In July I took my first trip out of the US. I went to Nicaragua with a team from Riverbluff Church in SC (where my dad is the pastor). It was a great trip and I absolutely loved it. First off, no I’m not planning a move- just working on some things that will allow me to go visit again.
While in Nicaragua we met families (and their extended family) living in very small (15′ x 20′) houses and many times 10 or more people were sharing one house. We met a young expecting Mom named Haley who asked us to help her complete her house. We visited her place and she had 4 posts up and the house was going to be less than 15′ x 15′! The size was not a concern because it was going to be hers. Looking into the specifics of this project we were able to find materials to finish the basics for under $500. Under $500 would give Haley a house for her 2 children, plus the one on the way, and her husband. Insane! Being able to change someone’s life and potentially alter their entire family’s future, for the better, is what gets me excited about this.
So, my mind goes out of control. How do I buy houses for these families? I want to help and I know people who’d be willing to help!
After dreaming through this and long conversations with my buddy, partner, co-hort, surf-master, and friend, Matt, we believe we can make this a reality. The company is called Building Love and we’ve launched a website at buildinglove.org – minimal information is available but soon we’ll begin adding names of families in need.
We’ve partnered with an established team in Nicaragua who has worked and lived there over 10 years. We will also partner with other non-profit & mission groups in the US to coordinate teams that will volunteer to go to Nicaragua. These teams will spend time with the families in addition to the building process.
Building Love will be a non-profit company that uses crowdsourcing, much like Kickstarter, to raise funds to build houses in Nicaragua. If you or someone you know specializes in non-profit filings please contact me. Please realize there are more nuts and bolts to this and so much is still in motion. Things will change and we’ll adapt to make this possible.
One key factor, we will not simply build houses and walk away. The families will help in some way, sweat equity if you will, as a way to show pride and ownership in their new home. We’ll also provide times where the families will meet to learn the importance of building a strong family and being involved in their community.
We’ve kicked off a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.com- Our desire is to raise $15,000.
Where will this money go?
- Corporate Filings and Lawyers (Also known as a lot of paperwork)
- 501c3 Filing Paperwork and Fees (even more paperwork)
- Web Presence (site will display families in need & users can invest in one or more as well as track progress of their donation)
- Tools and Equipment (these are construction tools that will be used in Nicaragua by the teams)
- Marketing/Awareness Campaigns (conferences, emails, newsletters, t-shirts, wristbands)
- Graphic Design (website, logo, t-shirts)
- Videography/Photography (for marketing, website, brochures)
- Team visit (Airfare/Lodging to Nicaragua to finalize home plans, costs, procedures, team plans, video, photos)
- + If we raise more than initial amount we will look into buying land in Nicaragua to house a workshop, tools, and potentially a place for group staging & community events
- + Vehicles — Trucks/Vans will be needed to transport building material and teams. (This a bit further down the line but depending on initial fund raising it could happen sooner)
How can you help? Share. Share anyway you can- social media, emails, snail mail, schools, churches, businesses, community groups, phone calls, texts, refrigerators, airplane banners at the beach, doggie sweaters and any other creative way!
I know we can raise the money and even surpass the goal but sharing and getting the word out is equally important. If you feel inclined to give, we are happy to accept! Thank you for sharing it not only helps us get started but will impact the lives of thousands of people.
Thanks for reading this far!