Entrepreneur takes initiative to help others

Published on: 4/11/2012

For Wauwatosa resident and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater freshman Paul Gerhartz, receiving an entrepreneurial internship was too good to be true. So, he chose to pay is good fortune forward.

Gerhartz was awarded the Wauwatosa Youth Commission Service Award because of his community service while he was a student at Wauwatosa West High School. He spent much of his free time volunteering as a baseball and basketball coach for middle school athletes. His service continued as he entered his post-secondary education.

Gerhartz was approached by a resident assistant at UW-Whitewater about a fundraising project through Kiva Corp., a nonprofit organization that provides microloans to entrepreneurs in Third World countries. Gerhartz became a board member of the Kiva Club at the university.

'I think it's a cool charity because you're helping people help themselves,' Gerhartz said. 'Once the people pay the money back, then you can lend it out to someone else.'

He was drawn to the charity because it provides a cycle of assistance. Kiva has a 98 percent repayment rate, Gerhartz said.

The cards fell into place when Gerhartz was selected for an internship with College Works, which develops students into managers and business owners. Through this internship, Gerhartz becomes his own branch manager, while providing exterior painting and staining services in the spring and summer months throughout the Wauwatosa area.

Gerhartz has decided to donate 100 percent of his internship profits to entrepreneurs in Third World countries through Kiva.

'The profits he receives through College Works will go into a Pay Pal account, which will then be lent out through Kiva.

'The whole reason I'm donating all the money is because I think it's too good an opportunity at 19 to run a company with someone else paying for it,' Gerhartz said. 'I felt guilty taking profits on top of that, and I thought I'd help someone else.'

Just the Facts

NAME: Paul Gerhartz

AGE: 19

NOTED FOR: Wauwatosa Youth Commission Service Award, donating 100 percent of internship money to the nonprofit Kiva

WORDS OF WISDOM: 'I like this charity because it's helping people help themselves.'

WEBSITE: www.collegeworks.com, www.kiva.org