[quote style=”boxed”]In order to be successful, you must stay focused and confident that your ideas will one day change the world. I continue to use my passion to help me drive towards my goals of helping others and ultimately eradicating hunger on a global scale.[/quote]
Ralph Greenberg was born and raised in Randolph, Massachusetts. Ralph never took his comfort for granted. Entering the recycling business through the medical field, he discovered the vast quantity of things that are recyclable. After trips to poverty-stricken areas of Siberia and Africa to further expand his means, Ralph was devastated by the poverty and resolved to take action and do something. Upon his arrival back home, he realized that poverty was a problem at home too, so he started Key for Hope. Understanding that the few keys his customers gave him were not enough to make a difference, Ralph envisioned a key recycling campaign that could be a resource for the battle against poverty.
The Key For Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of others and reducing the impact of poverty. The Key For Hope Foundation is registered as a Massachusetts 501(c)3 charitable foundation.
What are you working on right now?
I have my eyes strongly fixed on the development of my organization. Recently, we have been promoting our Keys in the Classroom program, which not only gives back to communities, but also teaches students about the importance of recycling and “going green.” I truly believe that Keys in the Classroom is a game-changer in that it promotes community service and teaches students about sustainability and green initiatives. We teach students how they can make a strong impact in their community and join the war on hunger.
Where did the idea for the Key for Hope Foundation come from?
On my return flight home from the Walk for Poverty during the G8 Summit, I conceived of the basic foundation that would come to be Key for Hope. My passion for giving back had exponentially increased when I was directly exposed to hunger and poverty. The thought of making a difference on a humanitarian level became contagious; what better way to do so than through the simplicity of key donations?
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day is different from other people’s, especially because I run my own business and not-for-profit organization. It becomes a struggle to maintain focus on the main business when thoughts and ideas pertaining to my foundation are constantly on my mind. I find myself coming up with more and better ways for my foundation to give back.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In order to be successful, you must stay focused and confident that your ideas will one day change the world. I continue to use my passion to help me drive towards my goals of helping others and ultimately eradicating hunger on a global scale.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The idea of using scrap metal–specifically keys–for good has excited me more and more over the years. The fact that one donated key can contribute to stocking food pantries and feeding the hungry is truly amazing. The simplicity of the idea should make it possible for the eradication of hunger to be a reality one day. Keys are the next big thing. In the United States alone, millions of keys become obsolete each year, and are then lost or thrown away. By recycling these keys and welcoming your donations, we can help eradicate hunger.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I cannot consider any of my jobs as being the worst. They were jobs and forms of employment. Every job I’ve had has taught me many personal and professional lessons. Each and every one has proved to me that hard work and teamwork will pay off.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I believe that everyone has a path, and if I had the option to start over again, I wouldn’t. The people I have encountered and the obstacles that have challenged me along the way have helped to shape who I am as a person today. My past experiences have guided me to make a difference in the world.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one rule I live by is to never give up. Never look back or turn around. Continue pushing forward, no matter what comes your way. I refuse to let anything get in my way. There are times when we encounter setbacks, but these only makes us stronger. You learn from your mistakes and apply that knowledge to help you achieve your goals.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Very simply, find ways to employ the unemployed. Many individuals struggle with finding a sustainable work environment. Helping those who want to work is just another way to give back.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Minding the Store by Stanley Marcus. This is a book about how the major company Neiman Marcus came about and developed into an international phenomenon.
What’s on your playlist?
Anything classic: rock, pop, R&B, etc. I like a variety.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @RobertEgger, president of @DCCK and @CForwardUS, has been a champion in the non-profit sector, creating amazing opportunities for individuals and groups to do some good in the world and in their local communities.
- @GatesFoundation focuses on global health and poverty, a cause very close to my heart.
- @NancyLublin, the CEO of @DoSomething, has a great objective in running national cause campaigns for teenagers.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I just did! I laugh every day. It’s an outburst of positivity! I laugh because I can’t believe that I, Ralph Greenberg, will be out in front of more people who can help me and my foundation.
Who is your hero?
I have many, including but not limited to Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and their global charities.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would change the major issue and global crisis of hunger. I believe that my organization holds the key to unlocking hunger. Through my foundation, we recycle all unused and unwanted keys, and then use the scrap metal value to stock local food pantries and feed the hungry worldwide.
Tell us a secret.
Psst, recycle a key. Pass it on.
The Key For Hope Foundation on Twitter: @KFHrecyclekeys
The Key For Hope Foundation’s website:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.