Joe Hale brings light, hope, energy to African villages

Joe Hale brings light, hope, energy to African villages
The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket, Mass., August 22, 2013
Used with permission – Copyright (C) 2013 – The Inquirer and Mirror

By Parker Richards,
I&M Staff

The Global BrightLight Foundation has set a goal: To place 50,000 solar-powered lights in the hands of those without electric grid access by the end of the year.

The foundation was founded three years ago by James Rogers and seasonal resident Joe Hale, both of whom had previously worked at Duke Energy of Charlotte, N.C., the former as president, chairman, and chief executive officer.

Hale, who was formerly the chief communications officer at Cinergy Corp. of Cincinnati, Ohio, the president of Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company, and the president of the Kasler Group, lives in Nantucket for much of the year.

The Global BrightLight Foundation works with Greenlight Planet of Riverside, Ill., which produces palm-sized lights affixed with cellphone chargers and solar panels for the foundation. The lights feature three brightness settings.

They last roughly five years. The idea for the foundation came to Hale and Rogers after they read an article detailing the struggles of a Kenyan woman who would travel extensively to charge her cellular phone. Due to a ride in a “bush taxi” that lasted six hours each way and cost $3, and the long wait at the village where she would charge her phone, she had to make two round-trips for each charge, and would spend $12 on travel expenses, coupled with 25 cents on the charge itself. As the woman would make the trip several times per month, she could spend almost $40 per month simply charging her phone.

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