LS #039- How Non-Profits Can Grow a Meaningful Bottomline: Brittany Merrill Underwood
Brittany Merrill Underwood is the Founder and CEO of Akola Project, a non-profit jewelry brand that empowers marginalized women through training and employment in Dallas, Texas, and Uganda.
A 2006 trip to Uganda and a meeting with a woman named Sarah, a woman who cared for the stray kids, changed Brittany’s life forever. Seeing first hand that the creation of employment opportunities would, in turn, transform the lives of women, their children, and their communities prompted Brittany to launch Akola Project.
In this episode, Brittany shares how she pivoted Akola Project from building an orphanage to employing women to make jewelry and earn a steady income. She details Akola’s deep dive into the entire production process, ensuring each step from sourcing materials to distribution yields a positive impact.
In addition to her work in Uganda, Brittany expanded Akola’s social impact to include opportunities to marginalized women in Dallas. This growth had lead to the expansion of their collection to include an exclusive line at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide.
10+ years in, Brittany is now growing a family alongside her non-profit. She shares how she juggles these roles by embracing her unique gifts and build a team around her weaknesses. Brittany offers practical advice to anyone interested in running a non-profit, and helpful tips on how to raise funds without compromising the mission.
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