It definitely is in the Heine family.

Uli Heine is PCI’s Director of Development. Her sons, Mickey and Thomas, are cut from the same cloth as their mother; the cloth of those doing good in the world to help others.


I have to brag a little about what my boys are doing. At the young ages of 9 and 11, they have already started their own B Corp (beneficial corporation). I am not the least bit surprised. Mickey and Thomas were young when I began giving them the same speech my own parents had given to me – about how the food left uneaten on our dinner plates could feed kids in an African village for an entire month! In our house, we all realize how lucky we are to be born into a life where every door is open to us. My sons are growing up learning about kids who have been born in vastly different longitudes and latitudes all over the world; where opportunities are scarce and daily food supply is limited.

Mickey and Thomas have cultivated their giving natures in a natural and gradual process. Early on, I volunteered in their classrooms – teaching the children international crafts while speaking to them about my trips to India and Africa. I discussed with their classmates how – even as little kids – they could make a big difference in the world.

Mickey and Thomas volunteered for PCI’s Walk for Water, assisting with various small jobs like manning the craft tables or keeping the port-a-potties fully stocked. It only took them a couple of years to realize that Walk for Water was the ideal venue to sell the Tanzanian paper bead bracelets I had taught them how to make during a volunteer visit to their school.

Running a business was something both brothers enjoyed. Making money and giving it to PCI was the natural next step. They soon realized that making the beads themselves overly time consuming; that they could increase efficiency and offer more professional looking product by sourcing fair trade beads online.

Once the beads arrived in the mail, the boys got busy stringing bracelets in different colors and sizes; all the while envisioning themselves as neo millennials, selling their products online. They’re not the most computer savvy kids in the world, however, so the venture quickly became a family affair when I contributed my internet assistance as well as a $25 investment to help them launch their own website one cloudy Sunday afternoon. was born that day – complete with pictures, links, videos, as well as credit card sale capabilities through PayPal!

Their dad was in on the action too, helping the boys set up a business only bank account. They maintain a tight watch on things, visiting the bank twice a month, checkbook in hand, in order to update their accounts and watch their money grow.

They like their simple busy model – one bracelet for $5 and $1 charged for shipping. So far they have raised $600 for PCI, and are determined to net at least $1,000 before the year’s end.  Par for the course for entrepreneurs, the brothers are already discussing product expansion. Paper bead earrings anyone?

Besides the money earned for PCI programs, their efforts have been recognized as budding social entrepreneurs. As a Junior Achievement Ambassador, Thomas was invited to sit in on San Diego’s fast pitch competition at Qualcomm in October.

What’s next for Thomas and Mickey? Knowing my boys, I’d say that the sky is the limit. Check them out at Perhaps buy a bracelet, or several… They look excellent in colorful multiples, and all proceeds go to an extremely worthy cause.