Episode 031: Modernizing Philanthropy with For Purpose Co-Founder, Brian Ford
Brian Ford is the co-founder of For Purpose, a social impact platform that aims to rewrite the philanthropy paradigm and empower more people to make a positive difference through everyday actions. He is fiercely passionate about making social impact accessible to all – and believes that even the smallest of efforts can have a domino effect in creating massive change.
In this inspiring episode, Brian shares the ways in which For Purpose is disrupting the social impact status quo; quick and easy ways that you can get involved as a listener and Days for Girls supporter; the power of small changes in changing the world; and so much more. Let’s dive in!
- How Brian’s nonprofit, For Purpose, is transforming the social impact sector into something accessible to all
- The power of an impact-driven lifestyle and how all people can make a difference through daily habits and choices (like the energy you put into your community, the brands you support, etc)
- Brian’s favorite examples of creative impact from the For Purpose network
- How starting small with impact can ultimately create “an incredible compounding force that brings more good into the world.”
- Why Brian is passionate about eliminating the stigma around public acts of social good
- How you, the listener, can collaborate with For Purpose to shine a light on your impact (it only takes 90 seconds!)
- For Purpose’s business model and plans for the future
- All about Brian’s 2-minute daily podcast, Self-Improvement Daily
- The origin and benefits of Brian’s “do it for the story” approach to life, which he also shares in his TED talk of the same name
- What first inspired Brian to make the world a more equitable place
Podcast: Self Improvement Daily
Brian Ford is the co-founder of For Purpose, a social impact platform that is modernizing what it means to be a philanthropist. For Purpose is a movement to connect with people who share your same values, find new ways to leave this world better than you found it, and get the support you need to make your impact dreams a reality. Brian is also the host of a popular self-improvement daily podcast with two-minute-long episodes that help listeners master self-development skills.
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Jessica Williams 0:00
This summer, Days for Girls is on a mission to reach 50,000 Facebook followers, and we need your help. If you are already part of our digital community, you know how much we love sharing inspiring content on social media. In fact, Facebook is one of our most effective platforms for raising awareness about period poverty, menstrual equity, and our life-changing work. That’s why we’re aiming to bring 1200 new folks into our family by August 13! To support our efforts, all you have to do is like and follow us on Facebook and invite your friends to like us as well. Together, we have the power to grow the Days for Girls family like never before. Thank you for your help.
Welcome to the Days for Girls Podcast, a show about breaking barriers for women and girls around the world. I’m your host, Jessica Williams, Chief Communications Officer at Days for Girls International. At Days for Girls, we believe in a world where periods are never a problem. We are on a mission to shatter the stigma and limitations associated with menstruation by increasing access to sustainable period products and menstrual health education for all people with periods.
Today’s guest is Brian Ford. Brian is the co-founder of For Purpose, a social impact platform that is modernizing what it means to be a philanthropist. For Purpose is a movement where you can surround yourself with people who share the same values, find new ways to leave this world better than you found it and get the support you need to make your impact dreams a reality. Brian is also the host of a popular self-improvement daily podcast where podcast episodes are just two minutes long, and help you master self-development. I just love this conversation, we dive into everyday acts of philanthropy and why this matters in making the world a better place. Now let’s go on to the show. Brian, welcome to the Days for Girls Podcast. How are you today?
Brian Ford 2:01
Jessica, I’m fantastic. How are you doing?
Jessica Williams 2:03
I’m good. I love interviewing fellow podcasters. I can’t even tell you, it’s so fun.
Brian Ford 2:10
Yeah, there’s definitely a subculture to it, you you understand the grind a little bit so I can relate.
Jessica Williams 2:16
Yeah, totally right. And one of the things that I love about you is you’re doing all this amazing social impact work. And you’re so passionate about social good and helping people amplify the work that they’re doing around the world. So I just want to dive straight in today and talk about your work, how you make social impact more approachable to people. So like you work to help people overcome obstacles, like not having the time or money to donate to a nonprofit. Like you say on your website, hey, that shouldn’t keep you from making an impact in the world. And I really want to just start there. What do you mean by that? And how do you help people overcome that kind of limitation?
Brian Ford 2:59
Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s all about expectations. You know, when someone steps into any new role, or new project or intention, you always want to be kind of the elite, or the highest level of whatever you’re doing. I think it’s just human nature to be competitive in that way. And the same goes for social impact, you know, someone who wants to get involved, they want to drop their job and go work for them or commit too many hours or, you know, a lot of dollars a month, whatever it might be. And that’s just kind of a difficult and ultimately non-sustaining strategy for a lot of people to get involved. When you think about kind of where that comes from. It comes from the example that’s been set by traditional media and the definition of what it means to be a philanthropist. And I say philanthropists in air quotes, because like, who is the philanthropist and what is a philanthropist? And at least my generation, what I think of is, it’s the person that has millions of dollars and donates, their name is on a building somewhere on a campus or a cancer research center, or wherever. And maybe you’re there on the board of advisors of a nonprofit. And I don’t want to belittle the work that traditional philanthropist is doing because they are making a difference and their commitment to impact is huge. But it’s just not necessarily accessible to the everyday person.
Yet the everyday person sees that as the paradigm of impact. So when they see their own habits, they see it relative to the headline of the philanthropist like, Oh, well, what I have to offer, it just doesn’t feel like enough. I mean, compared to what they’re doing, it’s not enough. And it almost becomes this binary question of impact being enough. And that’s what we’re really committed to doing at For Purpose, is helping people to recognize that social impact is a full spectrum – that there are big and small ways to get involved. There are traditional and non-traditional ways to get involved and you’re probably doing more that makes a difference in the world than you realize. And it’s about changing that label and changing that definition so that we can relate with social impact more productively and effectively. So that’s kind of the core ethos of what For Purpose stands for, it’s everyday people doing what they can to make a difference in the world and everyone is celebrated for what they have to offer. So no longer does it become a question of – it’s got to be this much to count, it’s got to be, you’re contributing within your means that much, that’s fantastic, let’s, let’s let you grow alongside people that are paddling the same direction in the cause that you care about. And now let’s have this collective impact drive the change that you ultimately want to see. So that’s kind of the way that we’re trying to think about the the social impact sector, and really getting people engaged involved in recognizing their capabilities to contribute.
Jessica Williams 5:25
Love it, okay, let’s unpack that a little bit. So I’m a single mom, and I work full time, I’ve got two kids at home, but I really want to participate in the world and contribute and make a difference. What kind of opportunities would she get? By, you know, joining For Purpose?
Brian Ford 5:46
Sure, yeah. So I think the first kind of point there is that with understanding that there is a full spectrum of impact, you know, that there are other people that are experiencing the same challenges. You know, someone who is the single mom who’s got to work full time, managing the responsibilities of having kids, like where is their time for, you know, your self care, let alone you know, prioritizing others beyond your children. And that’s where our social impact news feed comes in. So we have a database of real examples that real people in the world are doing, to do real good. And instead of it being this kind of esoteric or difficult to understand concept of impact, now you can actually look at the faces of people who have shared the real things that they’re doing. So in that kind of definition of it, it becomes more accessible, because you see someone who is volunteering once a month, or you see someone who is donating $10, consistently to a nonprofit that they care about, or you see someone who went out of their way to do a random act of kindness. And that is now being acknowledged. And you recognize that there are times throughout your day when you actually can do a random act of kindness as well. And that comes back to this general idea that impact is more of the lifestyle that you live, it’s the way that you buy consciously, it’s the way that your profession actually contributes to the world. You know, teachers are social impactors, they might not be labeled as nonprofit professionals, but they are social impactors, because they’re educating the next generation of youth, right. So there are all these things that we’re already doing that are making a difference, but they’re not necessarily classified as such.
So the first thing that we would do is, we would encourage the single mother to say, hey, look, I’m actually doing more than I thought I was. And I can verify that by seeing the things that people are doing on the social impact newsfeed and saying, hey, I’ve done that, or, hey, I can do more of that, right. So it kind of, it allows the, you know, the individual to put their toe in the water as it relates to growing their philanthropy and growing their impact habits. So that’s kind of one side of it. But then also, it kind of democratizes the process, where no longer is the expectation for the individual to, you know, to pioneer their own campaign or fundraiser for these for girls, for example. You know, instead of doing that large commitment to impact, you can then distill it into Oh, let me support someone else’s campaign and fundraiser and I can be one of the voices that then raises to, you know, deliver support for the cause. So it is that paradigm shifting kind of way of thinking about it. But you know, at the end of the day, it just gets more people taking more positive action. And that’s going to that’s going to bear results no matter what you’re doing. So that’s kind of the again, the ethos of what For Purpose is meant to do for people in maximizing their impact habits.
