Gret Glyer and DonorSee: Making a Difference in the World

John FarrellBy John Farrell11 Minutes

John Farrell: Thank you for joining me today. Could you tell me a little about what DonorSee is?

Gret Glyer: DonorSee is a platform where people get to see how their donations are transforming the lives of others. On DonorSee you get to pick someone to help, make your donation, and then you’ll get a video update showing you how your donation helped someone in need.

JF: That is awesome! So, what is DonorSee’s primary mission?

Gret: Our mission is to bring donors to the scene of their giving. So, we work really hard to make sure that there is a lot of projects on the platform that donors can give to and that when they give to them they get to see exactly the change they’re making in the world.

JF: Could you tell me a little bit about African Bible Colleges (ABC) and how DonorSee works with them?

Gret: Yeah. So African Bible Colleges is one of the partners on our platform, and we are currently working with them to fundraise $450,000 to build Malawi’s first stem school. It’s gonna be a stem high school for boys and girls. It’s the first one in the entire country and it’s a model school for the rest of Africa.

Bringing a STEM Curriculum to Malawi

JF: What is the current educational landscape like in Malawi right now?

Gret: In a lot of Malawi, it’s very behind other places in the world. They just don’t have the resources to provide the majority of the young population there with a level of education that would be commensurate with the rest of the developed world. There are some good schools there, but in general it’s quite underdeveloped.

JF: So, you’re currently building a stem school. Are there any other stem courses being taught in Malawi or will this be the first stem program in the country?

Gret: This will be the first stem program in the entire country. The first stem high school in the entire country. It will be quite revolutionary for the country: having robotics, having IT, having science, technology, engineering, mathematics. These are all fields that the country really needs and is just extremely rare or not there at all.

JF: So, how can stem classes specifically benefit the people of Malawi?

Gret: It provides the people of Malawi with more doctors and engineers and mathematicians, and architects. All people that make society better and make Malawi a better place to live.

There is only one doctor for every 30,000 people in Malawi compared to in America where it’s one for every 300 people. The country’s just very under-resourced right now. So, this will provide more doctors and more infrastructure to the people of Malawi.

JF: With Malawi being the fifth poorest nation in the world, why do you personally believe that education is the driving force in alleviating poverty in Malawi?

Gret: There’s this expression: I believe it because I’ve seen it myself. Several years ago, I worked with local Malawians to crowdfund a girls’ school there. I learned through that process how valuable education is.

You would take these girls from a rural village. Their families were illiterate, and they would come and go to school for the first time. After a year of learning at that school it was like there was this level of dignity that they had never experienced before or never even thought was possible. They thought that that was for other people, but not for them. But because they had an education, they were able to believe in themselves. And that is what is needed for a country to develop.

JF: Are there any other reasons why it’s important that female students also attend the stem high school?

Gret: Yeah, there’s another expression, “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.”

Whenever there’s a lack of female presence in the educational system, you’re leaving half of the population unable to participate in the economy and in the growth of that economy. So, you want that population to be participating, helping, and benefiting society to a maximal degree. And if you’re leaving out females, you’re leaving out 50% of the population and that’s not good.

The Impact of a Good Education

JF: Absolutely! So, what does the stem high school mean for this generation of students in Malawi?

Gret: It means quite a lot. Not just for just students in Malawi, but for all of Africa.

We’re hoping people see this school privately funded by generous donors and say, “You know what? We don’t have to wait for this school to be built for us. We can get schools like this built all over Africa.”

We see this as being a model stem school that will be replicated all over the continent of Africa. For Malawi itself, I think not only will it give the people who attend that school more confidence in themselves, better jobs, higher salaries, but it’ll also benefit the country. And the country will get to say, “Hey, we have a stem school just like they have in America.” They get to be proud of that as well.

JF: How much will it cost to build and operate the stem high school?

Gret: The school will cost $450,000 to build the first building. We have the vast majority of that fundraised. Over $400,000 of that has been fundraised so far. [Editor’s Note: As of publication of this interview, the project has been fully funded.] In order to run it, we’ll collect tuition from a portion of the students, and then some students will get scholarships and be able to attend for free or for a low cost.

JF: How has technology provided more transparency and built trust with your donors?

Gret: One of the things we really value and emphasize at DonorSee is transparency and accountability. We want people to see how their money is being used to make a difference. And with us – the stem school – anyone who donates is going to get video updates showing them how their donations are transforming lives. Not only how their donations are turning into an actual building – they’ll get to watch the construction process – but they’ll also get to meet the kids and see what it’s like on that first day of school when the school is built.

JF: So, why is now the right time to build the ABC stem high school?

Gret: The list of reasons for that could be a million items long. The country needs more doctors. The country needs more infrastructure. The country needs people to be proud of where they live, and this is gonna help facilitate those things happening all over the place. There are so many benefits of this school that the sooner we can get it up the better.

JF: What is your long-term hope for Malawi?

Gret: I would love to see Malawi continue to grow and develop. I would love to see their infrastructure get to a place where they get to experience the same amount of opportunity as any other country. But I also would love to see them, while benefiting from all of that economic growth, still maintaining the really beautiful kind-hearted spirit that they have today – that I really enjoyed being a part of when I lived there.

JF: What role does your own personal faith play in what you do and in DonorSee’s success?

Gret: It plays a big role because I work hard to make sure the foundation of what I do with DonorSee and how I live my life is centered around my faith. It’s a very important, crucial role. And it’s something that I try hard to make sure that what I do with DonorSee is aligned with what I believe.

JF: What’s next for you and DonorSee?

Gret: We’re growing quickly. We’re expanding our team, and we’re just hoping to provide a platform and a way to give that gives donors trust and let them see how their donation is impacting people’s lives in real time and where donors can feel a connection to those that they’re helping. We’re just hoping to grow that and have more and more people join the movement that we have.

As for me, I’ll just continue to run DonorSee and recruit people to our team and recruit donors to come be a part of our movement.

To learn more about DonorSee visit