Mocha Club Director (and Influence Speaker!), Barrett Ward, was leading a trip of college students to Africa in 2004, and through talking with them, he realized the frustration among many young people today who feel marginalized by their perceived inability to make an impact in Africa. With only a few dollars – rather than thousands – to spare, many people feel like their efforts to give are like dropping a pebble into the Grand Canyon. This compelled Barrett to create a new model of giving, and Mocha Club was born. The official launch was at a Matt Wertz Rep Concert in Nashville in July 2005, and the success of Mocha Club has grown to have a massive impact both in Africa, and in the countries where their members live. Mocha Club was at the forefront of Social Giving, and presented a new model in contrast with the traditional child sponsorship programs.
Mocha Club is addressing extreme poverty through holistic solutions. The challenges that face Africans today are as diverse as HIV/AIDS, access to clean water, and the vulnerability of women. Mocha Club is committed to locally developed projects where the community identifies the needs and the response. The end goal is always to create real, sustainable solutions.
By giving up the cost of a few mochas a month, members are supporting these strategic relief and development projects throughout Africa. Whether it’s mochas, tacos, a pedicure, or a movie ticket… the thought is to add tangibility to giving. We all spend money on things every month that we could do without, and the reality is that our money can go so far in other parts of the world like Africa. The cost of just a few mochas a month can provide life-saving HIV/AIDS medication or books and uniforms for a kid in Kenya to go to school. And we really don’t even miss it.
There are 5 different project areas you can choose from: Education, Clean Water, Orphan Care, Healthcare, and Women at Risk. Again, these all work together to holistically empower and change the communities Mocha Club is invested in in Africa.
Mocha Club began as a $7/month endeavor (again, the cost of a few mochas) — and just celebrated 7 years of $7/month with a big party in Nashville (Hayley, Amanda Williams of Life.Edited, and Blair of Wild and Precious celebrated with them!!). Many of the artists that bring the message of Mocha Club on the road to share at their concerts were there performing — like Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes, and Drew & Ellie Holcomb. Mocha Club works with musicians in many different genres who want to use their influence for good.
One of the cool things about Mocha Club is it’s set up as a community endeavor. Members can invite their friends and those with whom they have influence to join them in making a difference. A great example is one of Influence’s community leaders. Blair of Wild and Precious, approached them to raise money for one of the projects. She had been wanting to get a pixie haircut, but wanted to bring a bigger purpose around it. Through her blog, she was able to raise $2500 for Women at Risk in Africa! At Influence, Mocha Club will be sharing how this little pixie project is growing into a much larger endeavor, and how you can join in the fun.
fashionABLE was actually born out of Mocha Club, specifically their Women at Risk project area. A big part of real, sustainable solutions lies in job creation, and that’s what fashionABLE is doing — creating business for women who have been marginalized due to the effects of poverty.