Brett Hagler is the CEO and Co-founder of New Story, an innovative charity that crowdfunds life-saving houses around the world. New Story is a Y Combinator-backed organization (regarded as "the best entrepreneurial program in the world"). Hagler is also an author, cancer survivor, cross-fitter and a recipient of the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30.View the profile
About the talk
In a world where 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter, Brett shares how the transformative power of a $6,000 home can unlock opportunity and change the world.
What's up Inman? So, I'm Brett and I am a Co-founder and CEO of a charity called New Story. What we do is we fund and we build houses for only $6,000 per home. Yes, $6,000 per home and in doing that we transform slum areas into new sustainable communities. But today I want to talk about transparency or the lack thereof transparency in the charitable space and I want to premise the talk by saying that does not apply to all charities. As of course, there are organizations that we love and have
the utmost respect for this talk is geared toward the ones that we don't really trust. So when I say the word charity. Different things probably come to your mind in this room and a quick story about kind of what I deal with is a couple weeks ago. I was on a family vacation and we went out to dinner. I had a couple next to us and we shook up the conversation and of course the what do you do question comes up and I simply start describing, well I'm a part of the organization that crowdfunds houses and these building communities, then my mom being a typical mom goes
He started a charity and it's an amazing charity. Thanks, Mom. The couple looks at me and they go. Oh a charity nice that's good for you. And in my head I kind of register like what that word means that I know that I carry some baggage and even though I have a passion inside of me that says know you understand like we're doing it differently. Can I cut my losses there? But that's kind of what I deal with the word. And so that's why I want to talk about now. We're dealing with a 373 billion dollar
industry. That's what was given in 2015 from what I understand the real estate World Companies in agents in here. You partake in a lot of charitable giving Now if I was asked the room or I'm going to ask the room if you guys gave $1,000 online, like if you got your phone with your credit card $1,000 online to a charity how many people in this room would trust where that money goes and the director is always going to have little little shohan little participation. All right. Well according to the guardian about
43% of people don't really trust where it goes and I can be due to a bad personal experience that could be due to the end of the day. You don't really trust where it goes. And it's not because you're bad people or you don't want to help. I believe you do want to change people's lives. You just don't know who to trust and it's texting and it gets annoying and frustrating and I don't really know what to do. So I'm not going to give I'm going to do something else and I totally understand that because I used to feel the exact same way and then we read headlines like this.
In search of the Red Cross has five hundred million dollars of Haiti relief. You can't make this stuff up folks. This is from NPR and it is sick. I am sick of people thinking charity is like this. And that results the consequences that we might not think about in this room are the people that the donors were trying to help and serve end up in situations like this. So this is the family. I've been I've met and actually been in this tent so after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, I'll keep or
given temporary tents that were only supposed to last for about six months turned out they now been in there for 7 years. Can I go to paint a picture of what that looks like? So it if there's any parents in here kind of imagine your kids living through this so I mean aside from the obvious of what it looks like. We're probably smells like how hot it is inside. Think about when it rains at night and it rains a lot and mud and sewage rushes through the floor at night and the kids who sleep on the floor. They have to stand up the whole night. Imagine. If
you're a parent trying to leave for work or to try to do something for your family and you leave and your kids or your wife have no protection or safety because there's no safe home. This is what my team and I discovered down in Haiti and kind of quick background of how this thing started. I never thought that I would start a charity like ever I was actually the opposite of a charity guy growing up. I really cared about the 3 G's which to me was girls gold and Glory. It's kind of the opposite of a charity but then do that for about six years
becomes a an unfulfilling lifestyle and I made a 180 in my life to revise faith and it took a trip down to Haiti and I saw life-threatening homelessness and I just got back in and I met up my co-founders and we become so frustrated because it wasn't a lack of capital that was not the issue money was given the big organizations. It was a lack of transparency and it's not just in Haiti, right? It's all over the world a lack of transparency. It's a weekend together. It's and then we've got a design a model to let you create more trust and more
transparency. And so we use some technology. We try to use some Innovation to found a new story on a very simple belief that one when people give to charity they should know exactly who they help we do that digitally number to let you know where 100% of the donation goes in number three is you should know the end result of your donation. And so that's how we started and we believe that when that happens transparency unlock potential potential and donors potential and partners and potential most importantly in the people that it is serving. And
now there are some amazing organizations that have incredible transparency a couple examples and I just wish every organization operated in this in this mindset. So charity water they build walls around the world and they putting GPS tracking system and a sustainability tracking system on every single well thousands of wells around the world. So, you know how the well is doing a pencils of promise. If is a education nonprofit they come out with poorly transparent transparency report every quarter. Like why would every charity not do that or be held to that standard new
story one of the things that we do and I would really care about is closing the loop on the donor experience. So when families move into new houses are we actually take a moving video of them getting their cheese their home certificate and interview? I mean, this is a big day for them and we send it back to everybody that donated where they gave $5 or $6,000. For the house because the donors are the ones that made it happen. Not new story in the least we can do is connect them. And so there are a lot of organizations that do operate with transparency. And the question was asked. You know,
how do you how do you fix the transparency problem in the space? Like that is a very serious issue that I don't not going to sit up here trying to say I know the exact answer to that but I think a really good starting point is by donors or companies demanding transparency and demanding for Charities to make an effort to change some systems and do a little Innovation to have more transparency and how they operate and if they do that I fully believe that we will unlock more potential. Erase all example of a school that our kids go to and
apparently we've unlock this little boys crush on this girl if you can look at him. But yeah, this is just the joy that got candy brought, you know, when things actually get done and so kind of the vision that I see with charity and went stiff. I said I work for a charity what could be and what should be looks like this one side. You have people with love and compassion that are attacking big problems, right and very excited and aligned with Innovation and transparency and for-profit excellence in rigor that type of mindset.
Charity should sit at the middle to sit at the middle of those. And if you did kind of imagined like how that could impact maybe the 43% of people that don't really trust charity or maybe those of you that didn't raise your hand today if this was real and it actually looks like this, I believe that we would have more impact and I believe it is absolutely critical because we have to change the status quo. There has to be more Innovation and transparency in the charitable space. Why? Why the hell am I up here even talking about this?
Because at the end of the day millions of live millions of kids are at stake for your cause for all of our causes that we deeply care about for new stories cause they're at stake. I want to close with an example of a story of my friend Sasha who's this little girl little princess that you see in the pink dress. And so for some reason I don't know why but whenever I visit her Village like twice a year early know what we do, but she just kind of sees me from afar and her eyes light up and she runs towards me and gives me a big hug and it's just man it lights
up my heart more than almost anything. And then I think about man what was this girl's life like before she got into a new story home for 5 years when she was living in one of those tents that I showed you like, even though billions of dollars was given to large organizations that was supposed to help her out and get her into a safe home or into something. Like she went through what most of us in this room would consider especially if it was our kids very close to like a hell on Earth. I mean, I think like for 5 years, what did she do during storms? Where did you hide where
is Harding fathom? Like what dangers she might have been exposed to because there's no safety or shelter when you don't have a safe home and I'm so and then I think if there was transparency if there was accountability demanded and applied to all of that Capital that was given here. I undoubtedly believe that first story would have been changed earlier and other lies would have been saved been changed and that's that's an example for every cause that we all care about. There's more transparency. I believe that happened so I would just ask you As you
give personally or as a company to choose a charity that has transparency and if they don't demand some transparency so that nothing goes to waste and then together you can do the most beautiful thing in life. You can help change a person's life forever. Thank you.
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