Location: Hillsboro, Ore.
Less than two years after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, John Cartwright traveled to the country as an Intel Education Service Corp volunteer to help install a computer lab at a school called L’Ecole De Choix. There, Cartwright, who was then working in IT for Intel, and the team set up the necessary technology and installed an interactive computer program designed to teach children to read. Though Cartwright was initially skeptical that the English-only program would work with Creole-speaking students, he was amazed at how quickly the students picked up the language. When he returned from Haiti he asked to transfer to the educational group at Intel (No. 52) to work on the company’s education programs full-time, and he also took a sabbatical to focus on improving the software he had installed in the school in Haiti. He was able to ruggedize the program so that instead of running on servers in an air-conditioned room, it could work on a laptop attached to a car battery where electricity is not reliable. Since then, Cartwright has led teams of volunteers all over the world, including to Kenya and Nepal, to install the new and improved English-learning programs at seven schools. In order to fund the work, which Cartwright does outside his job at Intel, he founded a benefit corporation called Just Coffee and Tea. The charitable company sells tea and coffee that he sources from the regions where he installs the programs—and then roasts the coffee beans himself. “You get this spark, this fire,” says Cartwright of his volunteer efforts, “and it can’t help but be contagious.”