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Helping out: Digital firm seeks to honor those who put their lives on the line for others
Who: Erik Muendel, chief executive and founder
Company: Brightline Interactive, a digital services company.
Charitable giving highlights: Brightline Interactive's coal miner charity raises $60,000 to $100,000 during each of its three annual fundraisers.
Describe your philanthropy.
We recently contributed software to the Women Thrive Worldwide breakfast event. For the last four years, we sponsored Chance for Life, a charity supporting spinal cord tumor cancer research. We've also sponsored Cancer for College. A charity that is near and dear to my heart is Remember the Miners, which we started two years ago after the Upper Big Branch coal disaster. Through sponsorship connections, I was able to put a logo on a NASCAR vehicle and pitched that as a tribute to the miners that lost their lives. We eventually developed the charity and now we raise scholarships for dependents of miners through high-profile events.
What guides your philanthropy?
I feel most compelled to give to organizations and people that have given to our country. I also feel there's a great need for cancer research.
What shaped that focus?
I'm from West Virginia and my father was a Vietnam Veteran. When I was young, my father was in the Special Forces so he was gone a lot. It was difficult for me to comprehend but he would talk about how people had to sacrifice for the country so that other people can live normal lives. From policemen to firemen to soldiers to miners, people that sacrifice for something greater than themselves is appealing to me. This is my way of honoring them.
How did you decide to create a charity?
It took a bit to figure that out because I hadn't started a charity before. After counseling with a lot of different folks, we formed a separate LLC that turned into a 501(c)3. It has allowed us to have a strong board with representation from Wells Fargo to general convenience stores to other influential people.
- Interview with Vanessa Small
Posted by Erik on 03.01.12 | Permalink