A cross-country bus ride with a purpose

A Kelowna-based social entrepreneur has a crazy idea to give away a million dollars

Talk about a vehicle for change.

A Kelowna man is on a mission to use an old school bus to raise one million dollars to help community projects across Canada.

A year ago Ryan Lancaster quit his job to embark on a journey to raise a million dollars and travel across the country attempting to find and fund “incredible community passion projects.”

To get across our vast country and raise funds, Lancaster first had to find a ride, and find one he did.

Using a bartering and trade system only, Lancaster was able to trade a worthless Canadian button into a very large old bus.

He then converted the school bus into a mobile home/office, and is now selling off the entire outside real estate of his bus to raise funds. A one by one inch square is going to cost you $10.

Squares will contain donor’s names, pictures, favourite inspiring quotes or business branding and will cover every square inch on the bus.

“The community passion project movement has the ability to change the lives of people across the country,” said Lancaster. “Whether it’s a social, environmental or agricultural project, these are the people that are trying to create a really positive effect on their community.

“The problem is that no one is helping these inspiring ventures and all too often their projects never get to see the light of day. This is the goal of the Million Dollar Bus, to jump-start projects that should exist and that can create a powerful community impact. The possibilities of these passion projects are endless and the power of helping these people is exponential!”

What may surprise you is the journey Lancaster took to get to this point.

At the end of 2015 he had lost three of his closest friends and had fallen into a depression as he struggled to find purpose and meaning in his life.

Tired of procrastinating any longer, he started a blog (ScaleMyLife.com) and challenged himself to tackle 12 big life goals, one every month for 2016.

He lived on a budget of $250 for a month, became a vegetarian for a month, learned to swim and swam across Okanagan Lake and even committed to experiencing something new every single day for an entire month.

After he completed his year of challenges he decided he wanted to raise the bar even further.

He announced on social media that he would try and trade up from a small Canadian button all the way to a 35-foot bus that he could take across Canada.

In just six weeks and five trades, he managed to get a fully liveable, partly converted school bus.

Lancaster has spent the last three months renovating his bus and now he is ready for his cross-Canada adventure.

On July 1, he launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise the first $100,000.

His plan is to fund a community passion project in Kelowna and then head out in search of his next big impact project.

If you’d like to support Lancaster’s community initiative you can visit his crowdfunding campaign at igg.me/at/MillionDollarBus. You can also go to milliondollarbus.com/business to look at business sponsorship opportunities.

He is also asking for help in finding great project candidates that could use his support. If you know a positive community initiative trying to get off the ground, reach out to him at www.milliondollarbus.com.

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