The Milestones project has the rather majestic goal of banishing hatred. They want to tackle the ignorance that divides the world into 'us' and 'them' and our fear of those who are different. Their solution is elegant. They photograph developmental milestones and other significant events in a child's life. First tooth, first set of glasses, first day at school, first best friend, first haircut as experienced by children around the world.
Have a look at their charming and inspiring website. It is a work of love. Don't be fooled by the artistic beauty of the site. Shelli and Richard pursue their goals as intentionally and calculatedly as any social entrepreneur or social justice advocate. Determined to do something about ethnic cleansing, race riots and religious hatred they mortgaged their home, borrowed from their credit cards,and learned how to become proficient at photography all while balancing money worries, ensuring the highest quality of product, and securing endorsements. The usual triumphs and trials of social entrepreneurs.
After traveling the world and taking 35,000 photographs celebrating childhood, Richard and Shelli have a number of milestones of their own:
- Exposed 200 Million people to their work since 1998!
- Recipients of the Global Tolerance Award from Friends of the UN
- Won the Purpose Prize for people over sixty pursuing society's biggest challenges
- Taking the Milestone pledge
- Reading what former PM Joe Clark; JK Rowling; Walter Cronkite; Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights have to say
- Mounting an exhibit if you own an airport or shopping mall or have access to public space accessible to large numbers of people like Calgary recently did.
- Calling them if your business, non-profit or profession would like a makeover to profile your corporate commitment to peace and justice or to earn revenue using their innovative methods ( 303-572-3333 )
- Checking out their latest book Wise at Heart which pairs the wisdom of young people with slightly more famous adults like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actor Tom Hanks.
And now everyone stick out your tongue and say ahhhhh.
NOTE: Richard is one of the true pioneers of the social enterprise field. He is the man who introduced me to social enterprise 25 years ago. His books still make the list of the 10 most requested books by students in Schools of Business. Filthy Rich and Other Non-Profit Fantasies ; Making Money While Making a Difference ; Cold Cash for Warm Hearts ; and the one that tickled me into a new way of thinking about money, social change and non-profits those many years ago, Non Profit Piggy Goes to Market , which is sadly out of print.