Archive for September, 2010

Creative caring in Dominican Republic

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

Because of its proximity to Haiti, we have done a lot of partnering with our office in the Dominican Republic this year, particularly in the aftermath of the earthquake in January.  That partnership has helped shine a light on some amazing work being done in the DR by employees and Independent Business Owners (IBOs).  


When you enter the Amway Brand Center in Santo Domingo, you see a wall of children’s photos – some in color, some in black and white. The ones in color represent donations that IBOs have made. Once all the squares turn color, Amway matches the amount raised to complete the funding for cardiac surgery for a child.  

With assistance from Easter Seals, children are often flown to the United States for specialized care – sometimes they come to Amway’s hometown in the Grand Rapids metropolis. To make sure they get to the airport, which can be a major barrier for some families, our IBOs volunteer their time to drive children and their families there.  

Diamond-level IBOs often compete to raise the most money so they can hand over the check and meet the child’s family. They are working on their third surgery program, and have begun to sell pins and tshirts to meet the goals quicker.  


Across town, Amway partners with a local preschool near Santo Domingo, which supports children and their families that live in a slum area. With the support of the company and IBOs, the preschool helps and feeds about 40 children each year.  

Additionally, children are given Nutrilite Children’s Chewable Multivitamins and Vitamin C for healthy growth. IBOs do everything from raising money for items like tables and chairs to donating school supplies. Those IBOs who are doctors also provide regular checkups for the children at no cost (see photos below – all of the doctors are IBOs).  

We’ve heard stories of some IBOs performing music for the children. Others donating their wedding gifts to funding the daycare services. They have taken the children to the museum during a Diamond event. They have performed census profiles of the families so they can be better served by the government. They even buy special deserts for the children every month.  


This year, Amway will introduce a similar program in Puerto Rico, hoping to build off the successful programs in the Dominican Republic.  

One by One is played out in many different ways in many different countries. But the themes are always the same: passion, caring, creativity, community … and helping children in need, one at a time.  

Thanks to Ruben Familia for providing background, and to Katie Blough for contributing to this article.  










Debido a su proximidad con Haití, nos hemos asociado grandemente con nuestra oficina en la República Dominicana este año, particularmente luego del terremoto en enero. Esa asociación ha ayudado a resaltar algunos de los increíbles esfuerzos realizados actualmente en la República Dominicana por empleados y Empresarios Independientes (IBO).    


Cuando entras al Centro de la Marca Amway en Santo Domingo, verás una pared con fotos de niños – algunas a color, otras en blanco y negro. Las fotos a color representan los donativos hechos por los IBO. Una vez que todos los cuadros estén a color, Amway parea la cantidad recaudada para completar los fondos para una cirugía del corazón para un pequeño.    

Con el apoyo de los Easter Seals, los niños son transportados frecuentemente a los Estados Unidos para cuidado especializado – a veces llegan al hogar de Amway en la ciudad de Grand Rapids. Para asegurarnos de que lleguen al aeropuerto, lo cual puede ser un obstáculo enorme para algunas familias, nuestros IBO ofrecen su tiempo como voluntarios para conducir a los niños y sus familias allí.    

Los IBO de nivel Diamante a veces compiten para recaudar la mayor cantidad de dinero y puedan entregar el cheque y conocer a la familia del niño o la niña. Están trabajando en su tercer programa de cirugías, y han comenzado a vender distintivos y camisetas para llegar a sus metas más rápidamente.    


Al otro lado de la ciudad Amway se asocia con un centro pre-escolar cerca de Santo Domingo, el cual apoya a niños y sus familias, los cuales viven en barrios de escasos recursos. Con el apoyo de la compañía y los IBO, los centros pre-escolares ayudan y alimentan a cerca de 40 niños y niñas cada año.    

En adición, los pequeños reciben las Multivitaminas Masticables Nutrilite para Niños al igual que Vitamina C para un crecimiento saludable. Los IBO hacen de todo, desde recaudar dinero para artículos como mesas y sillas hasta donar suministros y efectos escolares. Aquellos IBO que son doctores también ofrecen evaluaciones clínicas regulares para los pequeños, libre de costo (ver fotos abajo – todos los doctores son IBO).    

Hemos escuchado noticias de algunos IBO tocando música para los niños. Otros han donado sus obsequios de bodas para recaudar fondos para los servicios de cuidado de niños. Ellos han llevado a los niños al museo durante eventos de Diamantes. También han realizado perfiles de censo de las familias para que puedan servir mejor al gobierno. Hasta compran postres especiales para los niños cada mes.    


Este año Amway introducirá un programa similar en Puerto Rico, esperando construir sobre los programas exitosos en la República Dominicana.    

One by One se representa de muchas formas en muchos países diferentes. Pero el tema siempre es el mismo: pasión, caridad, creatividad, comunidad… y ayudar a los pequeños necesitados, uno a la vez.    

Gracias a Rubén Familia por ofrecer el trasfondo, y a Katie Blough por su contribución para este artículo.    


Taking the Plunge for UNICEF in Hungary

Tuesday, 28 September, 2010

I’ve been catching up on stories people have sent me from around the world, and found this gem of a program that happened over the summer in Hungary.

