Devin Thorpe, founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, calls himself a champion of social good. He writes about, advocates for and advises those who are doing good. He travels extensively to share his message as a keynote speaker, emcee and trainer. As a Forbes Contributor he covers social entrepreneurship and impact investing. His books on personal finance and crowdfunding draw on his entrepreneurial finance experience as an investment banker, CFO, treasurer, and mortgage broker helping people use financial resources to do good. Previously he worked on the U.S. Senate Banking committee staff and earned an MBA at Cornell.

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Crowdsourcing for Tigers: Geo-activism with MapHook and World Wildlife Fund

This is a guest post from Matt Link, Vice President of MapHook, a location-based social networking app dedicated to helping users explore their surroundings

For the past few years, MapHook has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on several social-good initiatives through the use of “geo-activism.” The opportunity to use our mapping app to bring about legitimate change –in this case helping to reduce the amount of harsh and often dangerous activities that can hurt animals or destroy their natural habitats –is something that MapHook is passionate about; we know our efforts have great potential to have a valuable impact. Together, MapHook and WWF created two crowd sourced maps to help bring attention to the thousands of people around the world advocating for two very specific causes – the destruction of the Sumatran tiger’s habitat and the threat that certain fishing methods posed to the survival of the vaquita porpoise. Both campaigns are great examples of the power of “geo-activism” and something we will continue to do in the near future.

Our first joint-cause was the “Tigers or Toilet Paper” project. The Sumatran tiger’s habitat was at risk of being destroyed because two paper supply companies were selling products that were made from the pulp of timber extracted from that area. Together, WWF and MapHook sought to spread awareness of the deforestation and ruin of the Sumatran tiger’s habitat through a visual representation of where these products ended up, and then urging the public not to purchase them. Our passionate advocates and user base took photos of the stores and businesses that were selling or purchasing these products, along with their location, and then turned them into pins on a custom map to help raise public awareness (in MapHook language – they created “hooks”). More than 100 “hooks” of grocery stores, hotels and other commercial establishments were created as a result of the campaign. Within a very short period of time after the hooks began to appear on our map, one of the two suppliers agreed to stop selling the products; the second agreed to phase out these products. You can read even more about the project here: http://worldwildlife.org/pages/don-t-flush-tiger-forests

In our second joint effort with WWF, we teamed up with them to help save the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise, in Mexico. Just last year, MapHook assisted WWF in their efforts to petition the Mexican government to pass regulations that would help reduce the threat of “bycatch” to the vaquita (bycatch is the unwanted fish caught during a commercial fishing operation). We developed a custom map that geographically depicted the many people, not just in Mexico but all around the world as well, who signed petitions advocating for the change. Using our mapping engine, we created and displayed over 60,000 “petition” pins showing the widespread support across the globe. In June, the Mexican government officially announced that it would begin phasing out the fishing gear currently used in the Gulf of California and replace it with more vaquita-friendly options. You can see a screen shot of the map below and experience the interactive one here: http://worldwildlife.org/stories/helping-the-world-s-smallest-porpoise

The potential for further geo-activism, similar to that undertaken on behalf of the Sumatran tigers and the vaquita, is something that MapHook looks forward to participating in. We’ve learned that our users all around the world are passionate about preserving the environment and the various creatures that inhabit it. If we can act as method of making their voices heard and influencing change, we certainly won’t shy away from it. 

Dr. Nischal Pandey’s Contribution To Ending Polio In India

Dr. Nishcal Pandey, a member of Rotary International in India, recently shared the following presentation with me that describes his club’s work to end polio in India.

Dr. Nischal Pandey’s contribution to polio eradication from Devin Thorpe

Live With Lifetime Achievement Heroes

The Mountain Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross in Provo, Utah recognizes local heroes in the community each year. 

On April 10, 2014 at 4:00 Mountain Time, Rachel Solomon of Provo’s American Red Cross office along with local Board Chair Dr. Jessica Egbert will join me for a live discussion with Lifetime Achievement Heroes David Dominguez and Lakshmi Johal-Dominguez.

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Tune in here then and watch:

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:

  • Disaster Relief
  • Supporting America’s Military Families
  • Lifesaving Blood
  • Health and Safety Services
  • International Services

About Rachael Solomon:

Rachael Solomon is the Development and Community Relations Director for the Mountain Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross in Provo Utah. Rachael grew up in Salem Oregon, the oldest of eight. Early on she craved adventure. As she set out in life she was drawn to the sea, working her way through many levels in the world of commercial fishing. After nine amazing years she concluded her career, the pinnacle being her contract as a consulting Chief Steward aboard a Russian vessel.
As one door shut another opened and she started her trek through the many layers of higher education, first studying hospitality and event management. Her interest in business continually grew and her focus became clearer. She continued in school and graduated with her bachelor of science in business administration from Eastern Oregon University focusing in leadership, organization and management. As she graduated her interests solidified in nonprofit work and she continued her education at Marylhurst University in Oregon, near Lake Oswego. She graduated with an MBA in 2012 with an emphasis in nonprofit management. She joined the Red Cross in June of 2013.

About Dr. Jessica Egbert:

Dr. Jessica Egbert is the Associate Vice President of Institutional Planning and Strategic Initiatives at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, where her expertise is in assessment, informatics, and project management. She holds a BS in Psychology, a MEd in Educational Technology, and a PhD in Educational Leadership. Her research interests are non-cognitive factors of the hybrid doctoral student experience and she has presented nationally on data-driven assessment and institutional effectiveness. She is a community advocate and serves on the Board of Directors of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and as Board of Directors Chair for the American Red Cross - Mountain Valley Chapter. Dr. Egbert was recently featured as one of Utah Valley Magazine’s “Fab 40” and she enjoys SCUBA diving, her amazing husband, laughter, and excessive amounts of ice cream.

About David Dominguez and Lakshmi Johal-Dominguez:

David and Lakshmi have been volunteering for community projects and service for the past 23 years. David has been recognized for his service and innovative approach to teaching his BYU Law students how important it is to serve in their community. They helped start and served as originating board members for the Utah County branch of Habitat for Humanity. Lakshmi serves on school boards, supports the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Hale Theater Board of Directors, and supports community service in her neighborhood. They have both made serving others a priority in their lives and even more importantly have taught their children the importance of service to others.

Keepod Seeks To Bring Computing To Developing World Poor

Recently, a startup called Keepod launched a new product, a simple flashdrive with a bootable Linux operating system incorporated, allowing everyone to have proprietary access to computing resources.

Keepod recently raised over $40,000 against a goal of just $38,000 on Indiegogo.

According to the company, “Globally there are 5 billion people who still do not have access to personal computing. There are many great initiatives that try to bridge the digital divide, but with little success thus far. By separating the Software from the Hardware, Keepod manages to overcome most of the traditional constraints that were preventing personal computing from many.”

On Thursday, April 10 at 11:00 Eastern, Keepod co-founder and CEO Nissan Bahar will join me for a live chat about his innovative new product.

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

About Keepod:

Our secure and lightweight operating system, Keepod OS, is designed for users to have their own portable OS, using any PC as nothing more than an empty shell.

Keepod OS runs from any USB drive, eliminating the dependency on one computer, and was developed emphasizing privacy protection, user choice and digital freedom.

We believe that computing should be accessible to everyone as well as being more secure and fun.

Keepod Ltd is registered in the UK and employs staff around the world. Our team is located in: London, Tel Aviv, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt and St. Petersburg.

Backed By 22 Foundations, Living Cities Makes Impact

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Living Cities, a financing vehicle for social impact backed by 22 Foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, is investing in projects that serve communities in the U.S.

By investing in infrastructure and services that serve or benefit the poor and under-served communities, Living Cities aims to make a difference. Living Cities reports having made $15 million in below-market rate loans to “finance innovative efforts in the areas of neighborhood stabilization, energy efficiency retrofits, public education and access to fresh foods and health care.” They also report having made $600 million of investments over 18 years, catalyzing $16 billion of tangible community assets from homes to schools.

Ben Hecht, Living Cities, with India Lee, Cleveland Foundation

On April 10, 2014 at noon Eastern, Ben Hecht, the President and CEO of Living Cities will join me for a live discussion about the Living Cities impact investing programs.

Tune in here then and listen while you work.

[Note that I will insert a video player right here a few minutes before the live interview so you can watch it here. Replays will be immediately available following the interview so be sure to come back and watch it.]

Hecht’s bio:

Mr. Hecht was appointed President & CEO of Living Cities in July, 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity.

Prior to joining Living Cities, Mr. Hecht co-founded One Economy Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on connecting low-income people to the economic mainstream through innovative, online content and increased broadband access. As President, from 2000-2007, Mr. Hecht led the growth of the organization from 4 employees to a $12 million organization with 50+ staff, online media properties serving more than 150,000 low-income people a month, and programs in 40 states, the Middle East and Africa.

Immediately before One Economy, Mr. Hecht was Senior Vice President at the Enterprise Foundation. There, he led the organization’s efforts beyond housing – into childcare, workforce development and economic development and oversaw the expansion of the organization’s revolving loan fund from $30 million to $200 million.

Mr. Hecht received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and his CPA from the State of Maryland. For 10 years, he taught at Georgetown University Law Center and built the premier housing and community development clinical program in the country. In 1997, he was awarded Georgetown’s Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award.

Mr. Hecht has written three books, Managing Nonprofits.org (2001) with Rey Ramsey, Developing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Nonprofit Organizations (3rd Edition, 2006) and Managing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Building Stable Communities (1996) with James Stockard, all published by John Wiley & Sons.

