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Entrepreneur, Filmmaker Seeks Money To Help Trafficked Girls In India

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Four years ago, Casey Allred says he went to India to help reform and improve education and discovered an entirely different problem that compelled him to act: sex trafficking of young, school-age girls.

He explains that when he set up his first school as part of the nonprofit he launched called Effect.org, he noticed something troubling: a declining number of girls were attending school.

When he dug into this problem further, he discovered a tragedy that moved him to do something. Young girls were routinely being caught up in the slave trade to be used as sex workers.

Allred is now producing a film with director Chris Davis called Stolen Innocence and is raising money to support the production costs on Kickstarter. He hopes the film will bring attention to the plight of these girls and enable them to return to their families and to school.

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM Eastern, Allred will join me for a live discussion about the project, its impact and the filmmaker’s crowdfunding campaign. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about Stolen Innocence:

Stolen Innocence delves into a hidden world; the untold story of young women captured and forced into a life of sex slavery. Without a voice, without a choice, these girls are violently trafficked into the worlds largest sex ring. Filmmakers Casey Allred and Chris Davis compile shocking footage and emotional interviews, uncovering the secret sex trafficking industry throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Casey Allred and Chris Davis

Allred’s bio:

Producer Casey Allred started in international development at the age of 19 years old leading others in life changing activities for two years residing in Albania. While attending college at Utah State University he started nonprofit organization Effect International and successfully opened a school in India. In 2013 he founded Effect.org, a social enterprise that operates affordable private schools in India.

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Investment Key To Climate Change Solution

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Have you ever thought that really addressing climate change would require more than just swapping our light bulbs for compact florescent bulbs and LEDs?

It is just that sort of thinking that created the Aspen Institute’s Accelerating Market-driven Partnerships program, the purpose of which is to build public-private partnerships, including both the corporate sector and nonprofits, to invest in projects and technologies that will protect the environment.

Executive Director Robert Foster explains, “As the world becomes increasingly connected – and complicated – it is critical that we harness the power of multi-stakeholder collaborations where they are needed.”

“If we are to adequately address the climate crisis in the next 30 years government, business, foundations, and civil society have an important role to play,” he adds. “AMP builds models that increase the amount and effectiveness of capital invested into climate resilience and low-carbon technologies globally.”

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at noon Eastern, Foster will join me for a live discussion about the program’s efforts to spur investment in the environment. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about AMP:

Launched by the United States Department of State, AMP, a program of the Aspen Institute, drives investments and builds partnerships that drive large-scale innovative solutions and create durable change. We work with our members and partners to dramatically increase the amount and effectiveness of capital invested into climate resilience and the low-carbon technologies.

Robert Foster

Foster’s bio:

Robert Foster is the executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Accelerating Market-driven Partnerships (AMP). Robert’s past work include the development of social purpose investment vehicles with private investment firms, the development of global market and policy strategies with foundations, and the implementation of market-based biodiversity conservation and poverty-reduction initiatives in Latin America with non-profits. Robert is a Women Effects Investments Fellow at the Criterion Institute and also serves on social-impact selection committees and investment committees, such as the Hitachi Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur’s Awards, and the Patient Capital Collaborative, a venture fund dedicated to Social Impact. Robert is a board member of the Social Venture Network and he holds a MSc from Oxford University.

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Expert Says We Can Reduce Fossil Fuel Use 80% With Existing Technology

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Amory Lovins, a “recovering physicist” who founded and now leads the Rocky Mountain Institute, is the author of Reinventing Fire and a Forbes contributor who says that existing technology allows us to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent. For this article he provided a quick explanation of his ideas:

The United States now wrings more than twice as much work from its energy as it did 40 years ago, yet most of the energy used today is still wasted. We can now save twice as much as I then claimed (to much ridicule), but at a third the real cost. With the best modern techniques, more efficiently converting energy into the same or better services can save, for example, about ⅔ to ¾ of the energy we use in buildings (with a 33% IRR), half in industry (21% IRR), and ≥4/5 in transportation (17% IRR)). “Integrative design”—optimizing buildings, factories and industrial equipment, and vehicles as whole systems for multiple benefits, not isolated components for single benefits—can often make big savings cost less than small or no savings, turning diminishing returns into expanding returns.

Modern energy efficiency makes it easier and quicker to switch supplies from old, expensive technologies to newer, cheaper, safer, cleaner ones. RMI’s *Reinventing Fire* synthesis (2011, www.rmi.org/reinventingfire) showed how with a 14% IRR and a $5-trillion NPV saving, the United States could run a 2.6x bigger economy in 2050 with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy and ⅓ less natural gas. This would require no new inventions nor Acts of Congress, but could be led by business for profit.

On Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Lovins will join me for a live discussion about his work and his optimism for a low carbon emissions future. Tune in then to watch the interview.

More about the Rocky Mountain Institute:

Rocky Mountain Institute (which does not have a “The” in front of it) is an independent, apolitical, nonprofit, market-oriented think-and-do tank that creates a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future. I cofounded it in 1982, have been its CEO and Chairman, and serve as its full-time Chief Scientist. RMI has about a hundred staff in two Colorado locations, a global reach, and an annual budget of about $13 million from philanthropy and programmatic enterprise. RMI works chiefly with the private sector because we want to get stuff done. RMI is a member of the Social Venture Network.

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Amory Lovins

Lovin’s bio:

Recovering physicist Amory Lovins, 66, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); energy advisor to major firms and governments in 50+ countries for 40+ years; author of 31 books and over 500 papers; and recipient of the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National Design, and World Technology Awards. A Harvard and Oxford dropout, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and Swedish engineering academician, he has taught at ten universities, most recently Stanford and the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2009, Time named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. His latest books include Natural Capitalism (1999, www.natcap.org), Small Is Profitable (2002, www.smallisprofitable.org), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004, www.oilendgame.com), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011, www.reinventingfire.com).

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This interview is part of a series that will examine what can be accomplished in the fight to solve the world’s biggest challenges within the next thirty years. The solution to every big problem also presents opportunities entrepreneurs will exploit to change the world. From this series of interviews, a book, working title: Thirty Years to Peace, will emerge.

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This Teacher Has A One-Word Lesson Plan To Change The World—The Word Will Surprise You

You don’t want to miss this! Really.

Orly Wahba is changing the world through kindness. Frankly, she’s the kind of person I want to be, perhaps the kind of person we’d all like to be. 

Orly launched a nonprofit called Life Vest Inside (LVI) to inspire people to be more kind and thereby change the world. Lately, LVI is working to formalize kindness training with a focus on anti-bullying in schools. 

On Wednesday, August 26, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Orly will join me for a live discussion about her inspiring work and her effort to save children from bullying. Tune in here then to watch.

