Dream Big and Then Make It Happen
with Jim Hardwick

Jim and Joody HardwickJim Hardwick has been in the healthcare industry for many years leading sales teams. He has worked for companies in hospital distribution, medical devices, diagnostics tests, and software solutions and is currently a Sales Consultant. “The spirit and energy of the African people have opened my eyes to how important our global community is. The opportunity to help free people of dental pain has become my driving passion.”

Starting a nonprofit is hard work and many hours that others never see. However, if your passion and heart are in the right place the experience is both rewarding and humbling. Stay focused when times are hard. Having the heart to change the world can move mountains. Because of a dream, we were able to impact many lives on the other side of the world.

For more information go to http://www.hardwickdentalteams.org

Jim Hardwick’s email jhardwick@salesxceleration.com


Read the Interview

Hugh Ballou: Greetings, it’s Hugh Ballou. This is The Nonprofit Exchange. Each week, we interview somebody who’s been there, done it, who helps others to do it. We have experts in the field who teach us business principles. Today we have a businessperson who has dreamed about an opportunity to launch a nonprofit and actually made it happen. Today, we have Jim Hardwick. Jim, tell people about who you are and why you are doing this project.

Jim Hardwick: Wonderful, thank you. My name is Jim Hardwick. I live in Phoenix, Arizona with my wife, Jody. It’s important I include her as we have been married for 36 years. She is my other half. We’re a team effort in this. She is a dental hygienist, and that will be more relevant to my story. I have been leading sales organizations for 20+ years as the VP of sales and have been in sales for 30+ years. Now I do that in my own business as a consultant.

What transpired a few years ago is we had a friend who went to Africa on safari. She said, “You have to go.” Jody and I never had that on our bucket list. It just wasn’t. The big animals, Africa was never appealing. After two years of contemplating this, she finally talked us into going. We went to Kenya, to the Maasai Mara, which is connected to the Serengeti. 40% of the large animals in Africa are in this region. We went down there and fell in love with the people.

Because of our connections with this base camp we were staying at, we toured a school and medical clinic. I was standing there at the medical clinic and looked at one of our guys, whose name was Derek (they use those names for us tourist folks.) I asked Derek, “Do they ever bring dental teams back here?” He said, “No, we never really have a dental team come through here.” I said, “Is there a need?” He said, “Yeah, I have a cavity right there.” I stood there, and my wife knew what was coming next. I knew I was bringing a dental team back. We went to our tent, and I said, “Jody, I have a dream to bring a dental team to Kenya and work with these people. Would you do this with me?” She said, “Yes, let’s investigate it.”

Here is the premise of taking it from A to B. Normally, in my life, I would have stood there and said, “Let’s take a dental team back to Kenya” because you are in the warm and fuzzy, the campsite moment. Everything is beautiful. You get back to the United States, and the world takes over. Five years go by, and you think, “Oh yeah, I never took that dental team to Kenya.” But I have become very intentional in my life as I have gotten older. When I think about things, I do them. If I think about a friend, I reach out and call that firend. Life is getting shorter. Unfortunately, in this past year, we have seen many friends and relatives pass, so I value every day. I decided I am going to make this happen.

Because of that commitment, in 10 months, we took a dental team down to Kenya. We raised all our funds. We had to take all the equipment. There was no clinic for us to show up on. We had to do all of the paperwork. We learned everything from scratch. We went out and did fundraising. We also made the commitment that if the money wasn’t going to come in, we were willing to step up and fund it. We can’t say, “Oh, we’re short $4,000. We’re not going.” We took eight people down there, and in four days, we saw 192 patients and did 252 procedures. It was so humbling.

My whole word I use in my business is serving. My goal is to take one person out of pain. We did htat. Think about in the United States. If you have a toothache, think how painful that is. These people live with toothaches. They are starting to eat candy because the tourists are giving them candy. The cavities are cratering their molars. We did a ton of extractions. I’ll stop here. That’s the premise of what we did. I can tell more stories and how that happened.

Hugh: Men don’t handle pain well. I was teaching at an event in Vegas. I had this excruciating pain. I had my dentist’s cell phone and called him. He told me to go to the drug store. I had to fly home and get there. It colors everything.

