We thought it makes sense to post here on the MAP blog our recent post from Factivist.  The post focuses on two people who were pivotal in fortifying our steps along the  path of social responsibility and sustainability.  When we launched Good for Business in 1999, we did it at the Dialogue Conference in Vancouver, Canada - a gathering of change agents arranged by this special couple. Our relationship with them also helped ignite the confidence and commitment to  launch of  Message And Purpose (MAP).  And, as you read below, you will see how their work helped to inspire the creation of Factivist

Here is the Factivist post, enjoy:

Recently, a red envelope appeared in our mailbox.  Inside the envelope was  a card with the sentiment 'The best is yet the come', and a check.  This check represented the first response to our request to help fund the work of Factivist. The source of the card and check was no surprise at all. They were from Richard and Shelli Steckel.

The Steckels are two of the inspirations behind Factivist. As i write this, our relationship with the Steckel's is entering its third decade. The moment I met them I knew life would never be the same. 

Richard and Shelli are the founders of The Milestone's Project, created when they decided they couldn't sit by and just watch as people all over the world experienced the mayhem of ethnic cleansing, race riots and hatred. To bridge divides, they sought to chronicle in photographs the humanity shared by all people—a project that led to a traveling exhibit they named "The Milestones Project." It wasn't an easy path. The Steckels took out a second mortgage on their home, borrowed to the limits on their credit cards, learned about photography, and sought friends around the world to help them to make their dream a reality. Then they set out to capture on film moments that are grounded in common human experience—losing the first tooth, making the first friend, going to school for the first time, getting the first haircut. They amassed tens of thousands of photographs, then collected the best ones into a book and an exhibit.

Since its unveiling in 2003, the Milestones Project has mounted exhibits internationally in eleven airports, museums, restaurants, colleges, schools, libraries, government offices, city halls, conferences, at the United Nations, and on the web. Over 200 million people have been exposed to the photos and the message. World leaders have written personal testimonials for the project, which has expanded to include books, puzzles, and a Milestones curriculum to teach cultural sensitivity to people of all ages.

This is the only project of its kind determined to heal the world’s divisions by simply sharing the undeniable pictures of our common humanity. The Milestones Project’s 70,000 plus photographs celebrating childhood around the world all clearly tell the same story and confirm a universal truth: We are all connected. This connection is where true and believable healing begins.

Richard and Shelli are also helping to heal humanity by creating photographs, books and tools that help us understand our connections irregardless of our religion or faith. Their book, Faith: Five Religions and What They Share, is a family-friendly overview of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. Young readers learn about different aspects of each religion, including historical origins and beliefs, holy texts, religious clothing and places of worship. They will also find out about the values, customs and symbols all five religions share, such as the golden rule, charity, prayer and candles. Their Wise at Heart initiative is an inspiring journey around the world presented in brilliant photographs and wise words from children and adults including Tom Hanks, Walter Cronkite and Jane Goodall. Wise at heart also speaks to the universal truth that we are all connected. You can learn more about their work at milestonesproject.com.

We could go on and on about the Steckels, because they continue to go on and on finding ways to heal and bring understanding to the world.

It is the empathetic, enthusiastic, compassionate and passionate guideposts of their journey through life that moved me. We had already taken the path I hoped would make 'all the difference'. Richard and Shelli were living proof that this route through life was well worth taking. This is the key fact we want to share in this post and never forget: The Steckels  impacted the creation of Factivist http://www.factivist.info/#about

Thanks Richard and Shelli—for the check and for the priceless inspiration!

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