More about Life Vest Inside:

We’re a non profit organization on a mission to empower and unite the world with kindness. Life Vest Inside is all about helping people see the AMAZING and WONDERFUL potential they have to make a difference in the world through simple yet powerful acts of kindness! We set out to effect global change through inspirational media, technology, education, and on the ground social engagement.

Orly’s bio:

Orly Wahba is an educator, entrepreneur, and community activist passionate about inspiring and motivating people to make the world a kinder place. In 2011, Orly founded Life Vest Inside, a non-profit organization with a mission to empower and unite the world with kindness. Through Life Vest Inside, Orly encourages people to embrace the incredible power of giving and recognize that in times of hardship, kindness, like a life vest, keeps the world afloat.

LVI gained international acclaim when Orly’s award-winning film Kindness Boomerang went viral, receiving over 30 million views and counting and eventually landing her a spot to speak at TED2013 on the magic of kindness.

Orly began her career in kindness as a Middle School educator empowering children to embrace unity, build their self-value, and use their power to influence the world for good. As her kindness community grows by the thousands, more people are experiencing the addictiveness in the giving of kindness.

Remember to “join the cavalry”by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Former NYC Gossip Columnist/Party Girl’s Life Changing Year- Long Journey Across the US

This is a guest post from New York City celebrity gossip columnist, Kelly Will, who gave up her home, her work and all her material possessions to travel all 50 States in 365 Days to connect, teach, inspire and learn from more than 600 citizens of the United States of America.

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Kelly Will

I think I might be on to the secret of life.

Every person you meet in a day has incredible value in your life and in the world. This year, I connected from one person to another person, until I built an incredible community that linked and supported me around our nation. I crossed all 50 States in 365 days, 48 by car and 2 by plane, staying in 164 generous host homes, meeting over 600 new, dear friends.

Watch my 90-second video!

My adventure, Kelly Broadcasts America, changed my life. My life is brilliant because I embarked on this journey. Each day, my heart is bursting with the kindness and generosity of every person I meet, because I let them in! I believe in people. No matter what is happening in the world. I think THIS might be the secret of life: connecting with people and believing in them.

Here is one page from my private journal of all 365 days on the road in the United States. These two new families, strangers when we met on the trail, helped to carry me to the top of a mountain and gain an incredible sense of physical, mental and emotional accomplishment.

You Can Call Me, “South Carolina”!
Saturday, August 10, 2013

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Hiking in Lake Tahoe, CA

I take off solo on a sunny hike today in Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe but soon realize the mountain is far more treacherous than the Yelp reviews warned. After an hour, I begin to free climb and know it is time to turn around. I am not safe alone. I expected a challenge, but not this big and dangerous. As I head back to my Honda, I am already berating myself for giving up. Twenty feet back, I run right into a huge group of eight. I bump into the Dads first, Louis and Paul, and their two families. Louis asks if I am alone and when I say yes, he insists I climb to the top of the mountain with them. Louis promises my safety and says he does not want to know my name until we reach the top, I may only tell him the state on my license plate.

They call me “South Carolina” all the way up the mountain and push me on when my lungs are burning, and my fingers are bleeding. I am covered in dirt, they look like adventure models. I shut my mind off and focus on every step, lifting my foot up and carefully setting it down. I am in the zone, mechanically moving safely and quickly, keeping up with this skilled team of weekend climbers. The Dads always remembering me, reach down a hand to reassure me or pull me up, as we climb 2,085 vertical feet in 90 minutes.

I can’t believe I did it. I am filled with pride and a heroic Wonder Woman sense of self the rest of the day. I can’t wait to climb this mountain again one day with someone who needs my help to get them to the top.

Give it a try. Connect honestly with someone today and every day. All it takes is some eye contact and a smile. You never know where it will go from there!

Every person we come in contact with in a day deserves peace, love, kindness and generosity from us at all times. Enemy to friend to total stranger, we must be positive and kind to all. What we give each day we will get back. LIVE AWARE & CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.

http://kellybroadcastsamerica.com

Twitter @misswill

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Renamed Bank Still Focused On Building Community

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

One PacificCoast Bank is rebranding itself to better reflect its social justice agenda as Beneficial State Bank.

Beneficial State Bank takes its social mission seriously. The bank is a member of the Social Venture Network and is a registered B Corporation. In fact, B Lab recognizes the bank as qualifying for “Best for Community Impact.”

Beneficial focuses on serving business customers that serve the community in an environmentally friendly way. The bank says:

Typically, mainstream banks work with big businesses that offer conventional products with relatively low risk — but often in a way that bars new, more sustainable ways of meeting our needs, like sustainable agriculture or clean energy. If we want to build our local community economies, then the underserved sectors must become the primary focus of our bank and other organizations committed to local living economies.

The bank focuses on community development business sectors for its lending like affordable housing, sustainable food and agriculture,

The bank has a unique ownership structure. The bank is effectively owned by a foundation so that any and all dividends will be distributed back into the community, supporting nonprofits and environmental efforts.

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On August 25, 2014 at noon Eastern, Kat Taylor, Beneficial State Bank CEO, will join me for a live discussion about the bank’s new branding. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

More about Beneficial State Bank:

Beneficial State Bank’s founding team shared a vision to start a bank that finances community-based businesses, builds the long-term prosperity of responsible consumers and supports companies that have a commitment to the environment.

Typically, mainstream banks work with big businesses that offer conventional products with relatively low risk — but often in a way that bars new, more sustainable ways of meeting our needs, like sustainable agriculture or clean energy. If we want to build our local community economies, then the underserved sectors must become the primary focus of our bank and other organizations committed to local living economies.

Related to evolving our means of production, our bank also must create fair and transparent access to financial services to build financial literacy and economic prosperity for all. Those who live and work in local living economies need safe ways to conduct transactions and save money, as well as living wage jobs for reliable prosperity. Our vision is of a banking industry that is fair to the person with the least bargaining power and provides access to financial services for all our communities.

When the bank was created, the founding team donated all the economic shares to the Beneficial State Foundation. That means the Foundation owns all of the economic rights of the Bank — when profits of the Bank are distributed, they can only be distributed to the Foundation which is mandated to reinvest those proceeds back into the communities and the environment on which we all depend. In our theory and experience, this ownership model aligns our incentives with the triple bottom line and the values of our bank customers.

We sum up this philosophy in the phrase “Beneficial Banking.” Beneficial State offers a full line of traditional banking services, but with a distinct focus on the traditionally underserved: low-income communities, sustainable businesses and job creation. And we look for ways to help non-profit organizations and businesses that typically find conventional financing out-of-reach, such as specialty agriculture, renewable energy, green building and low-income housing.

