Local winery donates profits to orphanage

The Belwop Project, a group made up of quite a few APU alums, has received plenty of attention across APU’s campus ranging from announcements made in Kaleo chapel to classrooms to Cougar Walk. The nonprofit organization that the Belwop Project serves, Friends of Belwop, also recently received a great deal of attention from a local wine company that deemed their cause to be worthy of a $50,000  grant to go toward the Belwop Rescue Center in Nyeri, Kenya.

The Belwop Project is “a community of friends who have a deep love and concern for the welfare and care of a certain home for orphaned children in Nyeri, Kenya,” according to the project’s blog.

The Friends of Belwop nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting and promoting the Belwop Rescue Center in Kenya. The Friends of Belwop group seeks to provide the rescue center with shelter, food, clothing, medical care and primary school education for the children by covering the costs of school tuition, uniforms and supplies.

According to the Belwop Project’s website, the Belwop Rescue Center exists for a single purpose: “to give a hope and a home to the abused, neglected and orphaned children of Kenya.”

The Belwop Rescue Center was started in 2005 by one woman, Veronica Mumbi, and is still in existence today, but is in need of a new establishment due to the continued debt of a rented facility.

Cultivate Wines, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company that granted the $50,000 to the Belwop Project, promotes the idea that life is about sharing. Cultivate Wines seeks to share not only bottles of fine wine, but also for this sharing to spread even further to causes people care about. Cultivate Wines claims that, although their business is wine, their “mission is a fuller life for all.”

“Cultivate was started as a company that had at its core a commitment to refreshing others. ‘He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed,’” Cultivate Wines customer support representative Katelynn Sandberg said.

According to a video on YouTube produced by the creators of Cultivate Wines, Charles and Ali Banks, Cultivate Wines is based on an economic model that gives back first. The Banks’ also believe that while making wine from all around the world, they “expect to make a difference all around the world.”

Every quarter Cultivate Wines gives away 10 percent of their sales before profit in what they call the GIVE. The 10 percent of their sales in the GIVE is donated to a nonprofit organization focused on health, safety, education, community and environment. In order to determine what organization will receive the donations from the GIVE, Cultivate Wines hosts an online voting competition between an abundance of organizations that apply to be a part of the running for the $50,000.

During the month of March, announcements from members of the Belwop Project were made about Friends of Belwop’s entry in the competition at Kaleo, as well as in classrooms and on Cougar Walk by APU alums working with the Belwop Project. The announcements made at Kaleo urged students to take a minute to vote for Friends of Belwop on Cultivate Wines’ voting page so that the organization could win $50,000 for its incredible cause.

Sophomore graphic design major Davin Lindwall was among many students at Kaleo who happily voted for the Belwop Project.

“There was a mysterious peace that I had never felt before at Kaleo,” Lindwall said. “It was such a practical way to love your neighbor as yourself and to watch out for the orphan. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t have voted.”

The first-quarter voting ended on March 31, and 10 percent of Cultivate Wines’ sales were donated to the first place winner of the voting contest: The Friends of Belwop. The Friends of Belwop received more votes on Cultivate Wines’ voting page than any of the 29 other causes and won by nearly 3,000 votes.

Though the Friends of Belwop may have been awarded the $50,000, other organizations were also awarded for being among the top-five runners-up in the voting. The top-five runners-up received $10,000 from Cultivate Wines, and they included Sole Hope in North Carolina, The Peace Project in California, Playing for Change Foundation in California, Community Development International in New York and the Anna Julia Cooper School in Virginia. The remaining 24 nonprofit organizations that participated in the voting process are eligible to apply again as long as they did not win any money in the previous round of voting.

“Every organization that is part of the GIVE process is doing great things and worthy of the money. We are happy at every chance to GIVE, and certainly happy about this $50,000 going to Friends of Belwop,” Sandberg said. “Because of our wine sales last quarter, 100 needy children in Kenya are going to have a new home. That is why we do this.”
After receiving such a large donation from Cultivate Wines, the Friends of Belwop will use the money to purchase a larger facility for the orphanage to give up to 100 children food and shelter each day.