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 and accessories. For each purchase at libertyunited.com, a teen gets gun violence prevention training and a Liberty United piece upon completing the program.
Every purchase that you make of a Liberty United product helps to educate and 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 70,000 automatic rifles in the Democratic Republic of The Congo and Burundi, before starting 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.
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 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 the plan for Ethos Water. Since then, Ethos has given over $13.8 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 adopted and adapted by companies such as Toms Shoes, Feed, and Warby Parker.
While continuing to lead Ethos inside Starbucks as a corporate vice president and director of the Starbucks Foundation, Peter visited safe water programs in Africa in 2008. During 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 70,000 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.
Liberty United transforms illegal guns and ammunition provided by police into handcrafted jewelry. Liberty United Partners with US cities and law enforcement, who provide the illegal guns and bullets from off the street. Liberty United remakes these weapons into jewelry and accessories. Every product purchased funds non-profit programs to protect and save the lives of at-risk children.
Peter has been featured by numerous media outlets, including: The New York Times, USA Today, Fortune, Fast Company, Forbes, NBC, CBS, ABC, CBC, and Fox News, Fox Business, TED.com, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, PRI, Robb Report, GQ, Vogue, Departures, Worth, and Elle.
Levi Strauss, UBS and AT Cross have featured Peter and his work in advertising and marketing campaigns. In 2014, Thum was named one of America’s top 50 Philanthropists by Town & Country. In 2012, the Tribeca Film Festival and the Disruptor Foundation awarded Thum the Disruptive Innovation Award.
He is the founder and President of the not-for-profit Giving Water, which has provided water and sanitation access to more than 6,000 schoolchildren in Africa. Thum is an adviser to FEED Projects and served as a Director of The US Fund for UNHCR, The Fund for Global Human Rights, and The Center for the Study of The Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights.
Prior to starting his first venture, Peter worked at McKinsey & Company and E&J Gallo Winery in Europe and California. He earned 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 plays Karen Wheeler on the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” 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, Person of Interest, NCIS, and all the Law & Order shows. She has appeared on Broadway and Off Broadway. As a writer, she adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel This Side of Paradise for Miramax Films.
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.
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.