Hydronics company helping to end illiteracy
By PATRICK CALLANHPAC General Hydronics
The owner of a Surrey, BC-based hydronics company has hatched a unique plan to raise money for building schools and libraries in the developing world.
Brian De Jaegher’s fundraising model asks vendors to provide one discount on one order per year. His company, Raven Hydronic Supply Ltd., will then match the discounted funds with its own money and donate the cash to Room to Read’s Vancouver chapter. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Room to Read is a global non-profit organization that has opened more than 15,000 libraries and 1,600 schools, benefiting 7.8 million children in 10 developing countries. “I was reading the Vancouver Sun and there happened to be a whole page article about John Wood and the Room to Read organization,” said De Jaegher. At the time, Wood – who founded Room to Read in 2000 after a life-changing trek through Nepal – was in town promoting his most recent book. After reading it, De Jaegher raced off to the local library to read Wood’s first book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.
“It was very exciting to read, very uplifting,” he said. “I’d been looking over the past year or two for a non-profit organization that Raven could be connected with.” De Jaegher said his company has always given money to charities but had never fundraised before, and had never been involved to the extent he would have liked to see.
Raven has set a goal to raise $35,000 in its first-year – enough to build a schoolhouse in a developing country, like Cambodia. In the second year, Raven, a specialized heating equipment distributor, hopes to double fundraising dollars by bringing more of its business partners on board, including engineers and contractors. And in the long-term, Raven would like to raise enough money each year to partner with Room to Read on at least one, possibly two, large projects. At the moment, Raven is redesigning its website to include information, updates and progress reports about the partnership with Room to Read. If all goes as planned, construction of the first school with the money raised by Raven and its business partners will start in early January 2014 and finish by mid-2015.
“We realize the benefit of education and none of us would be where we are if we weren’t well educated,” De Jaegher said. “For us it’s a way to pay it forward.”