When Martine L. Nolletti met the co-founder of Cornerstone Project Incorporated, a native Kenyan, she felt compelled to give back to the women and children of Kenya. Currently serving as the chairman for the nonprofit organization, she assists in providing education for AIDS orphans in Kenya. In her position, Ms. Nolletti oversees all daily business operations and logistics. This includes orchestrating education and housing for children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Northwest Kenya. Currently, Cornerstone Project Incorporated is working diligently to construct a boarding school in the area which will house and teach both orphaned and tuition paying students. Seeking to minimize annual operating costs, they will rely partially on charitable donations to maintain the institution. Ever eager to bring awareness to this cause, and receive additional donations, Ms. Nolletti also handles fundraising, business development, and design in pursuit of ecological sustainability for Cornerstone Project Incorporated. Attributing her success to collaborating with and listening to others, she plans to raise money to open a vocational high school and conference center for adult education.
As with most journeys, Ms. Nolletti’s journey for personal empowerment lead her to the absolute and resolute desire to assist others in achieving their own empowerment, especially where these challenges are the greatest: for the children of the poorest of the poor, living in the worst of circumstances. This is how she began her journey and where she found her own peace in the process. Ms. Nolletti feels that she has been blessed with good health and good fortune along the way and it has been a great gift to assist others in flourishing.
It has been Ms. Nolletti’s observation that many well-intended projects in the philanthropic arena fail, and she has come to some conclusions as to why. “Many projects are taken on from a ‘missionary’ ideology,” she says, “and imply that the group being served does not have the sovereign capability to manage themselves. This smacks of the colonialist mentality that has decimated entire cultures for millennia. My approach is to provide assistance to an area or a project where the change is sought after by the group themselves, organically and with respect to that areas culture. Women and children are at the heart of my philanthropic pursuits as they have been most largely marginalized globally.”
“Another area I have observed that maligns the philanthropic arena is the paradoxical ego attachment on the part of the philanthropist. This produces control issues that typically strangle a project before it even gets out of the gates. I try to assume all projects have nothing to do with me…because they don’t really. That has been the key to my success.”
Ms. Nolletti is professionally affiliated with US Green Building Council. Away from the demands of her work, she enjoys Yoga, gardening, traveling, architecture, and interior design.