Many fundraisers are made up of adults doing physical feats in the name of philanthropy. Run for charity. Walk for freedom. Ride for a cause. This model creates a great incentive for the athlete, but doesn’t always include the broader community of donors, recipients … and children.

Amway Hungary has been a longtime supporter of UNICEF, and participated in an event that brought unlikely teams together for a swimming competition.

The 2010 European Swimming Championship Charity Relay Swim took place in August in Budapest, Hungary. In each team there were two children, one well-known Hungarian swimmer and one person on behalf of the company. These weren’t just Amway employees. We had some of our tip Amway Business Owners involved, swimming alongside Bronze Medalist Peter Hovarth.

They had a great time, and the event raised $14,000 for UNICEF. It included other companies in the area, like T-Mobile, EDF, MTV, and Nemest Sport. The swim competition was broadcasted on national television in Hungary.

Writing a check is the easiest way to help out, but when you can bring a community of people together to collectively join in the efforts, you are building a legacy of philanthropy that will keep on giving.

Thanks to Karin Schmid and Dalma Laszlo for contributing to this post.



Breaking the cycle of childhood poverty

Monday, 27 September, 2010

Poverty as an inheritance seems very un-American. We tend to believe everyone has a chance to make their own success.

I still believe that is true, and it is everything that Amway stands for. But a recent study from the Urban Institute defines what we are up against.

According to the study, a child born poor is likely to spend half their childhood in poverty. The study, “Childhood Poverty Persistence: Facts and Consequences,” is the first research to connect poverty status at birth with other outcomes throughout life.

Today, 13 percent of the 4.2 million babies born each year in the U.S. are born poor, according to the study. An estimated 14.1 American children under age 18 are considered poor, more than just 10 years ago. In 2000, about one in six American children were considered poor. Today, one in five live in poverty.

These children are also more likely to experience poverty as adults, to drop out of high school, and to have children of their own as teens. More than 30 percent of “persistently poor” children spend half their early adult years in poverty, compared to only one percent of “never poor” children, according to the Urban Institute.

It’s pretty overwhelming. So how do you stop the cycle?

By intervening early and often, say the researchers. Writing in “Spotlight on Poverty,” they suggest hospital staff identify children born into poor families at birth and get them access to help and support offered by government and community-based programs.   

And we can help by supporting those programs. 

United Way campaigns around the country are wrapping up this week. Giving to United Way helps community organizations provide the kind of services that can break the cycle of poverty.

In our community for example, Catholic Charities of West Michigan offers a Healthy Start/Healthy Families program that connects the child and family while still in the hospital to health, nutrition and mental health resources and helps them navigate how to get the help they need. Arbor Circle offers services for parents and their children, including counseling and help with developing parenting skills. Baxter Community Center’s Child Development Center and United Methodist Community House’s Child Development Center both offer comprehensive child development support, including day care, so parents can work or go to school.

To learn about United Way-supported programs in your community that benefit children and families, visit

A growing number of organizations are also being formed to help communities address the needs of its youngest citizens. Here in West Michigan, First Steps is a community collaboration working to develop a strong system of support for children from birth to age five and their families. The First Steps Commission is co-chaired by Amway President Doug DeVos.

The statistics can be daunting. But sometimes it just takes a little help from each of us. And it always boils down to a single person, a single child, one by one.

Organizations and programs like these can help improve the outcomes – and outlook – for children born poor in America.

Thanks to Pam Hunt and Beth Dornan for their research and contributions to this story. – JH

Momentum on rebuilding project in Haiti

Friday, 24 September, 2010

In our first week, we raised more than $1,600 for a SOS Children’s Village home for orphaned and abondoned children in Haiti through our new ititiative.

If your thinking you have to give a lot to make a difference, consider what these amounts could cover:

$1 – Pack of nails

$5 – Hammer

$10 – Ladder

$50 – Bunk bed for 2 children

$75 – Kitchen table

$100 – Study desk

$100 – Window

$100 – Door

$500 – Basic kitchen stove/refrigerator set

$1,150 – House framing

$2,200 – Roof

$5,000 – Electrical and plumbing installation

$10,000 – Concrete, masonry and foundation for entire house

You can learn more on our Haiti Relief page, or go right to the dedicated SOS site. Amway is contributiong $250,000 to this effort, and we hope many others will join us.

One by One … the full story!

Thursday, 23 September, 2010

Tori Brown from the Direct Selling News did a wonderful piece on One by One this month. Rarely do you get a chance to tell your full story, but in this case we did.

It talks about why the program was created, how we had to customize programs in each country, and what it is about the One by One Campaign for Children that makes  it truly unique to out Amway culture.

Check it out at the Direct Selling News website.

One Child at a Time—Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children

More robust reporting from Amway

Tuesday, 21 September, 2010

Amway has always done great things for its communities, but being a private company, we haven’t always shared our story with the world.

In 2007, we published our first Corporate Citizenship report, a high-level overview of the different aspects of citizenship. The new report published this year gives a in-depth look at our global activities, our measurements and our results … as well as our philosophies on corporate citizenship.

