Posted on | May 1, 2015 | No Comments
It’s been pretty clear over the years how much the travel blogging community values literacy – we’ve raised over $200,000 to build libraries and schools in Asia and Africa. Here at Passports with Purpose headquarters we like to think that’s because bloggers are in love with the written word and see how it takes many of us to the ends of the earth and back.
And there are great reasons to promote literacy: According to UNESCO, 781 million adults and 126 million youths – 3 out of 5 of them girls – can neither read nor write. Literacy is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty and books are critical to improving literacy. But in Africa as many as 50 percent of all schools have few or no books. And that’s why:
We’re excited to announce our 2015 partnership with Worldreader
Worldreader has a very simple mission: To bring digital books to every family, empowering them to improve their lives.
The funds raised in 2015 from Passports with Purpose will bring digital reading to five libraries in western Kenya. The e-readers will provide an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books.
What we like about Worldreader’s work is that it operates at the intersection of technology and indigenous culture. Each library will get 50 Kindle e-readers, containing both English and Swahili fiction and non-fiction for all ages, as well as Kenyan textbooks. The Worldreader program also includes comprehensive training for the librarians, as well as a field-tested and proven solar solution that will keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce.
Helping $10 at a time
Our approach to raising money has always been primarily grassroots and driven by the online community. It’s also pretty simple.
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 Worldreader.
Many of the digital books are free and Worldreader has special agreements with publishers so no book costs more than $1. That means this year your donations will go farther than ever.
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 myriad numbers of Africans attempting to flee their home continent in search of a better life or of militants murdering students, know that there is something concrete that you can do to improve the quality of life and education for people there.
Our fundraiser will take place from November 8 until November 18, 2015 – very appropriate given that we are celebrating our eighth year.
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.
The Passports with Purpose crew is united in our love of books and our belief that education and literacy have the power to change lives. We hope you’ll join us and Worldreader in bringing them to the people of Kenya.
All photos courtesy of Worldreader
Posted on | April 27, 2015 | No Comments
It takes a lot of work to pull off our annual fundraiser – and since we are a small team here at Passports with Purpose, we need help. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that once again in 2015 TBEX, the series of travel blogging conferences held round the world each year, will be sponsoring us.
We’re big believers in the power of coming together as a travel blogging community, which is why TBEX is such a great fit for our work. These conferences (this year they are hosting no fewer than four events) offer an opportunity for travel bloggers to connect not only with each other but with travel professionals from different areas and destinations across the industry. Bloggers who attend TBEX conferences can expect to learn from their peers and from leaders in the travel industry.
The first TBEX Conference of 2015 will be held in Costa Brava, Spain from April 30 through May 2, 2015. We hope to have a chance to see many familiar faces there and to make some new friends as well.
Will you be attending the TBEX Costa Brava conference? Why not leave a comment and let us know so we can look for you there? Better still, stop by our table to find out more about our efforts in 2015. And if you won’t be going to Spain, don’t worry, you can follow along on Twitter using the #TBEX hashtag.
A huge thanks once again to the entire TBEX team, who truly recognize the power of travel bloggers to change the world.
Posted on | February 8, 2015 | No Comments
Are you a U.S. based non-profit that helps communities in developing countries? Does your work focus on helping women and children? Do you support basic human needs such as food, water, shelter and education? If you answered “yes” to all of the above, you may be a great fit to be the Passports with Purpose charitable beneficiary in 2015!
After raising more than $25,000 for Sustainable Harvest International in 2014, Passports with Purpose is now accepting applications from potential charity beneficiaries for our 2015 fundraiser! Past projects we have supported include building libraries in Zambia, constructing water wells in Haiti, building two schools in Mali and supporting five families in Honduras.
We raise money by partnering with members of the travel blogging community who obtain donated prizes (hotel stays, resort packages, tours, travel gear and the like) to be given away in an online sweepstakes.
Applications are due Monday, March 16 and the announcement of the 2015 partner organization will be made by the end of April. The 2015 fundraiser will take place in mid November.
- Your organization must have a track record of at least three years of consecutive success with previous projects.
- You must have the ability to provide us with regular updates on progress throughout the project.
- Your organization must not have any religious affiliation.
- You must have the ability to accept funds through PayPal.
- You must be a United States-based non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.
- The funding request should be between $25,000 and $100,000 and you should have the ability to complete the project even if the funding goal is not reached.
We also look for projects that:
- Are tangible and have a start and finish date.