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Kat Taylor

Taylor’s bio:

Kat Taylor is CEO of One PacificCoast Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. One PacificCoast Bank is the result of a merger between OneCalifornia Bank, which Kat and her husband, Tom Steyer, founded in Oakland, CACA +0.12%, and ShoreBank Pacific, with offices in Oregon and Washington. The bank’s revolutionary ownership design means that its profits be invested in the communities it serves. Kat is also a founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF) dedicated to sustainable food production through ranching, tours, research, and school lunch and garden programs.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

SOCAP Adds Gratitude Awards To Celebrate Social Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

SOCAP, the Social Capital Markets conference, has grown to likely be the largest annual conference connecting social entrepreneurs with impact investors. For 2014, Kevin Jones, the founder of SOCAP, has partnered with Randy Haykin’s Gratitude Awards to make the event even more significant.

Haykin recently announced the semi-finalists for the Gratitude Awards; you can find the list here.

In order to learn more about the combination, I reached out to Kevin and Randy and to Heather Faison, SOCAP Brand Manager.

Here is my interview with Kevin Jones:

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Kevin Jones

Why did you choose to partner with the Gratitude Awards this year?

A lot of what goes on at SOCAP is relational; prospective mentors and angels meeting and forming relationships with entrepreneurs that will result, after both sides get to know each other, in an investment. The Gratitude Awards bringing top silicon valley VCs like Bill Draper and other tech luminaries into the social enterprise world and letting them help the top startups who win the award, acknowledges that relationships come before transactions in this market at the intersection of money and meaning.

How did SOCAP come to be? What was the personal impetus for you?

I created SOCAP because all of the other convenings had exactly the wrong approach; they thought things would take off when they “got the right people in the room.” We realized vibrant markets were about bringing in the valuable stranger, the unlikely allies you would not meet in your everyday work setting. Adhering rigorously to that simple design principle caused us to grow more than four fold and become the largest and most diverse convening of businesses trying to do good as a core to their mission in the world, and it has attracted the new breed of impact investors who want to put their money where their heart is.

What is the best thing you’ve observed about the Gratitude Awards?

The Gratitude Awards are expanding on our growing set of partnerships with Silicon Valley as the tech world learns to see the opportunity to make money investing in businesses designed to do good.

How have you seen SOCAP impact the social entrepreneurship and impact investing space over the years since you launched the conference?

I think we have shown the world that the market at the intersection of money and meaning – the place between giving and investing – is real and big and growing. I think we have expanded the possibilities for social entrepreneurs. I think the market is maturing. There are expansion stage deals and some of the early exits for investors are happening from the first generation of impact funds. It is working. It is real. It is growing. It is maturing.

Here is my interview with Heather Faison:

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Heather Faison

What are the big highlights you are anticipating at SOCAP this year?

SOCAP has joined the biggest names in innovation, entrepreneurship and impact investing for its 7th annual conference to explore ways to solve global problems with sustainable, local solutions. Our core mission is to create a platform where investors who believe in investing for social and financial return can meet innovative entrepreneurs. This year we hosting more than 130 entrepreneurs from all over the world who will be sharing how they are acting as change agents in their communities. Giving them an opportunity to take their work to scale through connections made at SOCAP is why we do this great work. Our speakers including USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Rebuild the Dream Co-Founder Van Jones, award-winning social entrepreneur Leila Janah and hundreds more are working to advance social causes.

How many people do you anticipate will attend and why do you think so many people will be there?

This will be another sold-out year for SOCAP! We’re excited to welcome a record number of newcomers to the conference who will be joining a crowd of around 2,100 people at Fort Mason Center. Impact investing is everywhere this year; the White House, The Vatican, financial giants like Morgan Stanley and Prudential, are all talking about the benefits of investing for social return. SOCAP in many ways laid the foundation for impact investing and has brought more voices from sectors like the sharing economy, food systems, and healthcare to this once closed-door conversation. People know this is the place where everyone is invited to the table to help solve some of the world’s toughest issues.

What do you hope that participants leave knowing or doing that they didn’t before?

What makes SOCAP different than any other conference in this space are the genuine connections that are made with the most unlikely strangers. We like to call it the “SOCAP effect.” Not only do entrepreneurs find funding from investors who really care about social good, but CEOs, global leaders and people interested in social impact leave inspired to move their projects forward in a more meaningful way. We hope participants leave knowing that SOCAP is a community that grows with you all year round.

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Here is my interview with Randy Haykin:

Why did you choose to partner with SOCAP for the awards this year?

The Gratitude Awards were initially held as part of The Intersection Event, an event that the Gratitude Network hosed in 2012 and 2013. For 2014, we realized that the SOCAP event is a gathering place for many of the audience members we would like to reach with the awards: corporate, entrepreneurial, social/impact, investors – so we approached the SOCAP team to partner with us on this year’s awards. SOCAP saw in the Gratitude Awards a way to create a more unified approach to working with entrepreneurs at the event – a superset will receive “scholarships” so they can attend and be part of the mix. Of those scholars, we’ve selected a subset that we feel are ready to receive more attention in how they build their businesses. Short on-stage presentations during SOCAP of the 9 nominees, who will be prepped by the Gratitude Network, for their talks in front of an audience of 2000, will be a great way to expose the broader SOCAP audience to a mixture of exciting/innovative young companies – both non-profit and for-profit — and the Concierge area of the Main Hall will allow SOCAP participants to find the 9 Finalists and connect with them.

How do you view the Gratitude Awards as advancing social entrepreneurship?

There are five ways in which the Gratitude Awards advances social entrepreneurship:

  1. The Awards honor social entrepreneurs on the ground, in communities around the world – who want to learn from lessons of entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley and can benefit from mentorship. Untimately, through the award process, we are trying to identify the most innovative and impactful entrepreneurs whose start-ups will make a lasting contribution to a social area of need.
  2. By holding the Awards at SOCAP, we’re exposing 2000+ to the notion that there are a set of entrepreneurs out there who are using their passion, commitment, ingenuity, time and talents to benefit the lives of OTHERS. The connections these entrepreneurs will make from this exposure is immeasurable, but definitely will advance their causes.
  3. The Awards recognize the importance of hands-on mentorship in assisting young entrepreneurs in building enterprises that can make an impact on the world. This lesson was learned from years that the Gratitude Network has spend in making “silicon Valley” style investments. Working with entrepreneurs is as much about RESOURCING them with people, ideas, connections and process, as it is about MONEY.
  4. The Awards point to the importance of corporate philanthropy in the development of social innovation. In the “old” world order, philanthropy went into the hands of large NGOs, in the form of $$. These large (mostly non-profits) then dispersed the dollars to various projects of need around the world. Today, corporations are beginning to embrace social entrepreneurship – they are looking for ways to engage their employees int he work that social entrepreneurs are doing, and they are looking to LEARN from social innovators. The Gratitude Awards involve a set of companies (Google, Salesforce, Adobe this first year) that will become more involved in social entrepreneurship in the future.
  5. The Awards honor the human emotion of “gratitude” – for those of us who have been successful (personally and as corporations) in being grateful for what we’ve achieved and in the “ pay-it-forward” spirit, giving back to others who can make an impact globally on tough social issues in impoverished communities in health, poverty and education.

