Charity Design

I left my job in TV back in 2013.

Thanks to the sale of my book, Wide-Open World, I’ve been able to live without a steady paycheck since then, while also helping my kids through college and re-prioritizing my life.

Really, it’s been an amazing four years.

After visiting The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission, a large orphanage in North India, I fell in love with the kids I met there and started learning more about the orphan crisis in the world today. I visited good and terrible organizations across India and Africa. I met thousands of these children face to face.

Wanting to dive deeper, I launched New Orphan Age, advocating for various causes I believe in, building schools and new hostels, collectively fundraising for both large and small campaigns worth more than two million dollars! Today, I spend the bulk of my creative time and energy working for orphan projects all across the world, and it feels like what I was meant to do.

It doesn’t pay well, but the satisfaction level is off the chart.

Still, as my money supply begins to dip, it does bring up a nagging question: How do you continue to do the vital, low or no-pay work you love in a world that costs money?

Photo by The Archibald Project

Clifton Shipway, my friend and the Deputy Director of the GSAM, has a similar challenge. He helps runs an orphanage and is concerned with the daily welfare of seventy-five abandoned children and a large staff. He also has a wife and three young boys of his own. As a talented computer programmer, he could be working in the private sector making plenty of money. But instead, he’s giving his time in service to these kids. He takes no salary for his effort.

But again: Short of the kindness of friends and supporters, how do you take a family trip from time to time? Or buy a new motorcycle? Or buy much of anything without money in the bank?

All of this wondering has led Clifton and I to launch a new project this week that we’re calling Charity Design.

Essentially, it’s a web development/video production company—but really it’s more than that. While there are lots of amazing design companies out there, we are the only one that we know of dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned children.

It’s like spaghetti sauce in a way. When I walk into the grocery story, I see dozens of different brands on the shelf, all basically the same and all promising to make my otherwise bland pasta taste better. But I always choose Newman’s Own. And why is that? Because they give 100% of their net profits to fund charitable work. So long as the sauce is tasty (which it is), I’d rather my money go to do some good in the world than simply make some food conglomerate a little richer.

We’re hoping a bit of this logic works for Charity Design.

After twenty years of practice in the writing, production and marketing world for me, and vast coding and design skill for Clifton, we’re teaming up to see what we can do. If you or someone you know might be looking for web or production work, please let us know. Here’s the site. Take a look.

As our new website says, “Through Charity Design we use our talents and experience for a limited number of awesome clients, keep prices low, earn what we need, and keep striving every day to make life better for as many orphans as possible. We help you. You help us. And indirectly, we both help the children who so desperately need us all.”

  • Natalie Graham
    Posted at 14:21h, 14 March

    Very cool, John. I hope you quickly have the enviable dilemma of picking your short-list of accounts from a deluge of possible clients. I didn’t realize that Clifton was a IT’er like me!

    I also enjoyed this post because I got to see both of you in the pics – usually it’s you or Clifton taking the pictures so we don’t get the treat of seeing your mugs in the posts very frequently! 😀

    Blessings to all over at GSAM. I hope Rick’s recovery is continuing to make progress and the frequency and severity of his pain lessens each day..

  • Betsy Pearson
    Posted at 00:43h, 15 March

    John, thanks for launching this new venture with your friend Clifton. You are both doing God’s work in the world! Blessings on this great work!


  • Ana Katsuya
    Posted at 06:41h, 16 March

    Hi John,
    This is an amazing project!
    I wish you and Clifton much luck and success.
    I’ll keep an eye out for potential clients.