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business UPDATE: OneLife is now POINT.

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It's time to carry onto another post of one of our favorite personal projects: 

photographing and sharing stories of people that INSPIRE.

Madison Mikhail, CEO and Founder of POINT

Madison Mikhail, CEO and Founder of POINT

Madison and I attended the same high school but didn't know one another until late college. It has been such a blessing getting to know her heart and her love of serving. 

These are the days you remember, the days where you watch people actively make a different and want to jump on the bandwagon to help, to do something. That's how I felt on my few days spent with Madison and the ONELIFE team. Her inspiration has helped gather a team that has the same desire to make a difference. The desire of ONELIFE is to educate people in ways we can serve in our community and around the world. Through that desire, they have created a dynamic approach to charitable donations with a unique way to connect and aid specific needs around the world. 

Get to know a bit more about ONELIFE by watching Madison's TEXx talk The Charity Disconnect and reading our Q&A below.

1.) What is ONELIFE?

ONELIFE is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that serves as a charity hub, the one connection to all things charity. As Facebook is for keeping up with your friends, as ESPN is for sports, and as Twitter is for updates so ONELIFE wants to be for charity. We want to create one place online you can go to connect with world needs, reliable nonprofits and service opportunities. 


2.) What compelled you to start ONELIFE?

ONELIFE really evolved through the years, first I just wanted my peers (and my self) to gain perspectice about our world. I thought that would compel people to want to help the issues they care about. As time went by, I realized that with everything so easily accessible, charity and opportunities to help, had to be the same. 


3.) What did you imagine ONELIFE being when you first started?

You know, when I first started I thought that if I made a website everyone would just start using it (haha!). I know now that that is not how it works. In middle school my sketches of ONELIFE are completely different than what we have up. Like for instance, in my sketches the map was a virtual globe that the user could spin and parts of the the globe would enlarge as you pass over. I've never seen anything like it - everyone I have asked told me it's impossible to code.


4.) How has it become more than what you imagined?

Both yes and no. Yes in the fact that I would have never thought of making charity university chapters. (That was a sleep over idea by a friend, Abby Camp). But those chapters have almost raised $10,000 for various charities in such a short period of time. No, because when you start something you have to imagine the biggest or grandest form of the creation. I have outrageous ideas and hopes we haven't even touched on yet. 


5.) Where do you see it going in the next 5-10 years?

You'll see :) But I'm hoping that the everyday person will use ONELIFE weekly, if not daily! 


6.) What obstacles (if any) did you face, how did it make you feel and what did you do to overcome the challenges and/or fears.

Obstacles? I feel like everything was at one point in time. Feeling incompetent was a big issue, so I think I am my worst enemy at times. I get overwhelmed and stare at my work. I also was shy about sharing what I was doing. I would get nervous and tell adults I was volunteering for a nonprofit in town. 

Other obstacles included volunteers or contractors not coming through, the lack of time (as I was in school for the past 4 years), the lack of funds, or lack of sleep. Other times, I just didn't want to work anymore and wanted to be a college kid who went to class then had a social life, which didn't really happen. There was also an issue of the unknown field. The "unknown field" as in - I have no clue about anything regarding design or coding or business or nonprofits. Heck, I just graduated in biology so everything for me in a learning experience! (For example, I just ran our board of directors meeting and I had no idea what I was doing. To understand correct Roberts Rule, I had to repeat after the board members. Basically reverted to a two year old, and I couldn't stop laughing). 

Overcoming those challenges, came with lots of prayer. I still face those challenges but I think the Lord has shown Him self to come through in times I felt like I wanted to quit. I think overcoming challenges came with an everyday choice to learn and be humble. The majority of the time I don't know what I'm doing, so to put away my pride and ask professionals for advice was huge. 


7.) How did ONELIFE come to be? (What steps did you take to start ONELIFE?)

I feel like if I wrote out all the steps it would be a novel, because each steps would have to include the steps to move past the set backs. ONELIFE started as sketches on homework assignments. I took those sketches to various website designers who could turn them into web design. On the legal side, I knew a family friend was a lawyer and booked an appointment. I then spent the summer with the help of two dear friends, Emily and Michael (who now happens to be my fiancé...) trying to fill out these massive legal documents which we were highly under qualified to do. Every other moment was spend reading and searching phrases such as "How to set up a bank account" to "What is the definition of a business model". Although I had no idea what I was doing, the steps unveiled themselves as I went. 


8.) What are your hopes for how ONELIFE will impact the local community? What are your hopes for how ONELIFE will impact the greater national and international community?

I hope that we will encourage and enable to everyday person to serve in their community. People in need don't always live across an ocean, sometimes across the street. I also hope that people who are fortunate will gain a new global perspective and become invested the not only the topic but the actions of charity. Internationally, I hope that nonprofits who are doing good work will be funded and known through ONELIFE. In that way, peoples can be reached. My hope is that as donors we can partner with peoples in need and have a first hand seat to watch them flourish. 


9.) What is the best way for people to get involved?

At the moment the best ways to get involved with ONELIFE HQ are helping us spread the word! An individual by tweeting, sharing, and interacting has more power than you think! And hey, if someone wants to join the team we are always looking for committed volunteers. 


10.) How do you want to impact and inspire the people around you? How do you want ONELIFE to inspire other people?

Me, personally, I have been praying that Christ Jesus would be glorified, that people's lives would be changed, and I would be humbled. I hope we as ONELIFE have the opportunity to inspire any person to start to see the world around them differently, choose to help the causes or peoples they see with needs, and boldly tell their communities to join them. World change doesn't have to be great heroic acts, just simple steps taken with a new perspective. 


11.) What advice can you give to help others lead more socially responsible lives?

Don't forget about the people outside of your technology, walls, community, city, state, and nation. Sometimes in my day to day life, I can almost de-humanize the people around me because I become self focused. Changing your perspective to remember that every face you see is a individual with irreplaceable value can be life changing, leading to a socially responsible mindset. It's something I try to remember. 


Visit ONELIFE's website to get involved: