There are so many problems, but do you know what? Many (all?) of them are just waiting for the next big idea to be their solution, or at least part of their solution.
The classic example here in Colombia is ComoGives, the program that now raises over $1 million each year for local nonprofits during the month of December (for some organizations it has even become their main fundraiser funds!).
Every nonprofit achievement is a team effort and he doesn’t deserve all the credit, but John Baker of the Community Foundation of Central Missouri is primarily responsible for the achievement of CoMoGives.
Either John had the idea or read about it, or someone brought it to him, and he took it upon himself to put together a team and make it happen. Regardless of the specifics, CoMoGives has a huge impact on our community; it’s a perfect example of a big idea brought to life and making a difference.
CoMoGives is a great idea, but more importantly, someone stepped up and made it happen (and continues to make it happen, year after year).
Oh, and another one of my favorites from here at Columbia is Mel West from Mobility Worldwide. Do you know this one?
Thanks to Mel who just had an idea and is going to work on it, Mobility Worldwide is a mostly voluntary organization that builds pedal powered mobility carts that allow people in developing countries, without using their legs, to get around one place to another. square. For most, before carts — built right here in Colombia and shipped to 106 countries — getting to the store meant literally crawling on the floor or being carried around.
Can you believe it started here in Colombia? A person. A great idea. This is often what makes the world a better place.
An idea can make such a difference. An idea can save lives.
I hope for many new great ideas to fight poverty and other problems, right here in Colombia. Or a lot more, really.
Love Columbia didn’t even exist until around 2008, so it was an idea, and now the beloved local organization makes a difference — in fact, saves lives — virtually every day.
One of the newest big ideas is the Opportunity Campus, a project of the Voluntary Action Center. We should see this become a full-fledged reality over the next few years, with a new homeless shelter and space for a wide range of poverty-focused organizations to better serve the community.
We’re even pretty happy with a new idea here at The Salvation Army (maybe not a big idea yet, but it’s definitely underway). The other day, we launched a new baby pantry that provides essentials for families with babies aged zero to 3 years old. Babies are expensive, and we do what we can to ease the burden for those who need help.
What’s your big idea? Or maybe you need to spend some time working on it. Or maybe a small idea. Or maybe start googling and find an idea that works elsewhere and bring it back to Colombia to make a difference here.
Find your idea. Make it happen. Make a difference for people who need you.
Major Kevin Cedervall is a Salvation Army leader in Colombia. The Salvation Army provides a wide range of community services to address poverty and other issues, seeking to rebuild lives and create lasting change.