What is the best thing you’ve observed about SOCAP?

SOCAP brings together an “intersection” of people who are critical to the future of social impact: corporation innovators, entrepreneurs, academia, NGOs, investors. The spirit of the 4 days is infectious and one leaves the event wanting to find a way personally to make an impact on our world. The event opens one up to a wide variety of ideas, and great number of innovators from many fields.

Also, it appears to be the one event during the year that many of the leaders of the social impact space make an appearance – so there are many meetings and communications that take place at SOCAP that influence the remainder of the year and the things these leaders do the other 360 days.

What have you seen your past winners do and accomplish after being recognized?

Our past winners, from our first year of the Gratitude Awards seem to have accomplished three primary things: they have all raised additional capital, have more clearly defined and “re-fined” their products and services (using input and advice from the network and mentors) and they have been able to staff up to prepare for growth. We’ve also worked with these companies on business model and leadership issues.

A great example of this is Zaya.org, an innovative learning platform for schools in India. The founder, Neil DSouza, was at SOCAP two years ago and met one of the Gratitude Network team members. In 2013, Neil applied for a Gratitude Award and he was selected as a finalist and presented at The Intersection 2013. Neil has shared with our team that he met many interesting people through The Intersection and his award presentation. In 2013, Neil was introduced to Pearson Learning and later in the year they funded his company with $600,000 in much-needed investment. From the time we met him, Neil has focused his service offering, hired a great team, developed critical technology for use in schools in India, and now hopes to impact 10,000 students in India by 2015.

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Gratitude Awards Recognize Social Entrepreneurs From Around Globe

The Gratitude Awards from the Gratitude Network will recognize four young companies at SOCAP on September 4, 2014. Organizer Randy Haykin recently announced the 32 semi-finalists. Nine finalists will be chosen and announced from among these semi-finalists.

Accountability Lab          

The Accountability Lab empowers youth to develop innovative tools for integrity and anti-corruption in their communities.                   

Blair Glencorse 

Washington, DC               

Nonprofit

Founded: 2012 

Target Market:  Liberia

Akimbo

Akimbo is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company primarily serving organizations running workforce development programs for populations facing significant boundaries to employment. Our software features a digital portfolio-building tool, effective recruiting platform, and skills/professional development capabilities. Our mission is to reduce global unemployment.                 

Mackenzie Hughes

San Francisco, CA            

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: United States

Equater Fuelwood Energy Saving (EFWES)           

EFWES is a enterprise dealing with renewable and alternative energy technologies for improved livelihoods.                     

Josphat Wahome Kariuki             

Nanyuki, Laikipia County              

For-Profit           

Founded: 1998 

Target Market: Kenya

Evomo Research And Advancement Pvt. Ltd.     

Evomo is working on affordable transport solutions for developing regions across the world.

Abhinav Kumar

Ahmedabad, Gujarat    

For-Profit           

Founded: 2010 

Target Market: India

Fuego del Sol Haiti          

Fuego del Sol designs, co-creates and implements ecological systemic solutions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. FdS confronts Haiti’s deadly charcoal addiction through development, introduction and adoption of ecological fuel briquettes, ergonomic industrial manual briquette presses, and efficient briquette stoves. FdS collects, separates and upcycles waste materials into sustainable solutions.              

Kevin Adair        

P-a-P, Haiti         

Other   

Founded: 2007 

Target Market: Haiti

Incluyeme.com

Incluyeme.com is the first job portal aimed to help people with disabilities in Latin America (more than 30 million people) to find a job.                    

Natalia  Ca          

Region Metropolitana, Santiago de Chile              

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: Argentina

Labor Link by Good World Solutions       

Labor Link is the first platform to leverage the disruptive power of mobile to give voice to the global workforce and deliver real-time data to companies like Cisco and Patagonia to align sourcing practices with worker needs - like SurveyMonkey for the 5 billion people without internet access.

Heather Franzese           

Oakland, CA

Nonprofit

Founded: 2011 

Target Market: Bangladesh

LivelyHoods       

LivelyHoods creates jobs for youth in Kenyan slums so they can work their way out of poverty and actualize their potential. To achieve this, we employ youth from slums to sell life-changing products in their communities. Although we are a non-profit, we operate with the mindset of an entrepreneurial start-up.                           

Tania Laden       

Venice, CA         

Nonprofit           

Founded: 2011

Target Market: Kenya

SunCulture        

SunCulture designs and sells solar-powered irrigation systems and agricultural extension services that make it cheaper and easier for farmers to grow food.                    

Samir Ibrahim   

Nairobi, Kenya 

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: Kenya

Takamoto Biogas             

Takamoto Biogas brings cooking fuel to the millions of Kenyan farmers who need an affordable, reliable energy solution. We have developed the first of its kind Pay-as-you-go Biogas technology. Farmers no longer face crippling upfront costs to install a biogas system which turns animal waste into renewable energy for cooking.    

Kyle Schutter

Nairobi, Kenya

For-Profit           

Founded: 2011 

Target Market: Kenya

African Management Initiative 

The African Management Initiative is a social business that empowers African managers and entrepreneurs through practical and accessible learning and coaching tools, online and offline. 

Rebecca Harrison            

United Kingdom              

Nairobi: Kenya  For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: Kenya

Akadus Inc.        

Akadus seeks to provide high school students unrivalled access to the broadest array of educational content available online-curated, organized, and evaluated in accord with specifications set by each user-combined with tools that facilitate its usage. We want to connect students to learning that matters to them, and outcomes that make a difference in their lives-while connecting colleges and employers to the right students they seek to recruit.               

Cabot Brown     

San Francisco, CA            

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: United States

Medha

Medha delivers an employability training program that improves career opportunities for youth in India. We work with students to help them bridge the gap between what they learn in school and what employers demand. Our vision is to change the way employability skills are developed in the public education system.    

Christopher Turillo

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Nonprofit

Founded: 2011 

Target Market: India

Practice Makes Perfect

PMP provides an six-week summer enrichment to socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Through a multi-relational approach, PMP pairs academically struggling students with high achieving older students from the same inner-city neighborhoods and puts them under the supervision of college interns and certified teachers for an academic and creative intensive summer program.                         

Karim Abouelnaga          

New York, New York     

Nonprofit           

Founded: 2010 

Target Market: United States

Springboard Collaborative           

Springboard Collaborative closes the reading achievement gap by coaching teachers, training family members, and incentivizing learning such that our scholars have the requisite skills to access life opportunities.                               

Alejandro Gac-Artigas

Philadelphia, PA              

Nonprofit

Founded: 2011

Target Market: United States

ThinkCERCA.com Inc      

ThinkCERCA is an award winning k-12 literacy education technology company that focuses on teaches students how to critically analyze text and create evidence-based arguments in every subject area.    

