The founder and CEO of the nonprofit Pencils of Promise explains the secret of his success: reliance on social media and “cause marketing.”
In 2008, Braun left his career as a management consultant to devote himself to global education. His first plan was to build schools for impoverished children in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Encouraged by his initial success, he expanded his goal. “I wasn't just interested in building one school anymore,” he writes. “I wanted to build a movement that changed people's perception of charity.” In 2013, PoP built its 100th school, in Ghana. The author credits his upbringing for his remarkable success. Although he was raised in an affluent environment, he was never allowed to develop a sense of entitlement. While an undergraduate at Brown University, he joined the Semester at Sea program. His near-death experience during a ferocious storm at sea and the poverty he witnessed backpacking in Asia altered his life. “I now knew my life had a purpose,” he writes. The author's choice of a name for the nonprofit was inspired by an experience during his travels; he asked a boy what he would choose if he could have anything he wanted. Despite Braun's prestigious Wall Street job, by his 25th birthday, his life felt empty, so he took on an after-hours project to fundraise for a Cambodian school. Then, with help from a wide circle of friends, he decided to strike out on his own and raised $25,000 to build a school in Laos. He solicited practical and financial support from personal friends and a growing Facebook group, and he was able to elicit backing from the business community. The author skillfully weaves together his personal memoir and the professional challenges he faced.
Informative and inspiring but somewhat marred by a self-congratulatory tone.