People

“Purpose Hotel” Dreams Big With Charitable Overnight Stays

August 16, 2016Posted by Helaina Hovitz

Editorial: If you’re reading this, you may or may not already know that, as a news source, Headlines for the Hopeful (H4H) is committed to bringing you stories of solutions in action that are making a tangible and meaningful impact on people around the world.

So when we learned about a Kickstarter campaign for something called The Purpose Hotel, we were torn, since it is, technically, still just a concept.

We grappled over it for a couple of weeks, and finally, we came to a decision. Because it’s a concept that has the potential to completely revolutionize an entire industry, and because we’re looking at the inspiring story of one man taking action on an idea of gigantic proportions, we’re going to fill you in, because we believe that sometimes the most meaningful change starts with one person’s big idea.

We’ve seen philanthropy work itself into our daily routines in all sorts of new ways: the buy-one-give one model originated by TOMs Shoes, organizations donating money based on the number of hashtags and retweets racked up for a campaign, and the ability to build giving back into normal, everyday purchases through apps like Benefit Mobile.

If photographer Jeremy Cowart can raise $2 million dollars, then $10 million, and all of the pieces fall into place, people will be able to “create change in their sleep” at the world’s first Purpose Hotel.

Austin Mann

At this hotel, under the room number outside your door, you’ll see a picture of a boy or girl who, just by staying there, you are helping give access to education, food, clothing and more, thanks to a partnership with nonprofit Compassion International. The fee you pay for your Wi-Fi will go to International Justice Mission, a nonprofit that helps fight human trafficking. The soaps, shampoos and blankets will be made by Nashville-based organization Thistle Farms, a community of women who are healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction that employs 45 survivors.

The artwork will come from various photographers and humanitarian artists, and, in the lobby, a clean water well brought to you by charity:water will educate children on water wells and the need for clean water, and, of course, coins tossed into the well will be donated to building wells overseas.

To that effect, even if you’re leaving your room a bit of a mess for the maid, you’re still theoretically leaving the world a better place, because every aspect of your stay is connected to giving back.

Jeremy Cowart

The idea came to Cowart while he was on assignment years ago, just taking a look around his own hotel room and watching the lightbulbs in his mind go off.

“I thought, ‘What if everything was helping something?’ I know it will be a challenge to implement all the connections, but we know it’s possible and are excited to figure it out,” he said.

“We can build something that changes lives and becomes a defining mark of this generation. We can leave a legacy of purpose, hope and freedom, or we can be known for Pokémon Go.”

Jeremy Corwart

If you browse his Kickstarter page, you’ll bump into more than one paragraph acknowledging the logistical challenges he’s facing, especially for someone with no hospitality or real estate background whatsoever.

What keeps him moving forward is the community that keeps offering its encouragement.

“We have yet to hear from anyone who has a reason for us to believe this can’t become reality. But we temper our optimism with caution,” he said. “We know the next 2-3 years will be extremely difficult, but we are excited about assembling our ‘dream team’ and taking the next necessary steps.”

Purpose Hotel Austin Mann

We feel you—at H4H, we, too, continue to seek the resources we need to continue bringing our vision to fruition and keeping the site alive.

In Cowart’s case, nonprofits and foundations like Food for the HungryHope International, Mission Lazarus, Preemptive Love Coalition, and more have expressed their enthusiasm for being involved in the project.

Even though it’s an ambitious ask, this ‘dream team’ feels it is indeed possible to build a place where people can unite around important causes.

With 18 days to go and their goal about 25% met, we have a feeling that even if Cowart and his team don’t raise all of the money, they won’t just pack up their bags and check out.

Hopefully, H4H will be around to write about the grand opening.

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