#BostonMarathon Runner Story: Will DiTullio for the Bill Belichick Foundation

When I first started photographing Boston Marathon runners, Will DiTullio was one of the first people who volunteered to share his story. Will had been a mile short of finishing the 2013 marathon when the bombs went off at the finish line where his family was waiting for him (and fortunately were not hurt). He's been running every year since and this year he is one of six runners raising money for the Bill Belichick Foundation.
Knowing Will is an avid sports fan, I thought this was really cool but it turns out there's more meaning to why he's so eager to run for this team. In 2009, Will's mom passed away from complications of Type I Diabetes. His father (also a huge Pats fan) was so grief stricken that Will decided to send an email to Bill Belichick asking him if he'd reach out to his dad as a way to try to cheer him up. And he did! He wrote a letter expressing his condolences and thanking him for his support as a fan which meant a lot to Will and his family. So this year Will is running for his foundation and he's raised over $11,000 so far. How awesome is that?!
Check out this CBS news feature on Will's story and donate to his fundraising efforts here:

Congrats Will and good luck on Monday!

Boomerangs and AIDS Action Committee

As I mentioned before in this post, for my final school project I was paired up with the AIDS Action Committee to complete a photo project for them. I was asked to document the process of donating to Boomerangs, their resale retail store where all the proceeds go to AAC (they get 20% of their funding from the sales!). The idea was to highlight the impact a donation has to their organization and why they are so important.

I visited each of their four locations and followed their truck that picks up furniture donations all over the city. Working with the Boomerangs and AAC employees was a fantastic experience, everyone was so friendly and helpful.

I took over a thousand but here is a slideshow of the 20 images I presented to the photo department:

You can also see some on the Boomerangs website!

Practicum: AIDS Action Committee

The final project we are assigned at CDIA is one the school is very proud of- they pair each student up with a non-profit (which they call "practicum"). The student works with the non-profit for three weeks to complete an assignment for them, anything from photographing an event to building a website. This provides the student with professional experience and the non-profit with free creative work.

For my practicum, I was paired up with the AIDS Action Committee. I had actually done some volunteer work for them back in high school so I was familiar with their organization and its one I definitely support. The project I will be working on is highlighting the donation process with Boomerangs, their resale retail stores where all proceeds go to AIDS Action. I will be hanging out in their four locations, going out on donation pick-ups, visiting their sorting facility, etc.

The project is right up my alley (I love documenting processes, like my work with Silverbrook Farm), the people I've met are really nice and enthusiastic, and I think it's going to be a cool three weeks!

I love this!

As a (very) small business owner, I have a lot of sympathy for people struggling to make a living by owning their own business. I can't even imagine trying to do it in a country that has little or no support for aspiring entrepreneurs. I think that is why this organization struck a chord with me.

Has anyone heard of Kiva? This is a description taken from their website:

"Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world."

So essentially you donate money which goes to an individual in a country like Cambodia, Azerbijian or Bolivia to help them with purchases they feel they need to improve their business (you choose the individual by looking at their profile/story on the website). Their profile details their payment plan and the loan is repaid in the amount of time allotted. When the loan is repaid, you then re-lend to another applicant.

Sound too good to be true? Check out these statistics (also available on their website here):

Total value of all loans made through Kiva: $56,237,035
Number of Kiva Lenders: 420,850
Number of loans that have been funded through Kiva: 80,447
Percentage of Kiva loans which have been made to women entrepreneurs: 78.02%
Number of Kiva Field Partners (microfinance institutions Kiva partners with): 94
Number of countries Kiva Field Partners are located in: 43
Current repayment rate (all partners): 97.16%
Current default rate (all partners): 2.84%
Average loan size (This is the average amount loaned to an individual Kiva Entrepreneur. Some loans - group loans - are divided between a group of borrowers.): $435.43
Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds): $133.67
Average number of loans per Kiva Lender: 3.63

Amazing! I was so impressed I had to share. Please check out the site when you get a chance, I think it will impress you too.

If you have any feedback or tidbits about Kiva, I'd be interested so feel free to leave a comment!