Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Cedar Park Christian grad raises more than $20,000 for education in Cambodia

Cedar Park Christian graduate Kenny King with a Cambodian student. COURTESY PHOTO

via CAAI

Bothell Reporter Contributor

King and partner win business-plan competition for nonprofits at University of Portland

University of Portland students Kenny King — a Bothell Cedar Park Christian graduate — and Kurt Berning have raised more than $20,000 for education in Cambodia. King and Berning are the founders of Global Alliance for Developing Education (Global ADE), an innovative nonprofit that is dedicated to building education in developing countries. The money was raised at a gala event on April 20, which featured a gourmet meal and an auction of items donated by community partners and University of Portland students.

King and Berning also took first place in the nonprofit category at the $100K Challenge, a business plan competition hosted by the University’s Entrepreneur Scholar (E-Scholar) program and Pamplin School of Business on April 30. Global ADE tied with junior Elle Hoxworth and her organization Shangilia Mama for the prize of a $2,500 grant and professional services award.

Global ADE, founded in 2010, funds grassroots educational improvements spearheaded by individuals and organizations that live in the communities in which they work. Global ADE's model connects the knowledge and skills of these individuals and organizations with resources from domestic and international sources to create opportunity for students, teachers and community leaders.

In Cambodia, Global ADE will partner with existing organizations to fund innovative programs that address obstacles in the education system. This holistic approach to improving education includes expanding an existing microfinance program, building a secondary school, innovative teacher training and classroom programs and scholarships for high-school students to attend university.

Berning and King recently traveled to Cambodia through the university’s E-scholar program to begin making partnerships between existing organizations and Global ADE. King and Berning were able to learn more about Cambodian culture and evaluate several education programs and schools. During a trip to one school, both were able to assist in the teaching of an English class and meet hard-working high school-students with no money to pay for college.

“The trip has inspired me to work tirelessly to improve the quality of schools in Cambodia and offer opportunities to the deserving students,” said Berning. “The need in these schools is dire, and even a relatively small amount of money in the U.S. can make a dramatic impact on the life of a Cambodian student.”

In December, King and Berning partnered with Bon Appétit Management Co., the university’s food service provider, to have fellow students donate unused meal plan points to Global ADE. More than 200 students donated a total of $24,964 worth of points. These points both funded the dinner and were auctioned as packages including a meal plan for students and Bon Appétit catering.

“We want to build up the whole system of education, not just help build schools, and to make sure people can find jobs and get vocational training,” said King. “We want to explore microfinance opportunities, and we see the potential for our projects to be more like community centers than just schools.”

Global ADE is focusing on Cambodia because of the opportunity for success there. According to King and Berning, Cambodia is a country that is lagging behind in a region that is doing well. Also, they say there are many primary schools in the country but only a limited number of secondary schools available to students.

King, a global business and German studies double major, and Berning, a finance and operations management major, are both E-Scholars. The E-Scholar program provides classroom activity and applied experience, including travel abroad, to expose students to new and different ways of doing business and encourages students to create new business ventures or develop and implement strategies to improve existing enterprises. Through E-Scholars, King and Berning travelled to China and Cambodia in 2011 and made a trip to New York City in 2010 to met with several nonprofits and develop contacts in Cambodia.

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