Acts of Impact

How 'Unbound' Empowers Those Living in Poverty By Connecting Them With Direct Financial Sponsors

December 01, 2022 Nicholas Hill Season 1 Episode 33
How 'Unbound' Empowers Those Living in Poverty By Connecting Them With Direct Financial Sponsors
Acts of Impact
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Acts of Impact
How 'Unbound' Empowers Those Living in Poverty By Connecting Them With Direct Financial Sponsors
Dec 01, 2022 Season 1 Episode 33
Nicholas Hill

Today we interview Tara Hefner. Tara is Market Development Director for Unbound, a non-profit organization that partners with families living in poverty, providing direct cash sponsorship and special funding programs. We’ll talk about the benefits of direct sponsorship, the wonderful relationships that form between sponsors and sponsees, and some of the great successes Unbound has witnessed as a result of their programs. 

To support Unbound, become a sponsor, or discover more ways to help, visit:

To learn more about the show, view transcripts, and more visit:

Special thanks to Tara and the Unbound team. Music by Alex Grohls.

Show Notes Transcript

Today we interview Tara Hefner. Tara is Market Development Director for Unbound, a non-profit organization that partners with families living in poverty, providing direct cash sponsorship and special funding programs. We’ll talk about the benefits of direct sponsorship, the wonderful relationships that form between sponsors and sponsees, and some of the great successes Unbound has witnessed as a result of their programs. 

To support Unbound, become a sponsor, or discover more ways to help, visit:

To learn more about the show, view transcripts, and more visit:

Special thanks to Tara and the Unbound team. Music by Alex Grohls.

Nicholas Hill  0:00  
You're listening to Acts of Impact, the show where we interview those who are making a positive difference in the world around us. I'm your host, Nicholas Hill. And today's guest is Tara Hefner. Tara is Market Development Director for Unbound, a nonprofit organization that partners with families living in poverty, providing direct cash sponsorship, and special funding programs. We'll talk about the benefits of direct sponsorship, the wonderful relationships that form between sponsors and sponsees, and some of the great successes Unbound has witnessed as a result of their programs. Let's get started.

Tara, welcome to the show. 

Tara Hefner  0:53  
Thank you so much for having me. 

Nicholas Hill  0:54  
It's so great to have you. And I'm really excited to talk to Unbound. This is an organization that I found to be really impactful and really interesting. One thing that I noticed about Unbound is that you have a really unique kind of value proposition and that you're partnering directly with the families in need. Can you tell me a little bit about how you do that? And kind of how you approach the problem of poverty? How, how did this all get started? 

Tara Hefner  1:23  
Absolutely. So 40 years ago, we had a our co founders came together. And they were a group of siblings and a family friend. Two of those siblings were missionaries. And they saw a real need and a pull on their heart to help those living in poverty. And they came back to their came back to Kansas City, actually, and said to their family, we've got to do something. And so they started with a Christmas card list. And in those Christmas cards, they asked their family members, their friends to support them in helping those living in poverty. And a lot of things have changed with unbound since then. But what hasn't is the cornerstone of our program, which is sponsorship. So you sponsor a child, youth or elder and partner with that individual on their path out of poverty, our mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world. And we take that really, quite literally in the fact that one of our co founders actually walked from Kansas City, to Guatemala, and then Guatemala to Chile, he was in his 60s and 70s, on both of those walks. So it's really about understanding what our families are going through what they're facing, walking alongside them, not in front of and not behind, and making sure that we're partnering with them. We believe the best path out of poverty is a self directed one. And so one of the things that has changed throughout the years is how those benefits are distributed. So when you sponsor a child, youth or elder in our program, the majority of those individuals are getting that cash benefit directly into their bank account, their family, then can make if it's a child, then can make the choice to use those funds. However, that family needs to make it I mean, we're sitting in Kansas City, and the decisions that we would make for a family are very different than what a family would make that family that mother knows what the family needs better than, you know, anybody here in Kansas City could, 

