My early nonprofit experience

I have re-sparked my idealism!

My early nonprofit experience
Photo by Noah Buscher / Unsplash

[Gunning Fog Score: 9.1]

When I started my MPA at SPEA (Indiana University - Bloomington) in late 2000, I was an idealist. I wanted to open a nonprofit organization that had an impact. Unfortunately, I lost my idealism during my three years at SPEA. So when I graduated, I had no idea what organization I wanted to form.

Not being idealistic is a problem if you want to work in the not-for-profit sector.

After returning to Seattle, I started getting emails from a Vietnam veteran who ran an Amerasian search organization. He found my AmerasianWorld website on Google. He told me that I should start an organization that focuses on Amerasians. He was helping Vietnamese Amerasians reunite with their fathers. That was when I created the Amerasian Foundation.

I networked with organizations that focused on Amerasians which included Vietnamese Adoptees. I made new contacts in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. I even got to meet Amerasians online. It was a good experience.

I ran this organization for a decade. With the help of the same veteran, I was able to relocate to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, in May 2004. I helped, briefly, with another organization that helped Amerasians. Unlike these veterans, though, I did not have a passion for Amerasian causes. The veterans I worked with had a connection that I did not have.

They were looking for their Amerasian child. They had a purpose.

I dissolved my organization as a legal entity after moving to Vietnam. I still ran the organization virtually until 2010. I still maintained networks with some of my contacts, but most worked seized in 2016. Luckily there are still active organizations run by Amerasians with links to the Amerasian community. They are doing some great work.

I decided in 2016 to find a project that ignited my idealism again. I tried with DIY Air Purifiers, but the timing was wrong. Finally, I found a project that has ignited my idealism again. You will be hearing more about this project in future blog posts.

I am forming my first social enterprise focusing on sustainability assurance.

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