In this follow-up piece to our previous highlights of Motili’s community team’s activities, we interview Brynn Hamlett and Jordan Grosso about Motili’s initiative with Crossbar, the company’s involvement with the Denver Rescue Mission and a sponsored community project with Balfour Beatty called Bridges to Prosperity.
What is Crossbar?
Crossbar is a social enterprise and a nonprofit organization that uses 100% of its profits to build schools for kids in developing countries.
That sounds like a great initiative! How did you get started with Crossbar?
Crossbar is a non-profit which took shape about three years ago. My sister, Taylor Ross, was in college at the University of Rhode Island when she called me with an idea of donating cleats to underprivileged kids around the world. We started an organization called Cleats Count that did just that. After taking a couple of trips (abroad), one to Ethiopia and one to Kenya, we had the thought that we could do more than just give kids cleats. It just so happened that the orphanage/school that we were at in Kenya needed a new building.
The school was built out of basically mud and sticks and the Kenyan government was saying to the school, “If they didn’t get a structure that was sound then the school would be shut down.” So we decided to form Crossbar and try and help them out.
Very cool. So is Crossbar focused mainly in Kenya or are you in other countries as well?
The idea is that we’ll eventually support anybody that needs help. The first project just happens to be in Kenya. It’s a place that we fell in love with when we visited and kind of needed our help. So, that’s where our focus went. We see the program spreading to other countries as we continue to grow.
What impact has the organization had so far?
When we were Cleats Count, we delivered over 200 cleats to multiple communities in Ethiopia and Kenya. And then since we’ve started Crossbar, we’ve raised over $50,000 to fund the school. We’ve already started construction. We’re about a third of the way through construction, just recently started pouring concrete.
Brynn, recently you conducted a Motili fundraiser for Crossbar. How did you get involved with the organization and what is the community team’s role?
Taylor and Jordan had set up a campaign to start fundraising until the end of December. The community team wrote up a synopsis of what they were trying to do and sent it out to the Denver team as well as the New York team. We bought a TV and raffled off tickets at the CO and NY holiday parties. And we were able, within the evening, to raise $1,000. And I saw that this morning we were up to over $2,100 raised in just a few days.
Are there other companies that are involved with Crossbar?
There are a couple of different companies that have been involved with us. BGYSA, which is a youth soccer organization back in Rhode Island. URI where my sister attended school has also gotten involved as well as a number of private individuals who have started campaigns to help fund us on their own. We have been asked by different groups about trying to help us get the word out.
Sounds like a great initiative. If somebody reading this was interested in getting involved, is that a possibility for them? How would they do it?
There are a lot of different ways to get involved. Just helping us get the word out about what we’re trying to do and the kids that we’re trying to help, helps more than we can really say. So whether that’s following us on social media, at Crossbar Official on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, sharing our page or our posts, or donating directly through our website at crossbar.life.
What is your vision for Crossbar in the future? What do you plan on doing within the next few years?
Top of mind is completing this school in Kenya. There are 300 current students that attend the school, a hundred kids that actually live at the orphanage on the premises, and it’ll be home to countless kids in the future. Moving forward we set up Crossbar in a way that we can sell soccer goals to private organizations, universities. The idea is that we’re able to take the profits from those goal sales and continue to do projects such as the one in Kenya. While this first school has been pretty dependent on people’s kindness and donating, we hope in the future that through the actual sales of our soccer goals, we’ll be able to complete projects similar to this and we’ll continue to find people in need and trying to help them out.
This year Motili was also involved in a community project with the Denver Rescue Mission. What is the Denver rescue mission?
Denver Rescue Mission, their main goal is helping people who experience homelessness as well as addiction. So along with gathering items, they also have emergency services, rehabilitation centers, transitional programs that just kind of help everybody get back up on their feet.
Brynn, you’d mentioned involvement with Denver Rescue Motion this year, what can you tell us about that?
The community team wanted to also have an outreach this quarter for a local charity in Denver. So we chose Denver Rescue Mission. We set up boxes around the office to donate used clothing that is gently used, canned foods, cash donations. People went out and bought gloves, blankets and so we plan to bring that to the Rescue Mission tomorrow.
Sounds like a great effort! Last but not least, Motili has been involved as a sponsor of the Bridges to Prosperity project with Balfour Beatty. What is this project about and why is it important?
This year Balfour Beatty’s Bridges to Prosperity project built two foot bridges in Rwanda, which will provide essential safe access to the local communities. Seven people were swept away by the Makurungwe River in the past three years. Through this project residents of the surrounding communities can step onto their new suspension bridge, knowing that they are safe to cross the Makurungwe River for years to come. Motili is excited to be a sponsor of such a tremendous project.
As a retired firefighter I have always been driven by a life a service, I have tried my best to live by this ideal, giving me purpose and drive to always help when and where I can. I’ve now been given a chance to give back in a way I couldn’t imagine to a community who really needs it.