Your heart was touched. We would put this under philanthropy. Love for humankind. 100 people have an idea. In my experience, only three will do something about it. Only one out of seven of those will succeed. That is a pretty rarefied space you’re in. You make it sound kind of easy, but I’m sure it wasn’t a slam dunk. We have all kinds of people listening to this, but some are thinking about launching a nonprofit, some launched it without some pieces in place, and some launched it but everything changed, so we are rethinking how we launched. What are some of the obstacles you faced and had to overcome?

Jim: We didn’t know what we didn’t know. The biggest thing is what’s the end goal? You have to keep your eye on the ball. What are you trying to accomplish? Regardless of the hurdles or mountains. Just knowing how to navigate and get into Kenya. Understanding what that entails from a paperwork standpoint.

To put it into perspective, my wife is a saint and so organized. She spent hours and hours getting the right paperwork. She would go down to the medical director who said they would send her the forms. A month would go by, with no forms sent. Another two weeks. They’re in the mail. No, they weren’t. We were almost ready to leave, except for the forms. The frustration that people don’t have this sense of urgency that we have. We are beating our heads against the walls because we have an obligation to go there.

It’s 1am, and we land. We are going through customs. We are 12 feet from the door to our hotel, which is two hours away. The customs official stops us. He looks at our paperwork and says, “You have to pay tax on all your donated items.” What? My wife, you could see steam coming out of her. She has spent so much time on all of this. We don’t know what that is. We bring over this gal who knew all of the items that were donated. She threw out an arbitrary number. She said, “$3,500.” We all agreed. You go into his office, and I had to pay $600 for a tax. We are bringing supplies to help people in this country. It’s not atypical in a third world country that something will come up like that.

My mindset is you just be prepared. You can’t let it get you. Jody spent 48 hours frustrated about the situation. You just do. You’re prepared. Your mindset is, “This is how it works.” You do it. You move on. It’s those unknowns. Now we will be prepared and we know. The hours and hours of work that nobody sees that you’re doing to get this done, planning the travel, getting the instrumentation, packing the bags. We took 27 bags down with us in order to make it all work. It’s the hard work and perseverance.

It’s funny now that we have estalbihsed ourselves and know the routine. It’s now easier for people to come up alongside us. It’s a blessing that people want to work with us. Dentists and hygienists and assistants. It’s fantastic. What people don’t see in any organization is all the hard work that goes behind that. It’s two or three people in most organizations who do all the heavy lifting. There are people who are willing to help if you ask them. But you have to stay the course and understand what your end game is.

Hugh: You just went on a pleasure trip to Kenya on safari and had this experience. It touched your heart. You acted on it. That was an obstacle. Anybody who’s traveled and has to buy commodities in another country know there is a heavy tax, sometimes up to 400%. Cars or other things are really expensive. It would seem like there could be an exception, but you’d have to go through an embassy for donated items. That is a cost of doing business in another country. We have our own issues here, but there are things you learn at the last minute. Fortunately, you had the ability to overcome that one.

It was 10 months. That was pretty fast. Before you actually stepped on Kenyan soil with your project, what were some of the obstacles over here? You filed for the incorporation and with the IRS for the exemption. Talk about the donor experience. How did you get seed money? This is way out of the box for a lot of people. Why would you want to go to Kenya when there are people in Appalachia with the same problems? I’m sure you heard that.

Jim: And I’m the guy who used to say that. It’s funny you bring that up. I would never go to Africa. Why would we go to any other country when we have such a need here?

I’ll tell you the reason I ended up going to Africa was the beauty of the people. It’s infectious, their warmth and energy. The average income is $1,000 a year. To clean one tooth in Africa, because they don’t have a full set sometimes, it’s $15 a tooth if they can get to a dentist. It’s $75 for an extraction. If you’re making $1,000 a year, and you have four kids, cows, goats, and everything else, you think that’s going to be a priority? No. It goes down to the hurdles.

I came back and we raised our money through friends and family. We have wonderful friends and family. We told our story. They had to trust who Jim and Jody were. They had to trust who we are and what our core was. When you invest in a dream and vision, that’s different from investing in something that’s been out there and proven. Now we have a website and videos and media we have been in that talk about what we’ve done. It will be different to raise funds in the future. We were blessed in so many ways by people coming alongside us and supporting our mission. In some ways, it’s easier for people to want to give to people they know instead of some huge organization where in today’s world they are not always sure where that money is going to. They got behind us and were able to know where our hearts were and what we’re going to do.

