Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Conrad Guthrie Foundation | Empowering communities one group at a time

Published:Thursday | June 1, 2017 | 6:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston

In 2009, Conrad Guthrie formed a community-based organisation (CBO) in Lucea, Hanover. However, seeing the great need at the national level for efficiently functioning CBOs, it was rebranded in 2013 to The Conrad Guthrie Foundation, where he used his own resources and marketing expertise to offer free training in sales and marketing to organisations (civic, religious and business).

Commenting on the initiative, Guthrie said it is in aid of "providing free development opportunities through training, recreation, socialisation, and to guide the implementation of meaningful community projects that will motivate, empower and influence young people to create positive changes, both in their lives and other community members."

Guthrie said his inspiration in giving this kind of service came from his desire to offer free support to assist community-based and civic organisations in facing the many challenges that arise.

"After conducting a survey in 12 parishes over a three-year period, the foundation was able to identify the following common challenges - effective planning and implementation of community impact/fund?raising projects, effective team leadership, effective business networking, and roles and responsibilities of executive members," he said, pointing out that many organisations work with the momentum of on-the-spot suggestions, which sometimes work in their favour; however, more is needed.

"Unlike other organisations, we don't participate in regular activities such as street clean-up, family fun days, etc. We are a training and development organisation and, as such, we focus mainly on impact through training sessions," he said of the foundation.

To empower and transform the community youth groups, he has designed a training course which focuses on corporate branding, business and social networking, project planning and implementation, team leadership and sales and marketing.

Guthrie has since volunteered over 35,000 hours to 100 communities and training more than 3,000 participants.

His personal investment in the initiative has exceeded $540,000.

In January 2017, the foundation was incorporated with a profitable enterprise known as 'Business Marketing Solutions', otherwise called 'Byzmarsol'. However, Guthrie said the training programme remains as intended, but will continue with the project's name, 'The Incubator', under the management of Byzmarsol.

 

PHILANTHROPIC ENTREPRENEUR

 

Born in Hanover, Guthrie - a member of the Junior Chamber International - sees himself as a philanthropic entrepreneur.

From a family of seven, Guthrie has faced many challenges in his younger years such as poor attendance during, his primary-school years and not completing high school.

By the age of 13, he developed the mind of a business person following several 'ups and downs', including being unemployed for about four years. He used that time - hundreds of hours in watching YouTube videos and reading countless articles, including participating in online surveys, webinars on graphic designs, video and audio editing, website design, content management, hosting, Internet marketing, social media management and marketing.

Fast-forward to the present and after all those countless hours teaching himself via YouTube and other Internet classes, he is now earning from the many skills, including website design as well as video editing.

rural@gleanerjm.com