Meet Riley Fuller: Founder of Humanity & Hope United


This time of year giving, is on the forefront. It made total sense to talk to someone who has dedicated his life to service. Living in a first world country it is so easy to complain about trivial things. Talking to Riley Fuller put so much in perspective. His work and passion centers around aiding others, specially the people of Honduras. His organization: Humanity and Hope United strives to help people to grow and become their best selves. 

Humanity and Hope United. Tell me more. 

I used to think: someday when I’m old, rich, and retired I’m going to start something that helps people not issues. People are complicated. It’s possible to get good at solving an issue, but ultimately it leaves the people you are serving wanting more depth. 

It’s turned into a life mission— getting connected to the people that we serve. There are moments that completely draw your heart in: seeing a family provide for Christmas when they have not been able to before. Seeing the first generation go to secondary school when elementary school has been the pinnacle for everybody in the past. These are the victories we strive for. 

Was devoting your life to serving others ever a part of your game plan? 

I never planned on doing anything like this — starting a non profit. When I was in college, my family was in to service and one summer while they were off somewhere being good people, I took my Dad’s car for a spin — the one thing he told me not to do before he left. Within 10 minutes of driving it, I hit a deer and totaled the car. The next summer I was forced to go to Honduras. It was the first time I had ever seen people living in poverty that takes away their potential. It just smacks you in the face when you see it for the first time. It takes away human dignity. It’s a daily grind to survive. 




Do you have any story or person you have helped that sticks out among everything else?

A story that sticks out in my mind deals with a man who is a leader of his particular village. About two and a half years ago his daughter came to me and said I’m finishing 6th grade. I always thought I was going to sit in my hut and make tortillas for the rest of my life, but I think that you’ll give me a chance. We found a way to enroll her in secondary school and within a month she became a model for 12 other people. This meant 13 kids were now going to high school in a village where that had not been the case. After this, her Dad acknowledged that he had made a mistake. He said he saw her as being as valuable as his sons. This is coming from a man with influence. For him to see women as being as valuable as men — really, really cool. 


What does your day to day look like? 

I try to have part of the day that is proactive. I do things to try to move forward one of my 3 strategic priorities for the quarter. After that it’s usually a lot of talking with people. I try to build teams — advocacy and thanking people that are a part of our team or trying to find people to go to Honduras to really get their heart involved. Finding new donors. Leadership training.


Riley loves people — it’s apparent. Can you imagine him as a Dad? This is a role it seems he was made for. He has son: Vince and one on the way. Another little boy! 

Vince is super excited. So is my wife Nazley — we often talk about his baby brother. He talks about what he wants to name him. The two names so far are: Benjamin — which I can’t do, and Jimmy — my wife’s ex. So he’s picked the two names we can’t possibly use. 


    

Riley has no problem whipping out fun facts. #respect. 

K: I like to always ask the people I’m interviewing some fun facts. I usually start with any Netflix binges or favorite shows. 

R: How about I give you some fun facts and you can tell me if you want any more. I’m terrible at Netflix, I don’t watch anything. BUT, fun fact: I was kicked out of college. 

K: Thank goodness. I was nervous about talking to a complete do gooder.

R: It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. 

R: I was captain of the soccer team. 

K: Fancy. Were you a part of Greek life? 

R: You know, I rushed about three fraternities but when it came time to pledge or be told to do something I was like get out of here. 

K: MR. POPULAR 



Lets say someone reading this feels passionate about getting involved. What do you say to them?

We try to keep it simple. The three ways to get involved are to go, give, and buy. Go is to actually go and serve someone who needs something. Next is to give — give your money to something specific we are doing. That could be job creation, education, or healthcare. Last is to Buy. We recognize that capitalism is arguably the biggest belief system in the world. We started Generous Coffee as a way to purchase a quality product and give back. You’re able to buy something you would have purchased anyways and do some good at the same time.



 



What do you want people to grasp when they hear Humanity and Hope United? 

Two things: Helping people can be a ton of fun. I don’t like to think of what we do as a non-profit. I like to think of it as “for impact.” When people think of organizations like ours they think of sad songs. 

K: Sara McLachlan 

Exactly. They think of being guilted into something. I think that could not be any further from the mark. It can be a ton of fun to help people. I’ve experienced it many times. Secondly and more importantly — never underestimate the potential for one person to make a real and permanently sustainable impact. Our potential is what we define it as. I would encourage people to really think about what their dreams are, what motivates them, and to take a step towards it. 



Gosh I love meeting people like Riley. It’s very refreshing to see someone called to give back in the way he does. He isn’t giving anyone a fish. He’s teaching them how to fish along with a smile and a hug. His message to love others is often easy in theory but sometimes hard for people in practice. Shall we head Riley’s sentiments? I think so. Let us all vow to spread true love like peanut butter — generously and effortlessly. 




Thanks for reading! Check out this video for a closer look at Humanity and Hope United: