Our Founding Story

Our Founding Story

One starving baby.  A man looking for change.  And an inspirational mother to hundreds of children.

Global Roots: Nourishing Life

In 1992, Rick Montgomery led a pretty traditional life: work, friends, entertainment.  He pursued all of the things people expected life to contain, yet something was always missing.  

And then a trip to India changed everything.  At an unexpected moment, Rick was handed a badly malnourished infant.  The full weight of this innocent child’s reality hit Rick and created a spark.  

Rick attempted to return to his former life.  He accepted a high paying job in Hong Kong and dove into neon city life.  But that spark ignited in India was beginning to spread.  Rick realized that he could no longer ignore this dissatisfaction.  He quit his job and hit the road as a travel expedition leader, hoping to find his fulfillment in exploration.  

As Rick wandered, he began to observe the situations in the world and what was being done about them.  He realized that while he felt deeply moved to contribute to these problems, he held a firm belief that change must come from and be owned by the community affected.  

He wanted to support aid without stealing autonomy.  Rick wanted to empower people.  

But how?  

Tendol Gyalzur inspired the answer.  Gyalzur, an ordinary Tibetan woman who proved to be far more than ordinary, showed Rick how partnership with local humanitarians could create meaningful change.  Gyalzur had been making a difference in her own community through the simple act of caring for children in need.  Taking in as many orphaned or abandoned Tibetan children as she could manage, Gyalzur was experienced in navigating aid work while avoiding bureaucratic obstacles and cultural misappropriation.  

Now the spark ignited in India and fanned by Gyalzur’s role model became a full and focused fire.  With a passion and a plan, Rick’s enthusiasm was catching.  On his next expedition, a client was inspired. John Gray, one of Oregon’s greatest all time philanthropists, would become the first donor to support Rick’s plan.  Another client, Mark Christiansen, was moved to do the paperwork for non-profit status.  And just like that, Global Roots was born.  

Rick was quickly joined by fellow humanitarian, Patrick Firouzian.  A photographer and explorer, Patrick roamed the world seeking areas where children were in distress and where proactive, transparent, local humanitarians could benefit from external support to give them the added push they needed to succeed.  Projects were in global hot spots food aid delivery models are hopelessly flawed including Kenya, Afghanistan and Cambodia
Working closely with Patrick and carefully vetted local humanitarians all over the world, Global Roots started to launch locally sourced school lunch programs that collectively became known as Children’s Gardens.
The first Global Roots Children’s Garden greenhouse was built at a school in Kenya in 2010 using local initiative and led by a local agricultural specialist.  Consistent data showed that wherever these greenhouses were built, those schools demonstrated consistently and significantly increased attendance, better scores and higher rates of matriculation.  
Greenhouses built in Afghanistan were the key to finding homes for children without. Wherever the gardens were built, the added food security and community engagement meant better solutions for children across the board.
Rick has reached out to the World Food Program, the Girl Effect, US AID, the giving agencies of several European governments and the giving arms of Fortunate Five Hundred companies and is certain that the Global Roots method will answer the greatest problem on the planet: bringing nutrition and emotional nourishment to children in need.
Here is the Global Roots Method. Please tell us what you think and how you can join us!
Impoverished and disenchanted families will send their children back to school if a nutritional meal is waiting for them there…
Global Roots donations finance locally sourced and managed school lunch programs in hot spots all over there world where there are limited to no social services
The Global Roots experience: impoverished and disenchanted parents will send their children to school if a nutritious meal is waiting for them there.
The Global Roots method: plant a greenhouse garden ad erect a hen house, empower the creation of a PTA watch dog group, open a local bank account in the name of the participating school, LAUNCH SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM, track transparency requirements and monitor metrics.
Expected result at every participating school: 90% decrease in absenteeism, 20% increase in overall literacy