Abby Ross          

Chicago, IL          

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: United States

Jail Education Solutions

JES improves inmate outcomes by incentivizing educational and vocational progress through tablets in correctional facilities. Investment in inmate education leads to reduced recidivism and lower taxpayer liability, however, programming is extremely limited, politically challenging, and doesn’t meet inmate demand. JES grants access to an immense collection of resources otherwise unavailable.                              

Brian Hill

Evanston, IL       

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: United States

Pulse Active Savings      

Pulse is a mobile-based tool that enables the poor to save money when and where they shop. These savings can be redeemed in the future for food and medicine purchases at certified Pulse vendors. This buffer of funds serves as an insurance against unexpected expenses and emergencies.                  

Niketa   Malhotra            

San Francisco, CA            

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: India

Access Afya       

Access Afya (Access “Health” in Swahili) runs a chain of micro-clinics in Nairobi’s slums. We are creating a commercial primary care model that sells affordable, quality clinical services and products to uninsured residents in informal settlements. Our company will expand the chain throughout slums emphasizing consistent quality and customer experience.       

Melissa Menke Kenya  

Nairobi, Kenya 

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: Kenya

Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies Limited              

Appropriate Energy Saving Technologies (AEST) LTD is a social business enterprise registered and managed by women which manufactures and sells charcoal briquettes from agricultural waste and improved cook stoves .Our mission is to increase access to affordable clean energy and cooking solutions for urban and peri-urban low-income households and institutions in North Eastern Uganda.

Betty Ikalany     

Soroti, Uganda 

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: Uganda

Drinkwell            

Drinkwell transforms the arsenic and fluoride water crisis affecting over 200 million people across rural India and Bangladesh into entrepreneurial opportunity by blending proprietary filtration technology with a franchise business model. 

Minhaj  Chowdhury       

Brighton, MA    

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Target Market: Bangladesh

Effortless Energy

Effortless Energy offers an individually tailored package of free, easy home upgrades that your home more valuable, easier to control from your mobile device, more comfortable, healthier, and greener while saving you money. Our unique efficiency-as-a-service model enables us to pay for all the upgrades and then share in the utility bill savings by simply charging you per unit of energy saved at a rate lower than the cost of using energy.                   

Claire     Tramm 

Chicago, IL          

B Corp (for-profit)          

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: United States

iKure Techsoft Private Limited  

iKure’s vision is to have healthier and economically viable rural communities in India. iKure is achieving this by providing affordable accessible quality healthcare services to traditionally under served populations by connecting patients & families, MBBS doctors, locally employed healthworkers and city-based specialists in iKure’s Rural Health Centres through innovative technology.              

Avik Pal

Kolkata, West Bengal    

For-Profit

Founded: 2010 

Target Market: India

 

Koe Koe Tech   

Koe Koe’s mission is to revolutionize Myanmar’s data-deprived health sector by creating a national data network involving all Myanmar health institutions. Koe Koe builds human capital by training Myanmar people from modest backgrounds in computer programming. In a country with sectarian violence, we employ women and ethnic and religious minorities.

Michael                Lwin     

Yangon, Yangon Region

For-Profit           

Founded: 2013 

Komodo OpenLab Inc.  

Komodo OpenLab’s technologies enable simple and easy access to mobile devices for millions of people with mobility impairments enhancing their work, school and family lives.       

Mauricio Meza 

Toronto, Ontario             

For-Profit           

Founded: 2010 

Target Market: United States

Noora Health    

Noora Health delivers high-impact health skill training to at-risk patients and their families. By training families with simple, low-risk skills, we enable patients and their families to take care into their own hands and homes.                           

Katy Edith Ashe Elliott   

Palo Alto, CA     

Nonprofit           

Founded: 2014 

Target Market: India

QoC Health        

QoC Health is a Certified B Corp that offers healthcare providers patient engagement solutions that save money through reduced complications and unnecessary hospital time (appointments, readmissions, length of stay) while improving quality of care and patient satisfaction.                           

Raymond Shih

Toronto, Ontario             

For-Profit           

Target Market: Peru

Sanivation          

Sanivation sells a household toilet service and a healthier charcoal alternative cooking fuel at a rate households can afford due to a simple, no mysteries, closed loop system.                           

Benjamin Kramer-Roach              

Naivasha, Kenya

Not yet incorporated    

Founded: 2011 

Target Market: Kenya

Sevamob            

Sevamob is fundamentally transforming primary healthcare in India. We deliver primary healthcare via mobile clinics to low-income groups on a monthly subscription model. We also operate an online health exchange through which internet savvy patients can get tele-health services from participating health providers. Currently 5000 subscribers from 3 states in India are using our service.                         

Shelley Saxena

Decatur                GA         

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: India

Toilets for People           

2.5 billion people worldwide lack a safe, hygienic toilet. Toilets for People designs and sells affordable, self-contained, waterless composting toilets to non-profits whose mission is to provide sanitation to the people of the developing world.          

Jason     Kass      

New York, NY   

For-Profit           

Founded: 2012 

Target Market: India

DayOne Response Inc. 

DayOne Response Inc. is a global leader in providing life-saving solutions for disaster relief efforts. DayOne addresses the global need for emergency drinking water through the DayOne Purification WaterbagTM - a low-cost, 10-liter water backpack providing all elements of water supply: collection, treatment, transport, and protected storage, which empowers people worldwide to easily and quickly purify contaminated, disease-ridden waters into clean drinking water.                     

Amy       Cagle

San Francisco, California

For-Profit           

Founded: 2010 

Target Market: Philippines

Fresh Lifelines for Youth, (FLY)  

Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) believes that all our children deserve a chance to become more than their past mistakes. FLY’s mission is to prevent juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, one-on-one mentoring, and leadership development.                           

Christa  Gannon               

Milpitas, CA       

Nonprofit           

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Founded: 2000 

Target Market: United States

How Prepaid Cards Benefit Nonprofit Organizations

This is a guest post from Toffer Grant, the CEO and Founder of the PEX Visa® Prepaid Card Service that is a corporate prepaid card solution used to budget and track employee spending.

The Problem: Nonprofit executives and managers face unique problems when it comes to handling the expenses of their business. All businesses want to cut expenses, but for nonprofits in particular, when pure revenue isn’t the goal, extra care is taken to save money whenever possible.

Nonprofit organizations have the distinctive element of utilizing volunteers as an integral part of their daily operations. Some volunteers work for the nonprofit for just a day, an event, or fundraising gala. Others dedicate their time on a daily or weekly basis to operate phones, teach, or work with kids. Whether it’s food or office supplies, volunteers will often be asked to make a purchase on behalf of the organization.

