August is Black Business Month and we’d like to introduce you to our member Rony Delgarde with Global Paint for Charity, Inc. To learn more, visit globalpaints.org.
What inspired you to begin your business?
My name is Rony Delgarde, founder & CEO of globalpaints.org, the first sustainable paint waste management site helping ecosystems divert unused paint from landfills to bring color, joy, and beauty to communities ravaged by disaster, extreme poverty, and lack of resources in third world countries. I was fortunate to come to America over a decade ago with only five dollars on hand, a holy Bible in my pocket, and a dream for better education, wanting to help those in need back at home. However, as I earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration, had a total of 15 years of experience in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, attended numerous seminars, and researched social entrepreneurship, I became very interested in starting my own company. Through Global Paint for Charity (GPC), I can impact and change lives worldwide, in this space and at a level where it has never been done before – What I believe to be is a phenomenal blessing.
Who was your first client?
Excellent question: I remember I went to home depot to get a quote on a bucket of paint one day, and in front of me was a lady with 12 cans of the highest quality indoor and outdoor latex paint that she was trying to return. She begged the store manager to take them back, saying, ”I bought the paint here a few months ago to renovate my house, but I didn’t use the paint; some of them are unopen. Now I’ve sold my house, and I need to get rid of the paint.” The store manager insisted that he could not help. The lady was agitated and frustrated while taking six cans with her and leaving six cans on the floor as she exited the store. At that moment, I took the other six cans outside to her car. And she had eight more cans in her trunk. I asked her what she was going to do with the paint. A question that had no official answer. She replied she would trash them and place them in a dumping container. She said she didn’t want to do that, but she sold her house, and the paint was the only item that she couldn’t get rid of. I couldn’t believe it!! I was shocked to know that wonderful lady was about to throw away 20 gallons of paint! And at that moment, I was like, “this is it” because I know that many families cannot afford paint to beautify their house. And I know I can solve both problems. After our exchange, she even gave me a $100 donation, hoping the paint could be shipped abroad to help someone in need. I gave her a receipt! It’s a win-win…
Where did you begin your business? In your basement, at your home? How has that changed from your location today?
I started this organization in my one-bedroom condo; I had very limited resources, no trucks, warehouse, and I did not even know anyone in the Metro Atlanta areas. So when I got a phone call from a donor, I arranged to pick up everything myself. I failed over and over, but I have made better decisions over time. Due to GPC, today, over 320,000 tons of discarded paints have been removed from the waste stream, recycled, reprocessed, and then donated to 40 U.S. cities and 44 countries in West Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and targeted areas in the Middle East. The goal is to strengthen the local economy, boost people’s confidence, create opportunities and skills development, assist vulnerable individuals with reaching their full potential, and transforming the local infrastructures
What piece of advice would you tell your self when you started out? Any success tips you want to share?
Don’t let anyone ever tell you your dreams are out of reach. Only YOU know your vision and your full potential. At the beginning of developing Global Paint of Charity, my friends laughed at me. They said, “You can’t recycle paint because it is too expensive and too heavy to ship abroad…” I knew some of my friends hadn’t seen what I had seen, nor did they know what it was like to grow up in an unpainted environment. If you plan to start your own organization, don’t take advice from people who don’t run or own a successful business. You need to be completely associated with positive people and be happy with what you are doing. If you’re unwilling to take on the daily challenges and obstacles that come with starting your own company, your startup, or whatever business idea you have will not do a good job of impacting others. Start where you are and keep moving forward. Don’t think you should wait until you have the most valuable resources. It’s OK to test the waters, but don’t be afraid to jump in. Remember on your deathbeds, and you don’t want to regret the things you DIDN’T do.
What are you most proud of?
The entire Global Paint for Charity’s activities excites me. Times have changed since I began the journey in 2010, and I am so happy to see so many people being helped in developing countries and major cities right here in the United States. I am passionate about the people we help every day, and I just love colors. To see the look on the people’s faces once their houses, schools, and institutional facilities are painted with our bright colors is my greatest fulfillment. But the most honored moment in my life to date is being featured on the BIG screen of Nasdaq Tower in Times Square in New York City, which has featured the world richest individuals and greatest chief executives like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg, and Rosalind ‘Roz’ Brewer. It is a moment I will celebrate for a long time. I am blessed.
Anything else interesting that you want to share?
I am truly humbled by this recognition from Gwinnett Chamber, which will highlight Global Paint for Charity this month. I have been living in Gwinnett County for over a decade, and it has been an incredible experience to join the chamber. The guidance and support we have received from the leadership and the chamber’s members is outstanding. The leaders and the members genuinely want every business to succeed. We have been introduced to numerous movers and shakers through the chamber. The Gwinnett Chamber provides a platform for all the Black-owned businesses and minorities to excel, support each other, and help maneuver through the business community while making lasting connections and relationships.