Help us Help families in Honduras with Sustainable Harvest International

Posted on | July 28, 2014 | No Comments

Can you believe that 2014 is lucky number seven for Passports With Purpose? From schools to libraries to homes to wells, from Cambodia to Haiti to Mali, there’s been so much goodness that’s come of out our little online fundraiser. Who would have thought that bloggers, who spend their days working in the ephemera that is the internet, could make a difference in such concrete ways?

We’re very proud of all that work. But we’re not looking back – oh, no, quite the opposite. In fact, today Passports With Purpose is only looking ahead.

We’re happy to announce our 2014 partnership with Sustainable Harvest International

Farming in Central America has too often meant practices that lead to environmental degradation and endemic poverty. Since 1997, Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) has been working in the region to help family farmers not only grow their own food but to understand how to do so in a way that protects the ecosystems they live in and prevent tropical deforestation.

Sustainable Harvest International

The 2014 Passports With Purpose fundraiser will support SHI’s efforts in Honduras. And this year, instead of setting a fundraising goal we’re offering the following challenge:

For each $5000 we raise, Sustainable Harvest can help a family in Honduras for five years.

That’s especially meaningful because the approach that Sustainable Harvest uses is meant to be long-term, to make sure the programs take root in the communities they serve. SHI applies varied strategies that see them partnering with the communities, developing solutions together and then implementing those solutions, always with an eye toward independence and the sustainability that’s in their very name. We will be providing money that buys not only tools and supplies but also the necessary time to establish real roots and develop real solutions.

The sky is the limit – the more money we raise, the more lives we can touch.

Sustainable Harvest Honduras

We’ll be sharing more about SHI in the days to come, but please feel free to visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook to learn more.

Helping $10 at a time

Our approach to raising money has always been primarily grassroots and driven by the online community. Bloggers either purchase or procure a prize from a sponsor and we auction off the prizes online. Every $10 buys a chance to win something fabulous from a resort vacation to a camera to a stylish new suitcase. We give every dime that goes into the prize pot to Sustainable Harvest International.

Sustainable Harvest Honduras

We are the traveler blogger’s fundraiser, and this year that is more true than ever – when the Passports with Purpose board was trying to decide what charitable project to fund, we turned to our 2013 participating bloggers and asked them to share their what type of project, and in what location, they’d be most excited to fund. This project was the overwhelming favorite.

You can make a difference

It seems like there is plenty of bad news to go around of late, perhaps even more than usual. But the next time you see a report about the crushing poverty in Central America that is driving women and children to flee to the United States in record numbers remember that there is something you can do.

Are you a travel blogger? Sign up to participate.

Do you work for a company that makes matching donations? Start making inquiries now and plan to include Passports With Purpose in your end-of-year giving.

Want to sponsor our efforts? Let us know.

And no matter what role you want to play, stay up-to-date with all our news by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Pass along our news to the world using the hashtag #PWP.

Sustainable Harvest Honduras

We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get started working to raise money that will improve both lives and the ecosystem in Honduras – we hope that you’ll join us along the way. Thanks, as always for your help and support. We couldn’t do it without you.


Making Progress in Mali

Posted on | June 9, 2014 | 1 Comment

Last fall, we raised $84,000 for buildOn to construct schools in two villages in rural Mali.  We are excited to share that the villages broke ground for their schools in May and should soon be complete. We are also excited to share a little more about each village and the children you are helping to educate.

Mali map


One school is being built in Menie, a village that didn’t previously have any kind of school building. Menie was founded about 800 years ago in the Sikasso region of Mali. Villagers raise grains, peanuts and cotton and earn income from small trade and animal breeding. In the past, children had to walk six kilometers each way to get to school, so the construction of a school in Menie itself will have a huge impact.

Menie groundbreaking with chief

The village chief officially breaks ground for the new school.

Menie cement mixing

Community members mix cement for the new school.

Two students who will attend the new school are 11-year-old Lassina Togola and 14-year-old Mamou Togola. Lassina is the first in his family to attend school. His favorite subject is math and he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. Mamou’s mother went to school through grade 3, but her father never attended. Her favorite subjects are history and geography and she wants to be a teacher.

Lassina Togola

Lassina Togola

Mamou Togola

Mamou Togola


The other school is being constructed in the village of Folona, also in the Sikasso region of Mali. Villagers raise crops such as peanuts, corn, millet and rice and earn income from gardening and raising animals. Folona currently has a school that looks like this:

Folona old school

Existing school building in Folona.

The school we have funded will replace the one above.  Currently 125 students attend the school – 58 boys and 67 girls – and three teachers teach classes.

Folona goundbreaking

Community members sign a covenant at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Folona school

Progress on the new Folona school.

Toma Bagayoko is a 14-year-old who is the first in his family to attend school. Currently in grade 6, his favorite subject is biology and he hopes to be a doctor. Sali Traore is a 15-year-old in Folona who is also in grade 6. Both of her parents are literate, but her father dropped out of school in grade 7. Her favorite subject is math and she hopes to be a math teacher when she is older.