Toffer Grant

Nonprofits have several options to consider when making a purchase:

  • Petty cash: Nonprofit volunteers or staff must get a purchase approved ahead of time. They go to a manager to obtain petty cash, make the purchase, and return the change and receipt to the manager afterward. The manager then reconciles the transaction. (Pro: This option puts cash in the hands of staff or volunteers. Cons: There are security risks with carrying cash, it can only be used for smaller purchases,and there is a tedious reconciliation process.) 
  • Company credit card (Pro: You can give employees or staff spending authority for larger purchases. Con: Managers may not want volunteers or staff to have access to the company credit line.)
  • Reimbursement: Volunteers or staff pay for a company expense with their own money and are reimbursed. (Pro: Unexpected purchases, such as the day of an event, can be made immediately. Con: Burden is on the employee to cover payment and wait for a reimbursement check.)

The PEX Card Solution:

PEX Card is a corporate card alternative that works with nonprofits to simplify their expenses. Our unique prepaid debit card works just like a credit card. Nonprofit managers issue PEX Cards to their volunteers or staff instead of a corporate credit card or petty cash. Then they electronically fund the cards to meet the expense needs, and set any spending rules about where the cards can or cannot be used, or even assign a daily spending limit.

What PEX Card can do for nonprofits:

  • PEX Card gives volunteers or staff limited access to funds when managers do not want or cannot risk issuing a credit card.
  • Volunteers and staff will no longer be asked to pay up front for the cost of an item and then have to wait for reimbursement.
  • Instantly add funds to an account when a purchase is needed.

In May 2014, we featured an exemplary nonprofit, Team Rubicon, as our business of the month on the PEX Card blog. Team Rubicon is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization that brings military veterans and first responders together to provide emergency disaster relief. Team Rubicon has been a PEX Card customer since early 2013, and employs PEX Card to get funds to the relief teams that are deployed all over the United States. With PEX Card, Team Rubicon staff and volunteers instantly have the funds they need to purchase food, water, construction materials, and other badly needed disaster relief supplies.

For more information on our work with nonprofits, click here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and join in the conversation about expense management: @pexcard.

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Finding Long Term Value in a Multichannel World

We now live our lives in an omnichannel manner; we consistently, and fluidly, move between online, offline, social, and direct means and resources to achieve our daily demands. In following suit with these evolving cultural norms and habits, fundraising programs are no longer relegated to direct, siloed channels, but now operate in an omnipresent environment where all channels influence and interact with one another. In addition to adapting to this multilayer approach, nonprofits now also have to battle fierce and growing competition for fundraising dollars. Donors today have more options to support a cause near and dear to their hearts because of the oncoming wave of nonprofit organizations entering the scene. With more choices and more technological resources to interact, donors are inundated with fundraising opportunities and nonprofits must continuously strive to differentiate their organization and their ask. Nonprofits no longer have the option of dabbling in multichannel campaigns – it is now a prerequisite. However, despite these increasing demands for omnipresent engagement, many organizations are asking their fundraising teams to “do more with less”, to find ways to grow the program without the supporting budget to do so. To meet this challenge, nonprofits need to maximize the potential ROI for every fundraising initiative, channel and campaign.

Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity, recently underwent changes that resulted in re-focused organizational initiatives around digital and multichannel strategies. Direct mail, while traditionally the most successful avenue for acquiring new donors, and also the most expensive avenue, was still providing the organization with a steady and unrestricted stream of revenue, however, new online donor metrics were performing better. Online donors responded to acquisitions and asks with higher average gifts than their offline counterparts. As Feeding America focused on looking ahead to align with donors’ increasingly digital-first mindsets, they also had to accommodate the challenge of not abandoning core components of their audience who still prefer traditional DM. Feeding America looked to improve the long term value of ALL their programs. Investing and testing in multiple environments allowed Feeding America to more accurately determine where their higher value donors engaged and how best to facilitate continuous engagement. To implement the testing and deployment of long term value based campaigns, Feeding America turned to their fundraising partners including multichannel agency, Paradysz.

Paradysz, working in tandem with both Feeding America and their fundraising partner, Thompson Habib Denison, determined that improving ROI can start with acquiring higher value donors. LTV analysis showed that direct mail acquired donors that give more in acquisition, tend to stay on file longer and give more over the course of their lifecycle. From there, Paradysz developed a streamlined targeting acquisition solution to upgrade the value of new donors. Offer-to-audience test strategy focused on targeted ask array among high gift prospect segments to maximize their giving potential, and ultimately to improve the ROI on the direct mail acquisition efforts. This implementation resulted in a 40% lift in gross revenue from high value segments as well as a 64% lift in gift averages from marrying higher asks to higher value audiences.

Some organizations make the mistake of thinking that a donor’s established giving value is at maximum capacity, but in reality, it’s possible to extend the giving relationship beyond set giving amounts and enhance the long term value of the donor relationship. Additionally, adopting an acquisition strategy that targets prospects likely to contribute higher long term value can also be implemented to develop more significant and sustainable relationships. To distinguish and cultivate those donors correctly, organizations need to follow these three key steps:

  1. Investing in donor analytics that answers the following questions:
    1. Who are your best donors? How do you acquire them? What relationships are you cultivating with them?
  2. Developing streamlined segmentation and targeting practices that build off the key findings from your donor analysis.
  3. Testing new marketing techniques (offer, ask, channel, season cadence, etc.) to maximize the ROI from your segmentation and targeting practices.

Nonprofits should not be afraid to ask for what they want – higher gift values – but in asking for more, they need to consider who to ask, how to ask and how much to ask for. Implementing a sound long-term value plan through analytics, segmentation and continual testing gives organizations the insights they need to develop long term relationships with high value returns.

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About Feeding America

Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in communities across America.

Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.

Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger.™ Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Paradysz and PM Digital

With its direct and digital businesses, Paradysz and PM Digital’s core capabilities are based in a data-driven approach to understanding, targeting, acquiring, cultivating and optimizing customer value for its clients. Through comprehensive experience in multiple media channels, including search, social, display, email, direct mail, print and insert media, as well as strategic and creative web development capabilities, the company leverages proprietary research tools and an obsessive focus on performance to help clients make the most informed marketing decisions. With a client list that’s a “Who’s Who” of nonprofit and commercial organizations, Paradysz and PM Digital have continued to grow their reputation as some of the industry’s most critical thinkers and leaders.

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Nonprofit Creating Jobs For 100,000 People With Autism

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

An expected 500,000 adults with autism are expected to begin seeking employment over the next decade as a tidal wave of young adults with autism age out of school and other programs.

A Danish father of an autistic son is leading an effort to create gainful employment opportunities for these gifted individuals. By helping employers to see an employee with autism as having unique personality strengths, especially in information technology settings, Thorkil Sonne is helping to address this growing demographic problem.

Sonne launched Specialisterne USA, a nonprofit, to “enable 100,000 jobs in the U.S.” The organization assess, trains and employs individuals with autism in IT and other technically oriented sectors. They report that 80% of their employees are working at corporate partner locations.

