Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stanford Student to Run Across Globe to Fight Poverty

The following post is from Travis Kiefer, a student from Stanford University who started his own social venture, Gumball Capital, as a result of his inspiration from Kiva. Now, Travis is attempting to run a marathon on each of the globe's seven continents, and he's doing it for a good cause.

A Run to Fight Poverty

Starting in Ireland and finishing in Antarctica, Kiefer is running the marathons to build awareness for poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship. As the Executive Director of Gumball Capital, a non-profit that engages students in fighting poverty through entrepreneurship, Kiefer hopes to raise awareness for the potential of social entrepreneurship and encourage more students to get involved.

Gumball Capital's flagship program is the Gumball Challenge, a one week microfinance benefit competition that provides students with $27, 27 gumballs, and a week to create value. In past competitions, students have held mini carnivals, run scavenger hunts, held dorm raffles, and more. All of the funds raised by these students help support the working poor.

"Kiva is the reason why Gumball Capital was created, and over 75% of the funds raised by our students are loaned through Kiva's platform," says Kiefer.

From South Dakota to Antarctica

Though running across 7 continents is a daunting challenge, Kiefer is no stranger to big challenges. This small town farm boy from South Dakota is the first in his family to attend college.

This ambitious project started when a friend said he'd donate $5 to Kiefer's Gumball Capital for every consecutive day he ran, and at that point Kiefer's imagination ran wild. He conceived of running 500 miles over 50 days in an effort to raise $250. But by mile 250, Kiefer set his sights higher to instead run 7 marathons across 7 continents.

Travis began his trek across the globe earlier this summer, after completing his Junior year at Stanford. So far he has completed 3 marathons - Cork, Ireland; Rosario, Argentina; and San Francisco, California. Later, he will tackle running in Zimbabwe, Japan, Australia, and finally run his last marathon in Antarctica on December 12th.

How You Can Help

Kiefer's goal is to raise $125,000 to support Gumball Capital's growth for the next year. Gumball Capital is a registered 501(c)3 and all donations are tax-deductible.

Gumball Capital's Website (more info, donate, getting involved, and sponsorship info) -