You can click on the link below to view the entire report as a PDF.

2009 Corporate Citizenship Report

Orlando Magic help out with Positive Sprouts

Monday, 20 September, 2010

There were mixed emotions at our last garden event of the year – at the Universal Foundation Boys & Girls Club in Orlando.

The event was exciting, with lots of Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs) and employees involved, many Club members and staff excited about their garden, Master gardeners from the Green Education Foundation and local extension programs … and special guests from the Orlando Magic!

But is this really our last garden of the year?

It’s easy to think that the event is the most important thing, but really, it is just the beginning. IBOs around the country  now have “adopted” local Clubs. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America now have a gardening model with a corresponding educational curriculum that can be scaled up in any of their 4,000 Clubs. Lifestyles will now be affected for the better, with a new interest in fresh fruits and vegetables and access to organic produce grown right at the Clubs.

More than 70 people participated in the Orlando build on Saturday. Kids planted four gardens: Herb, Southern, Salsa and Pizza themes. The volunteers also planted a butterfly garden. Some plantings were only seeds, others were plants just sprouting little buds. They painted signs to identify the plants, and made their own seeded pots to take home.

Volunteers helped in the garden, and also transformed the surrounding area. They stained benches and planters, added soil and new flowers and bushes, built a tool shed and disassembled old broken picnic tables.

Since Amway is partnering with the Orlando Magic on the new Amway Center stadium, we called our friends at the Magic offices to invite staff and players to participate. They were there along with us, laughing and getting dirty while the outdoor area received a facelift.

We had guest appearances by current and former NBA stars: Daniel Orton, Bo Outlaw and Nick Anderson from the Magic as part of the NBA Cares program. They jumped right in too, allowing the kids to teach them what they had learned, and doing a little gardening and painting of their own.

We are already looking ahead at hosting Harvest Parties at the seven Positive Sprouts clubs in November. And plans are underway for more gardens and process improvements for 2012.

But for now, we can take a look back with excitement about what has been created with lots of hands, big and small, and the seeds of more to come!

Below are some pictures from the event, and you can watch a video on the Orlando Magic website.

You can see more pictures at our Flickr site:

Spread the news and vote!

Friday, 17 September, 2010

When you think of poverty-stricken cities, Grand Rapids, Michigan isn’t one that comes to mind, but the years between 2000- 2008 proved otherwise. According to a study by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) a 19.4 percent food hardship rate existed in Grand Rapids – that’s higher than Detroit (18.8 percent) and Chicago (17.4 percent)!

Since 2003, we’ve partnered with Kids’ Food Basket (KFB), a local organization that delivers sack suppers, to attack childhood hunger. By reassessing resources and formulating a new “lean” standard work procedure, KFB has been able to increase the number of meals made each hour from 88 to 800.

We’re proud to announce that Amway and KFB have been selected as one of five finalists for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center’s Corporate Citizenship Awards, Partnership category. As an online people’s choice award, the winner of this category will be determined by you! We encourage you to read our story, spread the news and vote!

Thanks to Katie Blough for helping with this post. -JH

Don’t forget Haiti! … Here’s how

Wednesday, 15 September, 2010

We found a fantastic partner to help with rebuilding in Haiti. It’s called SOS Children’s Villages, and its no stranger to Amway.

SOS has a mission of providing “A loving home for every child.” They do this by creating actual villages of 15 homes, typically with a school and medical center. In each home there are up to 10 children that are loved and raised by a special SOS home mother.

Today we announce a partnership in which Amway and its friends will help build a home in a new SOS Village in Les Cayes, Haiti. Amway has committed $250,000 and asks employees, Independent Business Owners, customers, and even the general public to participate.

The program page is on the Amway website, or you can go straight to our dedicated page on the SOS site to make a donation. You’ll see on the SOS site that any amount makes a difference. $1 is the cost of a box of nails and $10,000 is the cost of the foundation of the home.

Please check it out and help us build a house together!

An outlet for teachers’ wishes

Monday, 13 September, 2010

Last week, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about his wife, a school teacher, whose school supply budget got cut down this year from $400 to $100. For most teachers, this means making some touch choices about how much of their own money they want to spend to ensure kids get what they need.

This year, Amway worked with television personality Maranda on a solution that empowers the community to help.

The Amway One by One Campaign for Children, Wood TV 8 (our local NBC affiliate) and Maranda are promoting Teacher Wish Lists. It’s an online tool that connects teachers to donors. Who are the donors? You are…the community members … the neighbor down the street … the parent of child in the classroom.  And to help out is quite simple.

1. Teachers, visit and register for a free wish list account and post your wish items today. Your fellow teachers are asking for things like construction paper, arts and crafts materials, cleaning supplies, and yes even amphibians for a science project.

2. Donors, go to and find a wish list from the local school in your city and then contact the teacher and arrange to deliver the donated items.

A simple gesture has such a huge impact and teachers are being overwhelmed by how generous people can be when they just ask.

Thanks to Angela Nelson for contributing to this article … and for serving as Amway spokesperson for this program!