Winston Churchill once said that “we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” This idea was top of mind as I visited the Gates Foundation and pondered the magnitude of how Bill and Melinda are turning what they “got” into what they now “give.” When I posted this picture to Twitter, I pledged to donate 100% of my income from the project to charities in my local community who have similar missions to that of the Gates Foundation. With the contracts now signed – I am excited to announce where that money is going.
First, a bit of background on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their noble mission statement is that “all lives have equal value.” The foundation consists of “impatient optimists working to reduce inequality.” The organization is funded by Bill and Melinda, Warren Buffet, and other private donors. They invest in programs that:
- Help more young children and young people survive and thrive.
- Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives.
- Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest.
- Inspire people to take action to change the world.
The Coveo Intelligent Search solution will help employees of the Gates Foundation find more relevant documents and better collaborate on all things related to the above programs. A couple examples include working more efficiently on a grant request, bringing new employees and volunteers up to speed faster on internal and governmental processes, and increasing the proficiency of all users across the organization.
And now to where my pledge is going…
North Routt Preschool
When I was on the local school board, I regularly visited our North Routt Charter School to witness their expeditionary learning programs. Just next to that building is a preschool serving the same tight-knit rural community. The North Routt Preschool is currently trying to pay off their mortgage so that more of the tuition fees can go towards teachers and student-facing programs.
For a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, life can quickly become complicated. Selah provides a safe, calm place to find answers and support. Just a few examples of their free services include pregnancy tests, ultrasound scans, parenting preparation classes, and clothes for both mom and baby. Or in the words of this young boy’s mother, “Selah gave me support, courage, and love.”
My friends Emily and Andrew Schmidt started this amazing organization to rescue women from sex trafficking in Bangkok and provide them with a sustainable living through the local manufacturing of designer fashion products that are then sold in the United States. Beyond the shirts, skirts, and necklaces – what Awaken really offers is “freedom.”
Providing services to individuals with developmental disabilities in five northwest counties of Colorado, Horizons is one of my favorite organizations in my community. Their clients work in our local businesses, volunteer for other charity events I have organized, and most recently – bring home Special Olympics Gold medals!
Twelve years ago my friends Buck and Tara Chavarria took some leftover food to the Steamboat skate park. They arrived to find a very large group of lost, lonely and hungry teens. Young adults who were starving not only for food, but also for guidance, mentorship, and direction. The drug and alcohol abuse were among just a few of the many issues that these teens were dealing with. Today Sk8 Church provides two free meals each week followed by a practical message for living a healthy life through the study of God’s word. An After School Program is open each weekday to give kids a safe place to hang out, and of course skate. Most recently, they also formed an RX Task Force to combat opiate abuse, including hosting weekly recovery meetings.
Routt County CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities)
This local program for high school students seeks to prepare them to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities. The CEO program is much more than a textbook course. Rather, students are immersed in real life learning experiences with the opportunity to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.
American Heart Association
About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. Thankfully, I was able to get a fairly simple procedure to fix the condition forever. But as I was telling the story to my kids, they asked me, “what about the people who can’t afford to get ‘fixed’?” And while the American Heart Association doesn’t exactly pay for people’s procedures, this did give me a great opportunity to explain how important their school’s Jump Rope for Heart program was. Once they learned of all the research and public education the association provides, both kids wanted to raise as much money as possible. After donating all of their chore money for several weeks and holding two lemonade stands at a local supermarket, I was honored to match their funds.
I’ll close with one more quote, this time from Anne Frank. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” The more I give to great organizations like these, the richer I feel!