Jessica Williams 8:35
I love it. I mean, I remember a time when I, you know, I definitely had no time and no money, but I cared deeply about the world and I have my whole life. And I was always looking for little ways to, you know, do small acts of kindness and generosity in my community. So can you give us some examples of some things that you see people are doing on your feed?
Brian Ford 8:58
Absolutely, yeah. So it’s just, it’s really fun, honestly, just to kind of see the creative ways that people start getting involved and what they perceive as impact because once you kind of break that glass ceiling of Oh, let me think about the breadth of everything that I do, and how that drives impact, people get more creative than I could ever be. Because they know their life better than I do. Right? So, you know, we have people reporting everything from, you know, dropping off their compost, to a neighbor who’s composting. It’s like, Okay, I’m not the one that can actually compost myself, but I’ve built a relationship with someone who composts so now I can be more sustainable with my carbon emissions. Right? So there’s one example of that. And then someone talks about bringing their elderly neighbor’s trash in every single week, because, you know, that’s something that would be a big strain for them. And it’s so easy for them to do, you know, so just like little examples of sharing compassionately in the world, you know, doesn’t have to be a traditional application of impact. And when I say traditional, that’s, you know, how many dollars did you donate? How many hours did you volunteer? That’s what people have thought of when it comes to, you know, charity and doing good in the world. But then there are those softer, more subtle, more lifestyle-based ways to impact as well. Which are just, you know, the energy that you put out toward others, the way that you interact with people, the small choices you make.
We have a bunch of examples of people on the feed, who are actually representing brands that they care about, that are that either – they have sustainable manufacturing processes, or, you know, decreased plastic packaging, or they have contribution business models, or even they have diversity and inclusion hiring practices. And just being able to vote with your dollar is impact, right? And we hear that and we say that, but like, understand the value of that, you’re actually helping to shape the supply/demand curve based on your own consumer habits. It’s incredible. And the more people that we get understanding that, yes, this market is dynamic, and we can contribute with our own choices, the more change we’re going to see on the back end of it, the more accountability there’s going to be for these businesses, and then that ends up generating some larger scale change as well, even on a policy level. So that’s, you know, that’s kind of what the social impact news feed does. Sure, it takes the formal examples of, you know, you’ve donated this many dollars, you went on this volunteer project, that’s all really good and important work, just like the philanthropist is an important example, don’t get me wrong. But there’s also this kind of less spoken of example of impact, which is the kind of the subtle things that you can do throughout your day. And that ends up being the lead domino for individuals that want to do more, they then find the more formal resources and they grow in their habits. And it ends up just being an incredible compounding force that brings more good to the world. And and we do that together as a community, right? So you’re not alone in that effort. And, and we get, you know, really excited about supporting each other in that effort.
Jessica Williams 11:43
So is one of the things that you think makes it successful is that, you know, instead of having these actions of impact in your personal life, and maybe no one knows that you did it, you get to post it on here, and there’s like, visibility? I’m just curious if that is part of what you think makes it work, you know, because when we donate money, we like to kind of be seen that we’re doing good work. It’s kind of human nature. And I’m just curious if that’s part of what you think works about this.
Brian Ford 12:15
I am so glad you asked it and I’m even I’m even gladder how you asked it. Because, like, I could feel that you’re uncomfortable bringing up that topic. You know, it’s like, oh, it’s social impact, like it’s meant to help others. But it feels good to do and, like, it feels good to be acknowledged. Like we want others to kind of, you know, see us for who we are and for our intentions, but it comes off as… it goes the wrong way if I talk about it, right. And so what you’re kind of touching on with that question is actually the core problem that we’re looking to solve in the social impact sector, which is that there is this stigma around being more public about the things that you’re doing to make a difference. So basically, you know, what we do – and this is to elaborate on what For Purpose does on a functional level – so there’s kind of a few different steps to it. The first is what I was describing with a social impact newsfeed. So what that impact newsfeed is, is it’s a safe place for people to report the impact that they’re doing. And this is all first party, right? This is me saying, I did this, it’s not pointing at, oh, you know, my partner did this, or my friend did this, it’s you are reporting about yourself, you’re taking ownership of that. And there’s a lot of empowerment in that. So that’s kind of the first step is people get to personally acknowledge themselves by reporting within the platform.