According to a New York Times article, his work in the U.S. grew out of his success in Denmark. He created Specialisterne there after studying autism for several years as a father. He’d also observed his son’s special abilities and recognized that people with autism can do some tasks better than those without.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at noon Eastern, Sonne will join me for a live discussion about his new social venture, its impact and prospects. Tune in here to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about Specialisterne USA:

Specialisterne USA is a non-profit organization with the goal to enable 100,000 jobs for people with autism and similar challenges in the US We are partnering with employers, states and non-profit training organizations to assess, train, employ and retain individuals with autism in work settings where they can excel.

Sonne’s bio:

Thorkil Sonne is a social entrepreneur and founder of the Specialisterne concept. As part of his career he has worked many years in the IT/Telecommunication sector and chairing a branch of Autism Denmark. His youngest son has autism.

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Case Foundation, Omidyar Network Back White House Effort To Spur Impact Investing

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Several weeks ago, the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investment Task Force met at the White House to discuss its newly issued report, “Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing–and Why It’s Urgent.”

Jean Case, cofounder of the Case Foundation, has stepped forward as a mouthpiece for the rapidly growing impact investment market with pieces in the Huffington Post and Forbes. (Separately, I covered Prudential’s $1 billion impact investment commitment here.)

Omidyar Network is among the growing list of institutions that are actively investing for impact and was among the early entrants into the burgeoning space for investments that seek positive social impact and financial returns.

The White House roundtable on impact investing has catalyzed commitments of more than $1.5 billion in new investments, which in turn is creating a buzz among social entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on these investment flows to launch, grow and scale their social enterprises.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM Eastern, Case and Omidyar Network’s Paula Goldman, Senior Director, Knowledge and Advocacy, will join me here for a live discussion about the new energy driving impact investing and the opportunities for regulation to foster it. Tune in right here to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

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More about the Case Foundation:

Established by Jean and Steve Case in 1997, the Case Foundation invests in people and ideas that can change the world. In efforts to address social challenges, the Case Foundation unites the principles of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology to identify, test, prove and scale ideas and models designed to create exponential impact.

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Jean Case

Case’s bio:

Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist who, together with her husband Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. Jean spent her early days at the Case Foundation doing a deep-dive into philanthropy and seeking the best ways she could make a difference. After having success with some early initiatives (and learning some really valuable lessons!) Jean realized that she and Steve could make the biggest impact by centering the Foundation around many of the same entrepreneurial approaches they cultivated throughout their business careers. As Jean would be quick to tell you, a good investment is a good investment — even if the way you measure a return changes somewhat as you move across sectors.

Prior to co-founding the Case Foundation, Jean was a technology executive in the private sector. As a senior executive at America Online, Inc. (AOL AOL -0.14%), Jean directed the marketing and branding effort that launched the AOL service, directed the communications strategy for taking the company public, and helped establish AOL as a household utility. Before joining the company when it was a small startup, she held strategic marketing positions at GE’s Information Services Division and at The Source, the nation’s first online service. We’re pretty sure these early experiences played a role in making Jean a big fan of all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better.

In addition to her role as CEO of the Case Foundation, Jean has served in two appointed roles leading strategic public-private efforts, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, to which she was appointed as Chair by President George W. Bush, and in her ongoing role as co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership. Jean serves on the National Geographic Society’s Board of Trustees, and on the boards of several organizations:

  • Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2)
  • Brainscope
  • Miraval
  • SnagFilms

She also serves on the advisory board of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, and is a member of the steering committee of Partners for a New Beginning. Jean and Steve joined the Giving Pledge, started by Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to fund worthy causes, and in the same year were named to Barron’s “25 Best Givers” list. In 2011, Jean was named the Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropist of the Year, and Jean and Steve were honored by NCoC as Citizens of the Year.

When Jean isn’t spending time with her awesome team at the Case Foundation, she is preparing something tasty for the big family she loves, trying some new “out there” fitness routine (or so her kids might say), reading a new book or exploring a new corner of the planet.

More about Omidyar Network:

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $709 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Consumer Internet & Mobile, Education, Financial Inclusion, Government Transparency, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com.

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Paula Goldman

Goldman’s bio:

Paula Goldman is an entrepreneur, anthropologist and movement strategist. She leads a team at Omidyar Network that seeks to advance the impact investing industry through a combination of investments, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership. She also acts as an advisor on advocacy efforts across Omidyar Network investment initiatives. Paula has served on a number of industry advisory boards–including PEERS, World Economic Forum Impact Investing Working Group, and the Harvard Business Review’s Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact—and is a strategy advisor to a number of tech start-ups.

Born in Singapore, Paula has lived in eight countries across four continents. Paula came to Omidyar Network with extensive background in frontier markets enterprise, managing businesses ranging from an affordable private school in rural India to a micro-enterprise syndicate in post-war Bosnia. She has led innovations that harness the potential of technology, advocacy and entertainment. As founder and director of Imagining Ourselves, a project of the International Museum of Women, she led the creation of one of the world’s first online museums, alongside a book, traveling exhibits and series of global events with more than a million participants. This work was recognized with the 2007 Social Impact Award from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and a 2008 Muse Award from the American Association of Museums.

Paula earned a PhD from Harvard University, where she studied how unorthodox ideas become mainstream. She holds a masters in public affairs from Princeton and a BA with highest honors from UC Berkeley. She has been on faculty at both UC Berkeley and Mills college and contributes as an author to outlets such as the Financial Times, HBR.org, and Huffington Post.

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Polio Victim Overcomes Disability, Speaks Out

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Alem Mumuni contracted polio at the age of two in Ghana, a place where few people ever overcome the burdens of the crippling disease, but he has beaten them all, becoming a well educated, world-class athlete.

The continent of Africa may soon–if it hasn’t already–experience its final case of polio. The mere handful of polio cases this year suggest the virus is on the ropes in Nigeria, the last country in Africa where the disease is considered endemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The global fight against polio was begun about thirty years ago by Rotary International.

Mumuni has become a potent spokesman for Rotary International, speaking out about the difficulties of the disease and inspiring people to support the campaign to end polio not only in Africa, but globally. As a Paralympic athlete from a developing country, he is also in a constant battle to raise money to fund his travel and training. Readers may learn more about his crowdfunding campaign on Kriticalmass.

With the help of his British coach, Alex Main, Mumuni has established the Alem Foundation, which serves to fund his training and travel and to inspire people around the world to rise above their challenges. The Salt Lake City Rotary Club (of which I am a member) will be hosting Mumuni during his U.S. visit.

