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. 

Ten bucks + Best odds = New schools in Mali

Posted on | December 4, 2013 | No Comments

We’re just over halfway through our fundraiser — and about a third of the way to our fundraising goals.


Sitting here at our virtual PwP headquarters, we assume that all those of you who have held off on donating are just waiting for us to tell you what prizes have the best odds of winning. Well wait no more!

This is no Island of Misfit Toys – all of these prizes are all equally fabulous. The only difference is that for the moment you have a slightly better chance of winning them. And we don’t mind saying that we hope you change the odds because there’s nothing we love more than a nice surprise like that.

Check the list, make your choice, and press the giant DONATE button. Let’s do this thing!

Travel — stays, vouchers, deals gift card

One-night voucher from Country Inn & Suites by Carlson

Two-night Stay at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort – Atlanta

One-night Stay at Ocean Edge Resort

Two-night stay at the Rosen Centre Hotel Orlando

Three-night stay at The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort – Florida

Gear — clothing, bags

Osprey Poco Plus Custom Fit Child Carrier

Men’s Escape Long Sleeve Crew Stripe Sweater

The Emperor 85L internal frame backpack by Guerrilla Packs

Coronet LS Half Zip sweater

Other stuff surprise package

A Hamper from Bourbon Country

Globejotting writing course

Mall of America Family Fun Pack

ToursByLocals gift certificate

Blackjack photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

#GivingTuesday’s #UNselfie

Posted on | December 3, 2013 | No Comments



Are you part of #GivingTuesday? It’s global day of giving for everyone! Passports with Purpose is proud to be a Giving Tuesday partner. Thank you to everyone who continues to help us reach our goal of raising $115,000 for schools and education in Mali with buildOn. We’re well on our way with almost $30,000 raised and we could use your help by donating now and helping spread the word.



The Transformative Power of Travel

Posted on | December 1, 2013 | 2 Comments

Today we’re honored to have a guest post by Jim Ziolkowski, founder & CEO of buildOn and author of L.A. Times Best Seller Walk in Their Shoes.

When I was twenty-four, I entered GE’s Financial Management Program, a fast-track position that all but guaranteed a lucrative career in corporate finance. But fifteen months later I quit.

Before joining GE I had hitchhiked around the world and spend most of my time in developing countries. What I saw lit a fire within that could never be put out. While travelling through India and Nepal, I had seen cities and villages mired in extreme poverty. When I was in New Delhi, I saw the beggars and the street children, destitute and hungry, without any hope for a better life. When I was in a village in Nepal, I saw families living in mud huts without running water or electricity. The more I traveled in regions of poverty, the more clearly I saw that those conditions were directly related to rampant illiteracy and the general lack of education. While trekking up into the Solo Khumbu region in Nepal, I passed through a village where they were celebrating the opening of school that they had built. It was a two day celebration- they never went home! So now I’d seen more than the injustice of extreme poverty, I had also witnessed the courage, determination and faith these communities had for education.

buildOn Founder, and Author of best-selling Walk in Their Shoes, Jim Ziolkowski in Mali, West Africa.

buildOn Founder, and Author of best-selling Walk in Their Shoes, Jim Ziolkowski in Mali, West Africa.

Instead of just witnessing something amazing, I wanted to somehow act on these experiences. But I chickened out and joined GE instead. It took me over a year to muster the courage to leave the corporate world and start buildOn – a nonprofit organization that is breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Right now, buildOn is partnering with rural villages to construct a new school every four days in countries like Malawi, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Senegal, and of course Mali.

Travel changed my life forever, and now Passports with Purpose is using travel to transform the lives of hundreds of individuals in Mali, West Africa. Because of your efforts three of the economically poorest villages on the planet will be able to construct schools for their children. Additionally, these schools will be used for buildOn’s adult literacy programs which are also being funded by your efforts.

I want to thank you for partnering with buildOn and for harnessing the power of travel for good. Thank you for helping us to break the cycle.

Jim’s new book Walk in Their Shoes is on shelves now. To read more about his life-changing travels from Nepal to Malawi, from Russia to South Africa, download this free excerpt or pick up the book at

To help PwP raise $115,000 for buildOn, visit the Passports with Purpose PRIZE CATALOGUE PAGE and donate before December 9 at 11:59pm EST.  THANK YOU!

Prize Winning Strategy

Posted on | December 1, 2013 | No Comments

DiceI’m salivating over the 2013 Prize Catalogue, debating the best strategy to win a prize. All it takes is $10 bid to win a prize, but where to put it?  Do I put all my eggs in one basket, or spread the love?  I don’t think I can pick just one prize to bid on. There are so many great prizes, I want them all!

Here’s a small sample of the fabulous prizes generously being hosted by travel bloggers around the world:


  • Perceptive Travel - Family Camp weekend program for 2 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama($848)
  • Solo Traveler Blog - Best of Morocco – 15-Day Small Group Tour ($1665)
  • Ireland with Kids - 3 nights in Connemara, Ireland + a Samsung WiFi Camera ($500)
  • Boarding Area -  110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for free nights, dining and spa experience ($2640)
  • Girl Gone Travel - HomeAway gift certificate ($1000)
  • Spanish Steps Apartment - Roman Holiday package of 5 nights and 2 tours in Rome ($3225)
  • Ciao Bambino - 3 nights at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico ($2850)
  • Child Mode - One week at a Global Resort Home in Kissimmee, Florida ($2000)


Good Stuff

No matter what strategy you choose, you can’t lose. 100% of funds go to fund buildOn schools and literacy programs in Mali, Africa.

Photo by Gaz via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a Go, Folks!

