By April Oddo | Reporter
Finding ways to apply knowledge from the classroom to a professional setting can be challenging at times, but for Flower Mound junior Matthew Westmoreland, discovering a vision to change lives created the perfect opportunity for him to practice his studies in the real world.
Matthew Westmoreland, who is currently studying finance and entrepreneurship, holds the treasurer position on the board of directors for a nonprofit that he and his father are starting.
“The ultimate goal is to prosper change for the next generation in Africa,” Matthew Westmoreland said. “One out of four kids in Africa die by the age of four because of waterborne illness. What we are building is a website where we can provide nonprofits with work that needs to be done, like things including water, food, trauma-healing, medicine and education. We want to help connect nonprofits with more work. We are just trying to get as many legitimate sources of work that need to be done before we launch this.”
Building a nonprofit from the ground up is a tedious process, but Matthew Westmoreland said he feels equipped because of his Baylor education.
“My experience at Baylor has helped because it’s taught me how to network and make connections with people who have started businesses already,” Matthew Westmoreland said. “I’ve had to market to potential donors and provide branding for our website. The biggest thing I’ve had to apply of what I’ve learned in school is marketing and raising capital.”
Matthew Westmoreland is also a member of Baylor’s chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and his passion for humanitarian work has inspired some of his fraternity brothers. Fort Worth junior Landry Stavenhagen said he felt encouraged to address the needs of his community after hearing about Matthew Westmoreland’s nonprofit.
“I’ve seen firsthand his care for humanitarian efforts,” Stavenhagen said. “It’s inspired me to be thankful for what I have and to always be trying to look for people to help here. It’s brought me awareness of the underprivileged people in Africa, who don’t have ways to communicate with certain nonprofits who want to help them.”
Houston Heights junior Hogan June was also proud to see his fraternity brother work to help the less fortunate in Africa.
“Seeing my fraternity brother create an organization that aims to aid children in Africa inspires me to step out into my immediate community and help those less fortunate than me,” June said.
Mark Westmoreland, Matthew Westmoreland’s father, said he is proud to see his son join him in working on a project that can save lives. He said he has seen how Baylor’s education has paid off.
“The education is excellent, and I think what he has done has a lot to do with the courses he’s taken,” Mark Westmoreland said. “It’s gratifying to see another generation with a spark for a great cause. He’s very bright, and he’s been there. To see him want to contribute after being there is very rewarding.”