Dr. Carol Pandak, director of Rotary International’s polio plus program, is leading the charge to end polio around the world with Africa being the region most likely to celebrate the end of polio. She, along with Main and Mumuni will join me on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM to discuss polio in Africa and Mumuni’s inspiring efforts to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro in 2016. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about the Alem Foundation:

By getting #Alem2Rio2016, the Alem Foundation aims at raising awareness and support for its mission, that is to provide opportunities to the young underprivileged children of Ghana and to change negative perceptions towards people with physical disabilities.

Alem’s life challenges and achievements have enabled him to build a legacy that has already changed many people’s perceptions and inspired younger generations.

Competing in Rio will allow him to become an even greater source of inspiration for disabled and marginalized children in Ghana and around the world and it will allow him to build an even stronger community of dedicated supporters for the Foundation.

Alem Mumuni with his coach Alex Main

Mumuni’s history:

The Alem Foundation was born in 2012 when Alex and Alem joined forces on their journey to London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Alex embarked on a remarkable journey moving to Ghana to coach first ever Ghanaian Paralympic team. Qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Alex became Britain’s youngest ever female Paralympic coach.

Alem is a polio survivor and professional sportsman. Contracting polio at the age of 2 and crawling for 8 years, he knew the only way to be an active member of society was to be educated and ambitious. Completing his primary, secondary, tertiary education in Ghana he also excelled at disabled football and cycling, representing Ghana both at a national level. Focusing on his cycling he has represented Ghana at the London Paralympics and won 3 UCI African Paracycling Championships in the C2 class. He is now training hard to qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games in Rio.

On their journey to the London 2012 Paralympics, Ghanaian paracyclist Alem Mumuni and his British coach Alex Main created the Alem Foundation. By providing education opportunities, the grassroots charity looks not only to help the underprivileged of Ghana, but to inspire a change of perceptions towards disabled people. Over 2 million Persons with Disability (PWDs) in Ghana are treated as outcasts in society. Only education can change this, but access is limited. The foundation’s goal is to provide day-care centers across Ghana – starting in Akosombo village – that will improve access to primary education and provide much-needed healthcare to pre-school infants.

To date, the Alem Foundation has provided 26 children with Schools Scholarships for their primary education and funded life-saving surgery to a young girl suffering from Osteomyelitis. Alem continues to care for and inspire the local community, whilst being an ambassador for disabled people in Ghana. Alex now based in London, works professionally as an elite Personal Trainer and heads up fundraising efforts for the Alem Foundation.

The Alem Foundation is currently raising the much needed funds to get Alem to his 6 qualifying events in order to qualify for the Rio Games. With this exposure we are able to work alongside partners to help inspire the next generation of children and change the negative perceptions towards disability in Ghana.

More about Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

More about Polio Plus:

Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication, in 1985. Since then, Rotary and its partners have helped reduce the number of annual cases from 350,000 to fewer than 250 and remain committed until every child is safe from the disease. Rotary has contributed more than US$1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute over $9 billion to the effort.

Carol Pandak, Rotary International

Pandak’s bio:

Carol Pandak is the Director of Rotary’s global PolioPlus program, a position she has held since 2000. Carol has more than 20 years’ experience working for national and international nonprofit organizations, including Rotary International and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Carol directs all aspects of Rotary’s polio eradication activities including: advocacy in donor, polio-affected and at-risk countries; grant-making; and, program management. She also serves as the focal point for Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, including WHO, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also supports Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, the volunteer committee that provides strategic guidance to the PolioPlus program.

At the American Academy of Pediatrics, Carol directed the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program, a national program that worked to increase access to healthcare for all children in the United States.

Carol has a doctorate degree in Adult Education and is a published author. She has been a lecturer for the International Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, where for 10 years she taught a course on civil society and NGOs from an international perspective.

Carol lives in Chicago, Illinois. She is a member of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club and is Past President of the Schaumburg AM Rotary Club.

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New Company Expands Financial Inclusion

PayPerks is a new suite of web- and mobile-based education and rewards tools that work with products like prepaid cards, designed for the emerging middle class, consumers who haven’t always used traditional bank products.

Launched by Arlyn Davich while she was earning her MBA at Columbia, the business was built with a goal of expanding financial inclusion.

On Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Arlyn and her cofounder Jake Peters will join me for a live discussion about the innovative new product. Tune in here to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about PayPerks:

PayPerks is building a modern web-based company to provide low– and middle–income (LMI) consumers with more transparency, choice and access.

Our vision is for LMI consumers to view and use financial services products as tools to achieve their goals, and for financial institutions view LMI consumers as a profitable segment to serve with innovative products and services.

The idea for PayPerks came from our quest to create a shared–value company: one that uses its social mission to create solutions that benefit the entire ecosystem.

Arlyn’s bio:

Arlyn Davich is the Founder and CEO of PayPerks. She developed a passion for social entrepreneurship while getting her MBA at Columbia Business School and developed the win-win-win idea for PayPerks while enrolled in the school’s Greenhouse incubator program. Prior to founding PayPerks, Arlyn worked in various facets of Brand Management at different CPG, media, luxury goods and PR companies.

Jake’s bio:

Jake is the Co-Founder and wearer of many hats at PayPerks, leading product, technology, legal, and operations. Jake enjoys creating products and leveraging technology to do what had not been done before, innovating in e-commerce, customer experience, data-driven decision making, and large scale operation

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Devin D. Thorpe

Incubator Preps Entrepreneurs To Solve 21st Century Problems

The Halcyon Incubator is working to solve 21st century challenges by helping social entrepreneurs. Through a competitive process, social entrepreneurs pitch Halcyon for a spot in the three-stage incubator program. 

The first stage is residency, where fellows live and work at Halcyon surrounded by like-minded innovators in a collaborative setting. In the second stage, the fellows move out, but continue work at the Incubator, accessing strategic, legal and PR resources. In the final stage called the “incentivized phase,” the fellows transition to the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory building in Washington, D.C. at reduced rates, while still being able to access Incubator events and programming as they scale their venture.

Halcyon is presently accepting applications for the next cohort.

On August 19, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Program Manager Ryan Ross will join me for a live discussion about the program. Tune in here then to watch the live interview.

More about the Halcyon Incubator program:

The Halcyon Incubator is committed to solving 21st century challenges throughout the nation and world. By helping social entrepreneurs transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures, the Halcyon Incubator acts as a catalyst for measurable social outcomes.

Ryan’s bio:

Ryan is passionate about applying innovative ways of thinking to solve social problems. In his role as Program Manager, Ryan supports the development of the fellows’ ventures and establishes collaborative relationships and partnerships in support of the Incubator, contributing to the creation, growth and sustainability of the program.

Prior to joining the Halcyon Incubator, he was the Director of Business Development for Democracy.com, the first social platform for politics, connecting all candidates, political organizations, and voters at every level. Ryan’s past experience includes work at the Aspen Institute’s Impact Economy Initiative, Jefferson Government Relations, and Americans Elect, a national start-up with a mission of re-imagining the U.S. presidential primary system.

He holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Florida.

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