By Meghan Hui and Tyler Smith
On Tuesday, Nov. 1 in LAPC, associate campus pastor Ta’Tyana Leonard coordinated a panel discussion that focused on generosity as a business model. The Office of the Campus Pastors hosted the discussion as part of APU’s annual Spiritual Formation Week, which ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.
The panel included successful entrepreneurs who have made generosity a priority in their mission in ways like supporting the fair trade movement and empowering their artisans. The panel aimed to give students perspective on what the organizations do as well as how they developed their mission of generous giving.
Among the panelists were senior psychology major and 31 Bits campus recruiter Sarah Brackbill, CauseBox co-founder Matt Richardson, Share & Do Good founder Lily Tokuyama and Kathy Gaulton, who created Heavenly Treasures through Shop With a Mission.
Though each organization spoke on their different perspectives of generosity, they all shared the same vision that they should provide consumers the opportunity to make a difference in the world through what they purchase. Students found the panel helpful for considering the types of merchandise they buy.
“I really liked today because I’ve been convicted about slave labor and unfair work practices behind lots of our products that we buy,” junior nursing major Sarah Corr said. “It was encouraging to see that these businesses are local, Christ-based and about ethical business. It’s such an answer to prayer.”
Other students reflected on how the stories of the panelists themselves inspired a passion for pursuing dreams.
“I could tell [Gaulton] was really passionate about the cause,” said Maggie Harling, a senior business management major. “Kathy’s story about how she started with nothing was very inspirational coming from a business student perspective.”
Jewelry company 31 Bits works with its beneficiaries in Uganda to make fashionable high-quality products. According to Brackbill, the organization’s mission is to “empower people through the fashion industry” by providing its artisans with counseling, health education, finance training and business mentorships.
Brackbill was introduced to 31 Bits by her resident director (RD) last year, and upon learning that the organization is about empowering and educating women, she applied right away to be a campus recruiter. In this role, Brackbill hosts small events at APU to promote the brand, sell merchandise and share the mission.
CauseBox sends customers monthly boxes full of products from brands that emphasize ethical and sustainable production, donate to charity or aim to empower others.
Share & Do Good storefronts partner with like-minded vendors whose causes desire to make a difference through their products. The company has two retail stores, one in Fullerton and one in Long Beach.
Shop with a Mission’s Heavenly Treasures aims to see basic needs met through God-given gifts and abilities. The organization practices fair trade principles and creates handmade items from multiple developing countries. One-hundred percent of the funds raised through the sale of products solely benefits the artisans, project beneficiaries and their families.
“You can’t change the world, but you can change the world for one person,” Gaulton said.