CREATED TO GIVE
How One Company Puts Their All into Changing Lives in Africa
After thirty-plus years of working in ministry, Dale Bolton had next to no interest in starting a new business. During the spring of 2004, his attention was fixed on making seaworthy the sailboat in his backyard, and charting the explorations he’d take in retirement. His wife, Linda, was engrossed in making available to Canadians a natural product that had turned around her own health. Impressed with the real efficacy of the supplement in treating magnesium deficiency, Linda and Dale became the sole Canadian distributors of a magnesium citrate supplement called Natural Calm.
These empty-nester projects kept the couple busy, but what truly transformed their lives was a growing awareness of the plight of AIDs orphans in Africa. The Boltons began fundraising projects, and even traveled to Africa to meet the orphans themselves and see the homes that were being built with the funds raised.
After returning from Malawi, they were convinced that more had to be done.
There are currently 25-30 million orphans in Africa, with that number projected to explode to roughly match the total population of Canada by 2010.
Just as Linda’s business plan came together, Dale recognized that he could no longer be content to sail off into the sunset. A deal was struck between husband and wife: they would both work together to help market the products if the profits could benefit African orphans. Natural Calm Canada was formed.
From the outset, Dale and Linda have told their partners, contributors, customers and employees that Natural calm Canada was not founded to make money, but to give money.
The Boltons' focus is to help eradicate “extreme poverty” – the condition of those living on less than a dollar a day.
Jeffrey Sachs, in The End of Poverty, suggests that if the world’s affluent could support the extreme poor of the world to the tune of a simple dollar a day, they could graduate to what he calls the first rung of economic development. Once out of the vicious circle of extreme poverty, the poor often have the wherewithal to pull themselves further up the ladder of development, without reliance on donors.
By targeting AIDS orphans, Dale and Linda know they are reaching out to one of the most vulnerable populations, but also to a generation with the potential to change the face of Africa. If the cycle of poverty can be broken for AIDS orphans now, by providing them with an education and a future, their own children need never know extreme poverty.
Dale and Linda’s goal is to ultimately support, through their partnering with individuals and businesses, as many as ten thousand homeless orphans in countries like Malawi and Kenya.
Working through Hope For The Nations, a UN Affiliate volunteer-based organization, and their own Non-Government Organization (NGO) Organics 4 Orphans they have already set up numerous projects in Kenya including orphanages, children’s homes, schools, water drilling operations as well as a new initiative training small plot farmers better techniques for higher yield crops in exchange for caring for an orphan in their home. The fertilizers, seeds, irrigation and training initiatives build sources of income and a sustainable food supply in orphans’ communities.
Dale and Linda have found a second life building a business they believe in. Natural Calm in the US supplies 35% of all magnesium sold in the country. “If we can do the same in Canada,” says Dale, “we can support ten thousand orphans.”
Their company vision is, “Creating Health and Sharing Wealth”. “The idea of retiring,” Linda adds, “Just isn’t appealing anymore.”