In partnership with Austin Film Society, we are thrilled to be presenting the documentary Sea of Shadows in our hometown of Austin! Click the photo to the right to watch the trailer of the story of a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents as well as the Mexican Navy as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the vicious international crime syndicate to justice. We are longtime supporters of Sea Shepherd, and we are glad to get to bring this story of their efforts to #savethevaquita to Austin.
Multicultural Refugee Coalition is an innovative nonprofit organization blending skills-based education with social entrepreneurship to connect refugees to dignified, fair-wage work in Austin, Texas. One of their projects is the New Leaf Agriculture Project and Farm. We got to visit the farm as it was starting up in 2018 and were so impressed, we donated a tractor to help with the efforts. They have partnerships with local businesses to grow unexpected crops like those used for dyeing textiles and making tea. We recently got to see the tractor in use with farm manager Wandaka Musongera. Growing in the heat of a Texas summer is no joke, but the MRC team meets the challenge with enthusiasm, and we’re so happy the tractor helps.
Here’s more from MRC:
We launched a commercial farm in nearby Elgin, TX. The New Leaf at Three Creeks Farm employs organic, sustainable practices while training refugee farm apprentices for paid agricultural work that is dignified, in-demand and familiar from their countries of origin. Established on a conservation easement, our farm grows directly for local makers and will also sell produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model…
…we began supporting local entrepreneur Colleen Preheim to grow roselle hibiscus on her property and are continuing producing for Texas Roselle on our farm. In 2018 the first crop to be planted at our farm was corn, in several varieties, for Barton Springs Mill, which is an Austin mill creating artisan flours from locally grown heritage grains. The third partnership is based on a relationship between our own Open Arms Studio and Miranda Bennett Studio, a local designer of plant-dyed, made-in-the-US apparel. Our stitchers at Open Arms produce Miranda Bennett's clothes and we are proud to now be growing Mexican mint marigold for dye.
The Girls Impact the World Film Festival focused on issues facing women and girls around the world. High school and undergraduate students submit 3-6 minute short films that address global women's issues such as: education for girls, maternal health, violence against women and girls, and a variety of other issues. This year, we received over 200 submissions from 42 countries!
Eloise has been a judge and sponsor of this film festival for the last six years, providing more than $200,000 in scholarships to young filmmakers. Some of our favorite films from this year’s winners include Lucia, What I Love Most, The Skin Tone Rule and We Could Be Champion Too.
At last week’s event in Austin, Texas celebrating Mobile Loaves & Fishes 20th anniversary and groundbreaking on Phase II of their hugely successful Community First Village, John Paul committed $1.6 million to the new Community Works building — a center for entrepreneurs and artisans to get trained, a space to work and a space to exhibit beautiful things for sale.
Community First! Phase II will include housing for more than 300 people suffering from chronic homelessness. Already, Phase I has provided housing (and so much more!) for around 250 men and women. There is a community farm, chicken coop, chapels, Alamo Drafthouse outdoor cinema, an Inn (you can stay there!), dog park, auto shop (come get your car inspected or oil changed!), art and ceramics studio and hair salon (with Paul Mitchell products, of course).
This new expansion will include a desperately needed clinic for the neighborhood that includes respite and hospice care. In the last few months alone, MLF has lost four community members, all of whom will be interred at Community First — it’s a dignified place to live and die. MLF is a place to belong, a place to build hope. John Paul and Eloise both love to see what’s been added with every visit. This time, the ceramic artists really blew us away. MLF is a great place to get involved if you’re in Austin. If you’d like to bring something like MLF to your community, they also hold trainings for getting this model up and running around the country.
This was Eloise's fifth year sponsoring Connecther's Girls Impact the World Film Festival. Every year, we are amazed at the voices, issues and perspectives raised by student filmmakers from around the world. Our support of the project goes in part to scholarship funds for talented filmmakers who are making a difference in their communities and globally through this incredible platform. We encourage you to watch the award winning films (and so many more!) that are all available on Connecther's website. 2018's prizes went to:
- JUDGES’ CHOICE Grand Prize - $5,000 The Superhero Without A Cape - HazeraBegum by Shafiqua Nawrin Oishi
- First Runner Up - $2,500 Let Me Breathe with my Dream by Novera HasanNikkon
- Second Runner Up - $1,000 A Truth by Susannah Joe
- GLOBAL IMPACT Grand Prize - $2,500 Award Cut by Aicha Cherif
- First Runner Up - $1,000 The Gods Will Be Angry by Preeti Shakya
- BEAUTY - $2,500 Award I Am Beautiful by Kristelle Dirks
- BEST FILM PRODUCTION - $1,000 Award Who is JenBLKYN by Roxanne Lim
- ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN - $1,000 Award Pinata by Juliana Concepcion, Miranda Abazoski and Tianna McNair
- GEMS CHOICE - $1,500 Award Self Portrait by Meghan Cullen
- GIRLS IN TECH - STEM - $1,000 Award A World in Motion by An Nguyen, Khue Tran, and Makayla Moore and Balancing Tech by Schwetal Shah
- GREEN IS - $2,500 Award Fatima by Halimah Tariq
- LET GIRLS LEARN - $1,000 Award Maskad (The Aim) by Pooja Gowtham Bohra
- MOST INNOVATIVE SOLUTION - $1,000 Award Carry Your Dream with You by Shereen NidalNanish
- MOST INNOVATIVE FILM - $1,000 Award Tune Your Ears by Rebecca Dharmapalan
- PEOPLES’ CHOICE - $2,500 Award Talk Up the Talk by Jessica Mabanglo
- STAND UP MEN - $2,500 Award Stand Up Men by Palak Srivastava
On the first day of SXSW 2018, John Paul spoke on a panel entitled Giving Back Rocks: How Austin Brands Do It with prominent Austin philanthropists Kendra Scott and Andy Roddick. Though they all have different backgrounds and brands, each of these leaders has their own approach that has been a part of their lives from a young age.
John Paul talked about how his mother instilled in him the importance of giving back. He went on to mention partners Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Sea Shepherd and Grow Appalachia. You can read more about it at Community Impact.
We started the hashtag #americasfavoriteentrepreneur to post articles about John Paul because, well, it's just true ;). In this video, John Paul defines success, talks about how he got started giving back at a young age and how he celebrates (or doesn't celebrate) his birthday.