- Have high impact to an entire community.
- Directly benefit women and/or children.
- Are located in developing nations, where the funds raised will likely have a larger impact.
- Support basic human needs.
- Are simple and easy to explain to potential donors.
Questions? Contact us at info at passportswithpurpose dot org.
Posted on | December 18, 2014 | 1 Comment
We hope that everyone who participated in this year’s fundraiser had as much fun as we did. Through efforts all over the world, we have raised over $25,000 for Sustainable Harvest International (SHI), which will give them the means to help 5 families in Honduras for 5 years.
What do those numbers mean? They mean the development of at least five community leaders who can show their neighbors how to farm sustainably.They mean tens if not hundreds of people provided with the means to produce nourishing food into perpetuity. They mean thousands of trees planted. But most of all they mean hope and empowerment in a place where those things are in short supply.
We’ll have the final tally as we receive company matches and as additional donations come in. Stay tuned as we continue to work with SHI and watch your donations help families in Honduras. Huge thanks to all of our donors, bloggers, and sponsors.
Prize winners will be chosen at random and then notified along with host bloggers on December 21, 2014. Good luck!
Sustainable Harvest International does periodically run service trips to Central America. If you are interested in joining them or just want to learn more about their ongoing efforts we encourage you to sign up for their mailing list.
And if you are still interested in donating, you can do that HERE. One hundred percent of all donations, minus PayPal fees, will got toward supporting SHI’s work in Honduras.
While we wait to let the winners know about their wonderful prizes, we hope you’ll read about Katie Aune’s trip to Mali, where she visited the schools in Menie and Folona, which you helped build through last year’s fundraiser with buildOn.
But most of all we hope you accept the gratitude of the entire Passports with Purpose team. Every year we are blown away by the support we get from the online community. If you contributed in any way we hope you’ll take a moment today to feel good for making a difference in the lives many families and children.
Posted on | December 16, 2014 | No Comments
Visiting Honduras last year was so unexpected to me and not planned at all. I knew of the country of course, but had no thoughts of traveling to it. So how did I decide to travel to Honduras? Very spontaneously I’ll tell you. I was reading a scuba diving magazine when I came across the Utila Dive Fest, which was just approaching its second annual event in 2013. I hopped right onto the Internet and not even two weeks later, I had my ticket booked!
When I mentioned that I was traveling to Honduras, no one seemed to know much about it except for the fact that it is considered a “poor” country with crime. I thought this sounded very stereotypical, as I knew there is so much more to Honduras than that. But as with many stereotypes, sadly, there is truth in it. Honduras is not in a good economic state and the standard of living is not great. Forbes.com lists it as the second poorest county in Central America.
I spent one week in Honduras where I traveled between San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and the Bay Islands, and I truly have a soft spot in my heart for the country. The people are all so friendly and they try hard to have a good life. This in spite of the fact that 65 percent of the population is classified as “poverty level” and their currency is at a low. While it’s great for Americans to be able to purchase a two-dollar meal, it’s not so wonderful for the people who live there.
When in the city of San Pedro Sula, even if you’re sitting around the airport, you will see numerous missionaries coming in and getting on buses to help communities in Honduras. I spoke with some of them and there were a variety of individuals for different causes – volunteers to help with farming, doctors, social workers, home-builders, teachers, and more.
I even met individuals who had come on their own to help out. One woman in her twenties travels once every year to stay with a different family in Honduras, help them with their homes, and children. She travels hours into the hills into villages where there are no cars or buses and schools or stores are miles away.
About 75 percent of Hondurans live in the hills. I drove (in a taxi) through some of the hills and impoverished towns where many houses aren’t fully completed or are in a state of major construction. Some look similar to beach shacks where families are clearly doing the best they can to fit many people into one or two rooms.
Stores are few and far between outside of the cities. It’s obvious that the people in rural areas have little to sell and few resources to buy things.
Honduras’ main exports are coffee, sugar cane, African palm, bananas, and corn. There are many farms as families try to also grow their own food to help feed their families. I’ve tasted the food grown on the lands of Honduras and it is delicious! No chemicals used and fresh from the ground – even live chickens roaming around and reproduced to provide meat to eat.
I hope to see Honduras improve in their standard of living in the near future as the word spreads that they are in need, and that it is a beautiful country! It doesn’t have to be a 5 or even a 3 star resort to bring people in. Honduras can only be benefited by us and it will grow into better living.