Nicholas Hill  3:31  
you know, it's funny, you talked about the founding of it. And you mentioned this Christmas card list, where they're asking the people around them for support. It reminds me of like a historical version of a Facebook fundraiser, where someone is saying, like, hey, I need support to help. The folks that I'm seeing in Guatemala who are struggling, and they're just manually writing these Christmas cards out is kind of an interesting thought. Now, you mentioned you're partnering with them directly, and that the best way out of poverty is self directed. So you're giving them money directly. And you found that to be more effective than say, building a school or building a library or working on, I don't know, water, safety or quality. You found that that direct connection has been really impactful. Is that right? 

Tara Hefner  4:24  
Absolutely. So there are no shortage of organizations that are doing amazing work doing just as you described building schools or digging wells and those they're great projects. What we have found is that by partnering with individuals and understanding what their goals and objectives are so, so when an individual joins Unbound, while they're in the process of applying and then waiting for sponsorship, they meet with a social worker and that social worker understands what their goals and objectives are broad level, once they get sponsorship, they actually sit down with with that social worker and map out their goals and objectives. And for the most part, most of these families, their goals and objectives are very simple. A, they want their children to have a better life than they do. They want their child to go to school, get a degree, and have a professional job. As they describe it many times. The second goal is usually to improve their home. So whether that is making much needed repairs, or getting a home of their own, that is safe and secure. Those are those are usually the goals. So so they know that social worker knows what they're working towards. And once they get sponsorship, they start receiving those funds, and working towards meeting those goals. The other amazing thing that we do is an well, I shouldn't say we because they're doing it all on their own, they form what are called mother's groups. And those groups of women get together. And sometimes men, sometimes their grandparents, sometimes their siblings, it doesn't necessarily always need to be mothers. But we found that for the most part, the majority are mothers that participate in these groups. And as a group, they get together on a regular basis. And then those mothers, those individuals know what everybody is also working towards. They don't only have the support of the social worker in our staff, now they have the support of other individuals who are very similar to them, if not their next door neighbor. They're all working towards a similar goal and managing a similar life. Oftentimes

Nicholas Hill  6:49  
What did you call it a group of mothers? Yes, a mother's group, a mother's group? That sounds so intimidating to me. I'm like scared of them. Like, it feels like a group I don't want to mess with? 

Tara Hefner  7:02  
Oh, absolutely. 

Nicholas Hill  7:04  
What strikes me is that you have this kind of general community lead understanding of what the surrounding families need. And almost a way to keep everyone rowing in the same direction. If you've got a community that has these needs, the mothers group can kind of keep an eye out on that. And then like you said, a lot of the team at unbound are most of your team here in Kansas City with you. 

Tara Hefner  7:30  
So we have about 140 staff members who are employed by the Kansas City office, and they live in the States. So most of them are here in Kansas City. But we do have, you know, a few remote workers. As you know, we all all these companies and organizations do nowadays. But we also have about 1800 individuals who are working in the field, about 40% of our staff in the field are formally sponsored, or scholars themselves. So they have been through the programs, you know, they're not only a walking alongside our families, they were in their shoes at some point. And that's really important to us that we hire individuals who are so familiar with our programs, but also that we hire from those communities. We're not sending you know, expats overseas to do this work. Because quite honestly, and this is me saying it not unbound. I think that if we did that, that, that those individuals would go with their own preconceived notions, right, you know, we might start to walk ahead of folks, instead of walking alongside and we really wait that's just really important to us. 

Nicholas Hill  8:42  
One of the themes that I'm seeing here is, is this element of control and putting the control and the power in their hands, rather than us coming in and saying, we want to control what you need, right? We want to tell you what you need, rather than us doing that. Your organization is really saying, you know, what you need you are the groups that can decide this for your community, for your families, for yourselves. And then we're here to be kind of a guide, right? You have the social worker that they're meeting with to help them understand, you know, their own goals. Is that kind of capturing it a little bit?

