Where we Started
In 2014, our co-founders Theresa and Katie met not as aspiring business partners, but as teacher and student at a small school in Pittsburgh PA. That year Katie, then a freshman in high school, took her first course with Theresa, an english and writing teacher, and soon they began to discover a shared passion for advocacy, social justice, and empathy. Over the next four years, they worked together in multiple facets, and Theresa acted as a mentor to Katie as she began to discern her passion for social work and activism.
Through all of their challenging and enlightening conversations, one question prevailed: How can we utilize empathy as a way to create action? Theresa shared with Katie her long-time aspiration of starting an empathy-based organization inspired by the empathy museum model in the UK. After Katie's first year of her undergraduate social work degree at Gannon University, Theresa and she began uniting forces yet again to fulfill their shared dream: starting an organization that promotes empathy in our community and beyond. Thus, Empathy Bound was born.
Empathy Bound aims to help interrupt the flow of hatred and loneliness in the modern world by creating empowering virtual and physical spaces for creative expression, storytelling, and open discussion.
So Far & in the Future
Founded in 2019, Empathy Bound is a hybrid social enterprise committed to building peace by giving people opportunities to connect through lived experiences. Empathy Bound coordinates events, provides resources, shares stories and promotes empathy-focused entities.
So far, Empathy Bound partnered with Gannon University and organizations in the Erie area to present a week-long Empathy Pop-Up Gallery in 2020. Empathy Bound has also hosted several in-person and online events including a Visibility Summit focused on exploring disability rights, a Thanksgiving reflection on the positive impact of gratitude and several monthly meetings of Peace Seekers Anonymous, a casual and supportive place for sensitive souls to explore and process modern topics.
For now, Empathy Bound is networking with individuals, community groups and non-profit organizations to present events, explore funding opportunities and create shared understanding.
In the future, Empathy Bound plans to collaborate with community groups, businesses and non-profit entities... sharing energy, enthusiasm, resources and space to create engaging opportunities for sharing stories, exploring inter-connectedness and enriching one's understanding of others. Several podcasts are currently in production and a variety of new projects and events are in the planning process. Keep connected and we'll keep you posted.
Why did you switch your plan away from being a nonprofit? Why a social enterprise?
After much deliberation and research, we found that being a hybrid social enterprise would allow us to have lower upfront costs and to have fewer restrictions on how much income we can have from sales of products and services. This means we can more easily fund a cafe and gallery. It does not mean we are looking to get rich or profit wildly on empathy. A majority of the profits will be put back into working with the community to present pop-up galleries and other events at little or no cost.
I want to be involved! How can I help?
We encourage anyone who wants to be involved to both follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. You can also fill out the contact form on the "contact" page.
Can I donate to your organization?
Yes! While donations to social enterprises are not tax deductible, we add all of our donors to a special mailing list where you will receive exclusive updates and content. Please contact us for more information. (An online donation form is coming soon)
I am working on a social justice or empathy-focused project- can we collaborate?
We are always looking for new artists, musicians, photographers, tech gurus, marketing specialists, and designers to join our projects! Reach out today.
Do you have an interest in partnering with Empathy Bound as we pursue this journey? Reach out for more information on our mission or to collaborate in our planning process.