Discovering the spirit of real wealth

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11194628643001.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Ralph Bronner, vice president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, will entertain at Illinois Renewable Energy Fair, Aug. 13-14.’);

The Fourth Annual Illinois Renewable Energy SL (IRESL) Fair will be Saturday, Aug. 13 and Sunday, Aug. 14 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds, Oregon, Ill. Admission is $5/day for adults and $3/day for teen-agers and free for children younger than 12.

The first-ever sustainable living keynoter for the IRESL Fair will be Ralph Bronner, vice president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Bronner, a retired English teacher, is more than a vice president. He is also an entertainer, a motivator and a volunteer. He sings and speaks at schools for at-risk students, encouraging them to become all they can be. He has also dug wells in Africa and fed the homeless.

His is an amazing success story. His mother died by the time he was 3. He lived in 15 different foster homes by the time he was 7. He remembers waking up on a chicken farm and in an orphanage filled with rats, “but I never knew it was supposed to ruin my life.”

His father, Dr. Bronner, was a scientist and master soap maker who fled Nazi Germany. He gave public lectures on his “all-one” philosophy and world peace. After several incidents, he was committed to the mental hospital in Elgin. He escaped and settled in California, making and selling soap. In 1956, he wrote to Ralph, requesting help with his slumping business.

The soap, made from natural ingredients, quickly caught on with the counter culture movement of the 1960s and ’70s, becoming a multimillion-dollar business.

In addition to being profitable, the business is also socially responsible. By meeting the criteria of selling environmentally benign products made by a company that is sensitive to its workers’ health and safety, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps won the First Green Business Leaders Award given by Co-Op America in 2003 (see

Bronner will share his music and philosophy with visitors. His presence will highlight the need to take action. Join us for an entertaining, uplifting, enjoyable experience.

Bronner will entertain throughout both afternoons. Times of performances will be listed on the schedule.

Info: (815) 732-7332 or IREA at

From the June 22-28, 2005, issue

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