Philanthropic Entrepreneurship

Blake Ternan

My name is Blake Ternan. I first discovered Many Mansions as a member of Boys Team Charity in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. During this time, I worked at the Many Mansions FOOD Share pantry, delivering groceries to houses and packing food in the community room at Hacienda de Feliz.

I remembered Many Mansions and this experience when I went to the Ronald Reagan Library Student Leadership Program over the summer between sophomore and junior year of high school. Here, they challenged us to find problems in our community that we might want to address. Recalling all of the underprivileged children and families I had been exposed to throughout my time with Many Mansion’s FOOD Share program, I decided to look more into Many Mansions and see how they help kids specifically.

I found that Many Mansions not only offers a Homework Club, but also school supplies for students. I firmly believe that all children should have a fair opportunity to pursue their education. Knowing that Many Mansions does a great job of helping children in our community get the school supplies that they need, I decided I wanted to fundraise for this in particular.

In order to raise money, I decided to start selling gum at school. We did a lot of customer discovery to find out which specific flavors kids on campus wanted. Then our entrepreneurship teacher, Mr. Brandon, gave me twenty dollars of seed money that we would have to pay back with no interest. With this money, I went to Smart & Final and bought the three most popular flavors of gum. I then set up a table in the hallway at school and sold gum to kids as part of a subscription.

That was kind of the catch. Our unique customer retention quality was to sell subscriptions so kids could count on having their Big League Chew gum for 4 weeks in advance, 8 weeks in advance, etc. I kept working on improving this program throughout the school year, and it ended up being pretty profitable. While I started with only twenty dollars, I ended up
raising over $1,000 to donate to Many Mansions.

The services that Many Mansions provides are really great resources for students to keep up with their education and the rest of their peers overall. It’s so nice to see how grateful the residents are too. Every time I distributed food, I felt so welcomed. I feel the same way now as I volunteer at Homework Club. The kids are always so happy to see me—one even thinks I look like Colonel Sanders and calls me “KFC Man”! I love being able to have relationships like this and see the people that I’m helping through Many Mansions and their different programs.