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Of Benevolence and Backpacks

March 28, 2011

Most twenty-somethings are ambivalent about their future when they reach the last semester of college. Kevin Moshayedi was not one of these individuals. Moshayedi was thinking—IMPACT—and how he could employ his budding business knowledge with an awareness of LA students living in poverty. His nexus came in the form backpacks–and in the same fashion as Tom’s Shoes–one purchased backpack yields an underserved student receiving one. Moshayedi’s foundation–Ark Collective–strives to alleviate the financial woes of impoverished students in efforts to achieve more enrichment in their studies.

Interview: Founder of Ark Collective, Kevin Moshayedi


How do you feel waking up every morning doing what you do?

Great! There is no better feeling than rolling out of bed, collecting my thoughts on how I am going to make a difference in my community that day, and having a hearty breakfast. Working alongside an awesome crew of people cannot be beaten. We constantly explore new ideas for Ark Collective, and that always seems to keep me on my toes.

When did you realize you could make a change in the lives of students in your community?

I was home from school in the summer of ’09. Sitting on my couch I thought, “What am I going to do in 6 months when I graduate?” I wanted to make sure it involved giving back to my community. I remembered one lecture that spoke of various socially conscious businesses that were emerging and making a difference in our world. After speaking with a friend’s mother–a teacher–who shed light on the large number of students whom attended school in LA and lived under the poverty level. These students were unable to have adequate school supplies or backpacks. From that moment on I focused on researching the issue more closely and figuring out how I could start making a difference. I realized if I could vest the business models, incorporate my desire to aid future generation’s success, along with supplying backpacks and school supplies—we would have something.

I was introduced to Operation School Bell. OSB is a LA based organization–which focuses on preparing underserved students with backpacks, supplies, and uniforms. After helping out at one of their “Wheels” days and seeing the smiles on all the kids’ faces I knew that I wanted to focus my time on helping these students succeed.

Is Ark Collective Expanding?

Yes–we are currently extending our line to include shirts, hoodies, and tanks. The proceeds collected from the sales of these goods will be used to fill our packs with school supplies so we can provide students with packs ready for the next day’s curriculum.

What is one wish you have for Ark?

My one wish would be to expand Treasure Tuesdays into clubs across the country. Treasure Tuesdays was a weekly program started within Ark Collective to increase our community involvement. The program started in the Newport Beach area—with efforts to clean up the shorefront. The success of the cleanup that day parlayed into a weekly event that can range from a beach cleanup, to an after school tutoring program, to lending a hand at a local soup kitchen.  I believe that Treasure Tuesdays has the potential to make an insurmountable difference in every community–and the inception of new clubs would be an incredible first step to resolving many of the issues surrounding our communities.

 

How would you perceive your generation’s involvement in philanthropy?

It’s so great to see how much our generation wants to make a difference in our world.  Whenever I’m helping out outside of Ark and I meet others who share the same aspirations as me–it always puts a smile on my face.

I believe our generation has the ability to continue making tremendous differences in communities across the world, and I am really looking forward to seeing the newest innovations others come up with. Keep Rockin’!

 

What are the newest developments with Ark Collective?

We have some great things in the works for the coming months:

  • A special Coachella Weekly Feature Series: Check out our blog for more details
  • Our first ever Campus Tour starting at the end of March- or what we like to call “Campus Cruise” – We plan on travelling to 10-15 college campuses in the Southwest, letting them know a little bit more about ourselves, playing a little mini golf, and having a good time.
  • Our “Get to Give” Art Show at the end of May featuring the work of 20-25 artists who have reinvented a Vinchee daypack. All the proceeds from their work will benefit a charity of the artist’s choice.
To purchase a backpack click on the link: I want to be part of "The Pack."

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2011 12:39 pm

    A while ago I photogrpahed Operation Backpack, an organization that donates backpacks to needy children in New York City. It was so rewarding. Nice blog

  2. Diana permalink
    March 31, 2011 2:44 pm

    I love this. As a grad student studying cognition and learning from a developmental perspective, reading this blog resonated deeply with me. We owe it to children to provide them with the tools critical to learning and a full backpack is instrumental to educational success. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!!!

    • March 31, 2011 6:53 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Diana, and for sure, more to come.

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