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As founders of the Wahl Foundation, Erik and Tasha Wahl — artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, parents and neighbors — are committed to provoke positive change in order to create a better world. Together, they helm The Wahl Group, which challenges corporate America to shift business-as-usual thinking to a more dynamic paradigm, and provides resources to educational organizations so they can tap the innate creativity in their schools’ communities.
Tasha Wahl has served as the foundation’s executive director for more than a decade. In her role, she oversees foundation projects, masterminds events and directs strategies to help the foundation create significant, meaningful results. She was inspired by the generosity of her parents to create The Butterfly Effect Project, which sparks philanthropy movements from small actions.
Erik’s #1 best selling business book, UNTHINK, has been hailed as THE blueprint for leveraging creativity to achieve superior levels of performance. It also won 2013 Business Book of the year from CEO Reads. Erik’s distinct style makes his graffiti artwork a favorite among celebrities, and with it, he has raised millions of dollars for charity. http://www.theartofvision.com
The Wahl Foundation Offers $40,000 In Grants
To Innovative Elementary Schools
The Wahl Foundation, a component fund of the San Diego Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), launched a grant program called “UNthink My School” that will award a total of $40,000 to schools that champion themes of innovation and creativity.
The Wahl Foundation will award one $20,000 grant and ten $2,000 “UNthink My School” grants, and will accept and review applications from Oct 6, 2015 until Feb. 15, 2016. Winners will be announced in March 2016.
Erik and Tasha Wahl created an entirely new kind of way to inspire and train corporate leaders, educators and nonprofits to tap their inner creativity and bring innovation and disruptive strategies to their organizations. http://www.theartofvision.com
Their company, the Wahl Group, has grown exponentially. They created the Wahl Foundation as a way to give action to their gratitude, and support organizations that heal wounds, unite what has fallen apart, and bring home those who have lost their way.
The Foundation’s main missions are to integrate the arts in education and to help the less fortunate. The Wahls believe that incorporating artistic concepts and creative expression into the learning process can be transformative for classroom and school environments.
One of the primary sources of fund-raising is through Erik’s art, which is no longer available for sale though ordinary gallery channels or by commission. This “disruptive strategy” of creating more of a demand means that his paintings work harder by leveraging more donor dollars for charity. For example, an original portrait of Steve Jobs was auctioned off for $27,500 to benefit the XPrize Foundation; similar events have raised more than $2.0 million to date.
In November, 2010, Michael & Mehrnaz Johnson started Hunger 2 Help, Inc. (dba Burrito Boyz) with their son Alec and his friend Luke. Not only were they hoping to teach his son and friends not to take things for granted, they wanted to do something to help others. After their first Sunday downtown serving 54 breakfast burritos and bottles of water, the group knew they had started something special. Julian Wahl, Justin McDonald, Alec Johnson, Luke Trolinger, Joe Skvarna, Nick Peeleman and Cole Smith are now board members of this 501c3. After three full years without missing a Sunday, the Burrito Boyz, the Burrito Babes and a cast of volunteers from San Deigo and visiting from around the country and world have served more than 50,000 meals.
We supported this project because it instills a sense of social responsibility in teenagers, and helps feed those who need it most.
After a personal trip to Kenya, Erik and Tasha were approached to help fund the building of a new primary school. Today the Shilce Secondary School has become a thriving institution offering local children a safe place to learn and reach their full potential. It serves youth from different ethnical, cultural and country backgrounds including those from the war affected countries like Burundi and Rwanda.
We supported this project because we were so touched by the sheer determination of children and their families who wanted nothing more than to learn—and because we knew that investing in this kind of education early on, instead of trying to rehabilitate troubled, displaced youth they would become without it, would not only help individuals and their families, but entire communities for generations to come.
Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 of the United States as well as more than 90 countries around the world. It uses “faith, patience, trust and consistency” in order to create meaning and purpose for those they seek to help.
We supported this project because we saw the deep power of connection among students and their mentors, and because we understand that love changes lives.
“Be the change you want to see.” I love this quote, but it begs the question, “How?”
As a little girl my father nicknamed me “Butterfly” and I’ve loved these creatures ever since. For me the butterfly represents hope, rebirth, faith, and love.
There is a book called “Miss Rumphius” that tells a story about leaving beauty where ever you go and I love this idea, but how to capture it for myself?
The Butterfly Effect was a theory presented by Edward Lorenz in 1963 to the New York Academy of Science stating “a butterfly can flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air-eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.”
I have a fledgling idea of how I want to be the change, and hopefully set into motion molecules of hope, that will set into motion molecules of faith, that will set into motion molecules of love.
I am privileged to get to travel all over the world and as I travel, I plan to drop butterflies in big cities and small towns, in hidden crevices and sunlit corners, on sandy beaches and in and around shady trees.
In each location, I will post a picture of the butterfly I drop. I will post the city and clues to the location where it can be found. The first to find the butterfly gets to keep it and here is where it gets fun! If you find the butterfly, you have to follow the directions on the back. Email me, text me or post the picture of you and the butterfly and share with me your contact information. I will then donate money to a charity or philanthropy of your choice in your name. The butterfly is yours, but the gift you give to someone else are the molecules of change that will bring hope, rebirth, faith and love to the world!!”
Since its inception, the Foundation has:
· Raised more than $2 million for schools and 501 (c) 3 organizations
· Become one of the founding partners of the Shilce Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya, serving underprivileged children and providing much-needed community jobs
· Created more than 1,300 original paintings to raise money for charities.
· Granted donations in 14 countries and counting
· Provided more than 300 micro-grants to deserving organizations via the Butterfly Effect