Originally published April 14, 2016. Updated October 20, 2018
360 Blue, YOLO Board and The 30A Company are founding partners of The Sonder Project, a non-profit organization that supports high-impact, sustainable projects aimed at ending extreme poverty and hunger, locally, domestically and abroad.
The organization’s global projects are focused on some of the poorest areas in the world and include building schools (with an emphasis on equal opportunities for girls), drilling wells to provide safe drinking water, and coordinating deworming campaigns to help children stay healthy enough to thrive and learn.
What does “Sonder” mean? Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — each with a story to tell and each with a story worth hearing.
Every day since Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018, The Sonder Project worked in the hardest hit areas, cutting through downed trees to reach survivors and to deliver water, food and disaster relief supplies. Volunteer teams went out daily to Bay County towns and communities severely damaged and in need of help.
30A partnered with Visit South Walton on recycled SHORE UP shirts and donated 100% of the profits to The Sonder Project. We are proud to have raised $134,000 from the shirts and to have initiated the Sonder Challenge to raise $500,000 for their hurricane efforts.
The Sonder Project gained national attention for its creative new Project: feed program, which is aimed at fighting hunger domestically through vacation rental companies.
Project: feed helps vacation rental companies across the U.S. collect and redistribute nonperishable food items that are routinely left behind by departing guests.
The organization then works with a network of nationwide volunteers to redistribute the otherwise discarded food to local charities and food banks in each community. Over 100 vacation rental management companies across the U.S. have already joined the program, and the hope is that with minimal effort, Project: feed can help the vacation rental industry come together to make a real impact in the fight against hunger.
“Our international projects are already making a real difference in the lives of so many who are suffering around the world, and the support we’ve received for our new effort to fight hunger here at home has been nothing short of amazing,” said Ashley Hamm, Co-Founder of The Sonder Project and CEO of 360 Blue.
“30A has been a proud supporter of numerous charities since day one, and it’s a core part of who we are as a growing company and a brand,” said 30A’s Mike Ragsdale. “By joining our efforts with other leading and like-minded companies, we can multiply the impact we have, both locally and internationally.”
“We’ve built a brand around celebrating the importance of enjoying life, and we’ve been searching for a way to focus our brand and energy behind a charity that makes a real difference,” said Jeff Archer, CEO of YOLO Board. “Small but sustainable efforts can have a massive impact globally, while still understanding the importance of working to help those at home. The ability to help others reach their potential and enjoy the many blessings of life is part of our story.”
“30A and YOLO are both incredible organizations with a passion for enjoying life, an amazingly generous fan base, and a true appreciation for helping others,” said Jason Sprenkle, Co-Founder of The Sonder Project. “The more we worked together, the more we realized that we all share a vision for building great brands with passionate employees centered around a true culture of giving back.”