CLTIVATE (pronounced, "cul-ti-vate") is a non-profit movement, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is known as "CLT" - hence, the reason our name is misspelled ;)
MISSION: Cultivate the fight against addiction
VISION: Inspire 1 million people to get sober & start living
This non-profit is about making a difference through social media, community events, speaking engagements, and the CLTIVATE brand. As a former addict/alcoholic, I have a heart for people who are hurting. I know despair, depression, and defeat. Addiction is real, and it kills. Luckily, God showed up in my life, and I now have the honor of committing the rest of my life to helping others find true happiness. I'm thankful for my past, because I can use it to help others. You can too! - Zack Gudzan, Founder.
The word "cultivate" means, "to grow and care for". I was driving home from a 12-step meeting in late July of 2016. By all means, it was just a normal, peaceful summer night. You know...windows down, jamming out to Third Eye Blind, and just genuinely appreciating everything about my new life. At the time, I had been sober for almost two years, and life was finally beginning to make sense (sorta). Somewhere along the way, I had developed a sincere passion for sobriety. God worked a miracle in my life, and I wanted so dearly for others to have the same shot at grace.
During the short drive home, I began to think about my love for Charlotte. I moved here to get my life together, so this city owns a special place in my heart. (The cool kids here refer to Charlotte as the CLT - it's our airport code). Then, for whatever reason, the word "cultivate" came to mind, and I just couldn't seem to get that word out of my head. It was weird, because my mind normally races from thought to thought with complete abandon. But this thought just stayed: CULTIVATE. It probably happened in a flash, but it seemed like an eternity in my head.
Before I knew it, I was on my couch Googling the definition of cultivate. I had to know what it truly meant. Every definition seemed to talk about crops, farming, and plants, and I'm thinking, "Dude, I hate plants." Then, a random alternate definition surfaced, and it simply said, "TO GROW AND CARE FOR SOMETHING." In that moment, everything in my life made sense. I knew why I battled addiction for my entire adult life. I knew why I hadn't thrown away the tear-stained suicide letter that I wrote myself in 2014. I knew why my heart was so incredibly unfulfilled. I knew why God had kept me safe during all those years of darkness and pure rebellion. (You can read about my story here.)
In that moment, I knew it was time to use my pain to help others. In the still of the night, 8-1-2016, CLTIVATE was born.
Since that moment, my soul has been on fire. I've worked day & night to build a following on Instagram. To encourage people with my story. To share other people's stories. To write blog posts every single night. To send encouraging emails and messages to total strangers in different states and different countries. Everyone kept telling me I had a great idea, and that I needed to think big. Luckily, God did that part for me.
By December 2016, CLTIVATE had become too much to keep up with on my own. I had a great full-time job at a software company, and I was building a bright future for myself. But I had to make a choice between my comfort zone or God's calling on my heart.
So, I quit my job & took the leap of faith. I've worked day and night to get this non-profit off the ground, and I wouldn't trade it for anything!
Today, CLTIVATE has reached over 4,000 people on Instagram & through other channels. People are sending messages from all over the world saying they're inspired to make big changes, and it's incredibly cool to see!
If you'd like to get involved, donating is the best place to start. Or you can visit our store and help rock the brand! This is just the beginning for us, and we really need your help getting CLTIVATE off the ground. Any amount helps, and it truly means the world to us, as well as the countless others who are receiving hope, encouragement, strength, and love through this mission.
Zack Gudzan, Founder