Empowering the homeless: How one man’s experience with homelessness and current success is impacting others for the better

2013 Empower Network Jonathan HeadshotBy Jonathan Cronstedt, CEO of Empower Network

610,042 individuals are homeless on any given night in the United States.

Empower Network donated $10,000 to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida helps more than 600 people on an average night.

1 person is all it takes to make a difference.

I met Dave Wood back in 2013 and was amazed to hear his story. Dave, a college dropout from Fairbanks, Alaska, found himself homeless in his late 20s after several failed attempts to start his own company and make money working in the direct sales industry.

Just a few short years ago, after spending 2009 through to 2011 living on and off the streets, Dave was living out of a Dodge Caravan. One night, while he slept, the police knocked on the window of his van and issued him a ticket for vagrancy. After paying the $35 ticket with the last of his money, he decided his life and the course it was taking needed a drastic change.

Dave borrowed $150 from his mom to buy a laptop, learned how to blog and made more money in one month than he’d made in an entire year in the past. He was empowered. But he didn’t stop there; he saw how his life was changing and propelling him from homelessness to successful entrepreneur and he wanted to empower others so they could enjoy the same successes as he was experiencing for the first time in his life. This was the inception of Empower Network, which launched in October of 2011. The web marketing and software company empowers individuals to reach new levels of success by starting home-based businesses and becoming entrepreneurs.

For Dave, now a millionaire and living in Costa Rica, Empower Network is not just about a successful business or making money. Empower Network is about helping people achieve their dreams, like he achieved his when he worked to pull himself out of homelessness and make a name for himself doing what he loves – and succeeded.

That’s why he teamed up with Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. The Coalition shares Dave’s ambition. The non-profit’s mission is to transform the lives of homeless men, women and children by providing crucial services to end the crisis of homelessness.

In October 2014, Empower Network returned to the city where Dave officially launched the company – Orlando – to host its fourth-quarter conference for its affiliates. During the conference, Empower Network donated $10,000 to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

That isn’t the only time Dave’s company made a donation like that to provide assistance to an organization with the goal of improving the lives of the homeless. Because of Dave’s background as a homeless man, Empower Network has dedicated itself to helping the homeless, with a long-term goal of eradicating homelessness in the U.S. and worldwide.

Empowerment doesn’t stop at the close of the business day. It doesn’t stop right after a donation, nor at the end of this blog post. Empowerment is about helping people achieve their dreams. Dave’s hope is that donations – similar to the one Empower Network made during its conference – will empower people just like Dave and hundreds of thousands of other homeless individuals and families to work toward a better life.

610,042 individuals are homeless on any given night in the United States, as of January 2013.

Empower Network donated $10,000 toward the cause.

More than 600 people find aid at Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida on an average night.

1 word: Empowerment.

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