Tara Hefner  9:19  
Absolutely, you know, we want them to be self sufficient. And if we control and tell them what to do, and how to spend their money, and tell them what we think they need, then they're not going to be able to be self sufficient. You know, our goal is really to make sure that when they leave the program, they understand goal setting and can you know, be able to take those learnings into you know, the rest of their life. We want to make sure that they have the tools and resources to continue to improve in whatever way that looks. 

Nicholas Hill  9:58  
I'm thinking now about what this looks like at the ground level Between a Sponsor and a sponsee. So if I'm a sponsor, and I come in and say, I want to help, I want to help project safe your mission, I want to help these individuals. What does that look like for me? Do I get paired with someone? Do I get to communicate with them? What does that kind of look like? 

Tara Hefner  10:21  
Yeah, so on our website, you can search for individuals who are waiting for sponsorship. And you can search by birthdate, by gender, by age, and a variety of filters. And so you can really get pretty nitty gritty, you can search by name. So if you have somebody who you want to honor, right, so my father passed away last year, and I want to sponsor somebody who has shares his birthday, so I can go in and find somebody was September 16. And maybe I want to sponsor an elder male, to honor my debt, I can find within reason, obviously, I can find that person. And so once I select that individual, within a matter of probably a week or so, he then gets notified that he's been sponsored, and quite honestly, that his life has changed. What happens next is pretty cool. He sits down and he writes a letter. And he introduces himself and he says, what he does for work, if he still works, what his family life is, like, what his house looks like, what area of you know, the country he lives in, you know, who surrounds him, who are his family members, and sends a picture. And now all of a sudden, we are connecting, because then I get that letter that's translated if need be. And I respond, and I tell him the same things about me. And we read develop this relationship that goes back and forth. And maybe someday, I can go and travel and meet him, we have awareness trips, where we can take our sponsors to meet their sponsored friend, and learn about their culture and their community. And really what Unbound is doing in those communities, and more importantly, what their sponsored friends are doing in those communities. And so it's really, this, oftentimes a long term relationship that you're establishing and getting to grow and understanding and grow in a global world view of my world isn't really that small after all. And I'm also helping somebody in a way that I never thought I could. 

Nicholas Hill  12:33  
It reminds me a little bit growing up of having a penpal, they used to pair us with people from other countries, and getting to learn directly from someone else about their life and their challenges and their wins their successes, and getting to kind of celebrate with them and help them. And in this case, that help is quite literal, where you're getting to, to also sponsor and support them. And something that you mentioned a second ago, when when you were talking about an example of someone you could sponsor, you mentioned that you could sponsor someone that was maybe elderly. And I thought that was pretty unique. I've seen a lot of sponsorship for mostly children and a lot of my research, what was it that encouraged you to include the elder community at unbound? And what have you noticed about the effect that it has on them? 

Tara Hefner  13:24  
Absolutely. So, Unbound is the only US based organization that sponsors elders. And we started that in 1984. So we started sponsorship in 1981, and three years later realized that there was a great need among elders. And elders have a very unique set of needs that children don't have, you know, they are oftentimes isolated. They are for lack of a better word abandoned by their family, because their family has left to go go to a bigger city and make a better life for themselves. And so they have this the set of needs that are found co founders realized early on was important and something that they could do that we could do to solve for those needs. So what ends up happening is similar to a mother's group, now these elders have a community and I had the privilege of traveling to Colombia, right before the pandemic, so I traveled in January, we visited a elder group in Cartagena, Colombia, and it was like being around a bunch of high schoolers in the sense that they were talking nonstop, the staff couldn't really get control of the room. They were razzing each other and picking on each other. And it's just it's amazing to see that these individuals are thriving because of their sponsorship. I read a great story and heard I heard about this story. And then I went back and read about it. There was a gentleman who he and his wife decided to sponsor and his wife chose to sponsor a youth and he felt felt led to sponsor an elder. And she was an ad for when he started sponsoring her. And he admits that the reason he sponsored her was because he wasn't sure that sponsoring a child or youth was for him, because he just he wasn't in it for long. He didn't want to be in it for a long time. 

