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Giving Back with Michael Capponi of Global Empowerment Movement

Miami native, businessman, humanitarian leader and founder of GEM,, Michael Capponi, continues to make the world a better place.

If you aren't familiar with Global Empowerment Mission, it is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 as a first responder to global disasters, lead by Michael Capponi. Capponi is previously known for his work Miami's nightlife, hospitality, and real estate, but has since shifted to global empowerment. GEM truly does it all going above and beyond, providing immediate natural disaster relief all around the globe, dedicated to restoring hope and opportunity to the innocent lives of those negatively impacted. GEM's work is unmatched and high recognized as they have concurred missions in 28 countries, all 50 US states, and territories including the Caribbean. We had the privilege of speaking with Capponi on his work as a leader of some of the world's greatest humanitarian work. 

As the founder, how was Global Empowerment Mission born, or what inspired you to get into disaster relief specifically?

GEM is definitely my life’s work now. Gem is a culmination of all my careers and it intertwines everything I’ve always known I should do. As far back in the early nineties, when I was promoting clubs on South Beach I would sometimes go buy food for the homeless and bring bags under MacArthur causeway. After being so caught up in the nightlife scene at such a young age, I crashed and burned due to drug addiction and reckless behavior. 

I fell hard and spent a stint homeless in the 95 blizzard in NYC. I think that what we call curses in life may sometimes be our greatest gifts. That was definitely the seed that would ultimately led me on this path. God has an interesting way of guiding us. We don’t always understand true empathy towards others until we ourselves experience their suffering. 

When I came back clean and healthy to Miami Beach in 1999, the first thing I did was organize a city wide drive to collect blankets and clothing for the victims of the Kosovo War. After that came 911 and we did the same. I was utilizing my relationships in Miami Beach to motivate people to act and support causes. Over time, the outer things that once mattered to me became secondary to helping others. The process took almost 20 years and finally in 2018 I decided to make GEM my only focus. 

 What does the process of providing relief to a disaster look like?

Today we have a 20,000 sq ft HQ building that collects and distributes 20-30 M in aid per year throughout 30 countries so far. 

What mission was most impactful or a defining moment for you?

All of them are just as important as the other. I feel blessed to have the opportunity of always being in the midst of our planet’s most important climatic events. Our planet is going through major changes and the increase of disasters rising yearly. Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes etc. All these have always occurred but never at the rate and severity of today.  

What is your favorite or most rewarding part about what you do?

I lived the first part of my life in absolute excess and self centeredness. Now I’m living this part of my life in the exact opposite. There’s just too much suffering going on in this planet for how evolved our species claims to be. It’s time that humanity really starts paying real attention to others so we can graduate and evolve into a new epoch. 

How has your previous work in Miami influenced what you do today with GEM?

Without learning the skills of promoting or building, one wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Instead of promoting a club to enrich myself, we now promote causes. The 10 years of experience I gained building luxury homes is now utilized to rebuild communities and schools throughout disaster stricken areas. 

Talk about your partnership with Bethenny Frankel’s #BStrong initiative.

Bethenny is incredible. She’s been a driving force in our missions. Gem operates her bstrong initiative. Her outreach to the public and with certain high level donors is very powerful. It takes an army of soldiers and an entire population to be able to come together and make a significant difference. 

 What is in store for GEM in the future, or a current project you are working on? 

Our new model is to be prepositioned and ready at any given moment. To be proactive to disasters and needs and not only reactive to them. 

We can only do this with public support so please look at what we do at www.globalempowermentmission.org 

  • Michael Capponi
  • Bethenny Frankel and Michael Capponi