We’re so happy to be partnering with Sustainable Harvest International to improve living conditions and farming practices for families in Honduras. As Angelica saw with her own eyes, it is a place that has much to offer when given the opportunity to do so.
Posted on | December 11, 2014 | No Comments
Now if you haven’t yet donated (or even if you have), you may be wondering which prizes give you the best shot at winning, i.e., the ones that haven’t attracted quite as much attention so far. Wonder no more! We’ve gone through all the entries and compiled a list of the prizes that could use a little more love. Hint: take a look at the gift certificates and travel gear!
Remember – every $10 you donate gets you one entry into the free drawing for the prize of your choice. And every $10 gets us that much closer to helping Sustainable Harvest International support another family in Honduras!
Hotels (North America)
Two Orlando Explorer Passes ($180)
Posted on | December 10, 2014 | No Comments
Yesterday the White House, in conjunction with Hosteling International, convened a meeting of 100 influential travel bloggers to talk about global awareness, travel, and study abroad programs in the United States. Titled the White House Summit on Travel Abroad and Global Citizenship, it included a wide-ranging discussion of the importance of international education and travel. Attendees were addressed by the White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff Tina Tchen. They also had the chance to listen to discussion among representatives from organizations such as the Peace Corps, Gilman Scholarships, and the Fulbright Scholarship program and travel editors and writers like Paula Froelich, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Travel and Robert Reid, who writes for National Geographic.
We are proud that four of the bloggers participating in this year’s Passports with Purpose fundraiser were invited to the White House.
Kara Williams who blogs for both The Vacation Gals and Expedia spent last summer working as the Communications Coordinator on a Semester at Sea voyage. Appropriately enough, her PwP prize this year is a snazzy, yellow eBags hardside carryon suitcase.
David Lee is the founder and editor in chief of Go Backpacking and Travel Blog Success who has chosen expat life in Colombia. His prize is a great one for fellow travel bloggers: A lifetime membership to Travel Blog Success, which helps bloggers make money from their work.
Colleen Lanin spent her junior year of college in France and has long been an advocate for traveling families on her site The Travel Mamas. She also co-hosts the #KidsNTrips Twitter chat, which from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. PST on Thursday, December 11 will focus on Passports with Purpose. Her prize is a one-year Home Exchange membership. The winner will have a chance to exchange stays in their own home with apartments, villas, and houses all over the world.
Elena Sonnino, a first-generation American whose family hails from Italy, is a writer and educator who encourages travel as a means to wellness on her site Live, Do, Grow. Her prize lets the winner and friends travel the world through wine at the ENO wine bar in Washington, DC.
Please join us in congratulating these four bloggers on such a prestigious invitation. We’re thrilled both that they got to participate and that the government of the United States recognizes the importance of study and travel abroad and we hope that it inspires a whole new generation of students (all potential travel bloggers!) to visit other countries and reach out to help in the places that have the most need.
Here at Passports with Purpose, we believe very much in the value of exposure to other cultures. All of us on the PwP board and volunteer team have either studied or lived abroad. Not only that, but the charity we are supporting this year, Sustainable Harvest International, was founded by Florence Reed, a former Peace Corps volunteer. Her work in Panama showed her the human cost of tropical deforestation.
Interested in watching a broadcast of the proceedings? A stream of the summit is available.
P.S.Want to see he rest of our prizes? Please visit our catalogue. Every $10 donated enters you to win. All donations, exclusive of Paypal fees, goes to Sustainable Harvest International to help farmers in Honduras.
Posted on | December 1, 2014 | 1 Comment
The prize catalog is now open and we’re taking donations for our 2014 beneficiary, Sustainable Harvest International. Check out the hotel stays near and far, clothing, electronics, gift certificates, tours, travel gear and more! They make great gifts for the holidays, and best of all you are helping someone in need.
Each year we raise thousands of dollars $10 at a time and each $10 means so much. For every $5000 that we raise, Sustainable Harvest International will help one extended family in Honduras learn to farm sustainably for five years with lasting benefits for them and their community.
The prize catalogue will be up and donations accepted for a chance to win a prize until December 17, 2014 at 11:59pm EST. You can still donate after that, you just won’t be able to win a fab prize.
We can’t thank everyone enough for making this happen. A huge thank you to the bloggers and prize donors; everyone who tells a friend about Passports with Purpose on social media and asks them to donate; those of you who have hosted our widget; our volunteers who work behind the scenes and our sponsors who give generously.
So what are you waiting for, go donate and tell a friend about #PwP!