Nicholas Hill  15:34  
The commitment level, yeah, 

Tara Hefner  15:35  
Absolutely. Sponsorships can last, you know, on average, up to 10 years, depending on when you start sponsoring an individual. And so he started sponsoring her when she was 84. And she lived until I think she was 105. But she was over 100. And he actually went and visited her. And he, you know, just joked he's like, I didn't want 10 years of sponsorship. Oh, I didn't get 10 years of sponsorship. He got 20 

Nicholas Hill  16:03  
He got 20! Yeah. Oh, wow.

Tara Hefner  16:08  
But I would argue that sponsorship is what helped her live longer, you know, elder sponsorship, it certainly provides the cash benefit. But it also they also provide additional benefits. So they meet needs, like nutrition and health care, medical care and housing. So it's really meeting those additional needs that like I said, a child just usually doesn't, doesn't have those needs. 

Nicholas Hill  16:35  
So being able to sponsor a child being able to sponsor we've got the mothers forming the mothers groups, we've got the elderly who are finding ways to thrive. There's a lot of really, really good stories here. I'm curious, are there any stories that that stand out to you as something that was really impactful, or maybe just kind of interesting that you've seen? 

Tara Hefner  16:58  
Sure, there's a lot. And part of that is because I was able to travel, you know, and I have my own stories. But then we also have field reporters who are responsible for going out and gathering stories. And so they video record, they take photographs, and they interview our sponsored families, and we get this plethora of amazing stories of success. There's a really cool story about sponsorship from the sponsors point of view, because most of our stories do focus on our sponsored friends. Of course, sponsorship doesn't just impact the sponsored friend. It's also impactful to a sponsor, and there was a gal. Her name is Debbie. She lives in California. And she has sponsored about six kids throughout her journey with unbound. And my boss actually traveled with her to Guatemala on an awareness trip. So one of these trips to meet her sponsored friends. And he asked her, you know, what is sponsorship for you. And she said, I always pick a child. And from the very beginning of that relationship, I tell them, why I pick them. And I make a promise to them, that if they make it to eighth grade, and graduate eighth grade, which is quite an achievement in most of the countries where we work, that she will go and visit them. And so on this particular trip, they were able to witness her meeting her sponsored friend who had just graduated from eighth grade, and what an amazing commitment that they both made to each other because she said, I'm going to come and meet you. But her sponsored friend, this girl said, I am going to graduate from eighth grade. And she did. And so it's just that amazing support that they both had along the way as well. There's also an amazing woman in Kenya, in Nairobi in she is a mother, her daughter was sponsored. Her daughter has grown and so she's no longer sponsored, but she's still involved in the mother's group, and her name is Florence. And I met Florence when I traveled to Africa in 2019. And Florence was badly burned as a child and she doesn't remember it. She doesn't know how it happened, but she lost most of her fingers. She has partial use of a thumb and through her mother's group, she learned how to make beads and she makes beads and strings them with a needle and a thread using her partial thumb and her mouth and she strings these beads and makes this amazing jewelry. And we have a picture of her. When I started it was there was a picture to have her and some of her jewelry displayed in one of our conference rooms. So when I met her, I said to her, Do you realize you are famous in Kansas in our Kansas City office and her cheeks got red. But she has this amazing smile, and just an amazing spirit, and has been able to use the tools that she's learned from unbound and from her mother's group to support herself and her family, and make this amazing jewelry. And there are so many other mothers just like her maybe not making jewelry, maybe, you know, not badly burned, but overcoming so much, and doing so much for their family that they never thought was possible. Nobody ever told them. That as a woman, as a mother, you can be a leader you can provide for your family, and through unbound and sponsorship and the mothers groups. Were telling them that and they're proving that they are

Nicholas Hill  20:59  
both of those are such heartwarming stories and thinking about the woman who has sponsored you said six children. 

