About Our Work

Our History

Passports With Purpose was founded in 2008 by Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy as a way to build community among travel bloggers and to give back to the places we, as travelers, visit. In 2009 we added one more member, Meg Paynor.

In our first year, Passports with Purpose raised $7,400 for Heifer International.

In 2009, Passports with Purpose blew past its initial goal (which was to raise $14,000 to build a school in Cambodia) raising nearly $30,000 to add improvements to the basic school. The school, built through our partnership with American Assistance for Cambodia is now complete.

In 2010, with overwhelming support and assistance from the travel blog community, we raised $64,128, over 25% more than our original goal of $50,000 and built an entire village in India.

In 2011, through our partnerships with the participating bloggers, we raised $90,000 to build two libraries in Zambia through a partnership with Room to Read.

In 2012, Passports with Purpose raised over USD $110,000 for Water.org through the collaborative efforts of more than 200 travel bloggers and 1,242 individual donors who bid on one or more of the 143 prizes on the PwP site from November 28 to December 11, 2012.

In 2013, over $84,000 was raised for buildOn to create two schools in Mali and fund two adult literacy programs.

Who We Work With

Each year the Passports with Purpose founders and board members select a charity based on several criteria along with our sense of what would inspire us and the travel blogging community.

Here’s are the types of projects we like to fund:

  • We like causes that help people in poverty, especially women and children. (If you want to know why, check out Half the Sky and The Girl Effect).
  • We’re open to working anywhere in the world. Because we place a value on all human lives being of equal value, we especially like countries and causes where our dollars impact many people.
  • We like measurable goals with a tangible outcomes.  Past projects have included schools, and homes and libraries.
  • There must be a transition plan that defines what will happen when our financial support comes to an end. We choose projects that have a sustainability plan built in.
  • Because participating bloggers represent a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, we shy away from charities with a strong religious or political affiliation.
  • We want to show our donors what they accomplished!  The project should be open to visits — as convenient for the hosts — either during or after construction. We love to receive photos and stories that we can share as our fundraising is underway and as construction is underway.

And here are some of the other criteria we consider:

  • How long the charity has been in operation and their track record with the type of project we would be funding.
  • The charity’s programs and finances have been independently evaluated and are highly regarded.
  • A viable timeline for completion.
  • Ability to add to or enhance the program if we raise additional funds.
  • Open communication before, during and after the fundraiser.

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