After graduating college, Fayetteville native Boo Buchanan bartended in New York City and taught high school English in Taiwan.
A family obligation brought him back to Fayetteville a decade ago, where he got reacquainted with fellow Fayetteville High School alumnus, Sarah Fennell. A few years earlier, she co-founded Restore Humanity (RH), whose work is done primarily in a rural village in western Kenya.
In a variety of ways, the nonprofit arena is where Buchanan found his niche. After starting with RH as a volunteer — primarily as a grant writer — Buchanan became a full-time employee in January 2017. Since then, his efforts have resulted in a 60% increase in fundraising efforts, and grants received reached six figures in 2019.
Through multiple programs, RH’s work focuses on educational opportunities in Kenya and the United States.
The first program is a children’s home in Kenya that houses up to 20 orphans who are cared for until the completion of their high school education. Alumni of the orphanage join either a graduate program, pursuing a marketable skill through a vocational program, technical school or a college scholars program, in which RH pays for them to attend a four-year university.
Buchanan, who travels to Kenya twice a year, manages the scholars program, providing counsel and mentorship.
“As a positive male role model for the boys and young men at our Kenyan children’s home, Herbert has been invaluable,” Fennel said. She and Buchanan married in 2015 and are expecting their first child in the fall.
Buchanan earned degrees in philosophy and economics in 2006 from the University of Arkansas. He is learning the software system Salesforce to better manage RH’s fundraising and donor management. He is also planning to attend graduate school, focusing on education policy.