Tara Hefner  21:07  
Six Yeah, 

Nicholas Hill  21:07  
yeah. Wow. That's, that's a, you've got to have a huge heart for that. I love that she gives them rules, like, all right, if you want, if you want me to come say hi, then, then here's what we're gonna do. You know, I was actually just interviewing a gentleman who's a teacher in Uganda a few weeks ago, and he was talking about some of the same challenges, the high dropout rate, and different things that you do to keep some of those children in school. So this is just another example of the ripple effects that sponsorship can have to help the communities. Let me ask you, maybe just a personal question, you know, on your own travels, are there any areas that you've traveled to that that you felt kind of particularly impacted by or any countries or cities that maybe surprised you just in any way? 

Tara Hefner  21:58  
Yeah, so unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling because I started here at Unbound in August of 2019. And then COVID. And so unfortunately, we have not been traveling, we just did our first staff development trip in October, where we send new staff members to the field to be able to meet our staff there to learn about our programs to meet our sponsor, families, connect as employees and teammates and make a connection beyond their department. So they just did that trip in October. That being said, I am ready to get back on the road. I think I've taken something from each of my trips. So I went to Uganda and Kenya in November of 2019. And then Colombia in January of 2020. And I think the interesting thing to me is the similarities of poverty, you know, in two different very different countries. When I was in Colombia, I went to Medellin, which is a huge metropolitan city, you know, you take a train, and then a they've gone to was up to the hills, which was amazing. And all of a sudden, you are out of the city. And in a rural community, that is an informal settlement. And this informal settlement means that communities have built their homes, individuals have built their homes, stores, schools, on land that is owned by the government. And at any moment, the government can come and say, No, we want it back and kick up, kick them out. But this settlement was just amazing. And I mean, we hiked up this steep embankment, and saw, you know, folks living in really humble homes and the smiles on their faces. What I've seen in three different countries, two different continents, is yes, they are living in poverty, but that doesn't define them and the joy that they have the resourcefulness, they're really able to do so much with so little. And it's a good lesson for all of us to really be thankful for what we have, but then also take a lesson from them on the challenges that they face. They overcome them because they are resourceful. So how can we be resourceful because we have so much more than they do? 

Nicholas Hill  24:30  
For sure. It's that that resilience and their creativity and how they're handling the challenges that are being presented. And something else that you know, as I was doing my research, I know that you have this direct sponsorship and that's really kind of the some of your core foundation, but you do also have some special programs that unbound works on can you tell us a little about maybe one or two of those? 

Tara Hefner  24:57  
Absolutely. So one very low arch program is our scholarship program. So we know that one of the best ways to get out of poverty is through education. And oftentimes the cost the travel, the the just commitment is it can be prohibitive for most of these families, individuals, children know that they can go out and work and start contributing to their family's income at a fairly early age, something that would be unaccepted here in the States, you know, they're they, they know, at eight, hey, I can be working in the field. And we want to make sure that they have as much time as possible to get that education to graduate from eighth grade, if that's beyond the national level, we want to give them those resources. And so we have the scholarship program that is available to our sponsored friends, their family, and in 2022, we distributed $3.3 million in aid to scholars around the around the globe. So really doing amazing things, to be able to support them. And so anybody can contribute to that fund. And that program, we also have a really awesome program called agents of change, again, focused on that community that that we've talked about, the agents of change is a program that we started a few years ago, that individuals mothers will identify a need in their community. It's usually an infrastructure type project. So from everything from, you know, replacing or repairing a roof on a school, to installing or improving drainage ditches along a road to prevent sewage and floodwaters from going into individuals homes. So the mothers identify this need, they write a proposal to solve the need they source, the vendors, you know, the contractors, whoever they need, they sourced the materials. And then that proposal is reviewed and approved by other mothers groups. So it's not our staff who's saying, oh, yeah, this is a project that needs to be funded. It's nobody here in Kansas City, who says, oh, let's give them $500. For this grant, it is there. It is another mothers group that's evaluating those projects. And so then it really impacts that entire community. The other thing that we're seeing is, then, again, we're empowering those mothers, they're becoming leaders and agents of change in their community. So right now, we're doing some piloting of reports back to donors, on those agents of change proposals that they're funding. And I was reading a project report, and it was a school and it was in Guatemala, and next to the school was a little area where they stored firewood, and, you know, some supplies like chairs that they didn't need. And so they were storing all of these things outside in the elements while the mothers come and they make lunch for the kids every day. And so they would get the firewood to start the fire to make the food. And I don't know if you've ever built a fire with wet wood, but very difficult to light a and be very smoky. So what was happening was these mothers were being inundated with the smoke, and it's unhealthy, it's dangerous. And so they said, well, we need to build a shelter for the wood. And so they got their proposal together. And they went to the school leader and told him what they wanted to do. And he said, You're a woman, you don't know what to do. You don't know how to construct this. You don't know how, what it's going to cost. And they said, but we do, this is the research we've done. And these are the other projects we've completed. And you should trust us to do this. And he did. And I saw these pictures of this room that mothers built with their own hands, to keep their firewood dry, the you know, in the school supplies safe. And now all of a sudden, imagine the pride that those moms walk around, knowing that he told us know that we didn't know what we're doing. But we did and we proved him wrong. 

