The first time I spoke to Michael we hadn’t even met face to face. We spoke over the phone and somehow ended up talking about underwear, strange I know but hey, the guy had just finished traveling the world and knew what type of clothing worked best in third world countries. I ended up taking two pair of Exoficio’s to Kenya for four months and LOVED them. Thanks Michael. Now four years later we still communicate on a monthly if not weekly basis. He has been a groomsman in my wedding, an accountability brother, a brother, and somebody that I can always get a good laugh with. Just recently Michael has married Carmen, a beautiful young woman who I know, even though I have yet to meet her, is a righteous babe warrior who is probably just as crazy if not crazier than Michael.
I can always count on my brother finding some way to look for adventure, and not just any adventure, but Kingdom Adventure. Just a couple weeks ago Michael started running a 5K everyday to raise awareness and funds for a humanitarian group called Charity: Water. They help to bring clean water to places that have ZERO access and have an amazing idea that by allowing people to have access to clean water the community can be completely changed. I had a conversation with Michael about this endeavor about a week back and decided to ask him a few questions about why he is doing this…
(Kolby) So Michael tell us a little about yourself.
(Michael) I am 27, from Wisconsin, and most importantly, a newlywed! I love my wife and am absolutely enjoying the adventure that is our first year of marriage. We met in Spain; both of us were attending G42, a six-month leadership academy tucked away on the side of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean. We had our wedding date set and venue booked by the 28th day of our relationship. 10 months later we were married. New Years was our one-year anniversary of being together.
I love the outdoors, competitive sports, craft beer, and movies. I’ve recorded some spoken word films and recently written a book, which you can find on my website if interested.
(K) So, what is Charity: Water?
(M) They are a non-profit organization on a mission to bring clean drinking water to every person on the planet. They’ve funded 13,644 water projects in 22 countries. And yes I took that directly from their website.
Charity-Water does three things that I love. First, they have a 100% model. This means that all of your donations go straight to the field, while private donors fund their operating costs. Second, they have a high value for transparency. They show you exactly where your money goes, to the extent that they actually install GPS units on every water project. Finally, they work locally. They have strong local partnerships in each of the countries they work with, insuring that each water project will be maintained properly.
(K) What made you decide to do this?
(M) I’ve traveled to over 20 countries myself. I have seen the effects of extreme poverty and witnessed firsthand all kinds of injustices around the world. Those experiences changed me and left me with an insatiable hunger to see life brought to the nations. I have seen so much, and become passionate about so many different causes, and for a long time I didn’t know how to move forward. There are people who need access to clean water, orphans who need a home and family, women and children who need freedom from the sex trade industry… how do you pick just one? At the same time, there are so many organizations out there that are already doing incredible work towards these causes… that is how I came up with the idea for Bloomworks.
(K) What is this “Bloomworks?”
(M) Bloomworks is an organization I’m starting. The mission is to empower people to move from apathy to engagement, and provide awareness and resources for organizations that are bringing life to the nations. The goal is to use social media, film, art, and creativity to inspire and challenge people to become part of a bigger story. As I said, I couldn’t pick just one cause, so this is my chance to support all kinds of different causes, one project at a time. The 5K for $50K is my first project.
(K) You’re running 5k a day, what keeps you going?
(M) Thinking about the people, who everyday have to walk three hours to fetch clean drinking water. The least I can do is run thirty minutes. I literally picture myself cheering them on, yelling that help is on the way, telling them to keep going. And when I get tired, I picture them cheering me on, yelling right back, “Keep going!”
(K) Where did the inspiration come from?
(M) The idea for the 5K for $50K came from a conversation at work. I can listen to podcasts at work, and one day stumbled across an interview of Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity-Water. I was so inspired by his story, and by the 100% model. I told my co-worker about it, and suggested we run 5K a day until we raised $5,000 for Charity-Water. Later, I bumped the number up to $50,000 and really got excited.
The inspiration for Bloomworks came after the 5K idea. This kind of work seems to be the intersection of my passions, talents, and desire to change the world. I love working with people, and I love using creativity to spread ideas. It became clear that there was a great opportunity to build something unique, and I am excited to see where this could go.
(K) Besides the obvious, why are YOU doing this?
(M) Someone has to do something. It might as well be me. Whether I get five, or five thousand people to join me, I will be satisfied. I believe all it really takes to change the world is one committed person. At the same time I know others will join and our influence will only multiply.
So there it is…Michael Sanders is a man on a mission. I have decided that I am going to join him on this adventure by running a 5K (almost) everyday. With two fulltime jobs and a baby at home life is crazy but oh is it worth it. Thus far almost 1K dollars has been raised which may not seem like much out of 50K but with Christ all things are possible and with two crazy people with a similar vision we are only limited to what we think can happen.