Everyone dreams of making a million dollars right out of college and buying that beach home in [insert tropical paradise here]. But recent Chico State graduate Andrew Ryan had a different idea: Make a million, and give it back to the people who really deserve it. Ryan recently started an online directory for Chico State graduates looking for local jobs and opportunities, and a percentage of the profits will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates physically and mentally wounded soldiers.
Where did you get the idea to start ChicoGraduate.com?
From another Web site called Million Dollar Homepage. They took it to the extreme, but it works. I thought it was a good way to network Chico. Their idea was to raise the money; my idea is to make the million and give it back.
Why donate to Wounded Warriors?
Actually, I was watching The Apprentice one night, and the guy donated the money to a military hospital. I was like, “Dang, that’s an awesome idea. I’m gonna do that.” A man from our church lost his legs in Iraq, and I’ve lost three friends in Iraq, so I called [the man from church] up and he suggested Wounded Warriors Project, because you can’t just give to the government. He told me that they actually utilize the funds; it’s not tied up in the administration like a lot of other nonprofits.
So will this be the only charity, or will there be others in the future, after you make your million?
In time. The networking site I was going to create was something for local businesses, professors and charities, because I believe in the power of private industry and of the individual. So, though I’m choosing this one right away, I’m not limited to that.
So people can log on and then pay you to advertise?
It’s going to be low-cost, like a magazine subscription. I plan to make it like Facebook, and have it linked in, so that it’s more interactive. They can pull up people, or create a blog of their own. That’s my revenue base. It’s a wild idea, but it’s something that I don’t think has been done before. I’m also allowing companies to not pay me but to pay Wounded Warriors directly.
Is there anything you’d like to mention?
I’m looking to make the whole community involved. Everybody keep on watching because I think this thing is going to blow [up]. I plan to make it work.