A month ago I introduce Denis Mars, a former student and serial entrepreneur, to Alexis Hefley, founder of Empower African Children and the Spirit of Uganda 2008 tour, because I felt it would be a very good connection for both. Denis is currently working on one of the most innovative exciting start ups I have seen -- in years. 3jive will be an online community and business that enables the owners of digital assets (music, movies, the arts, etc.) to earn greater royalties from their work than they can under the current system. The start up will also have a nonprofit arm where members can raise visibility and money for nonprofits they believe in.
When Denis launches 3jive, he will need to show proof of concept. If you have heard the children on tour sing, you know spotlighting the work of Empower African Children, is great way to do that. And that is precisely what he and Alexis discussed.
But my story does not stop there. The children were especially taken with Denis who is kind and modest and who left home at the age of 15 in order to be able to work his way through high school. The kids were fascinated to learn that Denis earned his living by washing dishes in a restaurant in Sydney, Australia, and from that discovered that he could take responsibility for his dreams.
At one of the tour’s team meetings held at Hidden Villa, we discussed “Personal Leadership” and all young people on tour had the chance to hear Denis and talk about what they wanted to accomplish when they became adults. Peter Kasule,the gifted artistic director of the tour and himself one of the children now grown up, announced that he wanted to build a recording studio back in Kampala to bring the music of Uganda to the rest of the world.
Several days later, taken with Peter’s dream, Denis announced that he would give $5,000 to help Peter get started. “Quite simply,” said Denis, “I believe in Peter, in his spirit, his kindness, his talent and ambitions, to make a positive change … And I believe in the power of music to educate the world and bring all people together.”
When the children on the tour heard the news, they cheered because in Denis and in Peter, they see the possibility for their own lives. I don’t think there can be a greater gift.