Ten years ago Compassionate Eye Foundation was founded on the belief that by doing what you love and using your creative talent, you can have a positive impact on the world.
What started with one photo shoot in June 2006 by CEF’s founder Robert Kent, 11 of his colleagues, and a partnership with Getty Images, has grown to multiple photo shoots around the world each year. Many of these shoots involve a diverse array of photographers, as well as an entire team of talented individuals for each event. The resulting revenues from these shoots has resulted in changing the lives of people and communities for the better.
What struck Kent as an opportunity to connect what he loved to do with helping make a positive difference, has resonated with scores of people and continues to inspire. The first shoot helped to begin building a classroom in Tuixoquel, Guatemala, and began an investment in a community that continues to improve their lives and possibilities.
Since 2006, through CEF, individuals have contributed their creative talent, time, and energy to help fund health, education, and sustainable economic projects across the globe. CEF has funded projects in ten different countries over the past ten years – all made possible through the volunteers and photographers who use their creative skills to give back through CEF.
“Compassionate Eye is about connecting creative professionals who do what they love with making a difference in the world,” says Kent. “It really draws people in.”
Robert Kent has also inspired professionals in other fields to volunteer their time and talents on CEF’s Board and committees. More people have come together to bring their expertise whether it is managing resources, researching and funding projects, working with the many charitable organizations involved around the world to ensure projects are funded appropriately, or getting the word out about CEF’s work and opening the door for others to be involved.
Contributing to the brain trust running the CEF are the people who arrange the creative direction, produce the shoots, and handle the post-production of the images. Creative Director Kate Stevens and Submissions Coordinator Philippa Cooper provide the professional expertise to producers and photographers so they can do their best creative work.
For the tenth anniversary of CEF in June 2016, Kent returned to Vancouver to do a shoot with long-time CEF photographer, Steven Errico and producer Amy Jones.
“When I showed up for the shoot, I was blown away by all the expertise there,” says Kent. “I was able to drop in and just start doing my work. It was an incredible experience.”
The education-themed shoot generated a whopping 265 images between the two photographers! These images will be posted on Getty Images and with each purchase, will raise funds for CEF.
For Kent, CEF was the turning point where he began focusing on putting his talent to use to make a positive difference – and connecting with others with the same passion. Since then, he has gone on to start several other projects, including collaborating on a documentary film, Aloha From Lavaland, from which a percentage of its proceeds will go to CEF, and his latest endeavor: a six-day festival in Cambodia, featuring an array of creative talent, all focused on enacting creativity to create real world positive change.
CEF’s unique model enables creative professionals to use their skills to give back, while generating continuous revenue. Kent is excited to see what the next ten years holds for CEF, and believes the model has the ability to reach beyond stock photography and attract creative professionals from other industries.
“Anyone can do it – just jump in and do what you love!”