Posted on | November 28, 2013 | No Comments

This is it, we’re off to the races! The sixth annual Passports with Purpose is up and running. This year, we’re going to raise $115,000 for buildOn to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa.

buildOn buildingCheck out our gorgeous prize catalogue; it’s a beautiful showcase for the spectacular prizes secured by our international community of travel bloggers. We’re thrilled to see returning bloggers like Amie O’Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino who is hosting 2 nights at Four Seasons Scottsdale  and new-to-PwP writers like superstar Candace Derickx of Life In Pleasantville who secured a couple of prizes, including a 2-night stay at Ottawa Marriott.

Thanks to our awesome bloggers, the prize catalogue features hotel stays–both in the US and around the world, holiday wishlist electronics like the HP Tablet, travel clothes and gear, and dream trip tours. Because a $10 donation lets you bid on the prize of your choice, the biggest dilemma is what to choose. (You may be tempted to choose it all!)

Prize Catalogue Page

Your $10 donation will build schools and promote literacy in a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world–only one in five Mali women knows how to read. But supporting the Passports with Purpose fundraiser does more than that. Amy Whitley of Pit Stops for Kids shared an email from last year’s winner of a Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel prize, “I just want to thank you again for the fabulous gift. My husband and I went to celebrate our anniversary and we had a fabulous time…we really appreciate the gift as we are not able to pick such a nice place to stay on our own.”

That’s the wonderful thing about PwP–it’s a win, win all around.

Now if you want to donate directly to buildOn without entering to win a prize, you can. Visit the DONATE page. You can bid on prizes until December 9, 11:59PM (EST) when donations for prizes close. We’ll still take donations, but no more drawing entries. We’ll notify prize winners and host bloggers on December 16th.

Okay, time to get busy. We’re drooling over prizes and chatting about buildOn and Mali on Pinterest board as well as FacebookTwitter, and G+.

As always, none of this is possible without the collective effort of travel bloggers, sponsors, prize donors and YOU. Thank you and here’s to another year!!

Time to Raise Funds for Mali

Posted on | November 26, 2013 | No Comments

The time is NOW!

Looking to check out all the amazing prizes procured by the travel blogging community?

Prize Catalogue Page

Here is the PRIZE CATALOGUE page where you can donate $10 for a chance to win hotel stays, tours, travel gear, clothing, gift certificates, electronics and MORE! Donations for prizes accepted between November 25, 2013 at 11:59pm EST to December 9, 2013, 11:59pm EST. Winners will be chosen at random and notified on December 16, 2013.

Looking to donate directly to buildOn without entering to win a prize? Visit the DONATE page.

And if you haven’t already updated your fundraising widget, please get the latest one here.

THANK YOU, for helping us reach our goal to raise $115,000 to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in Mali.

Seven reasons why we’ve got a headstart on fundraising

Posted on | November 20, 2013 | No Comments

Finished SchoolCan you believe we’re less than a week away from launching the sixth annual Passports with Purpose?! Our virtual doors open on November 25 at 11:59pm EST. We can’t thank the travel blogging community enough for stepping up with some amazing prizes and travel companies for donating prizes to raise funds for buildOn. Last, but not least, we also want to say thank you to the handful of travel companies who are committed to helping us reach our goal by becoming a sponsor.

Some, like HomeAway, have been with us since year one (even donating a fabulous prize).

“This will be our sixth year participating in Passports with Purpose, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help support this year’s initiative. We have been involved since the first event in 2009 and are incredibly proud to see how PwP has grown — uniting bloggers and stakeholders within the travel community to bring about change, each year even more impactful than the last. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and help make a difference in the world.”

We’re excited to welcome back two sponsors, Hostelbookers and GowithOh.

“Once again HostelBookers is delighted to support a wonderful project like Passports with Purpose and is proud be involved with such an important initiative,” said Preeti Vadgama of Hostelbookers. “The money PwP is looking to raise, $115,000, will help this worthy organization achieve their compassionate task to construct schools and adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa.”

“When the chance came up to be a sponsor of Passports with Purpose again this year, we said yes in a heartbeat,” said GowithOh’s Victoria Ducournau. “We have a really special relationship with the travel bloggers we work with and we know that this is a cause they hold dear. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of such an inspiring initiative.”

And we’re extremely grateful to the newbies of the PwP community: Eating London Food Tours, Rough Guides, DK Eyewitness Guides and Collette Vacations.

“DK Eyewitness Travel Guides is proud to sponsor Passports with Purpose, working to build not just schools but also a strong community of like-minded travelers making a difference. We believe that an informed traveler discovers more on their journeys and that education—like travel—has the power to transform lives.”

“As a company that showcases the world to our travelers, we are dedicated to partnering with communities and organizations that make positive change, specifically for the lives of children across the globe,” shares Daniel Sullivan Jr., president & CEO of Collette Vacations. “We are honored to sponsor Passports with Purpose and this year’s recipient buildOn for such a worthwhile effort that will benefit the education of families in Mali.”

“For us at Eating London traveling is one of life’s greatest experiences because it opens your eyes to all the beauty and diversity in the world, as well as its inequality. Passports for Purpose is harnessing people’s passion for travel and directing it towards making a difference in the lives of those in need. We are very proud to support two deserving organizations, PwP and buildOn,” said Kenny Dunn from Eating London Food Tours.

“Rough Guides is passionate about inspiring people to explore the world, share their experiences, and make the most of their time on earth. Our hope is that by partnering with Passports with Purpose to support buildOn’s work in Mali, we can make a lasting difference in the world through the travel.”

Want to help show them some love (because they certainly show their love for what we’re doing here!)? Here’s a quick list of who they are and what they do, to include in your blog posts.

See you back here on November 25!

Photo courtesy of buildOn.

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