Our most frequently asked questions, answered.
How did Elevate begin?
Elevate began with humble Nebraska roots and a God-sized vision. Co-Founders Brandon and Jessica Hotz found their hearts burdened for the injustices of the world after a cultural short-term mission trip to India. Soon after they got married in the states, they decided that living a life on purpose for the service of others, was simply the only way to live.
With a couple of elementary education degrees and a world desperate for change, the Hotz’ sold their belongings and returned to Kolkata, India to call it home.
There they hoped to make an impact in the local children’s lives through teaching English. What they didn’t know? That they’d learn far more about generational poverty then they ever anticipated.
Often times they found themselves entering the kids’ homes to see that their father was frequently missing. They soon came to understand that the fathers didn’t leave because they weren’t invested in their children’s lives, but because they were ashamed that they couldn’t provide for their children in the same way Brandon and Jess currently were.
That was reason enough for the Hotz’s to decide that nobody cares more about the locals state of the nationals’ lives more than they, the nationals, do, and that life-changing, sustainable transformation simply doesn’t come from charity, it comes from opportunity.
Thus, Elevate was born. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to create sustainable job opportunities for men and women around the world living in vulnerable situations so they can provide for their families and be the lights in bring hope to their own communities.
What does Elevate’s logo mean?
Elevate’s logo represents that we will serve others (go lower) in order for others to go higher. We’re lifting people up to a higher position.
What makes your products “eco-friendly”?
Our leather is 100% cowhide. The leather tannery our artisans use implements eco-friendly production practices. This includes the collection of rainwater to reduce water use, choosing natural vegetable based dyes to avoid harsh toxins in the dying process and utilizing responsible centralized effluent systems. That’s why Elevate's products have often times been described as having a “light” or “true” leather smell that’s not overpowering.
How often do you visit your artisans and international impact team?
Our team visits our international partners at least three times a year. They do frequent trips to follow-up on businesses started, strategize best practices for future business development, track our impact, and maintain relationships with our national trainers.
How many countries are you in and how many people have you impacted?
Over three years, Elevate has worked in 4 countries and together with our donors and customers, have impacted 714 people and counting.
What kind of businesses are made with the sales of the leather goods?
Elevate is more than just handcrafted leather goods (though, those are pretty amazing too). We reinvest the proceeds of the leather business into opportunity creation that looks different every time. Sometimes opportunity creation looks like a women’s beautician shop in Eastern Nepal, other times a chicken farm in Northern India, it varies based on geography and skill.
Elevate’s hope is to see others’ dreams become a reality. Through business training, national mentorship, and capital resources, Elevate walks alongside the national people every step of the way to ensure that they’re business is both sustainable and profitable. If the national’s business makes an exportable good, then the Elevate brand will sell it at the world market, wherever it will succeed best.
You’re a non-profit and a social brand hybrid. How does that work?
Good question. We’re a registered 501(c)(3) whose donations are solely invested into our international programs. Our social brand sells our international partners work, who need access to the global market. A portion of the proceeds from these goods is reinvested into our international programs, thus fueling more opportunity creation.
How much of the proceeds from each purchase goes back toward opportunity creation?
We guarantee that 50% of the sales from every Elevate purchase goes back toward opportunity creation, every time.
How do your capital loans work?
Our national business training participants must first successfully complete and graduate from our business training in order to receive an informal low interest loan. They are then given the opportunity to accept capital to start their proposed business initiative. Once this loan is paid back, it stays within their community for further opportunity creation, leading to community transformation.
Have a question we haven't answered? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to connect.