Over the next few months I’ll be chatting with members of CJP’s PresenTense Boston Fellowship 2013, a group of young Jewish innovators in their 20s and 30s who are on the cutting edge of creativity: informal educators and community organizers, nonprofit managers and environmental activists, programmers and artists, biotech visionaries and Israel advocates. First up is Max Amer, the creator of MAD Clothing, which designs and produces customized clothing and media campaigns to support social justice and equality.
Your company makes apparel for various social causes. How involved are you in the process? Do your clients come in with an idea, or do you work with them to come up with something to fit on a shirt?
We find nonprofits that are making a difference in the areas we want to be making a difference, such as food and water insecurities, health and educational issues, violence and abuse, human rights and equality, and more. We stay away from politics and certain polarizing issues that don’t fit within our mission. We encourage the organizations we work with to be as hands-on as they wish. We provide them with numerous concepts and designs and work collaboratively with them to whatever degree they wish until their ideas are realized.
What does being a PresenTense Fellow mean for your business?
Being part of the PresenTense Fellowship was one of the best things that happened to MAD Clothing. The experience itself was amazing because of the access to business contacts, resources and insight into what makes the leaders in the field of philanthropy successful. In addition to the privilege of being part of PresenTense, I met the other fellows who are making a difference in so many different areas of life.
I noticed you spent some time in Israel before this project. Did being there inspire you? Are Israelis more or less likely than Americans to wear their politics on their sleeves?
I spent a year in Israel volunteering, and one of the places was an internship at NU Campaign. NU is a Jerusalem PresenTense winner from a few years ago and is a huge inspiration for MAD Clothing. Their T-shirts represent some amazing causes. Seeing the impact these shirts have on furthering a worthy cause is what motivated me to try and duplicate something similar here. NU Campaign was very encouraging to me and others continuing this work. I am so grateful for the entire year in Israel and all of the enriching experiences and great people I met.
I noticed the MAD Clothing website isn’t going to be completed until 2014. How can people find out more and stay up to date on your project?
I am in the middle of building the website, as well as finalizing the “Original 30” T-shirt designs. I am also in the process of establishing the company’s social media pages, like Facebook and Twitter, which will be used to build a following as the website nears completion. I have a lot of musicians who are going to help spread the message by wearing and promoting our shirts, as well as creating some great feel-good music to use in conjunction with the T-shirt campaigns. If there is something you are “MAD” at and want to “Make A Difference” in that area, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make it happen!
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!
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