Nicholas Hill  29:34  
And now it's standing and now this is better for everybody who's making lunch every day and you get to see the results of that work. 

Tara Hefner  29:43  
Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and our mothers are, they're thrifty, right. They, they know again, they're resourceful so they're finding the best price for those supplies and they're providing the labor if need be and if they're able, and they're working against deadline because they know that, you know, they've got to get this done so that they can focus on other things with their family. And so they're they're meeting their deadline, they're usually come in under budget, if they don't, if the project is bigger than the 500 grant will allow, then they're pitching in their own money. They're doing a fundraiser, they're, again, being resourceful and making sure that they are able to solve for that challenge. Immediately. 

Nicholas Hill  30:28  
My my business brain is like, okay, project management experience, leadership experience. Like I'm thinking about these, these women and all of the different skills that they're developing and some of the really cool things that they're doing. You know, we're talking about that kind of Thriftiness, resourcefulness. My understanding is that unbound also has a small business accelerator. And you told me a story previously of a Nicaraguan immigrant, who I believe started up her own business, I was wondering if you'd be willing to share that? 

Tara Hefner  31:03  
Absolutely. So every decision that we make is here in Kansas City and in the field is made with our families in mind. So we want to make sure that we are developing programs that meet their needs. And so what we often do is we will pilot a program and kind of see what happens and see if it's ready for other people to fund to take forward. So this program is in its pilot stage. It started I believe, in 2008 teen and what happened was, this cow emigrated from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, the way that it was told to me was that in Costa Rica, they eat everything with bread. But in Nicaragua, they eat everything with tortillas. So she realized that there was nowhere to get tortillas, and she lived in a community with primarily individuals from Nicaragua. And she started making tortillas and selling them. And she was doing this in her home with, you know, a small mixer and an oven. And it was a awareness trip. And they just happen to stop at her home. And she gave them a tour. And she talked about her business. And while they were visiting with her, they said, What do you need to continue to grow your business and she said, Well, I just have this small mixer and this, you know, small oven, you know, I need bigger equipment. So they get back in the van. And they started opening their wallets. And they said, We need to get her a better mixer, we need to get her a better oven. And one of the things that, you know, we make sure is that every sponsored friend has the same opportunity as their neighbor. And so our staff were like, No, that's, that's not how we operate, we're not just going to buy her an oven. And so they said, But and so they did figure out a way to kind of support her when they got back to the office, but they realized there was a great opportunity in the fact that we have, again, you know, these amazing individuals who are developing businesses and meeting a need that isn't, you know, they are in their community. And most of these individuals that are in this pilot program, it's in countries where their cost of living is getting higher, but their income is also getting higher, everything's improving. So sponsorship isn't going nearly as far as as we would like it to go. And so they're turning to, you know, growing their businesses. And so our staff works with them to develop a business plan. And make sure that you know, these are true entrepreneurs who are committed to growing their business and not just a hobby, because hobbies are great. But we want to make sure that it's something that has some longevity, and that we're really investing in something that is sustainable. And then what I'm doing is I'm pairing those donors with an entrepreneur that has something in common. So, you know, if they are a construction company, then I'm gonna find somebody who's start, you know, who has a construction company in Guatemala, let's say. And so we're really trying to support those entrepreneurs in growing their business, they need just a little bit of capital to achieve, you know, that next level, and we're seeing that happen. 

