Change Heroes: Young Bostonian, 33 friends build school in Kenya

Evan Mula joins Kenyan kids at the new school built by his Change Heroes fundraising campaign.

A few months ago, 22-year-old  Evan Mula was a big-hearted dreamer in search of a way to give back. “That’s how I was raised. You work hard, and you give to those in need,” said Mula, a Waltham resident who calls Boston his playground.

His skepticism of charities always held him back, but Mula was inspired by Canadian entrepreneur Taylor Conroy’s idea for an online platform that targeted Generation Y — an idea that would soon culminate into Change Heroes.

Conroy created the web platform with the goal of tapping into younger philanthropists who are “outcome oriented,” Conroy said, meaning they want to see and feel the outcome of their efforts. That is the reason his platform gave donors on Mula’s project — building a school in Kenya — the ability to visit the school that their donation funded. It also provides videos and photos of the Kenyan students, as well as progress reports and personalized “thank you” videos from the children.

Last month, Mula traveled with Conroy to Kenya to see first hand how the fund-raising efforts affected 1,000 children there.

“It was an amazing experience. The kids came running out to see us. They were so happy and grateful,” he said. “I’d only ever been to ‘developed’ countries … Being there and [seeing] the result was absolutely incredible.”

Talking with a generation

“The goal is to alleviate this generation’s trepidation around giving by showing them exactly where their money is going,” said Chelsea Moore, a spokeswoman for Change Heroes.

Since the 20 and 30-something crowd is one that likes to share, whether through Facebook, Twitter or a blog, Change Heroes equips donors with precise messages to post to social media sites.

Comforted by the platform’s transparency and aim at a younger, social media-friendly generation, Mula reached out to Conroy to kick off his Boston-area campaign. He asked 33 friends to give $3.33 a day for three months, raising about $10,000 by early fall – enough to build a school in Kenya. 

“The platform just checked all the boxes for me. People don’t want to give $20 bucks and wonder where it goes,” he said.

“I guess I wanted to prove that its not just the old, established business types who can make a difference.”


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