But then what you’re touching on, and kind of that more external and social element of it, is the next step. And so what we do, is after someone reports to our impact news feed, we create a high quality social media asset on their behalf about their impact, kind of Twitter style, get their headshot, we’ve got their their impact action – we call all of the contributions the newsfeed “imp-actions,” because they’re impact actions. So we’ve got a little, you know, feature about their personal “impaction,” we’ve got their name, and we actually collect their Instagram handle too. And what that does, is it allows us to create a social media asset that we post on our own channels, we put on our own story, and we tag that individual in it. And then now when they want to share about the work that they’re doing, for a few reasons. First, there is that like recognition, acknowledgement that you were mentioning. But then the second side is you can become a stronger advocate for the causes that you care about in being more vocal about the causes you support. So we enable that comfortable sharing, by first posting on our own platform, allowing people to repost instead of them raising their hand and saying, hey, look what I did, I donated to Days for Girls! It can say, hey, look, For Purpose featured me on their platform. And what I did was I donated to Days for Girls, and it creates this third party representation of the actual act of philanthropy. And we find that people are much more comfortable sharing in that capacity, because they’re not saying it about themselves. It doesn’t come off as self promotional. You weren’t being judged for doing it for the wrong reasons, because now you’re simply sharing something else that someone said about you instead of saying it about yourself.
So there is that interesting dynamic in the social impact space that we’re absolutely trying to disrupt, because there’s no reason why we shouldn’t feel good for doing good. We’re egocentric beings: many, if not all of the decisions that we make serve us, and they’re meant to serve us. So we are driving impact. And we’re getting that psychological, physiological benefit, you know that dopamine and neurotransmitter kick of giving, which is quantified and true, then we can’t feel guilty for doing that. What we should do is reframe that as, “either way, I’m going to be making a decision that benefits me. Now I’m also benefiting someone else, while I’m benefiting myself.” Isn’t that just like a better win-win than kind of like this stigma, and, you know, associations and stereotypes of Oh, you shouldn’t share be public about your giving,. Imean, I’m going off on a tangent here, but it’s something I’m really passionate about. And it’s kind of one of the critiques that we’ve noticed, as a founding team at For Purpose, that we want to really overwrite and kind of establish a new precedent around. So I’m glad that you asked that question.
Jessica Williams 15:57
You know, and I want to make this very clear, this is free, right?
Brian Ford 16:01
Yeah, so all people do – like, walk us through if they want to get involved, what are the steps that they they take to post about their impact?
Sure, yeah. So it takes the individual 90 seconds to report and then we do all the heavy lifting and hard work. So basically, you fill out a customized impact form that can be you know, specifically around a nonprofit that you support, like Days for Girls. I’ll explain how you can get involved in a little bit through that. Or it can be just generally around your habits and how you want to kind of represent the things you care about throughout your life. But the first step is to fill out a 90 second impact form. You tell us the great things that you’re doing, you give us some of that personal information, so that we have all the details we need to create the social media asset for you and on your behalf. So once you’re done with that, then it comes on to our team. And we end up internalizing that information, we upload it to our website, we make sure the quality of everything is good, you know, it’s not an open source platform, it’s closed source, it’s edited, we make sure everything’s high quality. And then we go and actually produce the asset. And you know, a week later, we’re posting on our Instagram about your impact, and you get to share that. And that’s the the full lifecycle of what the collaboration looks like from a content standpoint. But then, of course, you know, within our community group, we have different events that we put on. We have different initiatives, missions, workshops, etc. that, you know, if you are interested in amplifying your own impact, and beyond the social amplification, but your posts, your personal amplification, and growing your habits, then we have resources and community and support that will help you to explore some of those new elements. So there’s kind of that two factor approach. But yeah, what I described previously was more of the content share model, which makes it easy for anyone to be represented on our Instagram, and also on the impact news feed that we host on our website.
Jessica Williams 17:46
Love it. Okay, so I can hear, like, there’s got to be a listener out there. And she’s saying, but Brian, how do you make money then? So tell us about that. Like, what else are you doing? Is this your main gig? What’s the incentive for you to do this?
