Those you know me know I’m very serious about giving back to others. If you are fortunate enough to be reading this (because you have a computer/internet, nothing to do with my writing), I believe you should use the opportunities you have been given in life to improve the lives of others. I hope you realize how fortunate you are; the majority of the world isn’t so lucky. To me, life is about much more than money. It’s about relationships, people, and helping others achieve their goals. All the “stuff” in the world won’t make you happy if you have no one to share it with. Whenever something or someone becomes just about the money, that something or someone becomes not interesting to me almost instantaneously.

I’ve come to realize there are two areas of philanthropy that are the most interesting to me: microfinance and education. Microfinance is an unbelievably powerful tool, but I still believe a quality primary education is the cornerstone to succeeding in life. Education is something we take for granted here in the US; it’s almost a given that kids will get a decent education, even if they don’t go on to attend college and get an advanced degree. If you’re reading this, you probably had no trouble attending school growing up, and probably even have a college degree. News flash – that’s not the reality around the world. In much of the developing world, schools just don’t exist or are not accessible. Sometimes, kids can’t attend school because they don’t have the money to pay for uniforms (I saw a few of these kids in Kenya and it’s absolutely heartbreaking). The picture below was taken while touring a refugee camp with Rocky on one of my most memorable days of my month long stay in Kenya last fall. Don’t they deserve the opportunity to get an education just like you and me?

Where is this post going you might ask? Some friends and I are going to raise money to build a school somewhere in the 3rd world. We’re thinking the location will be Kenya, but not 100% sure as of yet. We were told by Free the Children that a school is, on average, $8,500 to build. So we’re about to start raising the funds. If you want to help change the lives for an entire community for what we consider to be pocket change and get involved, let me know in the comments or email me. I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to enable people to donate online to this specific project (if you know of a solution that could work, please let me know). We don’t have an exact timeline, but my initial goal would be to raise enough funds within 8-12 months. If we raise enough funds to build a school in 3 months? Awesome. Then we can just move on and build another one — there’s no shortage of need out there, just funds.

To start the project, I’m putting $250 toward the school, and $50 per month going forward. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. I’ll continue to post updates here as we make further progress, and pick a specific location to support.

We all have free time. But the amount of time wasted each and every day by so many of us is insane; I am completely floored at the sheer number of people who give enough of a crap about Charlie Sheen to follow his every move in the media. 2.7 million followers on Twitter? Are you kidding me? Enough of spending time on things that don’t matter; let’s do something that actually matters with our free time and change lives in the process.

What can you do:

  • Spread the word & ask friends for support
  • Blog about it
  • Donate directly
  • Email me with questions or ideas

PS: If you don’t want to put funds toward this project, I’m not going to hold it against you. There are no shortage of people trying to raise money for various causes, and I realize everyone has their own philanthropic interests to support. It doesn’t have to be education or microfinance — all I ask is that you do SOMETHING to better the lives of others.