Juliette Winningham, the Founder and CEO of the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, Colorado. She worked in the energy industry until she was inspired to create her nonprofit foundation. She is interested in helping needy and underprivileged children and families. Through the work of her foundation, she is able to create public outreach and show the world that any business leader can become a philanthropist.
On April 1, 2020, the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, Colorado released its first children’s book in a planned 30-volume series. These books are written by Juliette Winningham and Nicolas Kistler. The series, Bruno’s Amazing Adventures, begins with a book called Rocky Mountain High. This book follows the adventures of a Bernese Mountain Dog named Bruno and his friends.
The book series emphasizes the close relationship between children and their pets. It also explores health and safety topics that may arise when children are exploring the natural environment.
Winningham’s work in the energy industry was satisfying, but after some time, she became interested in opening a nonprofit foundation. She used her networking and technical skills to set up the foundation and to secure seed funding. Her goal with the FreeBird Foundation is to help underprivileged communities, especially children.
The release of Bruno’s Amazing Adventures provides a great example for other nonprofits that are looking for creative ways to expand their outreach and to help their communities.
Understanding the need to educate children and to provide important health and safety reminders are two of the main goals of the FreeBird Foundation. Juliette Winningham is committed to fundraising for our most vulnerable communities.
Where did the idea for FreeBird Foundation come from?
The idea for the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, CO came when I realized that not every family has the resources to properly educate and raise their children. I was heartbroken when I realized how much help many communities need to take care of their families. I was inspired to start my foundation and to raise money using my book series.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts early. I like to work out in the morning or do yoga to start my day with a meditative focus. I eat a healthy breakfast and start right in on my work. My daily routine includes meeting with potential supporters, writing books, and working with illustrators and publishers. I am always looking for a proper sense of work-life balance.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by starting small. I can find inspiration anywhere. The seed of an idea soon develops into an actionable item on my list.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of the trends that excites me the most is teleworking. I believe that parents will be better able to take care of their children if they have the opportunity to telework.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me successful is that I never take no for an answer. I am tenacious and spirited, and I do not easily back off when people are not willing to entertain my ideas. I have been denigrated for this, but I believe that it is one of the keys to my success as an entrepreneur and nonprofit CEO.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would remind my younger self to be careful with work-life balance. When I was younger, I often spent all of my free time at work, and my family relationships suffered. Today, I make sure that I reserve uninterrupted time for social activities.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Nobody agrees that overuse of technology is one of the problems that is interfering with proper family growth. It seems that no matter where you look these days, a child is using a mobile device. I believe that reading is much better for children than spending their time hunched over a phone or tablet. Outdoor play is even better than reading.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be sure to take good notes. If you don’t have a secretary, try getting permission to record your meetings. That way, you won’t miss any important information that you may have forgotten to write down.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Marketing online is one of the methods we have used to grow our foundation. We are always looking for donations, and we have been able to find help through various online sites. Social media is another big help.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have been blessed to have no failures as an entrepreneur. I suppose that it can always happen, but I have been fortunate so far.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see a business that helps children write their own books. They could give in-person or online classes about stories, illustrations, and formatting. Then the books could be published, and the children would have copies to take home and share with their friends and family.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I have recently spent was on an Amazon Prime subscription. It has helped me become more productive because it has lessened the amount of time it takes to receive items. I have also enjoyed the music and movies included with the subscription.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The software that I would recommend is called Evernote. It is a great way to stay organized and it lets all of your notes be visible on any device.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend that your community reads Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie Crutchfield. This book has been greatly helpful in setting up my nonprofit foundation and prioritizing my activities.
What is your favorite quote?
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
• Starting a nonprofit is a great way to give back to the community. Don’t be afraid to follow your passions and support the parts of your community that are in the most need.
• Be sure that you are exact in your note-taking so that you do not miss any important ideas.
• Start small if you want to grow the best possible ideas. If you focus on one small aspect of the world that you want to change, you will be able to find your path forward.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.