Toma Bagayoko

Toma Bagayoko

Sali Traore

Sali Traore

Thanks to all of you, Toma, Sali, Lassina, Mamou and all of their classmates will have the opportunity to further their educations and fulfill their dreams.

We’re Growing Our Team – and We Need Volunteers!

Posted on | May 13, 2014 | 1 Comment

Two students in the libraryDo you have a passion for doing good and a desire to be involved in the biggest, longest-running travel blogger fundraiser on the Internet? Do you want to work with a great team of like-minded individuals? Or have you ever wondered just what goes on behind the scenes here in Passports-with-Purpose Land?

If so, we may have a job for you. We’re looking for some new volunteer team members to help us plan and execute our 2014 fundraiser.

So just what are we looking for?

Although the work can be done from any location and will be spread out through the year, volunteers should be available to help during our 2014 fundraiser from December 1, 2014 until December 17, 2014. In addition, we will be asking all volunteers to commit to staying on the team through at least the end of January, 2015.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

Social Media coordinator: This person will be responsible for coordinating our social media strategy from the time he or she signs on through the end of 2014. In addition to spreading the good word about PwP, we need to engage with our audience and share news about our doings. Since all of our fundraising happens online, this person must be available for the entirety of our fundraiser from December 1, 2014 until December 17, 2014. Requirements: Outgoing personality and great Twitter, Facebook, and Google + skills, with a touch of Pinterest and Instagram ability as well.

Technical consultant/developer: This person will help maintain and update the PwP website including the prize catalogue and all forms on the site. We’re looking for someone with strong WordPress administration skills including experience with theme modifications, plug-ins compatibility, installation and management. Competency with SQL, CSS and HTML would also be great.

PR and Sponsorship assistant: This person will assist in communicating with potential and existing sponsors. The ideal candidate will have great communication skills as well as experience working on brand campaigns and contacts within the travel industry.

If any of these jobs sounds like it would be right up your alley, please fill out our Contact Form and let us know – we’ll be in touch. And if you’re interested in joining us as a blogger or sponsor in 2014, the links below take you to our blogger sign-up form and our sponsorship information page. (Bloggers should remember that even if they have signed up in the past, they need to fill out the form once again for 2014.)

Sign up as a Passports with Purpose blogger.

Learn about joining Passports with Purpose as a sponsor.

Help Us Find Our 2014 Charity!

Posted on | May 5, 2014 | No Comments


Are you involved with a charity that does great work in developing countries?

Have you volunteered with an amazing nonprofit organization that could use our help?

Do you otherwise know of an organization that would be a great fit as the charitable beneficiary for Passports with Purpose in 2014?

The deadline to apply to be this year’s charitable beneficiary is May 15, 2014 – less than two weeks away!

Past projects we have supported include building libraries in Zambia, constructing water wells in Haiti and, most recently, building two schools in Mali.

The 2014 fundraiser will take place December 2-19 and will once again be entirely online.  We’ll be in touch soon regarding blogger involvement, including prize procurement, but right now we need to take care of the important task of selecting the organization and project we will support in 2014!

The charitable organization we select:

  • Must have a record of at least three years with previous success;
  • Must be able to provide us with regular updates before, during, and after the execution of the project so that we can verify that the funds are used properly.
  • Must be based in the United States;
  • Must not have a religious affiliation;
  • Must be able to accept donations via PayPal.

Additionally, the projects we choose to fund typically:

  • Are tangible projects that have a start and finish date and provide high impact to an entire community;
  • Directly benefit women and children;
  • Are in developing nations because we can make a larger impact with fewer dollars; and
  • Support basic human needs such as water, food, shelter, and education.

Interested organizations should submit an application no later than May 15, 2014. Questions? Let us know and we’re happy to answer them!

Traveling with a Purpose – New York Travel Festival

Posted on | April 22, 2014 | No Comments

The PwP team is excited to be a part of the New York Travel Festival, an event for tech-savvy, immersive travelers taking place April 26-27, 2014. Our very own Michelle Duffy will be speaking on a panel on Saturday, April 26 at 2pm called “Traveling with a Purpose.”

Michelle will be joined by folks from The Cultureist’s Culture Collection, MCW, and Learning AFAR.

For more details, visit New York Travel Festival at


Visit us at the Women in Travel Summit

Posted on | March 3, 2014 | No Comments

WITSWill you be at the Women in Travel Summit in Chicago later this month? If so, keep an eye out for the Passports with Purpose table to learn more about how you can get involved with the 2014 fundraiser.  After raising $84,000 for buildOn to construct two schools in Mali last fall, we are excited to kick things off for this year!

