Global Community Impact
Finalist: R. STEPHEN WERNER
“If you educate a woman, you educate a family,” said R. Stephen Werner, an adviser with Exemplar Financial Network in Walworth, Wis. (broker-dealer Financial Network Investment Corp.), explaining the inspiration behind his involvement with Health Education Africa Resource Team.
The non-profit group focuses on disease prevention and empowerment for African women and children. Mr. Werner has raised about $50,000 for one of HEART’s more unusual programs, which distributes previously unavailable feminine hygiene products to 2,000 girls in 36 Kenyan schools every year. Without these small necessities, girls miss many school days each year, increasing their risk of dropping out.
Mr. Werner is active with another charitable cause in Kenya, the Hopewell Education Centre. Located in a large slum, the organization provides education to 700 children, mostly orphans and street kids. Until recently, their classrooms were tin sheds and they had no clean drinking water.
Working with U.S. Rotary Clubs, Mr. Werner raised more than $40,000 to build a water treatment facility, permanent classrooms, a library and a community center for the campus.
Mr. Werner is not shy about fundraising. “I believe in the three-foot rule,” he said. “If you’re within three feet, you’re a potential donor."