Prosperity Homes Daniel de Leon & Jeremiah Forest in Conversation with HUP: PART 2
The conversation with Daniel de Leon and Jeremiah Forest from Prosperity Homes continues. Read on to reveal a passionate conversation about Social Entrepreneurship in the world of Real Estate.
If you have not read Part One please do so now before continuing
Sacha van der Most van Spijk (SMS): As far as building houses or projects, how does that process work?
Jeremiah Forest (JF): We have been working through a non-profit organization called Techo, and they started in Chile. The first step is providing basic shelter; it is about getting people off mud floors and providing roofs above their heads. Techo also works with people inside their communities and helps them to continue up the ladder. We are currently moving more to the community building aspect, and how can you empower people with what they need. We will be visiting an amazing community in Peru. They empowered the local people to grow their own food, pump their own water, educate their own teachers, and fabricate their own textiles. Moving forward we want to look at models like that, which are about empowering the community, and especially the women and children, giving them what they need to prosper.
SMS: Are you also looking for people who donate to join you on trips like this?
JF: People come with us on every trip. We have other real estate agents who are part of our team, even though they are not necessarily donating thousands of dollars from their business personally, but they do have the option to come with us.
Luz Lluncor (LL): So you welcome anybody to come on these trips, regardless of their contributions?
JF: Absolutely. It is more about being part of it. There are so many ways you can contribute, so it is about the way you share, about the way you volunteer, for example the work that Daniel does week in and week out. So much of this is in his time and effort. So there are many different ways in which you can contribute.
SMS: What are some of the challenges you guys run into with your organization? Any political roadblocks, or do you just run into open doors?
JF: There are many challenges. Two billion people live with an income of less than $2 per day. There is a giant homeless problem locally. All these problems create an overwhelming feeling, leaving us to doubt how can we really make a difference? Inspiring people to join us for the cause, despite how big and heavy the problem looks is the challenge we put up on ourselves. Getting people to understand that anything that you can do individually can make a difference. Every little contribution, every Facebook share makes a difference.
We have not experienced much adversity, as we are still pretty fresh and work with good partners. The internal growth of what we want to establish with forming a platform here locally is still fairly easy, because we have boots on the ground. But what happens when a group of people in Dallas want to become part of Prosperity homes, and want to give back to their homelessness or women and children shelters in their own local area? How can we grow a platform that can grow teams in other areas? Those are the challenges that we face ahead of us.
SMS: So connecting Prosperity Homes to a bigger audience is now a challenge in order to grow the organization?
Daniel de Leon (DL): Most of us want to give back one way or another, and I think the challenges that we see, is more like a mental block. Like ‘whatever I do won’t make a difference’. If I go to your event, what is $30 going to do? My response to that is if we bring 500 people together that bring $30 each, we are really starting to make a difference. Do you think with $15000 we can do something good? How many homes can we build in Peru? How many homeless people can we feed here in LA? With this kind of money we can now feed a lot of people for a month at Skid Row.
SMS: With a development like this, collaboration, instead of doing this by your self, has a lot bigger chance of becoming sustainable. We need to get kids to understand that making a difference can be part of your lifestyle.
DL: That is exactly what our Prosperity Homes is about. I always tell everybody to get involved. I always use the hash tags #getinvolved and #loverevolution, as if we do things from our heart, it comes from a genuine cause, and people will notice that. Once we break into that kind of sentiment with more people, the development of a movement is starting to happen. If we can bring in 500 people from all different walks of life, from attorneys to doctors to architects and actors, we will give our movement a big boost forward. The contribution of my 12-year-old son made a difference. He went with us to Colombia to build homes. He did a presentation in school, and inspired all the kids. They asked him questions like, “What is the youngest age I can go on a trip like this?” “How can my dad or mom get involved? It is very impactful to have this kind of message come from a kid’s voice.
LL: In the Mortgage and Real Estate there are mixers any day of the week. If we are already participating in all of these events and spend hundreds of dollars per year, it should not be too challenging to convince realtors to attend this event for an organization that really makes a difference?
DL: A lot of us get to the point of this little bubble, and think if I don’t get something out of this, why would I participate. They are willing to pay $25 to get food, a snack or lunch at a panel discussion, but unfortunately a lot of us, even when it is to help, they wonder, “what is in it for me? The last thing I would like to happen is for someone to attend and say ‘this, this and this is wrong’, but they don’t participate in what we are trying to accomplish. I’d rather connect with that group of people that are in the mindsets of giving back. What I ask them is: ‘Can you invite more people that you can relate with?’ We are creating this movement, and I believe more and more people are going to get involved because it becomes a trend. I’m totally OK with it if this happens, because now these people are getting satisfaction out of giving back. Hopefully the realization of ‘wow, why did I not do this before?!’ follows.
SMS: When is your event?
DL: Thursday May 26th. The event will be at Don Chente, right across the street from the Staples Center. It is a restaurant and their top floor has a beautiful space that holds 500 people.
LL: For HUP this is a great event. Our passion is to help people grow through our network. I have been doing charity by myself in my native country of Peru, but by joining up with an organization, we can become a lot more powerful force. What advice would you give future entrepreneurs who would like to create something like what you have created through social entrepreneurship?
JF: Just follow your heart. Find that passion. One thing that we believe in is if you have your passion and you have your purpose, the profits will be there. That is exactly what Prosperity is. The doors open up if you follow your heart.
DL: Fortunately my mom and dad opened up the doors for me, so I could get back on my feet again. A lot of people are less fortunate and either don’t have the support system or circumstances to put them back to where they were. It is really hard to get back out of poverty. It is a very rough life out there and all we can do is show compassion.
LL: HUP’s goal is to find you more people that want to make a difference. I am convinced there are a lot of people out there that really want to contribute but they just don’t know where to start.Ê
DL: Absolutely. This is our first big event, and the more professionals that want to be part of it the better. By attending professionals can get the realization of wanting to become a Prosperity agent, or Prosperity doctor, or Prosperity architect, and afford to give $50 per month as a contributing member. With that kind of money we could now really create Prosperity communities – both internationally and locally.
LL: Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us. We are inspired by your work and will do all we can to aid your cause.
DL: Please share our event of Prosperity Homes so our project can help as many people as possible.