WE LOVE AMERICA and are proud that our country has the reputation of being the land of opportunity. However, today that reputation is starting to waver. The goal of our foundation is to create economic opportunity, a healthy body, and mental empowerment for people who are willing to help themselves. In return, we demand personal responsibility and accountability.
A tsunami starts with a ripple in the ocean. We are creating that ripple. America, once again, must become the land of opportunity for all.
3 Major Problems in America Today
1.) Our education system does not work
American students rank 25th in the world in math and sciences. Our education system no longer directly translates education into vocational earning power in the marketplace.
2.) Two thirds of the American people are obese or overweight
It’s the single greatest factor facing the rising cost of healthcare in this country. Ultimately, this points to a serious lack of personal responsibility in America.
3.) Our Government promotes an entitled mindset
One in seven people are on food stamps. Around 50 million people receive food stamps a year costing the country $80 billion on average. The food stamp program itself contributes to a lack of personal responsibility because it fails to encourage and incentivize healthy eating choices. Our government also provides 99 weeks of unemployment insurance—that’s almost 2 years. A shift needs to take place that provides “opportunity” instead of handouts.
The role of philanthropy
Bill Gates says that the role of philanthropy today is finding innovative solutions to the problems that exist in modern society. Those solutions now have to come from entrepreneurs and private business sectors because the government is no longer geared towards taking action. By nature, governments are not risk takers. Innovative solutions only come from trial and error and the free enterprise system. But once an innovative solution is found and proven to work, government, with it’s scale and financial resources, can deploy such solutions and create positive change.
The Revolution in Education Today
Many people today don’t realize that there is truly a revolution going on in education consisting of four critical components:
1.) Our education formula inherently fails the majority of American people
When kids graduate from high school, the big push (and often the only push) is to get them to go to a four-year college. Only one problem, this usually doesn’t turn into earning power in the marketplace. Unless a person gets a specialized degree (only 20% of people do), they graduate from college and have zero marketable skills that are actually in demand in the modern marketplace. As evidence of this today, we see that 50% of people 25 and younger still live with their parents because they can’t find a job even with a college degree. Furthermore, student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion! This is greater than the total amount of credit card debt in this country. Millions of young people are getting tremendous financial obligations at the inception of their career ($200,000 is not unusual).
2.) A bright spot in education today, two-year community colleges
The focus of community college is on teaching skills that are in currently demand in the marketplace. From spending one or two years in community college pursuing training in a very specific area, graduates can then immediately get substantially higher paying jobs than their counterparts who often went to four-year colleges. In 1 to 2 years of attending a community college, specialized students can enter the work place with jobs that pay $50,000 – $70,000 a year.
3.) Technology is changing everything in education
It’s all about leverage. World-class professors at institutions like Harvard and MIT see that they have a choice in the impact they can have. Either they can teach five or 600 students a year at a prestigious institution or they can teach millions via the Internet. This phenomenon is turning education on its ear by radically changing the time frame required to get an education, substantially improving the quality of education, and directly turning education into earning power in the marketplace.
4.) Relating education to knowledge, not time
In the past, to get a job people had to have a diploma, which established that they put the required time in attending classes. That’s the old school, time in the classroom, approach to education. What’s evolving today is something radically different. Verification of competency through testing is the path of the future. The emphasis is shifting away from how much time you spend in a lecture hall towards verifying the level of knowledge and aptitude a person has by purely testing.
Our Foundation is changing American society
Our focus is to help people who want to help themselves. To give them opportunity – but in return we expect personal responsibility and accountability. Success begins with confidence, but to build confidence you have to create initial success in a person’s life. We pay for all living expenses during our program to ensure recipients focus entirely on academic excellence and physical fitness. Moms who are accepted into our program are personally responsible for maintaining a minimum “B” average. They are also required to meet tangible fitness goals. With our help, they create a holistic lasting success in life.
Single moms are the ideal target market simply because their success ultimately effects multiple generations. We are determined to continue creating impactful role models, productive citizens, and well-rounded individuals.
The future involves leveraging private donations with public money. If a private foundation can prove it can create employment, government money will follow. A Better Life Foundation must plant the seed. We are taking applicants today for our scholarship class of 2013. We are also taking private capital donations to further our program, with the intention of bringing in government money beginning in 2014, thereby greatly expanding our program in future years to ultimately help thousands of people in America.