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Prime Produce is a non-profit that works on connecting people with altruistic interests to other non-profits in order to help them maximize their time with volunteer work. Talk about creating an amazing platform of giving! Jerone Hsu talks about Prime Produce and the various programs they have taken on that have been making a HUGE impact on the non-profit world.

Love + Water- Can you talk about the mission of Prime Produce?

Jerone Hsu- Prime Produce’s official mission is to innovate new channels for positive impact in the non-profit sector, particularly for creative and entrepreneurial students.  The logic behind it is that we think there are a lot of conscientious people out there, but it isn’t cost-effective for everyone to do relief work.  People’s aptitudes vary and they have their own personal needs to adhere to.  At the heart of our organization we’re about creating channels for people to convert whatever aptitudes or resources they have at their disposal and then provide each of them a way to convert those into usable capital for the non-profit sector as a whole.  Our programming is really about the volunteers at the end of the day.  Through our programming we assist other non-profits, and our volunteers get a hands-on experience in innovative not-for-profit programming.  As an organization made up completely of volunteers, we can take more risks and experiment more, without needing a great deal of centralized oversight to leverage our resources and ideas to benefit the causes we care about. We like to call it “guerilla activism.”  We started in 2007, and are still a small outfit but are doing more and more work everyday.

L+W- I understand one of your programs includes helping pre-law students shape their paths toward the non-profit sector.
JH- We run a program called PreProBono.  It provides pre-law students who have demonstrated interest in altruistic or volunteer law practice and provides them with the tools necessary to get into law school.  That includes top-tier LSAT curriculum and admissions consulting.  We are working on building a community that bridges the gap between public interest and law.  We also bring in keynote speakers from the public interest sector to speak to the students about what it means to practice public law and how to gear their law school experience in that direction.  Since April 2008 we’ve had over 250 students in six cities go through this program.

L+W- What inspired you to come up with the idea for Prime Produce?

JH- There was no organization that addressed everything I was interested in pursuing.  Prime Produce allows people to leverage resources to their disposal and comes up with ways to help people harness personal resources using their free time in an altruistic way.

L+W- Plus you have Prom coming up on Sept 25!

JH- Yes! The objectives for the Prom are threefold: to provide a platform for non-profit networking and resource-sharing, to provide and auxiliary fundraising opportunity to non-profits at no cost and to have a great Prom-themed party full of good people. 100% of the proceeds from each entrance fee goes to each attendee’s chosen non-profit. There will be live music, live art, auctions, raffles and a Prom Afterparty. Also, many of our friends, because we’re very grassroots oriented.  We feel strongly that this emphasis on immediate personal networks has given us a real backbone.  Doing these projects is fun, a great way to learn together and allows us to build a community around the idea that fuels us.  

L+W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far?

JH- There have been so many and many different levels.  I have one friend from school who ended up becoming my partner on Pre-Pro-Bono, and we’ve become so much closer as a result.  He is one of my closest friends as a result of us working together, and we’re very productive as a result.  Another one was last year we were able to go to Nepal after raising money from a benefit t-shirt to conduct arts programming and pay for a playground at an orphanage there. I think also the day-to-day challenges of figuring out how to make certain projects happen and then watching the results is very rewarding.

Visit the Prime Produce site: http://www.primeproduce.org/
Get tickets for the Prime Produce Prom: primeproduce.org/prom
Find the Prime Produce Prom on Facebook
Visit PreProBono: www.preprobono.org