Giving Back

Small Business, Big Impact

Kara on her way to the hives

As humans, we have relied on bees for thousands of years. But in the past decade, honey bee populations in the U.S. have radically declined for a number of reasons. To do our part, we converted and maintain over 40 acres of previously conventionally farmed land to regenerative wildflower fields. We harvest all of our honey here, apply a light human touch, and provide you and the stores where you shop with Bee Inspired goods. To date, we have spent in excess of $150,000 on providing our bees a safe haven on Chesterhaven Beach Farm.

VisionWorkshops

A photography teach with a mother and daughter looking at the back of a digital camera together and smiling

For almost two decades Kara has served on the board of VisionWorkshops, a worldwide non-profit organization focused on teaching at-risk youth the art of photojournalism. VisionWorkshops oftentimes uses National Geographic photographers as teachers.

A program like this encourages children, who may have difficulty learning or speaking the native language, to learn and communicate in new ways. Providing learning opportunities to kids in underserved communities makes everyone’s future brighter. It’s been Kara’s commitment to raise awareness of and give to this organization since its very beginning. To date, she has raised/given in excess of $185,000. A portion of all profits made from Waxing Kara® is donated to VisionWorkshops.

Maryland Institute College of Art

Kara painting with encaustic in her studio

My life’s never taken a predictable path, so the idea that, at age 34, I might want to establish an endowed scholarship in my father’s name didn’t seem that remarkable to me. I’m amazed that more people who have succeeded in business don’t make it a priority to give back to the institutions that helped get them where they are. I did it in part to honor my father’s memory, but really I wanted to help other students like me.

When my father passed away, we learned we’d lose his full death benefit if I weren’t enrolled in college. So, at 16, I dropped out of high school and enrolled in community college. That year, I took my portfolio to MICA, was accepted, and I transferred at age 17. I had no idea how expensive it would be. The College sheltered me from that somewhat, and I’m grateful for the help they gave me—a MICA scholarship and information on other places to apply for more aid. I won quite a few scholarships. Every year, I applied to any place that offered money for school. To date, the endowment was in excess of $150,000 and over 30 scholarships have been awarded in the last 20 years.

When you give, it always comes back to you—not that that’s why you do it. Doing for others is just another way of raising the bar for yourself. For me this scholarship was a way to be there for MICA because MICA was there for me. I felt I had a responsibility to give future generations of students the opportunity to study at MICA because others had done that for me.

Kara Brook Brown