There's an ambitious new start-up in Boston that I'd like to share with you: Peanuts4Peanuts. It's the brainchild of my colleague Kendra Wilkins and her roommate Lizzie Faust, pictured here:
Lizzie is an economic consultant who spent time in Haiti recently and was moved by the plight of malnourished children there (shockingly, over 80,000 of them die annually). Her travels included a trip to a medicinal peanut butter operation, where she learned that peanut butter provides hungry children with vital nutrients to support growth and a healthy immune system. In fact, after 6 to 8 weeks of treatment with medicinal peanut butter, 85% of children recover (compared to the 25% recovery rate with older, milk-based treatment methods). Peanut butter is known as Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food because it does not require water or preparation, key to adoption in developing countries.
Eager to help get this medicinal peanut better into the hands (and bellies) of more hungy children, Lizzie and Kendra have borrowed a page from the Toms Shoes social enterprise playbook: for each jar of Peanuts4Peanuts peanut butter sold in the US, a malnourished child in Haiti will receive a 3.2 oz. serving of medicinal peanut butter.
Here they are explaining the program themselves:
Kendra and Lizzie already have some local stores lined up to sell their product, they just need some additional funding to make it happen. So they are using the popular the crowd-sourced funding platform indigogo to raise money to support peanut butter production here in the Boston area, as well as product labeling, storage, transportation, and marketing materials.
They are just $3,270 and 5-days shy of reaching their campaign goal of $16,000 by September 13th (the campaign only receives funds if it meets its monetary goal by that date), so please consider supporting them by making a donation (and getting some swag!), liking them on Facebook, following them on Pinterest, or simply spreading the word.
Later this month, Kendra and Lizzie will embark upon a 7-week entrepreneurship program at Draper University in Silicon Valley, a boarding school created by venture capitalist Tim Draper to encourage proactive entrepreneurship among 18-24 year olds. There, they'll receive mentoring and coaching from experts, plus an opportunity to pitch for funding from Silicon Valley VCs. It's a fantastic opportunity for two young women that are doing a fantastic thing. Good luck, ladies!