Contribute2 is a charitable organization established to inspire and motivate people all over the world to do something to make the world a better place. Whatever you do in life, Contribute2 something.
To motivate people to donate time, resources, talents and guidance to their neighborhood, community, and world through cross cultural experiences interactions, physical activity and mentoring.
Initially, Contribute2 started out as a living scholarship to honor the life and memory of Kevin Bowser, a Philadelphian who was killed on September 11th.
Traditional scholarships only assist the one or two students who do the necessary schoolwork in order to achieve certain grade point averages. However, many of those scholarships fall short on assisting and motivating the other needy students in the very same classrooms. With Contribute2, a guidance counselor can go to a student and say: Hey, you don’t qualify for a scholarship because you don’t have the grades but read about this guy who:
- Raised money for charitable causes
- Traveled the world
- Honored his friend
- Became an international ambassador of sorts
- Wrote provocative travel essays
- Inspired many around the globe
- Helped change the world for the better
- And, by the way, was not an ‘A’ student either!
Contribute2 is a living scholarship because it not only is about funding tuition it is about funding one’s spirit for life and living in people of all ages.
The vision here is to be inspired through David's actions and in turn recognize, realize and actualize one’s own power. We often forget or are encouraged to look away from what we can actually do in this world, but by looking at what David is accomplishing, many are seeing what they can do too.
David has received emails from every continent, except Antarctica, from people who have heard his story and been inspired to think differently about the world, their place in it and how to Contribute2 it.
Contribute2 is about people seeing more and being more through pushing their own boundaries.
Contribute2 is David Hale Sylvester, the friends and family of Kevin Bowser, but most importantly Contribute2 is you.
David Sylvester is a lifelong Philadelphian, personal trainer, author and motivational speaker who has used his passion, will and feelings on the events of September 11th to create Contribute2 and to inspire others and change the world for the better.
You are a part of Contribute2 if you are inspired in anyway from this site to contribute to the world in any way, big or small. If you make a conscious effort to pick up trash and clean up your community you are a part of Contribute2.
- If you give one dollar or one million you are a part of Contribute2.
- If you join David on any of his trips you are apart of Contribute2.
- If you become a mentor to a child, you are a part of Contribute2.
- If you pick up a piece of trash in an effort to beautify your neighborhood, you are a part of Contribute2.
- If you take just one step toward being better than what you were yesterday then you are apart of Contribute2.
Contribute2 what you can, when you can, as much as you can.
In the summer of 2002 David rode his bicycle coast to coast to raise funds and awareness for the Kevin Bowser memorial scholarship fund. David rode from Astoria, Oregon past the memorials at the site of the World Trade Canter to Kevin’s fathers home in Philadelphia. David covered over 4,000 miles in 55 days and rode through 15 states during this journey.
In January of 2004 David was off riding his bicycle again this time from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town South Africa. David entered himself in the prestigious Tour D’Afrique a bicycle race that took him through 10 different countries and covered over 7000 miles during a 120 day span. It was here that the living scholarship concept really took off as many, worldwide, took notice of David, his drive, determination, message and story and wrote him about how inspired they were.
To date, the Kevin L Bowser scholarship fund has garnered almost $40,000 dollars in private donations for students of The John Bartram public high school in south west Philadelphia. Kevin and his twin brother Kelvin were graduates of John Bartram High, class of ‘74.
These funds are administrated by The Philadelphia Foundation, http://www.philafound.org/, and century old philanthropic organization that oversees many of the scholarship programs for the Philadelphia school district.
It should also be noted that: David receives no support or allowance from the raised funds. All of his trips are paid for independently, without tapping into donations made to Contribute2.
The objective here is to continue the work that has already been started and expose more people to the world and other cultures. David’s motto has been: Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and Contribute2 something.
Two words: Power and Perspective.
David wants to show the power of one life lost, as with his friend Kevin, and the power of one life lived, as with his own. It is through tapping into this power, that we all possess, that David looks to give and gain as much perspective as possible.
Coming from a city with one of the higher murder rates in the US, at least 1 per day, David thinks that one of the reasons is because of lack of exposure. “If the world, as you know it, is only a few square blocks then your attitude will reflect that. Kids need to see that there is a world beyond their block, beyond their crew, beyond their click, beyond their city and then maybe with a broader outlook they will have a broader mindset.”
David also added, “I understand that not everyone can experience the world at this time but until they can I will do my best to bring that experience of seeing the world to them. Kids, as well as adults, need to experience different cultures and such and then maybe they will critically think of what they have to lose before they blindly think of pulling a trigger. There is more in the world for me to see, do and accomplish and as far as I am concerned there is nothing worth dying for, in fact, there is everything to live for. I want people to feel that way too”
Many have been inspired by David's travels around the world. With his many tales he has been able to provide a different perspective on many issues: racism, AIDS, world hunger and education. After reading about these perspectives many have said that they became more aware of issues; locally, nationally, and internationally. More importantly, many noted, that they were more aware of their own strengths, power and talents and how they could use them to make the world better.
