I’m new here. Still learning my way around Saipan. I’ve had the same conversations probably 300+ times. Why Saipan? How did you hear of Saipan? Well, I was a fashion designer way back when. So, I had heard of the sweatshops here when I was designing for several of those companies: Gap, Abercrombie, and Hilfiger. Maybe a few others. Since then, I’ve also worked as a professional photographer. But most recently, my life has been full of struggles and hardship. So, I’ve pivoted and focused my efforts on social justice and economic development for impoverished communities.
That’s Saipan. Full of challenges. The difference? Even the politicians and leadership here are willing to admit it. Let’s understand that these same difficulties exist elsewhere- nearly everywhere. Poverty, lack of jobs, poor economy. Well, okay… The drinking water, bankrupt CUC and CHC and pension fund… Welp. That’s a bit different. Plus, the optics are much different here. Maybe five family names run things. Small island, word gets around, everybody knows people. Then consider our congressman doesn’t get to vote (on most federal issues). There’s almost zero tax revenue (no sales tax, no income tax). Not much manufacturing, almost no exports, almost 100% imports. Corruption, nepotism, yada yada.
So, here I am. I chose here.
I’d like to help Saipan. I’d like to involve some of my diverse work experience and skills. I have unique knowledge on many things. (You can view a partial list of books I’ve read on my new Facebook account). I believe I can work directly with policy makers as easily as I can work with the most impoverished residents. I have knowledge of many innovative solutions that have been tested and proven successful. These concepts are complex.
But simple solutions just don’t cut it. Imagine, if every leader were great and successful… The world would have no problems. No poverty, no crime, no health issues, no lack of advanced educational attainment…
We’re complex, humans are complex. We often require complex solutions.
I’m talking about cross-platform solutions that can help solve multiple problems. Probably for the same or less money than is currently being spent. Commercial kitchen projects can help create jobs, train restaurateurs, and create the future economy. They can work directly with local farmers. Farmers could implement aquaponics to meet fresh fruit & produce needs on less water and less land, by at least a factor of ten. In turn, maybe this can help reduce obesity, and specifically, childhood obesity. Which leads to long-term health risks, like Type II Diabetes. Biofuel could reduce or eliminate the need for imported diesel fuel for 100% of our expensive CUC electricity. While also reducing our overflowing landfill…
I can offer business models for each of these. I can help build out the solutions. I’d like a chance to implement them, to collaborate, to do some meaningful work. How do alternative currencies function? How could one impact Saipan and the CNMI? Let’s discuss the proofs-of-concept: cleaning up trash, health care, college scholarships, volunteerism. All of these could be applicable, depending on design.
I’ve worked with politicians, nonprofits, NGOs, CBOs, educators, advocacy groups, and government agencies. I’ve worked with large and small businesses. I’ve worked with some of the most advanced creative minds across industries like: advertising, marketing, fashion design, industrial design, photography, graphic design, architecture, and more. I helped run an entrepreneurship program at Fresno State University in California. I’ve had my own businesses. I’ve worked for Fortune 500 and multi-billion dollar companies. I’ve worked with startups and helped launch a couple.
Next on my schedule… Later today I meet with the Public School System (PSS) grant writing team of Tim Thornburgh and Dencio on Capitol Hill. My offer is to help explore alternative funding sources for PSS- anything other than federal funding. Specifically, I’ll be discussing philanthropic foundations like Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ford, Rockefeller, and others. I’ll introduce more grant research sources; like: BlueAvocado, GuideStar, GrantWatch, GrantSpace, Foundation Center, and others. I plan to discuss social venture funding partners. There are many alternatives to federal funds. Let’s find some more money for our schools!
I hope my meeting will offer an opportunity to work with both Tim and Dencio to secure more funding for PSS. I’m targeting larger grant RFPs, RFQs, RFAs, etc. What’s that mean? More than $500K annually? Maybe. More than $2M annually? Maybe.