BeadforLife. Ignite Potential. End Poverty.


Boots with Lucy, a first-year nursing student
Boots with Lucy, a first-year nursing student

The life focus of Boots Kane Tolsdorf ’63 is BeadforLife, an organization based in Boulder, CO, that helps women in Uganda become self-sufficient. The 11-year-old organization teaches women in Uganda to become entrepreneurs. BeadforLife does not subsidize the women’s businesses; it teaches “women with spark!”

The beading program gives smart, poverty-stricken women entrepreneurial training. It builds their confidence and teaches them the skills and they need to better their lives through the creation of a self-sustaining business. Unlike in a typical fair trade model, these women graduate from the program as independent business owners.

The women learn business concepts like accounting and quality control while they roll paper beads and create fashionable fair trade products. Women in BeadforLife increase their income by seven to 10 times through the sale of their products, and are thereby able to nurture their small businesses while saving money. BeadforLife coaches and mentors the women, and ensures that, as its website says, they “do not just have the money to support their dreams; they have the confidence and know-how to thrive.”