When most organizations ask for donations to be sent to third-world countries, many people think of sending money or clothing. But one Gwinnett man came up with the idea of shipping paint.
In May 2010, Rony Delgarde started Global Paint for Charity, a nonprofit organization in Peachtree Corners that recycles leftover paint from companies and residences to send them to developing countries. The paint is used to bring life to the exterior and interior of schools, churches and other global housing projects.
So far, Delgarde has donated to places such as Haiti, South Sudan and Kenya. While there may be more pressing issues in developing countries than the facade of a building, when someone really thinks about it, the right color in a room can truly change the ambiance of a place and the attitudes of those who inhabit it.
"They can feel different, because the paint can change and touch their lives," he said. "We want to give them a little bit of happiness," in spite of their situation.
Delgarde, who's an executive consultant for IT at Atlantic Healthcare Consulting, said the first time he was inspired to collect paint was in March 2010. He visited Kenya and Uganda to help donate soap with his friend's company, the Global Soap Project, and he realized there was a need to beautify global housing projects.
That beautification hit home. Growing up in Haiti, Delgarde said painted walls were scarce. Since coming back from the Africa trip, he immediately started collecting paint and has since gone back to those same locations, in addition to others, to help with painting.
While he tries to visit to other countries as much as possible, he mostly ships the paint to them. He sends out as many as 500 gallons at a time, which can get costly since he pays for the shipping out of pocket. He also picks up all the paint and has gone to residences and businesses as far as Macon and Savannah.
One major factor behind the paint movement is that it's also better for the environment. Recycling the paint reduces waste and saves the country money. If one gallon of paint is seeped into the ground, it has the ability to pollute up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water, according to Delgarde.
Currently, Delgarde shares the same office as Global Soaps on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners. Space has become too overwhelming for both projects to share, though, so he's in talks with the landlord to gain his own space in the complex.
For other future plans, Delgarde may see some technology come his way. A group of Georgia Tech students want to design a machine for him that will customize colors for him from any donated color.
He also hopes to partner with more organizations so that Global Paints can grow. When he first started, he only contacted construction sites and they would give him their leftover paint.
Now, because of word of mouth, he's partnered with chain stores such as Goodwill, Home Depot and Sherwin Williams in the area. He calls the subproject One Stop Paint Drop, because he comes by the stores once a month to pick up paint that's been donated.
Global Paints has partnered with organizations such as the Red Cross, United Way and CARE, but it's mostly been on a one-time basis.
"If we can partner with more organizations, we'll be more efficient and more sustainable with what we're doing," he said. "In a subdivision with 300 houses, a home will have at least two or three gallons of paint in its basement." With more support, he believes Global Paints can collect as many as 400 gallons of paint on a single day just in the state of Georgia.
For more information or to donate, contact Rony Delgarde at firstname.lastname@example.org and 678-314-3521. Check out their Facebook page here.