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Liberty United

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Inspired to Stop Gun Violence

Each year more than 17,000 American children fall victim to gun violence. It's an epidemic. Traditional solutions have failed these kids.

We felt compelled to take action to fight gun violence in America with beauty and inspiration. So we created Liberty United in 2013.

We transform illegal guns and ammunition provided by police into handcrafted jewelry.

Every purchase that you make of a Liberty United product helps to protect an at-risk child from gun violence.

Jay Z’s Life + Times: A Profile of Liberty United

JAY Z's Life+Times sits down with Peter Thum, founder of Liberty United, a company that hopes to curb gun violence in America by creating high end jewelry out of seized illegal guns and bullets. Thum discusses his earlier work in helping to provide access to clean water in Africa, as well as creating jewelry out of illegal weapons in Africa, funding the destruction of 35,000 automatic rifles in the Democratic Republic of The Congo and Burundi, before staring Liberty United in America, where he partners with organizations such as the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia and the Newburgh Armory Unity Center in New York. (Posted December 2014)

Founders' Biographies

Peter Thum

Peter Thum is the Founder and CEO of Liberty United. He has been a pioneer in social enterprise since 2001, when he came up with the business idea for Ethos Water. He created the brand out of his New York apartment and led it as its President through its acquisition in 2005, by Starbucks Coffee Company.

While working in South Africa in 2001, Peter met people living without access to clean water and sanitation. Determined to help them, he came up with the idea to create a for-profit brand that could tap into the bottled water boom to enlist millions of consumers to fund clean water access for people in need of water in developing countries. Peter wrote his idea down on a napkin on a train. That napkin became a plan and the plan became Ethos Water. Since then, Ethos has given over $12.4 million to safe water and sanitation programs and has changed the lives of over half a million people around the world.

This business model of directly connecting brand, product consumption and a related cause was later was adopted and adapted by companies such as Toms Shoes, Feed, and Warby Parker.

While continuing to lead Ethos at Starbucks, Peter visited safe water programs in Africa in 2008. On this trip he met boys as young as 10 who were armed with assault rifles. This experience moved him to begin work to address the small arms problem in Africa.

In 2009, Peter co-founded Fonderie 47, a company that produces exclusive jewelry, watches and accessories from AK47's that have been removed from circulation in African conflict zones. The sale of each piece funds the destruction of a specific number of assault rifles in Africa. Since its launch in 2011, Fonderie 47 has funded the destruction of more than 50,000 assault rifles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Burundi.

Peter and his wife Cara Buono launched Liberty United in 2013 with the vision of stopping gun violence in the United States.

With this aim, Liberty United transforms illegal guns and ammunition provided by police into handcrafted jewelry. Liberty United Partners with US cities and law enforcement who provide illegal guns and bullets from off the street. Liberty United remakes these weapons into powerful symbols of action. Every product purchased funds non-profit programs to protect and save the lives of at-risk children.

Peter was recognized in 2014 by Vanity Fair, as one of the top 50 Philanthropists in the US. Levi Strauss, UBS and AT Cross have featured his story in their campaigns. He speaks regularly about entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility, and how to change the world.

Prior to starting his first venture, Peter worked at McKinsey & Company and E&J Gallo Winery Europe. He has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA from Claremont McKenna College. After the fall of the Berlin wall, Peter moved to Berlin and lived in Europe for most of his twenties and early thirties. Peter was captain of his college football team. He is an Eagle Scout. He was raised in Southern California, where most of his family still lives.

Peter now lives with his wife and daughter in New York City.

Cara Buono

Cara has been an actress since age 12. She earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Dr. Faye Miller on Mad Men. Her many notable television roles include work on The Sopranos, The Good Wife and Person of Interest. She has appeared on Broadway and Off Broadway. As a writer, she adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel This Side of Paradise of Paradise for Miramax Films. She is currently working on the Netflix series Stranger Things.

Cara has been a volunteer rape crisis/domestic victims advocate with St. Luke's Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center since 1992. She traveled to Bhutan to volunteer with Surgicorps International.

Born and raised in the Bronx, she graduated from Columbia University with a double major in English Literature and Political Science in three years. She ran three NY City Marathons.

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