Posted on | December 1, 2014 | No Comments
Yes, the time for the Passports with Purpose fundraiser to begin is almost here!
We’re checking the prizes that are coming in (hotel stays, amazing experiences and more!), doing some last-minute housekeeping and getting everything ready for the big launch today at 11:59 pm EST.
So, go about your day (or night, depending on where in the world you are visiting us from), but come back at 11:59 pm EST when the prizes will be up and the fundraiser for Sustainable Harvest International will officially begin.
Posted on | November 25, 2014 | No Comments
UPDATE: Our prize catalogue is live! After you’ve had a chance to convince yourself with our excellent reasons to donate, we hope you’ll check it out.
We’re pretty excited here at Passports with Purpose virtual HQ. Our catalogue is filling up with prizes, our bloggers are sending links to fabulous posts, and our start date is fast approaching. On Monday, December 1st at 11:59 p.m. EST, our catalogue will be live and our fundraiser to help families farm sustainably in Honduras will begin!
But before we get started, we thought this would be a great time to step back and ask the question: Why donate to Passports with Purpose?
- We know that there are many ways to give – especially at this time of year.
- We know that there is an endless world of need.
- We know that it’s hard to discern what charities are on the up and up and who you can trust.
- We know that with bad news coming from so many quarters, sometimes it’s also difficult to know just where to direct positive energy so that it has a meaningful effect.
And so that’s why we’re offering:
Our top 5 reasons for donating to Passports with Purpose
1. You can trust our charities. The Passports with Purpose board works hard to vet the charities we choose to fund, starting months ahead of the fundraiser. Charities have to fill out an application and we go through a process of back and forth with them to make sure all of our questions are answered. We interview people on the board of the charity, look at the past work they’ve done (they have to have a least a three-year track record of completing similar projects), and make absolutely certain that everything looks good in their Charity Navigator profile (for this reason, we only work with not-for-profits in the United States, although we also require that they partner with an indigenous charity in the country we are supporting). We also tend to work with smaller organizations that don’t have a lot of overhead – so you know that the money you are giving goes directly to the people who need it most.
2. Our projects get done in places of great need. We fund only discrete, bricks-and-mortar projects with visible results. Whether it’s schools, libraries, villages, wells, or in this year’s case, farm fields in Honduras, everything we do is verifiable. And in fact, we’ve often gone to see the projects for ourselves. Members of our team have been to Zambia to see the libraries we built, Haiti for the opening of one of the wells, and board member Katie Aune headed to Mali this week to see the schools we funded in 2013. Our projects may not be the biggest – but you can rest assured that every one of them is meaningful, lasting, and has a direct impact on peoples’ lives.
3. You can make a difference without giving a lot. Over the past seven years, we’ve raised over $400,000. Some of that came from corporate sponsors, but the majority was made $10 at a time. That’s right: just $10 helps us meet our goals. And since our entire fundraiser is run online by volunteers, our overhead is incredibly low. In fact, 100 percent of the money given through our catalogue of prizes (minus the PayPal fees) goes directly to our charity of choice.
4. We represent the power of community. At the moment there 80 travel bloggers signed up to help out with Passports with Purpose in 2014. They have sought out prizes, will write posts, and will share, share, share on social media until their fingers are surely tired. Why? Because they believe in their collective power to make a difference. Because they love to travel the world and want to give something back to the planet. Because they are thrilled to give their readers a chance to win wonderful prizes while doing good. Because there is joy in working together. That’s why in 2013 Travel + Leisure put their stamp of approval on our work by giving us a SMITTY Award for the best use of social media by travel bloggers.
5. It’s fun! Who says generosity has to be a purely serious business? Our fundraiser offers a treasure trove of prizes to dream about, bid on, and yes, possibly even win. The joy of giving is magnified by the thrill of suspense as we all wait to see who the lucky winners are.
Our fundraiser will take place from 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, December 1 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.
- Learn more about our 2014 charity Sustainable Harvest International.
- Learn more about why and how we’re helping in Honduras.
- Learn more about how our fundraiser works.
And finally, in this season of gratitude, we want to say THANK YOU – thank you to our founders whose vision has held true all these years; thanks to our generous sponsors who provide us with cash donations and prizes; thanks to our travel bloggers who year after year come back with enthusiasm; and thanks to you, our donors who make our work possible.
All the photos in this post courtesy of Sustainable Harvest International – showcasing some of the work they do around Central America.keep looking »