierra Leone, West Africa. It’s a beautiful country with a rich history.Hotel?
Ace Hotel. Though, I’ll admit I’ve only been there to drink coffee and conduct business meetings in their lobby.Restaurant?
Cafeteria, in Chelsea. Museum or gallery?
San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.Film?
“Welcome to Sarajevo”, a film about the Bosnian War. It changed my entire perspective on life. I didn’t know a career as an “aid worker” existed until I saw that film.Book?
Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta. Anyone who is a donor or runs a non-profit should read his book.Artist?
The graffiti artist, Banksy.Bar?
Little Branch, in the West Village. I now have a Dark & Stormy obsession, thanks to that bar.Top 3 songs?
When I need to wake up I play Bulletproof by La Roux and Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z. But the entire Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More album is amazing mellow work music.