The six local adolescents from Baton Rouge, LA founded AnyLoom with a goal to build a gymnasium for underserved youth. This ambitious group took the image of a typical entrepreneur and turned it on its ear with the single idea of selling looms.
At Anyloom, a team weaves miniature colored rubber bands on a hand-operated device to create custom bracelets, lanyards and key chains.
“I thought of the idea [to make looms] standing in my kitchen,” said 13-year-old Kiara Brumfeild.
Kiara is the company’s director of finance. She and her team presented their business idea to their long-time mentor, John Westly Stewart, knowing he would an interest in their newly founded business endeavor.
“When I was coming up we had resources like the YMCA that came into the community,” recalls John Westly Stewart, CEO and Founder of The C.A.R.E. Foundation.
The C.A.R.E. Foundation, whose acronym stands for: Career, Academics, Recreation and Exposure has been a resource for youth, parents and educators. Mr. Stewart has always had the passion for academic learning, sports and recreation, and entrepreneurship.
It was Mr. Stewart’s early childhood experiences led him to establish C.A.R.E., a non-profit organization that provides career development services to young adults. Stewart runs the foundation with longtime friend and Co-Founder, Daniel Smith. Under the foundation’s guidance, AnyLoom is learning business expertise and life skills.
Brianna Alexander, 12, is the manager of materials and says that in her role she quickly learned that good attitudes equal good sales. The teams’ positive attitudes have translated into impressive earnings at their first major sales event, a vendor’s fair in Tyler, Texas.
Over the next few years AnyLooms’ goals are to polish their business plan and expand their product line.
Read more about how C.A.R.E. supports and youth entrepreneurship.
Philanthropy is often seen as society’s risk capital. That means the onus is on philanthropists, nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs to innovate. But philanthropic innovation is not just about creating something new. It also means applying new thinking to old problems, processes and systems.
I hope telling stories though ‘Making a Difference’ – as in my academic work and nonprofit work – will help me to live my grandmother’s adage of ‘Life is not about what happens to you, but about what you do with what happens to you.’
I launched Chefs for Humanity, a national nonprofit, with my voice, heart and money from my own pocket. Money gives you the ability to make a difference in the world and, when used in a positive way, is a lot of fun.
Increasingly, I’m inspired by entrepreneurs who run nonprofit organizations that fund themselves, or for-profit organizations that achieve social missions while turning a profit.
Actively deciding to give to causes that move you deeply is far more fulfilling than the momentary gratification derived from signing a check and mailing it to a nonprofit about which you know little more than what’s on the brochure they sent you.
Just the service aspect of running a nonprofit is so gratifying because it takes the attention off yourself. I’m not an acting monk or anything. I’m not, like, the most well-adjusted actor. But it’s really designed to focus on yourself, or it can be. So it’s good to have something else to focus on that reminds you that it’s not always about you.
My children have been learning lessons about entrepreneurship since they were in kindergarten, and these lessons are paying off: even though they are only 22, 18, and 15, they have already collectively launched three nonprofit organizations and several new businesses.