The story of People4Tomorrow begins in the hearts of its co-founders. Dylan, Seif, and Nick all expressed a desire to create change in the world from a young age.
For Dylan, it was the scenes of extreme poverty and educational disparities in Costa Rica and Peru that he experienced on volunteer travel experiences during high school. These scenes were what initially moved him to want to create change on a level that would eliminate such inequities and injustices, and usher in a new era of collaboration and equality within the human race.
For Seif, it was those same trips in high school and then a medical volunteer trip to Panama after his first year as undergraduate at the University of Florida. There he saw first-hand the medical care caps that exist in our world. Trips like these toppled with his coursework that delved into health disparities ignited a passion in Seif pushing him to seek ways to decrease the current clinical gap that exists in our global health landscape.
And for Nick, it was a childhood fascinated with food. His early years were spent growing and cooking his own food whenever possible. As he matured and completed formal culinary training in high school and college, it became clear to him that our current food system was not healthy for people or for the planet. Why does a tomato have to be home-grown to be delicious and nutritious?
When it came time for our Executive Director, Dylan, to choose an externship site as part of his program at the Culinary Institute of America, he knew he wanted to do something unconventional. He’d been cooking throughout high school in his hometown of St. Petersburg, FL and in Boston after dropping out of Northeastern University’s Honors Bioengineering program. He knew he wouldn’t be entering the industry as just another cook… a sentiment that was largely inspired by his exposure to the agricultural scene in the Hudson Valley of New York. Growing up in suburban Florida, Dylan was largely blind to the world of agriculture – and its implications. He was able to utilize relationships within the administration at the CIA through his position as President of the Student Government to create a pilot run of a fully agricultural externship – a first at the CIA.
This led Dylan to spending four months in the Fall of 2018 at Apricot Lane Farms, a regenerative and biodynamic farm in Southern California. Through learning to love a morning routine of collecting eggs and moving electric fencing, to hearing the people that started and run Apricot Lane speak about why we need more farms like theirs and what’s wrong with our current industrial food system, to selling their products at some of the country’s best farmers markets, Dylan got just what he was looking for – an inside perspective on how our food is actually produced. This experience was a huge turning point for Dylan and his future. He always knew he loved food, but now he felt like he held the keys to unlocking a better food future for all of us. He left the farm with a burning desire to share what he had learned – to apply the power of food to change the world.
Dylan returned to the CIA in Hyde Park with a mission: to start a nonprofit that could be a voice for the world – a voice that desperately needed to be heard. After some long nights of brainstorming and thinking about where to start, Dylan got a call from one of his best childhood friends, Seif, with an idea. In 2015, a community center and hotel that Dylan’s grandparents (Frank and Nancy Hursey) had been building in Soroti, Uganda was nearing completion. Dylan and Seif travelled to Uganda together as juniors in high school to represent the Hursey’s and to make a short film about the project.
Seif’s idea was that after spending a few years studying and working in their respective fields of food and medicine, they could return to Uganda to put their skills and experiences to good use. This was exactly the spark that Dylan was looking for to know where and when to begin a nonprofit organization. They began planning the initial trip while building the organization from scratch, all while still either in school (Dylan and Seif) and recently graduated working full-time (Nick).
People4Tomorrow, Inc. was incorporated as a not for profit organization in the State of Florida on May 29th, 2019 (only a day before Dylan’s 21st birthday!). In July of 2019, People4Tomorrow led its inaugural trip to Uganda with a group of 12 students and professionals.
Our Medical Team worked hand-in-hand with local medical personnel at Princess Diana Hospital and together they were able to treat over one thousand patients over the course of just three days. Meanwhile, our Food and Agriculture Team was training and educating (as well as learning from) local chefs, culinary students, hospitality professionals, and farmers. We employed a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and discussions and covered topics from international cuisines to table service to compost and soil health.
The trip was so transformational for the community of Soroti and for People4Tomorrow. Expectations were exceeded in all areas and left our new organization with a burning desire to do more.
We had to think deeply, however, about what we would do next. One of our strongest gut feelings was to look inwards at our own communities, as we knew that our work could be applied everywhere. The COVID-19 pandemic crystallized this thought for us, as the need for local, community-based resilience became glaringly obvious. We’ve chosen Dylan and Seif’s hometown of Saint Petersburg, Florida as our homebase and community of focus for the time being. St. Pete is a city ripe for opportunity, as the area is full of driven, collaborative people eager to improve the quality of life for everyone that lives in the community. We’ll be based here as we work to perfect our systems so that we can expand into communities like Soroti and hopefully many, many more.
We’re so excited to be on this path together, and we hope that you’ll join us.