Founder’s Story

mikeDo you remember several years ago when all these non-profit organizations were getting busted because the money donated to them was being used by the execs for luxurious getaways, fancy cars and expensive meals? These were highly reputable organizations that had been around for a long time. I’m not going to mention any names or point any fingers, but these allegations really disappointed me. I felt it just wasn’t fair to people giving their hard-earned money to organizations that may have had good intentions, but fell short in the real charity aspect.

It seemed to me not only disappointing, but down right criminal to mislead people that were trying to do the right thing. So I started looking into different charities. In fact I found one charity that was setup for the sole purpose of keeping tabs on and reporting the finances of other organizations. This organization lists the profits and the percentages of contributions that actually go to funding the cause of each individual charity. It also lists the CEO’s of these organizations and how much money they pull in each year.

That’s about the point when I realized that too many of these “charities” are more or less scams. When only 10% (or less) of the fundraising they bring in goes to helping those in need, there’s something wrong. When a CEO of an organization that promotes the well being of humanity takes home over half a million dollars a year, I see deception. I mean, doesn’t that negate the foundation of the word “charity?”

I began to find real sorrow in the organizations I put my trust. I was trying to help make the world a better place by giving to good willed organizations, but in reality I felt like I was helping fill the gas tank on some big shot’s Bentley.

I grew up in the midwest in a hard-working middle class family where my dad always preached that if you wanted something done right, often times you had to do it yourself. So I decided to act on my father’s insight and started working on developing a business plan based on my skills and how I could best use those in order to reach out to my fellow brothers and sisters in need.

Now my background is in design, art, photography and the like. And my passion has been to explore the world around me and learn about life in other cultures.

Several years ago I started writing an “Aloha Friday” newsletter which basically was my way of staying connected to friends and family, and teaching a little of what I learned through my travels and in my photography. The Aloha Friday newsletter eventually became quite popular and the circulation of it multiplied. So I thought, perhaps if I could use the skills I had developed in photography and writing, and spread a movement of peace and humanity through that outlet, maybe I could do more than just talk.

In late 2007 I put together a tremendous team of individuals that would act as a backbone to what would become The Earth Trot Project. And since that time, these ladies and gentlemen and I have been working tirelessly to build the foundation of a non-profit organization in which 100% of the public’s donations go directly to helping those in need.

And it is with my sincere gratitude to the members of Earth Trot’s board of directors, to all my friends, family, corporate sponsors and to all those I have yet to meet but who have contributed in some way to the development of this project that I humbly bow to you. Thank you for your support, your trust and your faith. I promise you, that together we will do great things.

-Michael Neubauer

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

–Chinese Proverb