Pure Project – embedding philathrophy into your business strategies

The annual Echoing Green fellows conference was last week and I’ve got social entrepreneurship on the brain.

“Ryan Fix’s community-driven organization dedicated to artistic education and charitable endeavors”

I talked to Ryan Fix and Johan Kritzinger of the Pure Project in NYC a few months ago about their work and mission.

Pure Project is “an idea lab and a creative consulting collective” that helps companies green themselves/become more sustainable. In addition to their consulting work, they are incubating several projects including Picnick kiosks at Battery Bark.

Picnick: Battery Park

3 Pillars of the collective:
1. growing the art sector
2. engaging in social responsibility/sustainability –> built on a philanthropic model or has a philanthropic back-end.
3. linking to business solutions

one of the projects that they incubated

1 projects that they have incubated is an sustainable restaurants: biodegradable/biocombustible – > all their vendors have a philanthropic component

Ethiopian coffee beans, some of proceeds go to education program in ethiopia
also promote locally grown food
another vendor does tree planting projects in Brazil

Example water: $12 a case/ $4 to charity to Make a Ripple


I How did you get started:
Burn out of the corporate world (finance and real estate); believes in business but feels the need to infuse creativity and sustainability. The economic model is very possible ….

Why water:
1) without water, nothing else matters. AIDS, malaria, … without clean water … that’s the base life source
2) in the developing world, it’s the number 1 cause of death
3) Easy to sell to concept… water, pure and clean… people understand on a gut level

Types of projects that they are incubating:
1) Picnick
2) OPen House
3) art space (more than a gallery), which is the creative nexus [they re a big fan of street art; dialogue, it’s free, accessible to the people] want to support the emerging arts as much as possible

Ryan Fix

very interested in venture philanthrophy – vevry interested in clean water solution

scott harrison – charity water in africa
janet and bobby kennedy (has his own) – play pumps : make a ripple foundation

Currently developing a water project; selling bottled water; a very significant % of profits got to building wells in africa; one of the pumps range between $3800 -$5000

What are you goals for the water project:

Looking at for profit companies in the
1) Water sanitiation: company they are looking is working in Zurich
2) bottled water (want to wait a bit because of the huge backlash against it; how to participate but not create a negative environmental impact)
3) water information – ex. say goldman sachs wants to create a casino in china, they need to know that they can get enough water

Future “The Pure Project Fund”:
*** Want to create fund managed by a non-profit to give monies to these for-profit organizations; one of the stipulations is that as an equity investor
Water Life Foundation

(Other organization Hawthorn Capital allocated 1/2 billion to sustainable businesses)

planning stages: tiered program… one of the ideas… different categories

If there are smaller local companies looking for investments, they can submit application to the water life foundation

Next door:
Pop up retail location
experiential marketing location (the way forward. people interacting with a product of service)

It’s sole focus is on sustainable initiatives

ex. phillips has a new … creativity + venture philanthrophy + sustainability

5% of rental income goes back to the charity of their choice

Teams goes directly to different companies: the world is moving toward sustainability

Had a fair trade camp at BM

Alter eco (largest fair trade company in france

asae – brazilian berry – very tasty

Veronique is making these neckless (married to bob pittman, founder of MTV)

Sun food nutrition

Disorient – good fun)


Lacey – Down to Earth