That was the question that Adam Braun asked a young boy he encountered while backpacking in India. The answer: "A pencil." That simple exchange with a young boy begging in the street was a call to action for Braun who founded Pencils of Promise in 2008. Adam Braun, a graduate of Brown University had begun a promising career with the prestigious management consulting firm Bain & Company, then walked away from it to focus his energy on creating a non-profit organization to provide educational opportunities where they were most needed. The PoP approach to the typical non-profit strategy is unique as it is one that converges somewhere in between non-profit and for-profit, a business model that Braun calls "For purpose." The PoP method for identifying areas in the most dire need are based on certain criteria. A recently completed construction in Guatemala was qualified by the metric that the average number of years in a formal educational environment for Guatemalan children was 4.1 years. PoP partners with the local communities they target to build schools, sourcing local materials and local labor creating jobs in the process. They also support the completed project and monitor the program's development.
This past October 24 was occasion for the 3rd annual Pencils of Promise Gala held here in New York City. The 2013 honorees were Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who defied the Taliban ban on girls attending school and survived their assassination attempt, New Jersey Senator-elect Corey Booker and the Cahill Family. The event was hosted by actress and advocate Sophia Bush. #InTheLab was there and host Arthur Kade had the opportunity to speak with her on the Red Carpet. Take a few minutes and listen in as she shares her thoughts about her continued support for Pencils of Promise and the great work they do.