Tag Archives: Greg Mortenson

Breathe…and Take your First Step

Humbling.

Inspiring.

Invigorating.

Painful to look at.

That’s what I thought when I was sent this video from 2007 a couple days ago.  Jolina Karen, of Our Great Life asked myself and my partner-in-crime, Tara Kusumoto to take part in a video interview for her website.  The purpose was to document and share the story of how Mountain to Mountain was started.  Why did I do it?  What obstacles arose?  What did we accomplish and more importantly…what next?  Jolina wanted to share our story, but also look at ways that people become inspired to create change.

Other interviewees include our local ‘jungle doctor’, Doc PJ.  A one man medical mission in areas of remote Honduras, Nepal, Indonesia, and more recently, Sudan.  We are hoping to possibly work with PJ in the future in joint projects in Nepal.

Looking back, while its more than a little painful to watch yourself on video, its really cool to see that place and time preserved.  Tara was the other half of the coin in our first cycle to support Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute and without her we wouldn’t have accomplished as much as we did.  Being able to see our relationship and our joint passion for the subject re-inspires me at a time where M2M is moving forward with the creation of our new evolution.  A Board of Directors and Advisory Board, new programming outreach, and new projects and collaboration in Afghanistan and other areas of Central Asia.

The irony is that I never wanted to do it.  It was a couple of weeks after a seven month push and I was beyond exhausted.  Getting in front of a camera was the LAST thing I wanted to do, much less rehash the last seven months.  I let Tara set the meeting and I dragged myself there – but the experience was a good one and now, in retrospect, I’m glad a record is out there.

Sometimes looking back helps remind you why you are moving forward.

One step at a time.

Our Great Life – Mountain to Mountain Video

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Fundraising Boredom

Former Black Panther, Assata Shakur, sums up our philosophy towards fundraising at Mountain to Mountain, “We do not have the right, in the name of social justice, to bore people to death.”

How are you going to attract people to your organization, and thus, your cause, if the most they can be expected to do is write a check?  That check may help in the short term, but the donor is not aware of where that check is going, whose life is being affected, and won’t be someone we can count on to give again and again.   We want our supporters, donors, and volunteers to be excited about the work we and our partners are doing.  Excited to be part of the events, excited enough to open their wallet, excited enough to come to future events, and excited enough to tell their friends and family about it.

Mountain to Mountain aims to create cultural and athletic events that attract support and enthusiasm for the event itself.   Photography exhibits, book signings, speakers, trail running events, movie nights at the local theater, all revolving around the themes of our projects and partners.  People come to listen to a speaker or see award winning photography, and leave a little more educated about the individuals and communities we are striving to empower.   Last year’s, speaker and book signing event with Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, helped not only inspire donations, but allowed the audience to ask questions and further their understanding on the importance of girls education in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Without that event, we wouldn’t have raised over $105,000 in donations in a little under seven months.  Sponsorship totaled around $30,000 for several events in the same time period.

The downside is the cost of putting on events, versus more traditional fundraising.  The goal has always been to have our events sponsored entirely versus donations.  In this way, donations can go directly to the project or the partner charity in their entirety.  Photography exhibits are extremely expensive, even when the images are donated by the artists.  Production of the show, opening night costs, and traveling the show to multiple venues is not cheap.

Despite the second tier of fundraising needed, that of sponsorship in addition to donations, the events do make fundraising and the outreach less dull.   A bored supporter is a quiet one.  Entertain, educate, and inspire and your supporters will become vocal proponents of your work and cause.

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