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Jeff Rasley
Your Pitch
     I built a successful career in law and business, and was the senior partner in a small firm and a millionaire by the time I was 40. I was very engaged with the law and the business side of managing a firm. And, I was a very involved husband and father of 2 children. We had a great life, but in my 40s I began manifesting mid-life crisis symptoms. I already had a sports car and a Harley, but those toys didn't help. I seemed to need something beyond family life, career, and financial good fortune. The existential angst I felt by not having an answer to, "Is that all there is?", began to shake the foundations of the good life I had.
     My wife told me to take a hike. But the therapy she was actually suggesting was to go trekking in the Himalayas and to reconnect with the adventurous and more spiritual self I had lost in the pursuit of "success". It worked, and it changed the direction of my life.
     After that first trek to Mt. Everest at the age of 42, I returned to the Himalayan region 14 times. I took more time off work and adopted a more spiritual and meditative approach to life. I wrote several articles about travel experiences from a spiritual perspective. I also began leading "philanthro-treks", which combined visiting Nepal with culturally sensitive development work. That led to the creation of the Basa Village Foundation (BVF), which serves a remote area of the Nepal Himalayas.
     When I first trekked to Basa, Nepal  in 2008 I was welcomed by a community with no running water, toilets, electricity, lights, radios, TVs, telephones, or transportation other than walking. Cooking and heating was done with open fire pits. The BVF has provided the funds to build a school, hydroelectric and water systems, computers and educational materials for the school, smokeless stoves for the homes, toilets for the school, reading glasses, shoes, solar-powered LED lights, a medical clinic, and our latest project is to help develop a commercial business of goat and pig raising.The BVF also raised the money to rebuild the village after devastating earthquakes in 2015.
     The people in Basa were dirt-poor farmers, but they were/are happier and more content with life than most well-off Americans I have known. They live in a very tight and loving community. They take care of each other and do not need all the things and stimulations of the modern world to feel good about themselves and their village. But, after living the same way for 500 years they saw the modern world moving inexorably closer to Basa. So, because the villagers knew me from working as guides, cooks, and porters for the trekking/mountaineering company I contract with in Nepal, they asked me to work with them to improve the infrastructure of their village. 
     Since I founded the BVF, I have given may programs about how to make life more meaningful through philanthropy. Several of the fourteen books and many of the 80+ articles I've written are about finding meaning in life beyond the traditional career path, and instead, using your business skills and talent to chart a new direction in life after you have succeeded in your career and business. My first book, Bringing Progress to Paradise: What I Got from Giving to a Mountain Village is the story of my first experience of the Himalayas and the journey through the mid-life crisis to founding the BVF. You Have to Get Lost Before You Can Be Found: A Memoir of Suffering, Grit, and Love of the Himalayas and Basa Village was written after my last trip to Nepal and is a reflection on all that I have learned and experienced over 25 years of philanthro-trekking.My latest book, 72 Wisdoms, is a guidebook for those seeking to live a more meaningful life.
     I have taught a class about Philanthropy at Butler University and Marian University, and I am the president of the Scientech Foundation of Indiana, which issues $250,000 in grants each year to support "STEAM" education in Indiana. I have appeared as a guest on over 150 radio/TV and podcast shows promoting philanthropy as a way to make life more meaningful.

Jeff Rasley is a writer, Himalayan expedition leader, lawyer, writing coach, community activist, and president of the Basa Village Foundation USA and the Scientech Foundation of Indiana. Jeff has authored over 90 feature articles in law, travel, spirituality, politics, and human interest in Newsweek, Chicago Magazine, ABA Journal, and other periodicals. He is the author of 14 books, and has appeared as a featured guest on over 200 podcasts and radio programs.