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Published April 26, 2014, 06:27 PM

Founder of BuildOn speaks at Concordia College about building schools in developing countries

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - A man who gave up the corporate life to battle poverty, starting a now multi-million dollar non-profit, spoke at Concordia Saturday. Jim Ziolkowski is the founder of BuildOn, which builds schools in developing countries.

By: Brian Abel, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - A man who gave up the corporate life to battle poverty, starting a now multi-million dollar non-profit, spoke at Concordia Saturday.

Jim Ziolkowski is the founder of BuildOn, which builds schools in developing countries.

"Changing the world and building schools.”

That's exactly what Jim Ziolkowsi is now doing. His organization BuildOn, has built over 600 schools in some of the poorest countries on the planet.

Now building a new school once every 3 to 4 days, his thinking - education is the best way to battle severe poverty.

Jim Ziolkowski/Founder and CEO, BuildOn: "I'm deeply impacted, even after 22 years by the stories and the challenges that the community members face, these extreme circumstances.”

It was that long ago when Ziolkowski quit his finance job at GE to start BuildOn.

He says the biggest surprise of his life came six months later when the very company he left became his first corporate sponsor, with a little help from a Concordia College grad.

Jim Parke/Former Senior VP, GE: "He gave his pitch and told me where they were in that process and I was attracted to it because it was not a charity, it was not a handout kind of organization, it was an organization that was focused on empowering people"

Now that organization is getting attention from the likes of Microsoft and Google with the story of its birth and success published in a New York Times best-selling book. One the Dalai Lama says has "the keys to leading a meaningful life"

"94-percent of these kids that get involved with our program not only graduate but go to college."

Ziolkowski next move is growing BuildOn, expanding efforts here in America - hoping to tackle dropout rates for high school students and he wants your help.

Ziolkowsi: "If we can unite as a country and as communities. We can mobilize. We can provide opportunities for these kids to step up and lead and be involved in a really positive way in their communities.”

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