Global nonprofit Seeds of Change continues to change lives, grow geographic reach

Oct. 22, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by POET.

When Miranda Broin took a service trip to Kenya in 2014 with her siblings and parents, Tammie and Jeff Broin, the CEO and founder of POET, she admits that she thought it would be a one-time trip — a bucket-list item to cross off.

But during that first visit to Kenya’s Kakuswi Special School for the Deaf, the Broins fell in love with the country and its people; more importantly, they saw a need and felt called to do more.

In particular, Jeff Broin noticed the dismal state of local farmers’ crops and knew that many of them struggled to feed their families. With his extensive background in agriculture, he knew there had to be something he could do. Upon returning home, the Broins began supporting farming efforts of Kenyans and education for Kenyan youths in addition to creating a similar annual service trip for POET team members and their families.

During a trip to Kenya in 2017, Tammie, Jeff, Alyssa and Miranda Broin met with local farmers who have been impacted by Mission Grow.

Since then, all five of the Broins have been back to Kenya multiple times, and their original initiatives have expanded far beyond what they could have envisioned to form Seeds of Change, a global nonprofit that has touched countless lives since its founding in 2014.

Today, Seeds of Change includes three key programs — Mission Hope, Mission Grow and Mission Breathe — and is working to transform education, agriculture and environmental conditions in developing countries. The organization continues to expand its geographic reach beyond Kenya through partnerships in Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Liberia, Nigeria and South Sudan — and they don’t plan to stop there.

And during a recent fundraiser in Sioux Falls for Seeds of Change, Miranda Broin shared with the crowd how, through their support of the nonprofit, they are helping change lives across the world from right here in Sioux Falls.

“Just by being here, you’re impacting many lives. It’s one night, but what we’re doing here tonight is creating change day after day,” she said.

More than 350 individuals gathered Oct. 17 at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown for A Night for Change. The seventh annual fundraiser, formerly called Dine With a Fighter, had several changes this year, including a new location and celebrity emcees: former Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and NASCAR driver Austin Dillon. Four professional mixed martial arts fighters also helped draw a crowd.

Those in attendance learned how the nonprofit is changing lives across the globe by revolutionizing the approach to farming in developing nations, supporting the education of impoverished and disadvantaged young people, and helping developing countries transition from solid cooking fuels to clean-burning biofuel cookstoves in order to eliminate indoor air pollution.

Miranda Broin provided an overview of the organization’s work through Mission Hope, Mission Grow and Mission Breathe:

  • Mission Hope supports the educational needs of some of Kenya’s brightest but most vulnerable students, including young women and children with hearing impairments and other disabilities. Since 2013, POET has provided team members with the opportunity to take an annual service trip to Kenya.
  • Mission Grow supports agricultural development in Kenya and helps farmers increase their crop yields and improve agricultural practices through work with local village-based advisers. Since 2012, Mission Grow has impacted nearly a half-million individuals and helped many farmers achieve 500 percent to 900 percent higher crop yields.
  • More than 3 billion people worldwide still cook with solid fuels, creating widespread damage to the environment and human health. Mission Breathe helps individuals in developing countries move from hard-cooking fuels such as wood and charcoal to clean-burning biofuels. The program primarily operates in South Africa and Mozambique, and is looking to expand.

The organization’s No. 1 goal is to provide people with the education and resources necessary to pave their own paths out of poverty by supporting projects that eventually will be self-sustainable. Mission Grow, for instance, has had enormous success and is already expanding into a new region of Kenya in addition to establishing a partnership with AsOne Ministries in Uganda.

Special guests share passion for the cause: ‘We can impact lives tonight’

The event also included a Q&A panel session, moderated by Greenway, with Dillon and MMA fighters Gian Villante, Michael Chandler, Ryan Bader and CB Dollaway. The fighters are part of the American Ethanol Fight Team and have participated in the Seeds of Change fundraiser multiple times since it began. They talked about their current roles and accomplishments, along with their passion for the cause.

Dollaway had a first-hand experience with Mission Hope when he went to Kenya in May 2018 for POET’s annual service-learning trip. Dollaway called the trip a “humbling, life-altering experience.” A self-described tough guy, Dollaway said the experience broke him. “I went down there thinking I was going to change their lives; it was really their lives that changed me,” he said.

Dillon, the driver of the No. 3 American Ethanol/AAA Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, discussed the latest happenings with his racing career and American Ethanol. He shared the significance of taking part in the fundraiser. “We can impact lives tonight,” he said.

Thanks to its generous supporters throughout the community of Sioux Falls and beyond, Seeds of Change raised $82,400 — the highest net total in the fundraiser’s seven-year history. Every dollar will go toward changing lives around the world.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received,” Miranda Broin said. “When we first started, we never could have anticipated all of this, and it’s been incredible to see so many people come together to get behind this cause.”

To learn more about Seeds of Change, visit seedsofchange.org.

Global nonprofit Seeds of Change continues to change lives, grow geographic reach

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