Dave Simnick and Daniel Doll believe the best policy for sustainable global development is soap and water.
Their company – SoapBox Soaps – supports organizations in 50+ countries worldwide, including the US, by donating one bar of soap, water development, or vitamins for every purchase from their growing line of personal care products. The company also seeks to “empower rather than create or foster aid dependencies” with each groups it helps. This model takes the one-for-one model a step further by encouraging behavior change with the delivery of assistance.
While he was a student at AU’s School of Public Affairs, Simnick started making soap in his basement. A few years later, while contracting on a USAID project, he realized that many of the beneficiaries of the health projects he worked on lacked soap. And a simple thing like soap and clean water can go a long way to preventing disease – like diarrhea, respiratory infections, and Ebola – in turn keeping children in school and keeping people at work. In fact, SoapBox recently announced a partnership with DirectRelief to provide more than 20,000 bars of soap to the fight against Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Doll, who now serves as the COO and president of SoapBox, met Simnick during an entrepreneurship class at American University, and SoapBox developed from business plan they created during the course. With Doll’s help, the company expanded from 125 stores in December 2013 to more than 1,500 stores in June 2014, and they have garnered a number of awards.
Being in DC has helped Simnick connect with “people who really want to get things done. This city is an amazing hub of knowledge. Just know, there are many different avenues to make the change you want,” he told Streetwise in 2013.
Simnick received American University’s Alumni Association’s Rising Star Award in 2013, and is starting to garner wider attention for his company’s efforts.
The company has been featured in the Washington Post, PR Week, WUSA-9, ABC-7, Self, and dozens of other publications and media outlets.
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