We sent out a letter explaining what we were trying to accomplish. We got this email back from this gentleman. He says, “Jim, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but there is a need here in our community for dental care. Why are you going all the way to Africa? I think your intentions are in the wrong place.” I got thick skin. I don’t need to address that. Not always going to have fans. He sent it to my wife, too, and I said, “Don’t respond.” This guy’s a friend. It’s my time to educate and learn.

I did a quick search for Phoenix. There are 12 free clinics in Phoenix. Across the street from where we live, a dental organization will see 600 children on a weekend. There are places to get free dental care in this area where we live. That’s not the case in Kenya. They don’t get free dental care. The reality in the United States is if you seek it out and have the means to go find it, you will find free services. It’s not that way everywhere, I know. I educated this gentleman and said, “If you’d prefer to donate to those organizations, please do. I’m sure they would love to take your money because it’s all for a good cause.” We have a belief that we give locally, nationally, and globally. We have been blessed. It’s a way that we feel we can serve.

Just the experience of meeting friends who have become dear friends for us in Africa, I would say a sidebar story. Base Camp Explorers puts us up. It’s a beautiful situation because they help with the room and board to help cut down costs. Their head waiter, a wonderful young man, he has three children, eight, five, and three. His wife was seven months pregnant, and she passed away last Sunday. That is the tragedy that can happen anywhere. Those are the types of friends we have established. It breaks our heart. He lives in a village, and he is helping his mother and father. Now those kids don’t have a mom. He only has one wife, which the older generation will have many wives. No others can step up. But that is their culture. Those are the lifelong friends and relationships we have built, and that touches us tremendously.

Hugh: Wow. There are so many things to think about. Friends and family. How many years have you been doing this?

Jim: We have only done it once. We were supposed to go this year, and COVID hit. Now we will go again in February 2022. Of course, they want us back. We are ready to go back. We have started buying supplies. COVID has put an interesting twist on the world. Kenya is a microcosm, which is fascinating. They have had very few cases. Scientists have tried to understand. The cases they have have been asymptomatic. It has not been rampant at all in Kenya.

Hugh: They have to make sure you’re healthy before you come in.

Jim: Absolutely.

Hugh: You mentioned Base Camp Explorer. Say more about that. I don’t know that organization.

Jim: Base Camp Explorer started about 20 years ago with a gentleman out of Norway. He went to one of the Maasai leaders and said, “How can we lift up your people with jobs and education and help with animal tourism?” One of the things that was happening was the Kenyan government was leasing 10-acre parcels of land or giving 10 acres to the men of the village. Their commerce are goats, sheep, and cows. What do you do? You put fences up. You start putting fences up all over the Maasai Mara area and stop the migration of the big animals. Tourism will go away.

What they did was they were able to raise funds—and through grants from the United States and Norway, Base Camp Explorer is able to fund this, too—they lease the land back from the villagers. Then they take down their fences. They have done 260,000 acres or something. It’s astronomical how much land they have leased. Now the migration continues. They are on the outskirts of the national Maasai Mara there. They also have three other sites that they call conservancies, with camps on there, too. Their only employees are Maasai. They are building a college for tour guides, which is a coveted position because these guys can make a nice living. They have a school. They built a medical clinic.

Think of it as a three-prong approach. You have animal tourism, which saves the animals. You have jobs for the Maasai, and you have education. It’s tremendous.

They have been in business for 20 years. The last three or four years, they became profitable. Base Camp is going great. With COVID hitting, it has hurt their business, but they were able to raise funds. Some of the lease payments have been reduced. They have had to furlough people. but they are open again. People from Europe are starting to come in.

Because of that connection we have with some of those people, they put us up with room and board. It’s very nice. The other thing is a really nice perk. The people who get to go down there with us get two and a half days of safari. It would be horrible just to do this dental work and not go out and go on safari. It’s pretty magnificent.

Hugh: This is the traditional safaris that we see all the time in the movies.

Jim: You have lions within five feet walking by you. Jody said, “They don’t look very dangerous.” I said, “Honey, why don’t you jump out and start running? Let’s see who that goes.” They are used to the jeeps. They don’t see people; they just see objects. It’s pretty powerful when you are able to drive up on a huge pond and there are 20 hippopotamuses in there bathing in the mud water. It’s surreal. It’s fantastic.

Hugh: Like Busch Gardens without the fences.

Jim: You’re right.

Hugh: Some of the obstacles start-ups have, there are a number: getting your concept clear so you can get the tax-exempt approval from the IRS, getting board members on boards who actually do things, and raising funds. I’m sure some people are thinking, “He’s a salesman. He knows how to raise money.” Talk about meeting any of those three challenges.

Jim: I say this to business owners, too. I talk to CEOs, and they say, “I’m not a salesperson.” Let me set the record straight. If you have passion, if you believe in what you’re doing, you’re the best salesperson. I don’t care if you’re an introvert or extrovert. If you believe in your cause and your mission, you should be able to tell that story with conviction, emotion, and from the heart. If you’re asking for money, the worst thing someone will say to you is, “No, not at this time.” If you don’t ask, you won’t be able to follow what you’re trying to accomplish. Guess what? If they believe in your story, which is in your heart, they will donate. If they give me a quarter or $500, it all goes to help.

Please, I implore people, don’t ever say, “I can’t sell.” It’s not about selling. It’s about telling your story. It’s powerful. People understand that that is the beauty of what you do.

Hugh: One person we will have ask a question was a professional fundraiser. I’m not. You teach business owners. Nonprofits are a business. We need to put our business hat on and create streams of revenues. Instead of profits, we have proceeds that go into the project and help us grow the project. Really, instead of approaching someone from looking needy, please help me, which probably repels money, the perspective I take when I call someone is, “Here’s a project I’m doing. You have an opportunity to support this.” We are giving people an opportunity to exercise their passion in multiple ways, especially the board. They are supporters with their time, talent, and money. It’s the perspective that we show up in. It’s the attitude and how we present ourselves. You started that. Tell me if I’m on track as a professional sales trainer.

Jim: You’re right. It is your attitude, your mindset. A lot of people don’t want to feel rejection. They will say no. No, they’re not, not if you ask with conviction. The other thing is there are a lot of people out there who don’t want to serve, but they are more than willing to give and support. Many people don’t want to get on a plane for 18 hours and drive six hours from Nairobi and do dental work, but guess what? They are more than willing to help support that effort through volunteering at the beginning with supply raising. They are more than willing to give financially. Give them the opportunity to serve in the way they can serve. Everyone feels differently on how they serve. A lot of people might have a lot of money and want to give. They’re blessed, and they know by giving and serving.

If you don’t feel comfortable with asking for money, find someone who is. Find someone you can mirror who can come alongside you and be your spokesman. It could be your child, your best friend. They have a knack for that. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those people and ask them to come alongside you. It can be powerful. You can learn. The more you see it, the more you realize how easy it is. Then you build the confidence. A lot of people get nervous because they don’t have that confidence. That’s all it is.

Hugh: Yeah. You said the worst thing that can happen is they could say no. Let me add to that. You didn’t have the money before. If they say no, you still don’t have it. At least you had a chance of getting a check. I have seen examples where people have said no but have stayed on the list about what has happened and the impact this has had on people’s lives. They then want to give money. A no isn’t always a hard no.

Jim: That’s how it is in business, too. I see so much in business that is about timing. If the customer is not ready to give, or if the person is not ready to support you in your project, you just hit the nail on the head. It’s about timing. They might have that on their heart. Six months from now, it’s resonating still. Then you get the call. If people don’t know you exist, if people don’t know there is a need, they won’t knock on your door. You have to tell your story. If you will spend time and you believe in your project, the story is easy.

I will encourage people to role play. It’s powerful. Everyone hates it. It’s the worst thing you can do in business. If you have ever been in a role-playing situation in front of your peers, even professional executives get flustered. It’s a powerful thing to do. If you’re not comfortable with fundraising, do some role-playing. Find a mentor. A lot of people can help you. Just go do it. Every time you go do it, you will get better. Then you will be an expert.

