Ben Higgins is known as “the former Bachelor” or “the reality star.” While both are true, he’s now using that audience — and his 1.4 million Instagram followers — to get eyes on a cause he’s been working with for 11 years. In 2007, Higgins took a trip to Honduras for disaster-relief work with his church based in Denver. While there, he was introduced to poverty-filled life that he’d never seen, and knew he had to do something.
Fast forward six years and Higgins is a board member of the non-profit foundation Humanity and Hope United. After seeing the lack of water, education and jobs in multiple countries, his best friend created the foundation to fix these things. Higgins had a connection to Honduras, and since has gone back 20 different times — this winter, he took friends and family along.
After the H&H community and development program became successful, Higgins and best friend Riley Fuller realized they needed to find a way to fundraise. With that, came the for-profit company, Generous International. “It was built with the idea that for-profit companies could change the way we view capitalism. With every purchase from Generous, we will donate profits back to causes that are doing some type of sustainable change in the world,” he explains to Us.
Last seen on The Bachelor: Winter Games, Higgins is now using his fame to raise awareness. “It’s so weird that you can do reality TV and people seem to give you more legitimacy than you have before. It’s allowed me to speak to more people about things that I truly believe in, as well as bring other people on,” he tells Us. His last trip, he was joined by Brandi Cyrus as well as Bachelor alums Dean Unglert and Lesley Murphy.
“For me, it makes this whole thing so much better. Being part of The Bachelor has both good and bad sides — breakups, criticism, encouragement. By putting a purpose behind it all allows me to refocus and be part of a foundation that isn’t about myself,” Higgins continues. “Reality TV can feel very much isolated and all about you as a person. These missions helps me feel like, ‘OK something good is coming from something that sometimes makes me feel really lost.’”
Now single, Higgins noted that he’s dating on his own terms and it’s not easy.
“I figured out that when you’re engaged, you put up these boundaries and these walls so that you can be the best partner for somebody and then all of a sudden you find yourself single again and it feels weird, it feels awkward. I remember my very first date with somebody, I felt almost guilty for it, like I was doing something wrong when I really wasn’t,“ Higgins shares. “It just took me a long time to be OK. There’s still some residual effects of that.”
For now, he’ll be keeping his private life private and focusing on bettering his other relationships and missions. “It’d be so awesome if somehow, someway, The Bachelor changed lives for the better.”
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