When a near fatal bike/car accident almost took her husband's life on 3-Aug-07, Beth Heckel and her daughter Aimee had to make a huge decision; continue with the booked flight to Africa or stay at the hospital. The decision was not a light one so the entire family huddled together in a small cramped hospital room and made the decision.
The fact that Jim's condition was improving, confirmed that the mission of Think Humanity must continue. And that pivotal decision set into motion a positive ripple effect that now resembles more of a tsunami in many communities within Uganda.
Formally selling used books on eBay to help sponsor kid's education, Think Humanity took root, became a formally recognized NGO and has now distributed over 15,000 malaria nets, established an orphanage, sponsors a girl's hostel, completed 2 clean water projects and recently just opened the Think Humanity Clinic. Think Humanity is a virtual volunteer organization with over 20,000 donated hours in 2010.
Seemingly small and supposedly insignificant decisions at times can be fueled by leadership passion that unleashes an army of soldiers to fight. And that's precisely the type of leadership that Beth Heckel, Executive Director and Founder of Think Humanity, had to perform as her husband lay in a pile of broken bones in the hospital. Think Humanity's growth is hard to explain and exciting to be a part of! We get people calling all of the time wanting to go to Africa, pack and gather school supplies for our trips, work at fund-raising events or anything else that Think Humanity needs. This is not to say that Think Humanity is flush with tons of cash, resources and the like. On the contrary, Think Humanity follows the 'day to day' budgeting, living from one donation to the next, as well as a usual annual grant from key partners. This IS to say that the explosive growth of Think Humanity is driven from visionary leadership by Beth, just this year adding one medical doctor to our board as well as attracting high-level retiring executives.
JB, our Operations Director, is a retired corporate VP and was seeking out an organization to really 'dig into,' and an organization where JB could actually 'see' where his donations would go. Now after 4 trips to Uganda, JB, has established standardized processes, implemented a long-term 3 year planning process and helped to develop our team on the ground in Africa. Yes, JB saw the magic of Think Humanity, it's passion and effectiveness with a "zero payroll" NGO through the leadership of Beth and her comittment to the mission of Think Humanity, which is "to provide a positive change for refugees in Africa."
As we peer into the next decade and approaching our senior years, our goal is to get Think Humanity to a point where it will never die and will continue until malaria is eradicated on planet Earth. And with Beth at the helm, my confidence runs deeper than the Nile and higher than Kilamanjaro.
President, Think Humanity