Jerry Ellis, Jr., Travel Entrepreneur
Clark Atlanta University Alumnus 1995
If you were to ask me, what animal I would compare myself to, it would be the African Lion. Not just for the lion's majestic look pronounced by its mane, but for what lies behind that prestige. Just as a lion looks after his pride (family), I have the same responsibility to my family and community. I believe that God has given me the responsibility to protect, serve and empower people. I live my life as that African Lion, always striving to hold a community together. Every entrepreneur has a story about how they began their journey and what shaped their dream into their personal mission. My story started with a vision born out of a volunteer experience abroad that took place in 2011. That year, I began supporting the education of an orphaned child named Isaac who lives in Uganda. My donations covered his school fees, books, school uniform, and daily meals. Each year, I still felt like my giving was not enough. Many times I thought to myself, what if I could sponsor all orphaned children in my kid’s village? Little did I know at that time, I would develop a business that would certainly make that dream a reality. To learn more about the Nyaka School, visit www.nyakaglobal.org In 2018 I built my first travel website, www.VacationGrace.com to demonstrate how spending power in the online travel industry (Vacation) can be used to make positive impacts (Grace) on society. Keeping with my company's mission and identity as a Public Benefit LLC, I chose to focus on the following six areas to make a difference in this world: protection of the environment; public safety; education; job creation; mental health; and welfare of infants and children. I chose the travel industry since online travel services and products are used by people across the world. This industry provided the right opportunity to generate the kind of funds needed to help my favorite non-profit organizations and various charitable causes. As of 2021, two-thirds of revenue in the global travel and tourism market came from online sales channels. In that year, the online travel market size worldwide was roughly 433 billion U.S. dollars and it is expected to reach approximately 691 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. The leaders of the online travel market, Booking Holdings ($11 Billion USD) and Expedia ($8.6 Billion USD) were the largest parent companies by revenue worldwide in 2021. (Source: Statista) I have a passion to eliminate a major problem that we have in our society. Too many college students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have stopped their education due to lack of financial resources. Just a fraction of that global travel industry revenue can help change the lives of so many students. In March 2021, I officially launched a campaign to help students at my "alma mater", Clark Atlanta University (CAU). I decided to give 50% of my profit generated from a special travel website to the William E. Shack, Jr. "Closing The Gap" Scholarship Fund. The scholarship is administered by the school. The purpose is to pay off remaining balances of students who qualify based on financial need. I invite you to join me by believing in my company's mission and help me give back to society through travel. Please visit www.cau.edu to explore all ways to donate to the school. Become a "Travel Multiplier" and always start your journey on www.cautravels.com to book online and shop Amazon. All qualifying purchases will help students stay enrolled at CAU. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you for the support!