In the world of non-profits, GoodBookey partner Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) believes there is efficiency in specialization. By focusing on providing access for isolated communities to markets, healthcare, and schools, B2P hopes to eliminate poverty caused by rural isolation around the world. This significance of the problem is demonstrated by data from the World Bank, showing that one billion people around the world lack year-round access to roads and bridges.
According to Alissa Smith, B2P’s Director of Engagement, residents of these rural communities, like the ones where B2P focuses its efforts, live in a walking world. “When the rivers swell, walks to school, work, and doctors can become life threatening, if not impossible,” she said. “Those who survive often do not have sufficient infrastructure servicing their communities. Safe and maintained trails and footbridges are necessary to live healthy, productive lives.”
From Idea to Execution
In 2001, B2P founder Ken Frantz saw a photo in National Geographic Magazine that spurred the idea and moved him to action. The image showed men dangling precariously, using ropes to pull each other across a wide, high, and broken bridge spanning a portion of the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. Ken soon discovered that his brother, Forrest Frantz, had also seen the photo. He had the same thought: What I want to do is repair that bridge.
And that’s precisely what they did. Within three months, Ken, who owned a construction company, donated time, money, and materials. Additionally, he enlisted eager family members, friends, and his Rotary club to support the inaugural B2P project. That first project, Sebara Dildi, repaired the bridge crossing along the Blue Nile in Ethiopia and represents a vision that continues to inspire a new generation of bridge builders today.
The construction of these essential footbridges doesn’t come easily, however. Because of their rural locations, the use of heavy machinery is not possible. Locally sourced materials are brought in one pickup-truck load at a time, and sheer manpower gets the job done. That manpower comes from many of the local residents, along with university students and other volunteers from corporate partners.
Bridges to Prosperity’s Growth
Since that first bridge project, B2P has built more than 200 bridges in 20 countries. These bridges span across Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Collaborations like the one with Ken’s Rotary club are a large part of what makes B2P’s programs successful. Dozens of Rotary clubs, industry partners, and university programs support B2P through grants, donations, volunteer efforts, and fundraising support. In fact, two-thirds of B2P’s industry partners return each year to support the building of these bridges around the world.
In light of B2P’s success over the last 15 years and their mission to eliminate poverty by providing access to essential resources, B2P partnered with GoodBookey in 2016 to help fund their mission. “We believe we’ve been successful largely because we do things that make good business sense,” said Smith. “We chose to partner with GoodBookey because they operate similarly, using systems already in place for the betterment of humankind.”
GoodBookey is proud to partner with Bridges to Prosperity, a US non-profit making a significant difference in impoverished communities worldwide. For more information on Bridges to Prosperity, visit their website at www.bridgestoprosperity.org.