Philanthropy & Travel: How One Business Is Giving Back w/FLYTE

Posted: 9/15/2020 | September 15th, 2020

This year, FLYTE, our nonprofit, celebrates its five-year anniversary! We launched it in the summer of 2015 with nothing more than a desire to help kids see the world, discover a love of travel, and learn the practical applications of their education.

In the past half-decade, we’ve sent 70 students to five countries all over the world!

Thinking about this milestone has made me reflect on why I started this nonprofit.

When we leave our comfort zone, we’re confronted with many of the world’s problems.

One of the most powerful and challenging lessons that travel teaches us is how unequal the world can be. Seeing an impoverished child begging on the street makes you reflect on colonization, war, and the systemic inequalities that cause poverty.

Likewise, venturing underwater only to see dead coral reefs or struggling to breathe in cities enveloped in smog makes climate change even more real.

Yet travel also brings us closer together. It reminds us of our shared humanity and provides a platform for our own personal growth and development.

Travel has shown me my privilege but also my power to do something to make the world a better place.

It’s for that reason that I created FLYTE.

Many kids don’t have access to opportunities that can help them see beyond their current situation.

Through these FLYTE trips, we’re working to give students the chance to see how incredible our world is — and to remind them they have the power to change it for the better. I want FLYTE to be a chance for them to see the world beyond the stereotypes, to put their education to use, and to see that the world is full of possibilities!

Today, I’m excited to share two announcements:

First, FLYTE has a new partnership with Crabtree & Evelyn, a company that’s combining travel, philanthropy, and beauty.

It’s making a huge donation of $35,000 and funding an entire group of students’ life-changing trip abroad! How amazing is that?

The founder of Crabtree & Evelyn, Cyrus Harvey, explored the world and returned home to Boston with various soaps and perfumes from his adventures. With those products, he founded Crabtree & Evelyn.

He wasn’t just selling soaps. He was selling stories. Cyrus loved connecting with people. He built a business around those connections so he could share his passion for travel and discovery with people back home.

As part of the company’s new initiatives and plans, it’s supporting students, giving them the opportunities Cyrus also had.

I had the chance to interview Ashley Souza, Crabtree & Evelyn’s chief brand officer, and she shared more about Cyrus’s story, the company’s evolution, and why FLYTE was chosen as its nonprofit partner.

Nomadic Matt: My earliest memory of Crabtree & Evelyn was a brick-and-mortar store that sold bath salts. How has the company evolved over the years, and what’s the story behind your recent rebranding?

Ashley: Our founder Cyrus was a culture junkie. Before we were Crabtree & Evelyn, he founded The Soap Box, where he showcased artisan soaps he picked up on his travels around Europe.

Crabtree & Evelyn was founded with a heavy British inspiration and with a diverse portfolio that included many lifestyle products in addition to personal care. We discovered through our deep consumer research, before the rebrand, that the traditional British qualities of C&E no longer resonated with a younger consumer. So we went back to the fundamental values that Cy originally built the business on: exploration, curation, and storytelling.

We kept our core ranges as a homage to the historical C&E: Evelyn Rose, Crabtree, and the Gardeners, but our real purpose is coming to life through our Exploration ranges, capsule lifestyle collections inspired by locations that our Exploration team authentically explores with locals. [NOTE: Nomadic Matt readers get 10% off their first order using the code FLYTE10 at checkout!]

How has Cyrus’s legacy and travel shaped the company’s mission and values?

Cy was a believer in connecting cultures, whether that was through the films he imported and showed at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge or through the products he sold. Our passion is the same: creating connections for our customers through stories and products from our travels. We want to provide an experience to our community that they might not otherwise have.

We’re so grateful that you’re funding an entire FLYTE trip! What moved you to choose FLYTE as your nonprofit partner? Why do you think it’s important for students to see the world?

The goal of this rebrand was not only to revive a heritage brand in a new and modern way but to use our platform for good. For each Exploration collection we launch, a portion of proceeds will be donated directly to a charitable organization in the location we have explored, for a specific need that the people we connect with on our travels have cited as important.

