Our newest CALI Award winner is Pat Shepherd. After working with refugee children from Myanmar, Pat was inspired to create his own charity. The One Percent Collective combines Pat’s love of the arts, and highlights how little it really takes to make a difference in the lives of others.
Q: Tell us about the One Percent Collective.
Pat: One Percent Collective is a charity that exists because we believe that if we collectively donate 1% of our income to causes we care about, then we can make the world a better place for ourselves, for future generations, and have fun while doing it.
We aim to inspire generosity and giving through storytelling, videos and events, by working with artists, businesses and kind citizens to make this all possible.
Rather than donating from a distance and knowing very little about where your money ends up or the positive change it creates, the One Percent Collective allows people to donate easily to the multiple charities we partner with. We show people stories of the difference their donations make, and we ensure that 100% of their donations go to our partner charities.
Q: What inspired you to set up One Percent Collective?
Pat: I was actually inspired after reading a book by Peter Singer, called ‘The Life You Can Save’. It really made me think about how every little bit helps. While having $5 or so a week less, doesn’t have a noticeable impact on our lives, collectively those amounts will make an incredible difference to help the causes we care about.
I had just returned from a 6 week volunteering trip on the Thai/Myanmar border, working with refugee children from Myanmar. Seeing how little it took to help support these children, really got me thinking about how many people in this world could, and should, be doing so much more to help.
Q: Tell us about the other projects you are involved with.
Pat: The other half of my week I manage a children’s charity called SpinningTop. It was the charity I originally volunteered with on the Thai/Myanmar border, and luckily things worked out in my favour as they needed help with running the charity – 3 years onward, I’m now managing the charity.
We support vulnerable children and are currently working in Thailand, Myanmar and Samoa, making sure that the children have the right balance of education, nutrition, shelter and play in their lives.
Q: Do you have plans to go global?
Pat: One Percent Collective is a very simple model that has so many possibilities. At present we are just working on tightening up the model here in Wellington, New Zealand.
We’re really still just a start-up charity with only two people working on a part-time basis. I’ve got a great feeling about the next 3 months. Our second crew member only started this month, so I’m making full use of the additional skills and hours we can put into the Collective.
Q: What is something you are really proud of?
Pat: When we made the first transfer of donations to our partner charities, and it was $12,000, which was pretty amazing.
You can sometimes get bogged down in the day-to-day business of it all, so when the moment you’ve been working towards finally happens and the charities tell you how they are using the funds raised, then it’s a pretty incredible feeling!
Q: What drives you?
Pat: I think being active in the world of arts & culture in New Zealand, while running my charities that help make the world a better place, is the biggest thing that drives me.
Creative culture has such an impact on our lives, so I really have a determination to ensure that the younger generations grow up inspired to make this world a better place, for the children that I may one day have.
Q: Do you feel there is reward in your efforts?
Pat: There is a well known old Maori saying that is: “He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata.” It translates to: “What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people”.
This is truly my reward for working in the areas I do. I get the meet the greatest people in the world, who have changed my life in the best ways possible.
Q: If you had your way, everyone in the world would spend 5 minutes a day…
Pat: Dancing in their room for 4 minutes, then spend the other minute making sure they hold the door open for people throughout the day, and giving everyone a big smile. It’s the little things that really do make the world a better place!
Pat Shepherd is a freelance photographer and designer, as well as the founder and director of One Percent Collective.
He loves making things better. He’s been doing that for years by publishing his magazine Exposure Lifestyles, and more recently with his Good Karma Project and Little Lotus Project trips to Thailand, to teach refugee children from Myanmar the joy of art and photography.
He currently manages the charity SpinningTop and in 2011 he turned his lens on his own charity project and realised there was a place for One Percent Collective in the world.