Nicholas Hill  34:37  
Well, in it, it feels to me like it folds right in with the rest of your mission, which is kind of putting that power in their hands and allowing them to make decisions that will better their lives. Entrepreneurship, we all know is a really powerful way to get out of poverty if you're successful. And so I think that that's something that I wanted to touch on. Let me ask you because now I'm thinking, would I be on Team eat everything with bread, or team eat everything with a tortilla. And I feel like I'm leaning towards tortillas because I live in Texas and we love our breakfast tacos. What's your What are your thoughts? 

Tara Hefner  35:15  
So it depends, I would assume that she's probably making corn tortillas. I am not a fan of corn tortillas. I'm a flour tortilla girl. So I think if it was a corn tortilla I'd go bread. I don't know, it's kind of a toss up. 

Nicholas Hill  35:31  
corn tortilla flour tortilla. That's some heated debate down here. 

Tara Hefner  35:35  
But you can also fry the corn tortilla and have some great chips. So 

Nicholas Hill  35:40  
Yeah! well, let me ask you, you know, if someone is listening to this and saying, you know, this is really up my alley, this is exactly what I love the way that Unbound is helping people. And I want to get involved. What are some ways that someone can get involved directly to become a sponsor, or maybe some other ways that they can help your organization. 

Tara Hefner  36:02  
So they can go to our website, backslash acts of impact so that we can say, Hey, Nick, thanks for having us on the show, it really did a lot of good work. On the website, they can go through and find a sponsored friend that speaks to them. So age, gender, country, even area of study, they can really filter it down and find the most perfect person to develop a relationship with also on the website, we do have the opportunity to give to some of those funds, so you can donate to the agents of change program, you can donate to Scott the scholarship fund, we also have another fund the critical needs Fund, which supports individuals that may be impacted by a natural disaster, or, you know, some crisis that results in a loss of income. That was a huge fund that was tapped into at the height of the pandemic in 2021, we sent $5.5 million for critical needs. So a great opportunity there to really impact somebody's life that is going through a crisis that hopefully none of us will have to have to face. And then quite honestly, just following our social media accounts and sharing our content. As I mentioned, we have amazing stories. We have amazing visuals because of our field reporters. And the more we can get that in front of people, I think the better off we're really focused on making sure that we respect our sponsored friends, and treat them in a dignified way in the videos and photos. And so they're just stunning images, you're not going to see pictures of kids with flies on their face and distended bellies, because that's not treating them in a dignified way. And we want to make sure that that we're doing that not only in the images, but then also and that's just one of our core values. You know, we we value life and we want to make sure that that we are treating everybody with value through sponsorship and providing them the resources they need, but then also visually presenting them in a in a dignified way. 

Nicholas Hill  38:18  
Tara Well, I just want to say thank you for volunteering your time today to talk with us and for all of the work that unbound is doing. I know that I'm excited to follow your organization and just wish you the best of success in 2022 

Tara Hefner  38:34  
Well, thank you so much Nicholas. It's been a pleasure talking with you and it's a great opportunity to share our message and so thank you for that

Nicholas Hill  38:56  
Today's show was directed and produced by me with music from Alex Grohl special thanks to our guests for their time and insight. If you like today's episode, please follow us wherever you listen to podcasts, and consider leaving a review as it will help us to spread the word about the show. You can view more information about today's episode online at acts of Thank you for listening