Hugh: It’s not practice makes perfect. It’s perfect practices makes perfect. You move toward it. *Sponsored by EZCard*

Jim, I know there are a lot of moving parts. I want to go back to how you did something that was out of your experience and discipline. You set up a nonprofit. But you do have a sense of business. We educate nonprofit leaders and clergy to embrace good, sound business principles because it is a tax-exempt business with more rules than a business. We also say to people that if you have an idea, you need to equip yourself to make it happen. You have demonstrated very effective leadership skills in getting this done. You didn’t know how, but you figured it out. You also didn’t see failure as an option. There is a certain amount of determination.

If people asked you, “What kind of skills do I need to learn to take this idea into reality?” what would you say to them? What skills did you use? What skills did you have to learn?

Jim: You need to be willing to ask questions. People have become before you and done this. Seek them out. Find that mentor. How do you do a 501(c)3? You just start asking people who have done it before you, and they will give you answers. People like to support and lift up others. Surround yourself with people you can trust, people you can lean on for questions and answers.

When we first started in this, Jody, a hygienist for 36 years, she was reaching out to people. She read a book by a guy who had done work in Kenya. She had read a book by someone who had done dental work in Africa. We educate ourselves from past experiences by other people.

Maybe you call it ignorance. Most people will take a team down there and walk into a dental clinic that has been built and do the work. We weren’t that smart. There are no dental clinics. Let’s take everything with us. That’s nuts. We took chairs and instruments. We had to rent generators and compressors while we were down there. Sometimes not knowing what you don’t know, if you don’t let that scare you and take you off track, is exciting and fun. You have to have that spirit. It’s what I keep saying: You have to know what your end goal is.

Through reading, calling people, having discussions about what works, understanding what we need to power for the dental chairs, what kind of compressors we need, I don’t know that. But you can sure learn it. Am I an expert? Nope. We hired a guy for five days with us from Nairobi, which wasn’t a lot of money, to make sure we keep going. If you don’t have your drills or hand pieces working, then you’re struggling. It’s perseverance.

Hugh: You need electricity unless you are going back to W.C. Fields. He has a foot pump to have his drill going. That’s not what you want to be doing down there. We have come a long way. You really had to set up shop in the middle of nowhere and make it work.

Jim: Not only that. I’m not certain this was the wisest decision. The first day we went down there, we set up in a tent and handled the employees and family members of the base camp. They had 300 employees. They came from all over, and we took care of them. Then in my infinite wisdom, we will tear down and take the whole set-up to this town a mile away and set up in the medical clinic. A cinder block room.

We tore the whole clinic down, took it over a mile away outside of base camp, set it up in a medical building, and reestablished the whole clinic. We were seeing patients the next morning at 8:00. It was nuts. We were tired. The clinicians were amazing. No complaints. No issues. They did amazing dental work. It’s so empowering to watch those people.

Hugh: We are going to see if folks have some questions. Before I do that, talk a little bit about the impact on the Maasai people so far.

Jim: The impact is, when we said we wanted to come down at first, some of the key leaders down there said no. They had already had a dental team come down who left people with infections, and they did not do a proper job. They were skeptical of what we were going to do. Were we coming down to play and go on safari? Or did we have intentions of helping? We made a huge impact of taking people out of pain.

Let me give you two stories. I was triaging up front. I am the guy with all the tickets. You’re getting a cleaning, extraction, or filling. “You’re not a dentist.” You can tell if they need an extraction. It’s pretty obvious. We’re into our third day, and it’s about one in the afternoon. We have people sitting there for hours, waiting. It’s not like you come in and get a shot. It takes 30 or 40 minutes to see a patient.

This guy comes up who is a teacher. He has a student who is supposed to take her national exams in two days. She is in such dental pain she can’t study. I said, “We don’t have room.” He says, “She is really in pain.” Your heart crushes. I said, “Let me see her.” I go around the corner. She is about 13 years old. They are all wearing school uniforms and shave their head because of lice. I asked her, “Open your mouth please.” She opens her mouth. She puts her head back on the wall with tears running down her face because of the pain. I said to her, “Hang on.” I got her in within 30 minutes because I was fortunately in charge. I broke the line. Nobody complained. They didn’t know what was happening. She needed dental care. She was in dire pain. We took care of her.