The Women in Travel Summit is the first conference of its kind – bringing together female travel bloggers and brands at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago March 14-16. Three content tracks target the traveler, the writer and the entrepreneur and social events like a mentor breakfast and networking power hour provide plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow bloggers and travel brands. Our very own Katie Aune will be speaking at the conference about volunteering abroad and will be staffing the PwP table throughout the weekend. If you’re there, be sure to stop by and say hello!

For more information about the Women in Travel Summit, visit

Calling charities: Applications for Passports with Purpose 2014 are open

Posted on | February 24, 2014 | No Comments

Two students in the libraryTwo schools in Mali.Five wells in Haiti. Two libraries in Zambia. A village in India. A school in Cambodia.

And of course, the most important thing: Hundreds of lives impacted.

The entire Passports With Purpose team is so happy to have worked with our bloggers and sponsors to raise money for all of these projects over the past six years. But we’ve never been ones to spend a lot of time looking back. In fact, we’re eagerly looking forward and asking the following question:

Who will our 2014 charitable beneficiary be?

We’ve already chosen dates for our 2014 fundraiser, which will take place from December 2 until December 19. It will take place entirely online – learn more about exactly how it works.

Here’s what we look for in our charitable projects:

  • Tangible projects that have a start and finish date and provide high impact to an entire community.
  • Projects that directly benefit women and children .
  • Projects in developing nations because we can make a larger impact with fewer dollars.
  • Projects that support basic human needs such as water, food, shelter, and education have been a hallmark of our efforts since 2008.

Additionally, we require some things of the charities we work with. They must have a record of at least three years with previous success. They must be able to provide us with regular updates before, during, and after the execution of the project so that we can verify that the funds are used properly. And they must be based in the United States, not have a religious affiliation, and accept donations via PayPal.

If you’ve got a project that you think would be a good fit, please submit an application. All applications are due by May 15, 2014.

Got questions? Please feel free to let us know.

Choosing a charitable project is a real labor of love for our team – we look forward to seeing how you’d like to change the world.


You funded two schools in Mali!

Posted on | December 10, 2013 | No Comments

Mali smileWe love this day here at Passports With Purpose virtual HQ because are hearts are so full of amazement at the generosity of our donors and sponsors. Thanks to you, we raised more than $84,000, which means buildOn will be able to construct two schools and two adult literacy programs in southern Mali.

Let’s just bask in that for a moment shall we?

We will be drawing and notifying our winners on December 16; good luck to everyone who entered. And although the time is over when your ten dollars entered you to win a prize, you can still make a cash donation. One hundred percent of the money you give will go to buildOn toward the construction of a third school. Donations are tax deductible.

A huge round of thanks to everyone who made this fundraiser possible – to all our wonderful travel bloggers, all of our sponsors including the dozens of companies that donated prizes, and our donors. It’s because of you that we are able to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families.

It seems appropriate to end with a quote from Nelson Mandela, who cared so deeply about the lives of children on his native continent: ”Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Photo courtesy of buildOn

We believe that the best way to “show” is to “do.”

Posted on | December 6, 2013 | No Comments

PwP sponsor, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide, shares this message. With four days left in the fundraiser, check out these prizes here.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides publishes illustrated guidebooks for travelers who not only want to see a place, but also to understand its history, art and culture. The desire to learn, to discover more, underpins every guidebook we make. And so when we heard about Passports with Purpose and their campaign with buildOn to build three new schools in Mali, we knew we needed to become a sponsor.  Mali_CTA_2

Over the past four years, Passports with Purpose has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for those in need – providing livestock to families, clean drinking water in Haiti, and libraries in Zambia, among other projects. We are inspired by the overwhelming support, generosity and drive of the travel blogging community that, year after year, makes the fund-raising efforts of Passports with Purpose a success, and we are proud to join in.

For twenty years, the motto of DK Eyewitness Travel Guides has been to show travelers the world, and we believe that the best way to “show” is to “do.” We hope you’ll join us this year as we do more together.

To donate to Passports with Purpose, visit here.

Best odds at the pricier end of our catalogue

Posted on | December 5, 2013 | No Comments

So you’ve seen what our best odds prizes are - the ones that you’ve got the best chance of winning. Well here’s another list. These are things you wouldn’t run out to the mall and buy, but for just a bit more than your morning latte you can bid on them with a great chance to win. What are you waiting for?

  1. One Vail Resorts Epic Season Pass
  2. Three nights at Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island Australia
  3. Luxury stay in Niagara Falls
  4. Two-night stay for two at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess – Arizona
  5. Seven-night stay in a Global Resort Home in Kissimmee – Florida
  6. Wimdu accommodation voucher
  7. Two-night stay at Keswick Hall at Monticello Charlottesville – Virginia
  8. Two-night getaway for four at any Great Wolf Lodge
  9. Angkor Trails – 9-Day Small Group Tour
  10. Three-night stay at the Connemara Language and Cultural Center – Ireland

Click the prizes to get more specific details or go right to the donate page. But either way – know that you win no matter what. Because $10 at a time you’re helping us build schools in Mali. 

keep looking »

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