"African Sky" is the Limit for this Volunteer
Scott Lacy '93 started African Sky, a nonprofit organization serving farm families in Mali, to pay off a debt. Two trips to Mali, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, then later as a researcher completing a doctorate degree in anthropology, left him feeling that "no matter what I was giving to them, I was still getting more in return. I went to help and they helped me more than I did them. I'm indebted."
A Browns fan, Lacy had started a fan club in Mali - Bougouni Browns Backers - and taught the local children how to play football. To raise funds for the local school, his sister designed a special Browns Backers t-shirt, which they sold in the United States. In three months, they had made $10,000. "With all the money, we had the opportunity to do more," he noted. "Rather than putting in a pump, we built a new school. Within six months of selling shirts, my family and I were witnessing the groundbreaking of the first school."
With that success in mind, Lacy created African Sky in 2004. Since then, the organization has raised $250,000. "We have no employees, no office, no salaries - just volunteerism. It's really remarkable."
An English major at Otterbein and now an assistant professor of anthropology at Fairfield University in Connecticut, Lacy resides in Mali when he's not teaching. His organization has supported hundreds of projects, including a mothers and daughters summit held in January.
"We held this conference not to teach them things, but so they could teach each other and teach us ways that we can better support rural women who are trying to improve their lives and their children's lives. It was a raging success."
His biggest project yet is the new "10 Schools 1,000 Lives," which is raising money to build 10 schools. "We have a new plan for building schools, which is much more sustainable," he noted.
A recipient of Otterbein's inaugural 2011 Young Alumni Award for Global and Intercultural Engagement, Lacy said, "I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I have two countries, two communities, that I fell in love with - two lives that I wouldn't trade for anything."