What was so great about this was that teacher had that compassion. We were there at the right time in the right place to take her out of pain. I don’t know what would have happened if we weren’t there. She would have failed her exams. She would have been laying at home waiting for her tooth to go numb. We have all been in pain.

Another great story. This gal gave massages at one of the base camps. She had this big black cavity on the front of her tooth. We don’t see that too much in the United States. She wouldn’t smile. For the last three years, she hadn’t smiled. They fixed her tooth, cleaned it out, and put some bonding on. I can’t tell you the technical terms. They finished and showed her the mirror. Her smile was as big as a yard stick. It was tremendous. She says, “It’s a blessing from God. This is a miracle.” The self-esteem that she was so conscientious about the black on her tooth, she had lost confidence. She wouldn’t smile. She was a lovely young lady.

We went to her camp a couple days later. She gave Jody the biggest hug. They hugged and hugged. That is the impact you make. I got 20 or 50 stories like that. They are just clamoring for us back. Jody is in touch with these people through Facebook constantly. They are asking when we are coming back. That is the impact you make.

Hugh: I love it. It’s a lasting impact. Bob has his hand up. Bob is a dear friend. He was on the show almost a year ago. He is the author of Philanthropy Misunderstood, a priceless book everyone should have on their coffee table. He has taught me a lot about philanthropy. Bob, do you have a question or comment?

Bob Hopkins: Jim, I think what you do is amazing. I know there are lots of folks in the United States who go out and around the world. We are known as helping other people as Americans. Have you thought about actually including dentists from Kenya to join you in order to transfer the feeling of doing something philanthropic to them so that they can do the same thing when we’re gone? I’m just wondering about dentists and doctors in other countries. Do they ever feel like they need to give back to their own people?

Jim: Great question. My answer is we haven’t. Our answer is we sure are now. I love that idea. Our dream is we want to build a dental clinic. We have been told by the local government they could put a dentist in the clinic. My dream is to get a Maasai person through dental school so they can come back and take care of their own. There is a dental college In Nairobi. That is a great idea. We will reach out to that college and let them know when we’re coming and ask them to participate. Thank you.

Bob: I would love to get in touch and be on one of your trips. I have taken students on three different major trips: one to Haiti, one to Mexico, and one to Bangladesh to teach the college students there about doing things for their own country instead of us just coming over and trying to fix things, teaching them how to do it themselves. They get it. They learn it fast. They want to help. It’s just a matter of someone like you influencing them. You can do this, too. This is a lot of fun. It’s a great idea. I want to be involved somehow.

Jim: Let’s get in touch, thank you. I can’t wait to tell Jody that idea.

Hugh: I’ll make sure you’re connected. Bob is a great example on living out philanthropy. He has gone out and influenced so many people in his lifetime. Thank you for being here today.

HardwickDentalTeams.org is the website. His email is JHardwick@SalesXceleration.com.

Jim: John Parker is our main contact with Base Camp. He is out of Colorado. An amazing man who has supported us and helped us with the dream to go down there. He is our right-hand person on these trips. He does the foundation here in the United States. Initially when he came to the leadership at Base Camp, they weren’t sure. He pushed it, and they accepted it. Here we are today. All the way to the point where Jody and I want to build a dental clinic for this group of people.

This is premature, but we called it Hardwick Dental Teams because who knows where we could end up someday. We have the formula. We could go to Cambodia or Mexico. We have a huge amount of dentists and hygienists we can lean on. We have the people. We don’t know where all this will go someday.

Hugh: That’s a great vision. Let’s talk about ongoing. There are other collaborations. You have worldwide organizations to get some more infrastructure and connections. There have to be rotaries in Kenya. If you connect with a rotary, there are clubs and foundational support. Churches like the United Methodist Church have conferences in Africa with support teams. They would certainly love to connect with a worthwhile project, I’m sure. Do you need special permission, visas, when you do an offshore mission like this? Do you have to work through an embassy and get permission to do this?

Jim: The dentists do. They have to give their license and prove they are qualified. Nobody else does. It’s just the dentist.

The other trick is for flights over, if you say you are taking people who are doing a philanthropy project, they enabled us to take three pieces of luggage, each piece up to $50 at no charge. That’s huge. You know what American Airlines or Delta charges you per bag when you have as many pieces as we had.