Brian Ford 18:03
Sure. Yeah. I mean, my personal mission, motivation around this is a longer answer to the question that you asked. So I won’t go into it. But it comes out of a lot of the privilege that I grew up with. And just recognizing that there is a strong opportunity gap between the resources and opportunities I have access to based on the lottery of life where I was born, versus many people in the world. And I know that Days for Girls very much addresses that same opportunity gap, you know, so that’s why I’m personally drawn to the mission. But from a kind of a financial and monetary standpoint, there’s kind of two ways to answer that. The first is my personal income, and I have projects and jobs and everything outside of this. So right now, you know, I do not have an income being pulled from For Purpose, nor do I want one, you know, this is something that is is organic, and I don’t want it to be – I don’t want the pressure to be there for me to rely on it for income. So I feel like that’s kind of a blessing that I actually have in being able to, you know, create this kind of initiative as I want it to, but then, you know, that’s not obviously sustainable in the long term if I want this to be a multi decade, decade-long organization and project.
So the the core business model of For Purpose will be once our community grows, and we have enough people sharing the impact that they’re doing in the world – which is happening fast – once we get to that point where we have a strong community that’s engaged and wants to make a difference, then we can point people in direction of conscious brands and resources, and help facilitate transactions where people can actually execute on their desire to impact and they can buy from conscious brands and you know, get their home supplies, or their hygienic goods or whatever it might be from a more conscious brand. And you know, we’d be able to almost have an affiliate model built into that transaction, so there is a larger kind of marketplace that we’re looking to create. And of course, what I’ve described as For Purpose is only the first of – it’s 1% of 100% of what we’re trying to get to, but you got to start somewhere. But you know, we’re going to have an independent business model, because if we want to ethically be sustainable, we need to be able to fund our ourselves. So of course, that needs to be built into our plan. Because it is a for-profit, it is not a nonprofit. But it’s for – it’s a benefit corporation. So it’s For Purpose, for profit. So there’s that. But then on kind of the personal side, yes, I do have my own jobs and got a podcast, and it’s, um, yeah, it’s something that all just kind of ties in really nicely. And I’m really aligned and grateful for what I do.
Jessica Williams 20:24
Yeah, I mean, there definitely is a through-line of impact and purpose and meaning and making the world a better place for you, across all the things that you’re doing. So let’s talk about the other stuff, so people can kinda get a like, who is Brian? You know? You got the podcast, you’ve done a TED talk. You’re a really interesting person. So tell us about the podcast. First, let’s start there.
Brian Ford 20:49
Sure. Yeah, so the podcast is called Self Improvement Daily, I’ve been doing it for just over three years. And instead of it being a traditional kind of interview based podcast like this, which there are so many subjects that need to be covered. And there’s a lot of value to that. But I want to do something differently, because I actually entered the podcasting space from more of an interest in learning kind of the audio marketing space, specifically smart home technologies. So my podcast for that reason, is every single day and only two minutes long, so it’s self-improvement daily, it’s two minutes, you can build it into your routine. And the intention, there was smart home technologies have different news briefings, and if you want to have new content to offer every single day, then it’s got to be consistent. And if it’s gonna be consistent, it can’t be long, right. So that kind of shows my format, which is unique, but it’s been an absolute blessing for me, because it’s held me accountable to my own personal development and trying new things. And just to kind of build in some of that self-growth that I’m looking to do on a daily basis, but essentially, you know, self improvement daily, every day, two minutes around a personal development approach, exercise, observation I’ve had. It’s a new mentality, it’s featuring someone else, you know, I do have interviews that I do every other week, but ultimately, it’s just been the most digestible form of personal development that I’ve ever come across. And a lot of people have, you know, been able to just slowly work their way toward a more actualized self, because it’s something that they can do every single day, it’s not an overwhelming task. And that’s something that I really pride myself on doing, is distilling large, difficult concepts and topics and making them two minutes long, so that you can get just straight to the heart of what you need to know. And then you can start personally relating to it however you need to. So that’s what self improvement daily is positioned to do. And it’s been an incredible journey of meeting, you know, authors and leaders and, you know, world changers that I have no business talking to ever. But then on a podcast, you know, it’s totally different. It’s a totally different game. So that’s yeah, that’s self improvement daily in a nutshell.
