Pella Chronicle

Local News

July 10, 2013

Enterpreneurs raise money for Kenyan windmill

Over $19,000 raised to release African village from outside aid.

Pella entrepreneurs joined forces to support a global effort to raise $15,000 in the 30 days in June to build a windmill for Gambella Village outside of Isiolo, Kenya.

Gambella village in Kenya needs a windmill to complete its five-year journey towards sustainability. The windmill will help irrigate the crops of 500 families all year round, thereby providing them with the ability to eat fresh produce every day and sell the excess in the local markets, eliminating any need for aid. This will serve as an empowering graduation present for a village that is in the final stages of Global Hope Network International’s (GHNI) rigorous Transformational Community Development program.

“The idea is to prove that a handful of ‘misfits’ can band together and solve one real problem on the planet,” said AJ Leon, the instigator of the global effort and founder of Misfit Inc. organization that travels the world to make good things happen. “We are bringing together 30 trailblazing Misfits from all over the place to run their own individual fundraising event. These 30 people will each raise a minimum of $500 each from their own communities to raise a total of $15,000. Imagine 30 ripples, each caused by one brave person sticking their toe into unknown waters. Then imagine those ripples spreading and running into each other to create one huge ripple. That is what a Good Misfit is.”

Under the lead of Veel Hoeden, Pella’s small business coworking space, the group joined 29 other groups around the globe to pitch in to make a tangible difference in the world. The Pella group committed to the minimum “investment.” but set a goal to raise much more. When it was all said and done the Pella group not only made their goal, but exceeded it, raising $650. The combined efforts of the 30 groups globally raised over $19,000, and construction on the windmill will begin the first week of July with a target completion date of mid-August.

Joel Bennett would like to send out special thanks to the following entrepreneurs for their part in the efforts: Jamie Gyolai, Josh Cowman, Matt Hugg, Melynda Van Zee, Mike Buchheit, Mike Kleis, Paula Fontinel and Scott Sorheim.

For more information about the Gambella effort, please visit

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