Those flights go fast. If you are going to plan a trip, you have to plan early. We didn’t know this, but we learned this because we called the lady who does a lot of trips for mission trips overseas. Now you find out. I am sharing that tidbit. If you have a lot of equipment to take, you want to go on that type of flight.

Hugh: What type of flight?

Jim: It’s with Delta. It’s a philanthropy flight, saying you are going over there to do mission work or whatever you want to call it. Tell them what your goal is, and they enable you to take all that luggage.

Hugh: You pulled off this vision. There is a potential bigger vision and legacy. Any of us who want to start a nonprofit want to think about how we are going to keep it going after we are no longer doing it. We want to have a succession plan. We have no legacy plan. We’re trying to survive in this strange economy. Some nonprofits are doing well because they have pivoted to a new way of talking about what they do, and they have a win-win presentation when talking to supporters with time, talent, and money. They are not afraid to talk about how important it is.

You started having impact and got tons of stories. What is your vision of how this kind of work will impact the Maasai people long-term?

Jim: Great question. I haven’t reflected on that enough. They are very thankful and appreciative of the impact we made and will continue to make. That doesn’t go unnoticed. When you don’t have anything, and someone comes alongside you and lifts you up, takes care of your pain, that makes an impact on me when someone does it to me. Reaching out and showing, not all these Maasai are familiar. These base camp guys see tourists all the time. When we go to town and are reaching out to the kids, I hope they realize, and the impact I want, is we are all the same. We live in different countries. We have different color skin. But it doesn’t matter. If I could bottle up the spirit and power of feeling, it’s prevalent from everyone we have touched. It’s infectious.

We complain about everything. We complain about our salad dressing not being right. Or my computer is slow. Get off my tail. I can’t believe he cut in front of me. All we do is complain. You go over there. These people have nothing, and they are smiling. The kids are laughing while running in the dirt with dogs chasing them. I am being philosophical here.

It selfishly impacts the people like me, and that’s an impact also. When you give, it changes your life for the people who do get to give, which is a humbling experience. That’s a long answer to your short question. It’s showing we are just one global people who are all trying to help each other and lift each other up. If everyone could feel that way, we would have a different world. It’s basic. Most people want to live lives with wonderful family and to be able to put food on the table. That’s what it comes down to. If we can help in any way, or anybody can help, we have made a difference.

I read a book called Half-Time about 10 years ago. In the second half of your life, how can you live a life of significance? I have been searching that out, how to make a difference in other people’s lives. With the support of Jody, we have such a great time. I am able to do that now. I feel like I am making a life of significance. It’s a real honor and joy to be able to do that for people.

Hugh: Circling back to your discussion earlier about making a money pitch, all of us running nonprofits get hung up asking for money. What you just defined, there is a reward when people give. There is a fulfillment, satisfaction, joy with that. My wife and I are in a place where we can support several charities with our donations. It is a good thing to do. You don’t give until it hurts. You give until it feels good. What you now do is you tell people about what happened with their donation, which many people don’t do. Let’s tell them what happened and continue to keep them informed so they will continue supporting the work that you’re doing. I bet you things will happen you didn’t perceive would happen so far. Some doors will open for you.

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Jim, this has been so inspiring today. Not all of us want to go do dental work in Kenya, but there is something in our heart we can do. It has been an inspiration and education for me. What do you want to leave people with today?

Jim: I will say this: If you think about it, be intentional. Be intentional in everything you do in your life. I have taken that mantra on. If I get an inkling to reach out, I reach out. If I need to send someone an email, I do that. I wasn’t like that a few years ago. It took over my life when I was working on stuff. You would think about something and move on. Now I take the time to make that connection. It’s very important. There is a reason why that person has popped in your mind. They need help. They need someone to come alongside them. It doesn’t have to be a global project. That is my wisdom I can impart on you for 2021, especially in the world we are in right now.

Lastly, I love to serve. If anyone has a question, if anyone wants to talk, call me. I give free advice all day long. I love that. If I can help you in any way, I’m here. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Hugh: Thank you, Jim. Thank you for spending time with us today. You’re a blessing.


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