David has long stated that he is just “a regular guy” and after reading about his escapades many “regular guys and gals” have been inspired to Contribute2 things too like:
- A woman in DC ran her 1st marathon for charity and was able to inspire her circle of friends and coworkers to be more active and have a healthier lifestyle
- A New York woman was inspired to ‘get over her fear’ and learn how to actually ride for the 1st time
- A juvenile offender in Philadelphia was inspired to volunteer time with a local charity
- A musician in Japan was inspired to contribute his talents and teach a few kids how to play the trumpet for free.
- After reading an essay David wrote, a 19-year-old DJ in Pittsburgh wrote that he was never going to use the word ‘nigger’ to describe himself or his friends anymore.
- A grandmother in Tennessee said that she was going to “travel somewhere and do something good for someone that needs it”
- A high school sophomore said “You have some great stories, Mr. Sylvester. But one of these days when I get out of high school and live a little. I am going to track you down and make you listen to my stories.
- Thanks for treating me to all of the meals and letting me hang out with you all the time. Also thanks for being a good mentor, trainer, friend, and role model in my life. It so good having a good, smart, positive, fit, and funny male in my life. The world needs more men like you and I'm being serious, this is coming from my heart... George Perry, freshman at Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High school
- David, continue to find your pulse. In doing that, you activate a more vigorous pulse in others. Elaine Respass
- David you have shown me that it is okay to be hurt because we will survive it and grow from it. If we insist on avoiding pain, we stagnate... Dr. Anne Burke, University of Pennsylvania
- You have made me feel good about cycling all over again... David Cathcart, Saris cycling
- We can never under estimate the power of one. One seed can produce a tree; one smile or tear can change a life. One man on a bike can create a ripple of love that travels across the globe. Thank you for being out there... Denise King
- Dear David, I very much remember you. You're a nut (and I mean that as the highest compliment). I can't believe you're back at it again, that's just amazing. Good luck to you my friend. Never stop exploring!..........Dean Karnazes, the Ultra Marathon man
David’s discovery and use of his own power assists others in identifying and using their own power.
Good question, bicycling across the US was something that David always wanted to do but he never felt that the conditions- time, money, etc- were right. Sitting at his friend’s memorial service moved him in a very profound way. Listening to person after person speak on how good of a man, father, son, brother and coworker that his friend Kevin was he thought about the 2 people who needed his guidance the most, his children. Knowing that they would never know him, David felt that by doing something so different, profound and special that they would come to understand just how special their father was.
It was at this time that all of the conditions were right.
No, I am not sponsored. I have not received support or allowance from the raised funds. All of his trips are paid for independently, without tapping into donations made to Contribute2.
Though, the current leg of my journey is being funded, in large part and, with great thanks, by the Balance Bar grant program: http://balance.com/
- Philadelphia Inquirer July 21, 2002
- Philadelphia Magazine May 2004
- Philadelphia Tribune May 28 2002
- Philadelphia Daily News September 27 2005
- Philadelphia Style Magazine spring 2005
- Philadelphia Daily News December 17 2003
- Daily Pennsylvanian June 14 2002
- Philadelphia Inquirer September 19 2002
- Philadelphia Daily News Sexy singles 2003
- ESSENCE Magazine April ‘06
- Magic Johnson’s Pan African Film Festival ‘06
- Independent Black Film Festival ‘06
- Philadelphia Film Festival ‘06
- Los Angeles Independent Film Festival ‘06
- New York Independent Film Festival ‘06
- Washington DC Independent Film Festival ‘06
- Chicago Winter Bike Film Festival ‘06
- India Sports Movie and TV festival ‘06
- The Hollywood Black Film Festival ‘06
- PAFF Atlanta ‘06
- St Louis Black Film Festival ‘06
- Filmstock in London ‘06
- Germany’s Sport and Inspiration Film Festival ‘06
- Paris’ UNESCO Film Festival ‘06
- TV interview with NBC 10’s Edie Huggins June 12 2002
- Comcast’s ‘It’s your call with Lynne Doyle’ September 11th 2002
- Good Morning Wisconsin July 27th 2002
- WYBE’s Philly Live September 2002
- ESPN’s Cold Pizza program- 2 time guest
- NPR’s Tavis Smiley radio show
- NPR’s ‘Radio Times’ program
- WIP’s top rated morning show with Angelo Cataldi
- WURD’s Cody Anderson program
- KMJM Magic 104.9 St Louis’ top rated morning show