A guy called last week and asked if I was still homeless. And, if I was taking a salary. Then said, "You should really updated your blog."
Oh... right! That thing I haven't opened in nine months. Gotcha.
In truth, I want to write, but other great things have overtaken my life. So as an update: I have an apartment (I pay too much to sleep in my bedroom converted from the living room - welcome to Manhattan), I am taking a stipend (which is close to a salary, except for a few numbers missing) and The Adventure Project has our first office space (thanks to a supporter who is gifting us with two years of free rent and operations costs)! So, on average, life is great.
So in an effort to update - I'm multitasking. Here's an email I wrote to our Advisers and Executive Board Members this week. Let's be honest, if you're reading this, you are an early adopter too.
Hello from our office! I’m sitting with two of our interns. It’s 7:30pm, yet they don’t seem to notice. My strategy has been to keep feeding them Starbursts and coffee in hopes that they just keep chugging along. So far it’s worked!
Last week Hong sat next to me and said, “Do you know why I applied here? I went to your website and you had stoves! My family was very poor in Vietnam and I remember when we got a stove and it was so helpful. As a child, I was in charge of it.”
Tonight I asked how old she was when she first managed the cooking fire.
“Five.” Then added, “Oh, but it’s not hard. Stoves are easy to use. You know?!”
Jessica, who sits next to her, asked for an explanation. Jess is from Indonesia, and is saving my life with her design skills. The gala branding is done by her.
In between the empty coffee cups, a space heater and folding chairs, we resemble a mash-up of Occupy Wall Street meets the United Nations.
But I love it.
Late last night I came across the “early adopter” graph and immediately thought, “these are our operations supporters!” I had just returned from Alex Abelin’s “graduation” party. After eight years at Google, he’s moving on to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He’ll always hold a special place in our hearts because he was the first one to join our advisory board as a monthly supporter (well, besides our parents). I won’t ever forget pitching him our vision while sitting on The Highline. He just said, “Awesome, I’m in.”
At one point or another, each of you on this email have said, “I’m in” to our vision. You have helped make it a reality. The twenty-two of you are the reason we’re here. Truly. In fact, last quarter, one-third of our entire operating expenses were covered by you.
This week we’re releasing our report on our impact in India, which I am attaching for you now. It’s a program representing what “development” should be about, and why we’re working hard to bring it to Africa. We’ve raised $18,000 towards our $150K goal of bringing the program to Uganda. So far, everything has been donated by individuals, as I haven't had much luck with foundations interested in piloting something new. Apparently, it's hard to find early adopters! We will keep hacking away until we get there.
On May 20th we will launch our 2nd Annual Spring Gala. We’ve got your ticket! Gansevoort Park Ave. has outdone themselves again, donating the $25,000 space and waiving numerous line items. Our major goal is to raise operational support so we can grow. Thanks to your support, we’ve remained consistent, but in order to scale we need people and systems. Ticket sales will support The Adventure Project. Ceci, our amazing Advisory Board President, will be following up with more details. If you want to fly in, we would love that!
Last quarter, we created jobs for 84 people, who will help 221,000 people in need.
I can’t quite picture what 200K+ people look like. I prefer to look at Hong and think - how cool would it be if years from now a young kid from Haiti was sitting across from me, telling me the same story.
We are fueled by spirited interns and early adopters.
Thank you for being “all in.”