Ken Frantz is the founder of Bridges to Prosperity program, which currently has programs in 12 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He has been in the construction industry for over 40 years, and has received national and state commendations for construction and scheduling excellence. Ken has volunteered thousands of hours for over 20 charitable organizations, ranging from the Boy Scouts to Rotary International. Ken lives with his two boys, daughter, and wife in Yorktown, Virginia. Ken has donated substantial financial resources, and volunteers full-time with Bridges to Prosperity and Rotary International. We are honored to have him reply to our two questions:
What Brings You Happiness?
Being passionate. Passionate in my relationships with my family and friends, passionate in taking on challenges, and passionate about excellence. Passion has turned my life around. I became supercharged with passion when I discovered that I had a purpose. That purpose was to start and build the charity Bridges to Prosperity. I had always had the "Donald Trump gene" for dogged determination and excellence. Thirty years ago I built 120 apartments in 56 days.....a world record at that time. However, all those years of financial success left me feeling empty inside. Then one day, while having my Ford pickup truck serviced, I picked up a National Geographic Magazine and the pages fell open to a photo taken on the Nile in Ethiopia of 10 men on either side of a rope, dangerously passing each other across a collapsed 400 year old broken bridge. I knew at that moment, that this is what I had studied and worked so hard my entire life for: I would build bridges. Not just the Nile bridge, but teach bridge building skills to thousands, and build hundreds of bridges in poor rural areas all over the world. I had found my purpose, which then supercharged my life with passion.
What Would You Change (If You Could) To Make Our World A Better Place?
I would make it mandatory for every high school student in the USA to spend two weeks doing a service project in Africa. Not only would such a trip make our children appreciative of the incredible gift they have been given by their birth, but it would also help their generation understand the incredible joy received when sharing that gift. When asked last year on why we should save Africa, I said: Because we are a compassionate people. 200 years ago we were stealing Africans to enrich ourselves. 150 years ago we started the journey towards reconciliation. 50 years ago we were ready to start helping Africa in meaningful ways. 30 years ago we sat on our hands and wallets in the midst of our own incredible prosperity. 15 years ago we woke from complacency to find a continent in shambles, now a billion lives in abject misery.
Our hearts opened to the tragedy, our minds to the possibility. We did not wait to be led by others. We rolled up our sleeves and went. Today, we at Bridges to Prosperity renew our generation's vow to listen, teach, empower, and spread hope.