SHARING IS CARING
When Steve Down first decided to use his network and resources to fund a humanitarian cause in Africa, he was unprepared for the outpouring emotion of gratitude.
A Joyous Occasion
On one sunny afternoon in the Majajani area of Kilifi County located in the Coastal part of Kenya, he came across a widow who brought tears to his eyes. Hadija was a middle-aged woman who wore a bright array of African apparel. Attention was drawn to her when after being called out by the master of ceremonies, she proudly walked to the speaker and embraced him with tears flowing freely down her cheeks. She danced and waved happily in the direction of assembled guests, and shouted “Ahsante Sana.” Her joy was palpable and ignoring the vast crowds of local villagers gathered around the field, she approached a smiling Kenyan-American who sat among the guests and shook his hands warmly.
On her way back to where her fellow widows sat expectantly, she tugged a tight rope that pulled two reluctant goats behind her and beamed happily to all and sundry. Hadija was another recipient of a pair of goats in a program sponsored by The Goat Foundation.
The generosity and caring spirit that Steve goes by started way before he set up shop in Kenya. Before embarking on his quest to share his vision and resources with the less fortunate in Kenya, while back in the US, Mr Steve Down operated a chain of restaurants called Even Stevens Sandwiches. In a buy-one-give-one strategy, the restaurant donated to non-profits a sandwich for every sandwich purchased. The non-profits distributed these donations to vulnerable communities around where these restaurants were located.
A Generous Spirit
Steve Down believes that one of the most important things you can do on earth is to let people know they are not alone. According to his philosophy, love only grows by sharing, you can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others. And that is what drives him to far-flung rural communities in Kenya to seek out impoverished widows and orphans and offer them a new lease on life.
The drivers for Mr Steve Down’s philanthropic mission are his financial literacy company Financially Fit and the non-profit called The Goat Foundation. These two companies are bound by the Cause Capitalism philosophy. In practice, Cause Capitalism is when a for-profit business pledges to donate a percentage of its gross income to a non-profit engaged in humanitarian work.
Kenyan widows were an ignored demographic and most communities ignored them and chose to pretend they didn’t exist. By directing the resources of The Goat Foundation towards this demographic, Steve brought together donors, partners and friends who believed that we are brothers and sisters belonging to one human family. To care about someone, you must be willing to give a part of your time, resources, ideas or company to them. You must give willingly and happily and expect nothing in return. This is a doctrine that Mr Steve Down believes in and practices.
The Art of Giving
The story of Hadija is not isolated, The Goat Foundation has touched the lives of thousands of widows and orphans in villages and small rural communities around Kenya.
On some occasions, it may appear difficult and even unfair when you’re expected to share with your neighbour whilst undergoing your own difficulties. The impulse to ignore someone’s plight may be driven by the thoughts such as, ‘they brought the misfortune upon themselves,’ or ‘if they only knew what I am going through!’ It takes a special kind of genuine altruism to ignore your deeper struggles and devote yourself to helping a fellow human being.
As he continues to demonstrate his calling to share and love his neighbour, Mr Steve Down invites companies, individuals, and organisations to join in the philosophy of Cause Capitalism and partner with The Goat Foundation and plant a seed of hope for widows all over Africa.
‘It may appear difficult and even unfair when you’re expected to share with your neighbour whilst undergoing your own difficulties’ powerful statement that demonstrate the need. To give the less fortunate without expecting anything in return. Great article and kudos to the Goat Foundation
Thank you George for the reply.