Logan Gardner is busy with a nonprofit organization he created, one that raises funds for other charitable ventures. He’s also responsible for cleaning his room and doing his homework, because, well, he’s still in high school.
Kids for Kids: Youth Social Ventures is a year-long school project for Gardner, a senior in the liberal arts academy at Henry Clay High School. Before he has a chance to turn in the final term paper, the program has already become a reality.
Focused on furthering the charitable endeavors of students in middle school through college, Kids for Kids has a mission of building a generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs with practical business experience.
“Kids for Kids is an organization that tries to help existing charitable projects run by kids expand,” Gardner said. “We focus on the three main obstacles in the expansion: credibility, networking and capital.”
In December 2012, Kids for Kids raised funds for Ellen Hardcastle, a high-school student in Nashville, Tenn., who recorded an album of original piano music. Hardcastle, a family friend of the Gardners, pledged proceeds of her CD sales to help build a well for a school in Malawi.
“I Facebooked her,” Gardner said. “I said, ‘We’re interested in raising money on your behalf, to expand your market.’”
Through crowd-funding resources, Kids for Kids raised $2,020 for Hardcastle in 45 days.
“I was surprised by my parents’ friends and my friends who donated money,” he said.
Many of the donations were $5 and $10.
“She’s making a name for herself for her music, not just because she’s a cool kid who did this cool thing,” he said.
Gardner has business in his blood. His dad, John, is a financial adviser at Wells Fargo. “My uncle and other uncle and my grandpa — everybody’s been in business. It was sort of a natural progression,” the younger Gardner said.
When he was a sophomore, Gardner started thinking about the “huge project” he would have during his senior year. He wanted to do something charitable; he appreciated the social-minded crowd-funding platforms of Kiva and RocketHub. He had some business knowledge, and he liked the idea of helping other kids start or expand their own charities. The combination became Kids for Kids: Youth Social Ventures.
His official mentor for the high school project is Erin Budde, head of community affairs at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis, who he met through his dad.