Jessica Williams 22:48
Yeah. Awesome. And you have a lot of episodes on there, right?
Brian Ford 22:53
Yeah, well, three years, every single day, it starts to add up.
Jessica Williams 22:56
Yeah. How many episodes is that now?
Brian Ford 22:59
I’m above 500 for sure. I’m not sure, I don’t really keep track of my download statistics or my plate, you know, like episode counts or stuff like that. It’s just more a process and something I maintain for the benefits of doing it. So I don’t have a good answer to that.
Jessica Williams 23:18
Oh, yeah. I just I love it. Every day, that’s some commitment to podcasting. Even for two minutes. Okay, so you also did this really cool TED talk about the power of story and your life. And I don’t want to like, you know, create a spoiler. So I’m gonna let you tell it just like the high level overview of your TED Talk, because it’s really fun. Everybody should watch it. We’ll definitely put it in the show notes. But tell us kind of your key messages there. Ooh, do a two minute like synopsis! You’re really good at that right?
Brian Ford 23:50
Yeah. I do it all the time. Yeah. So the TED Talk is called Do It For The Story. And essentially, it was born out of an emphasis or an intention that I set with one of my high school friends around just like this feeling that we were going through the motions, just kind of letting life pass us by, wanting to really squeeze life for everything that it had. And Do It For The Story was our accountability to say like, Oh, am I gonna do this? Or am I not gonna do it? Okay, I’m gonna do it for the story. Because every time you put yourself out there, there is a story, something happens, it leaves an impression, and it ends up just being you know, value added to your life. So in the TED talk, I talked about a few different examples of how “do it for the story” actually created incredible outcomes and opportunities in my life that seemingly came out of nothing. And that’s because the “do it for the story” mentality is all about stepping into foreign situations where you don’t know how things are going to go, your expectations aren’t really set, but you’re just in this mode to receive – you’re willing to let the event or the circumstances kind of just go on as they’re meant to without your intervention. And when you’re in that crazy mode of receiving and just openness, then you’ll encounter incredible opportunities that were right in front of your nose the entire time. But you never would have thought to listen or actually see them because they were lost in just the mess of life that exists around you.
So it ends up, you know, kind of actually coming full circle, and that the very reason that I earned the opportunity to speak on a TEDx stage was because I said yes to doing something for the story. And literally, I tell myself verbatim, if there’s this kind of decision I’m making – “should I do it? Or should I not do it?” – I’m like, Yes, I’m gonna do it for the story. And then I go there, and I have a great attitude and crazy things happen, because it’s just the intention that you set when you go there. But it ended up kind of getting personal too. And, you know, you might hear this at the end, which is, you know, the individual that I started “do it for the story” with, he passed away young when he was 23 years old. Which is, you know, obviously unfortunate. He’s one of my best friends from high school. And it’s something that, you know, his legacy, I feel like, has just left an impression on me and “do it for the story” has become, you know, my relationship with him, beyond the time that we spent together. So it’s something that I’m really proud to continue carrying on. His name is Dan, but on his behalf, and to continue living that way, because it has just brought so much value to my life. And it’s something that I encourage other people to embrace.
Jessica Williams 26:16
Yeah, I really like it. When I was watching it, I was thinking, this is kind of how I’ve lived my life. But you say it in such a sweet little way. I really enjoyed that.
Brian Ford 26:27
Jessica Williams 26:27
Yeah. Okay, so I’m gonna pivot and get a little personal. I am just curious where this drive and this passion comes from to make a difference in the world? Is this something you’ve always kind of had within us since you were young?
