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Danielle Bogardus: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist (Bainbridge Island, Washington)

Humanitarian Danielle Bogardus with Ethiopian orphan

Humanitarian Danielle Bogardus actively works on making life better for people in less-developed countries and inspires us, along the way, to connect to our deeper roots, to nature, and to each other.

Danielle Bogardus grew up in and around Seattle, Washington, and now lives just a ferry ride across the bay on Bainbridge Island. She also spends months at time overseas for work – and just returned from a stint in Ethiopia.

On Bainbridge Island, she happily immerses herself in nature and with her dogs and horses. She’s described the island town as a happy medium between the countryside and the city: “I have access to almost anything! I have hiking in all directions, amazing rock climbing gyms, and a community that supports me, but challenges me to be better. To be active.” Sounds like a truly happier place and community!

Danielle Bogardus horse show
Danielle Bogardus focused and connected with her horse.

A recurring theme in Danielle’s work and passion is a connection to nature. Something that resonates strongly with the Happier Place mission of inspiring people to be happier by having fun in nature. A main takeaway from her experiences in the USA, third world countries, and less-developed regions, has been that we’re all human, with our stories, and ups and downs, but also that there has been a loss of connection. Now she is inspiring all of us to find and nurture that sense of connection (again).

In 2014, Danielle started an independent research project that took her to the Las Piedras region of Peru. According to Danielle, “this region was the last stretch of undisturbed Peruvian Amazon. So dense and uncharted, it protected itself until the Interoceanic Highway pushed through, connecting Brazilian ports to Peruvian ports, the Atlantic to the Pacific. Development was inevitable. I dedicated my first trip to understanding my surroundings. I believe that communities around the world struggle to sustain themselves in the face of environmental, infrastructural, and health stresses.”
Based on this research, Danielle launched the non-profit Connect 3.

Danielle Bogardus do more of what makes you happier growing your own food
Danielle Bogardus tending a garden in Ethiopia – reminding us to connect to nature, appreciate our food, and doing more of what makes us happier.

Danielle Bogardus – what do you do?

I have started a non-profit, Connect 3, and work for an orphanage in Sodo, Ethiopia: Uryadi’s Village. Both ventures have been incredibly formative. It has changed my perspective on the world, and my perspective on my own values and ethics.

I work on sustainable community development in remote communities, from Peru to Ethiopia. I focus in on education, waste, and water systems. The pillars of a resilient community. But really, more of the work has been on communication and inviting in the space to be able to have the conversation with the necessary stakeholders to ensure that people are receiving the resources that they have a right to.

Also, I climb and hike as much as I can. I find clarity in that space. A space to think and ground myself. A lot of my climbs have been for a purpose, like raising money for MS and Breast Cancer. I find that a lot of good can come from bringing attention to these activities, seeing as it is a metaphor for so many in their everyday life to climb a mountain. I hope to find reason beyond myself for my bigger climbs.

Danielle Bogardus on Mt Rainier as part of Climbing for Hope Fundraiser Climb
Danielle Bogardus on Mt Rainier as part of Climbing for Hope Fundraiser Climb

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do to challenge myself. This is a journey of learning and exploration. And with everything I do in my life, I recognize it as a new experience. There will be some things that I like and some things that I don’t; but both are valuable.

I have been lucky to find what lights me up at an early age and I just hope that I can help others find and kindle their light. But we all need to look closer at where our own roots are; and that starts with our relationship with nature.

General Happier Place category?

Mountains. I find that to be able to find the most mental clarity, I have to push myself physically. I find meditation in the process of a climb. From the planning to the putting one foot in front of another for hours on end, to the feeling of elation at the top, to the recognition that you still have to go down. It makes me work through the ups and downs and continually reminds me that there is beauty in both of those things.

Danielle embracing challenge in Red Rocks Canyon, Nevada
Danielle embracing the challenge while climbing in Red Rocks Canyon, Nevada.

Specific Happier Place locations?

My happiest of places is a beach on Bainbridge Island. This beach was a childhood staple and through the ups and downs, it always was a place of peace and beauty. It has so much to explore!

What do you always bring out into nature with you?

Water. It may sound silly, but water is a staple and it allows me to keep exploring. I always go out prepared, no matter how simple the hike may be. Nature and its power should be respected. Being prepared is the best way to feel like you can let go and enjoy yourself in environments so different from your everyday.

Danielle keeping warm with a Happier Place slouchy beanie
Danielle keeping warm with a Happier Place slouchy beanie on a snowy day in Washington State.

Happier Place tips or hacks?

Always download your maps. You never know if or when cell service may go out – or just not be available where you are. And always have a little treat for yourself. Whether it be a little token to remind you of a loved one or a piece of chocolate, those little things can be invaluable to keeping up your strength and morale.

A dream destination?

There are way too many places that I want to go. And I have found that it is so much more about the situation that invites me into the place, than it is the place itself that makes it special to me.

Danielle Bogardus and her horse Andy.
Danielle Bogardus and her horse Andy.

Words of inspiration?

If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.

If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house.

If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

Chinese proverb

Find Danielle Bogardus and her humanitarian work online

Website for Danielle’s non-profit Connect 3:
Website for orphanage Uryadi’s Village:
Facebook: Danielle Bogardus
Instagram: Danibog

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Humanitarian, entrepreneur and philanthropist Danielle Bogardus doing what makes her happier and helping make the world a happier place: working in the garden at an orphan village in Ethiopia.

Let’s inspire each other!

Have you been to any of the places where Danielle has lived or worked, e.g., Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Peru, or Ethiopia? Tell us about your time there. Do you have any experience with non-profit organizations? Share your stories of giving or receiving support. Maybe you’ve also participated in climbs, walks or bike rides for charity? Any thoughts on the work Danielle does? Do you have any questions for her? How about that Chinese proverb (which happens to relate strongly to reasons why we launched Happier Place)?

Please leave a comment below – inspired by these questions or whatever you’d like to share or ask…

In closing, a few words from Danielle we found especially inspiring – about her work with children in Africa.

I’ve never been so challenged to just be present, to never loose sight of the beauty, and to find connection. But these kids teach me everyday.

Danielle bogardus while working with orphans in Ethiopia

All photos courtesy of Danielle Bogardus.

9 thoughts on “Danielle Bogardus: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist (Bainbridge Island, Washington)

  1. Danielle is an inspiration. I really liked this interview as it motivates you to work for the community. Great post!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Mayuri! So glad to know you find Danielle and her work inspiring!

  2. Great interview! she looks like a lovely person! thank you for getting us to know her!

  3. Wow! Danielle is definitely inspiring! I have a friend who worked as a missionary, going to different countries like Ethiopia for years until she finally settled in New Zealand. I admire people like Danielle and my friend getting to live the life that their passionate about.

  4. What an interesting bio – I love to be inspired by women who are trying to make a difference in the world!

  5. She sounds amazing! Truly an inspiration!

  6. I am glad I got to know about Danielle. She is truly an inspiration for everyone, regardless of age and social status. I hope we can have many more “Danielles” in this world.

  7. Danielle is such an inspiring person. Her happiness radiates on her face. I agree that people would be happier spending more time in nature.

  8. Wonderful post. She is someone to admire. Keep up the amzing good work.

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