Joel's Fundraiser for A Freakin Awesome Windmill In Africa

  • About Us
  • About Us

Joel Bennett, Chief Dreamchaser for Veel Hoeden coworking space, has assembled the greatest collaboration of talent since the West Coast Avengers.  His generous community of Christian artists, entrepreneurs and generally "creative" misfits in Pella, Iowa and has already smashed the $500 target through both personal and business commitments.


But how did this all come together?


Here's the Deal.


We're working on a project to raise 15k in 30 days (in June) to build a windmill for Gambella Village outside of Isiolo, Kenya.


The windmill would be Gambella's last step towards complete self reliance, in other words, no longer needing any form of aid. It would be a graduation present for a village who came together five years ago to create a sustainable future for their children. Specifically, it would allow the village to have water irrigation all year round, drastically multiplying the amount of crops they can grow and sell.


We're joining 30 other groups around the globe that want to pitch in to make a tangible difference in the world.   Our group has committed to the minimum $500, but we'd like to raise much more.


The idea is to prove that a handful of misfits can band together, and solve one real problem on the planet.


Here are some of the cool ways we are contributing so far.


From Jamie Gyolai- Social Good Misfit

When this project started Jamie was in from the beginning.  What we didn't know was that he was going to do more than put his money where his mouth was.

Jamie announced a few weeks ago that he was moving his entire family (wife and 3 girls) to Ghana to assist a for-profit/non-profit venture in the area of affordable transportation.  Jamie is a board member for VYTRAK, an Iowa-based company building basic utility vehicles for poverty-stricken Africa.  When their founder announced he was moving his family to Ghana 1 year ago, Jamie and his family prayerfully began the process of going "all-in" as well.  On June 10 they made their plans public, and will move there September 1.  We wish them well and are proud of their example!


From Josh Cowman- Development Misfit

Josh is President of Development at Ewing Land Development & Services, and when he isn't building some of the coolest senior housing you've ever seen, he spends his time supporting other awesome causes through creative fundraising.  His most recent was a bike ride across Iowa... 259 miles... IN ONE DAY


From Matt Hugg- Construction Misfit

Matt understands how doing good locally can help people globally.  One of his passions, roasting coffee, has led to a great partnership with a non-profit called Many Hands For Haiti (MH4H).  Coffee bean farmers in Haiti need a market for their awesome beans, so MH4H partners with local farmers and ships their beans back to the States where Pella Coffee Company, owned by Matt, roasts and sells the beans with profits going back to Haiti for important social good programs.  It's a win-win-win for all involved, and the Haitian Blue coffee is a hit!


From Melynda Van Zee- Artistic Misfit
Melynda painted a piece entitled "Organic Movement" prior to being contacted regarding this opportunity.  She thought the image seemed to be representative of the idea of water and wells, and the title seemed to perfectly tie in with the grassroots fundraising efforts of many to help others across the world.  She will be selling this small piece to raise her donation amount, and our group is using the piece as its focal image for encouraging other fundraising efforts.


From Mike Buchheit- Real Estate Misfit
If it has to do with real estate, Mike makes it happen. From buying and selling, to flipping and managing properties, he knows the value of land.  He also knows the value of community development...whatever continent it is on.  In his own words, "It's just time to build a windmill..... :)  No better reason than to help a community that is trying to leverage creativity and solutions that bring so much good to so many.  God Bless!"


From Mike Kleis- Coaching Misfit
Mike's no stranger to windmills.  He's seen plenty in his travels across Iowa while serving his successful business clients.  "I get to see some ornamental windmills in our little Dutch community of Pella, Iowa and I get to see hundreds of windmills generating electricity on the dozens of wind farms across Iowa.  I think it would be awesome to plant a windmill in Kenya to help build a sustainable community."  Well said Mike.  Well said.


From Paula Fontinel- Health Misfit

Africa has a special place in Paula's heart.  They support some personal friends who are missionaries in Tanzania, have sponsored a child through Compassion for 25 years from Africa, and have now jumped on board with supporting this windmill there. Maybe God is trying to get her attention about Africa!!

Paula agrees. "I’m happy to support this windmill project because of the empowerment it will provide this community. As the old adage goes, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime.'  This project isn’t just handing the community a container of water. It is helping them to access their own water so they can plant and harvest crops that will feed themselves and their communities for a lifetime and beyond.  I also value the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, so I am confident the outcome of this project will improve the health of this community. That will impact future generations as well."

But Paula also sees the importance of this project from a personal level. "I also believe that those of us who take responsibility and personal ownership to improve our world will generate more profound and permanent change than any social program that will ever exist. I want to be a part of that movement."

So do we, Paula.  Welcome to the Revolution!


From Scott Sorheim- Tech Misfit

Scott builds high tech software for manufacturing companies that makes their businesses more productive and efficient.  So why would he support such an "old school" technology project in Africa?

"Technology is defined as 'The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.'  Solutions don't have to include a microchip or a power cord to solve a problem.  Sometimes the best solution is also the simplest, and knowing that a single windmill will enable this village to be self-reliant proves that point."


From Joel Bennett- Chief Misfit

Top 3 Reasons I think this is the Bomb-Diggity

1) Being from a Dutch community in the middle of God's Country (Iowa- Just ask Kevin Costner) how could I not help build a windmill in Kenya?

2) In some parts of the world the US is seen as a bunch of greedy, arrogant, and self-centered jerks.  Sure, we got plenty of that too, but we also have a lot of compassionate, selfless, and faith-filled people who want to make a difference and share their love.

3) Our short-term dollars build something that helps them be self-sufficient for the long-term... what's not to love?


WANT TO JOIN US?  We'd love to have you.  Just use the online donation link below and send us an email at so we can add you to the list!

RAISED: $650 of $500