Brian Ford 26:42
Yeah, I mean, I grew up an athlete, so I’ve always had some kind of ambition. And, you know, people talk about their superpowers, I feel like one of my superpowers or my superpower is discipline, you know, I’ve been able to just kind of set a task and get it done my entire life. And that’s been able to help me succeed in a few different areas. But I think the combination of that discipline and consistency and taking action on things that I care about, needs to be paired with the inspiration, and I was alluding to it earlier, but the inspiration, you know, through the privilege that I kind of benefited from as a kid and just opportunities that I had growing up in California, in Orange County, which is a nice area. You know, it didn’t have to be that way. And in fact, I recognize that the reason it was that way, was because of the sacrifices and contributions of my grandpa. So my mom’s father, who you know, he grew up in the Bronx. He was the youngest of seven kids, didn’t know his father, his mom was bedridden sick his entire life. So he was really raised on the streets. But he ended up earning a full ride, dual sports scholarship to Harvard to play baseball and basketball, graduated magna cum laude, earned a Fulbright scholarship, and ended up you know, commercializing coffee from South America and the United States in a way that generated a lot of wealth for my family. So my position in life was, you know, in response to the success that he was able to generate, and how he was able to create so much impact, you know, family impact, but then also just relationships, through his efforts, that I just, I have this really deep sense of gratitude for his sacrifices.
And ultimately, I just feel this really deep sense of wanting to do him proud, because I know how smart – and he passed when I was young, you know, 9,10 years old. So I have memories of him, but I don’t obviously have the full depth of the relationship that I would hope to have, given the crazy influence that he has on my life. But that is my core inspiration, is really recognizing that, you know, the opportunity that I inherited was because of the sacrifices of others. And there’s so many people that are living and growing up like my grandpa did, where they don’t necessarily have access to everything, and they’re doing their best. And I really feel called to help bridge that opportunity gap, and to help others access the things that they need, in order to fully actualize and become, you know, the person that they deserve to be and that they can be. And there are certain barriers that exist that don’t need to be there. And if I can be, you know, playing my own role in helping to overcome those barriers or provide solutions to those barriers, then I feel like that’s the best thing that I could do out of respect for my grandfather and how he struggled, but made it through those similar barriers. So that’s what really kind of lights me up. And I think it’s fueled by gratitude, but also acknowledgement of responsibility, too. I feel very strongly that you know, my grandpa’s with me, and that I want to do him proud and make the most of everything that he did for me.
Jessica Williams 29:42
Yeah, thanks for sharing that. So, Brian, before we go, where can people like – what’s the website, the social media, all the stuff? Give it to us and we’ll put it in the show notes.
Brian Ford 29:54
Sure, yeah. So check out For Purpose. If any of what I mentioned resonated with you – you know, the idea that yes, you can make a difference. And yes, there are other people that are figuring it out. You don’t have to feel like you’re completely making the difference you’re meant to make overnight, right? It’s a process and it takes time. But the first action step is the only way to get there. And that’s what we’re committed to at For Purpose, is teaching you what those different first steps might look like. And taking those steps alongside you and holding your hand through it. So go ahead and visit www.forpurpose.com. That’s where you can just kind of get a general vibe of everything that we’re up to. But in particular, if you want to have your voice heard in support of Days for Girls…because what we do is, you know, if we create this content, and we’re curating more visibility and exposure for causes you care about, and Days for Girls is a cause that you care about…[we] actually prepare a custom impact form for you to be able to reflect specifically on how you’ve contributed or been involved in big and small ways to Days for Girls and we can amplify that and make more people aware of Days for Girls as an organization as well. So the link for that is bit.ly/dfg-forpurpose, f-o-r purpose. That’s probably easiest to just go into the show notes to check that one out. But that’s definitely the best way to get involved because then you’ll see firsthand the impact that you can have in sharing the things that you’re already doing. And then will inspire you to get more involved, whether that be through Days for Girls or other other causes that you care about in organizations that you support.
Jessica Williams 31:24
Awesome, thanks for putting that together for our audience, really appreciate that.
Brian Ford 31:28
Of course. Happy to! I’m really inspired by what you guys are doing. And again, you know, this is my way of contributing is trying to help be the conduit to helping raise voices, and really encourage and empower people to be the inspiration that brings other people to the cause.
Jessica Williams 31:45
Awesome. Brian, thanks so much for your time. Thanks for coming on the show.
Brian Ford 31:48
Thank you so much, Jessica. I enjoyed it.
Jessica Williams 31:52
The Days for Girls Podcast is produced by Days for Girls International. For show notes and resources mentioned in this episode, visit daysforgirls.org/podcast. If you’d like to support the work we do on the show, leave a rating or a review wherever you listen, subscribe to the show, and share our episodes on social media or with your friends. To learn more about Days for Girls and to join our global movement, please visit daysforgirls.org. Thank you for listening. See you next time.