Why is James Karagiannis designing north*?
It’s summer. It’s hot. If you’re a child, there is perhaps no more welcome sound than that of the Ice Cream Man’s bell ringing or music blaring. Can you remember hearing that sound, then rushing into the house to gather any and all change? In the secret drawer, under the sofa cushions, on your dad’s bureau – frantically searching?
James Karagiannis, better known in Buffalo, New York as the Ice Creamcycle Dude, cruises the streets of Buffalo eliciting just that reaction. Except some of his customers are short of spare change.
James frequents disadvantaged neighborhoods, bucking others’ “irrational fear of the inner city.” Though the children are dying for an icy treat just like kids in more upscale neighborhoods, they often can’t afford it. As a kind, but small businessman, it crushed James to see the disappointment on their faces, yet he knew he couldn’t afford to give away the goodies to all the needy children.
So like any good entrepreneur worth his salt, he developed a solution. He began raising funds so that he could give away ice cream to the kids when needed. He created a social contract with the children. Before receiving the treat, the creamcycle recipient had to write a thank-you note to the benefactor, creating a connection between donor and recipient.
Happy children. Happy donors. Happy Ice Creamcycle Dude. Happy community.
*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness – and we consider that *designing north* – designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.
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