In addition to our collection-specific give-back program, we wanted to do more to encourage travel and understanding of other cultures. FLYTE was a perfect partner for us. Its mission, exposing youth in the United States that might not have had the means to travel to other ways of life, other ways of thinking, is how we break down barriers and become a more unified world.

Personally, I was blessed to have parents that taught me the importance of travel. They urged me to educate myself through cultural experiences at a young age. It taught me to be more understanding, more considerate, more tolerant, and it deeply impacted who I am today. Traveling has the ability to break a cycle, shift a way of thinking, and push you to trust yourself and others — invaluable life lessons that I am thrilled to be able to help kids experience through our partnership.

Your company’s slogan is “Born Curious, Grown Wild.” How has this translated into your products and outlook?

Our slogan pays tribute to Cy, who was born a very curious man with lofty goals and incredible business sense, and to the brand now, which has taken his original ethos and turned the volume up, creating a cultural experience for C&E customers.


The second big announcement is that of our new partner school:

Rosenwald Collegiate Academy (RCA), an amazing high school in New Orleans, Louisiana, whose students will be traveling to Puerto Rico!

With a majority BIPOC population, Rosenwald celebrates equity, inclusion, and diversity through rigorous classroom instruction, social innovation, and cultural authenticity. The goal for all students: college success and lives of limitless opportunity.

Many of Rosenwald’s students continue to face circumstances that present significant challenges for their personal and academic journeys. Despite all these obstacles, they persevere in so many exceptional ways.

“They are creative and authentic and work incredibly hard to get through high school. Their goal is college, and the choices they make every day push them closer to that goal.” This is how Erica Perez and Angela Filardo, the teachers who will be leading this trip, described these remarkable students in their FLYTE application.

Percy, a junior at RCA, shared that he “hasn’t traveled anywhere outside of New Orleans besides Little Rock, Arkansas. This trip will be opening my mind up to things other than just New Orleans. It will be a wonderful learning experience for me. I want to go to school to be an engineer and will probably have to go to different places to learn about this subject. This will be a good way for me to learn how to adapt to a new place and environment and learn from other cultures.”

Last March, when the students found out that they would have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico, this was their reaction.

This trip will focus on sustainability and climate change. The students have demonstrated interest in creating policy changes, and this trip will give them much practical information and context as they work with local-led organizations focused on coastal restoration and reforestation.

We’re so excited about this new partnership with Crabtree & Evelyn and can’t wait for the students from Rosenwald Collegiate Academy to get out into the world!

Our team has been pretty quiet about FLYTE these past couple of months because, for a nonprofit whose mission is to get students onto planes, this goal isn’t possible in our current COVID-19 world. But, since we forged this new connection with Crabtree & Evelyn and since Rosenwald starts school this month, we’re super excited about what is to come!

Right now, we hope for this trip to take place in the summer of 2021. We also wanted to stress that our students are at the core of what we do, and their safety is our highest priority. To ensure their safety as well as that of the communities they will visit in Puerto Rico, this trip will only happen when regulatory agencies, the school administration, and science-backed evidence tell us it’s safe to travel again.

In the meantime, we are working in partnership with the school to create virtual programming so the students can prepare for their journey from the safety of their homes (Rosenwald is starting the school year remotely).

During these truly trying times, I’m so thankful to everyone who continues to support FLYTE. I’m so glad to celebrate the work that Crabtree & Evelyn is doing to incorporate philanthropy. Because of all of them, FLYTE will be able to send even more students abroad in 2021 and beyond.

When we can all travel safely again, our FLYTE students will play a critical role in rebuilding our global community. We’re grateful for your help and support in making that possible! You can use the donation form below to donate or find out more about getting involved by clicking here.

Thank you everyone for your support over the last five years and we’re super excited about this new partnership with Crabtree & Evelyn! We can’t wait for the world to get back to normal so these students can go to Puerto Rico!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.


Nomadic Matt

P.S. – Don’t forget to use the code FLYTE10 for 10% off your first purchase. Just click here to check out their new products!

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