Over the years, Mr. Hecht has served on numerous boards of nonprofit organizations. He is currently Chairman of EveryoneOn, an national initiative founded by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity. Most recently, he served as Finance Committee chair and Treasurer for the Georgetown Day School (GDS) board of trustees.

IFRC Diplomat Siddharth Chatterjee Joins Us Live

Siddharth Chatterjee, currently the Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and who will take on a new position with the UNFPA (UN Population Fund) Representative for Kenya on April 10, 2014.

Sid is passionate about ending violence and women and children and is a big supporter of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (which connected us).

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On April 9, 2014 at noon Eastern, Sid will join me live from Switzerland for discussion about ending violence against women and children.

Tune in here then and listen while you work.

Sid’s bio:

Siddharth Chatterjee (Sid) is the Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) based in Geneva since June 2011.

Prior to the IFRC he served in the United Nations since 1997 in a range of different capacities and has worked extensively in complex emergencies and fragile states.

From 2009 to 2010, he was Regional Director for the Middle East, Europe and Central Asian Republics at the United Nations Office for Project Services. From 2007 to 2009, he was Chief of Staff to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the UN Mission in Iraq based in Baghdad, Iraq.

He has also served in leadership positions in UNICEF Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan(Darfur), Indonesia and with the UN Peace Keeping Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Before joining the UN he was a career officer in the Special Forces of the Indian Army.

He has written extensively on a range of humanitarian and social issues in a variety of journals such as CNN, Al Jazeera, Forbes, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Reuters, the Global Observatory, the Inter Press Service as well as some mainstream Indian journals.

He was a key note speaker on child soldiers at a TED x event in Spain, on Humanitarian Diplomacy at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy as well as on ‘soft power’ at the Wilton Park in the UK. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) considers him as one of the global influencers on the eradication of polio.

He has a Master in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, USA.

Sid is married and they have a son.

On 10 April 2014, he will be taking over a new role as the UNFPA(UN Population Fund) Representative for Kenya.

Our Mark On The World

Graeme Kilshaw + Devin Thorpe

Many people want to make the world a better place… and are searching for the answer the question, “How do I make my mark?” Our Friendship Cube Group answers this question through our code of light. The friendship cube is a social innovation for a world increasingly embracing the emergent semantic web phenomena. Instead of having 26 confusing alphabet characters, we have, through thinking hard, boiled down all that is necessary into a single cube with rotating diamond symbols and a 22 bit binary phonetic alphabet. Our cube code is beautiful. It consists of a “relativistic geometry” … a sacred geometry that fits together sound symbols with light symbols… in a relativistic visual binary code that is recognizable by both human eye and by webcam. The friendship cube is the essential, core tool for the emergent “web 3.0” phenomena. The friendship cube is our revolutionary gaming and teaching tool. With it… we play, share, and learn together in new and productive ways.

We all love making new lifelong friends. And some of us like to “reach-out” and to make new friends by giving symbolic gifts. The gift of our friendship cube is a symbol in and of its self. This gift… the gift of a friendship cube… symbolizes trust and the beginning of a new, positive, lifelong relationship. In our group, friendship cubes reward good deeds. Small friendship cubes reward small good deeds, and big friendship cubes reward big good deeds. With the gift of a friendship cube comes an “agreement between friends”. Our agreement is sometimes called the “Friendship Cube System”. Our system has a few constants in its structure, as well as some variables. The constant is our cube and code. The variables are the host language, the way our system is presented, the action requested, and the specific encoded message. Generally speaking, we only give a friendship cube to a person that has shown high moral standards… the standards that make the world a better place. Sometimes the action requested is just telling a few friends about our cube and our system. Other times, the action is getting involved in a social cause that will help the local community. Hubs for learning and teaching… for gathering and disseminating information… are a great way for diverse global communities to benefit from our presence. Our friendship cube system is evolving through experimentation with the variables. Our system evolves to suit its environment. Our friendship cube system is currently being presented as a chain letter … a letter from a friend… that invites trusted new cube-recipients to assert their solidarity with our global movement through a planned act of kindness. We invite trusted cube recipients to sign on to our system and to stand up for what we collectively believe in. Based upon our own unique personal goals and beliefs, we are empowered to make our own encoded messages and to share the medium of our cube… and the message of our solidarity… with our closest friends. We use our friendship cube code as our tool to make our mark on the world. The perfection of the social web is gradually leading to the emergence of the semantic web, via an emergent digital language leading towards a resultant global culture. Through our friendship cube code language, we are embracing the integral code of the emergent semantic web… web 3.0. …Our work is central to this evolutionary emergence. With our visual binary cube code, today we are beginning to catalyze a global change in thought tending towards unity, light, and order. We are setting a good global standard and forming a powerful and compassionate alliance via our work with the friendship cube system.

We can ourselves, become friendship cube activists and thereby make our mark of positive change on the world. Our friends are standing up and setting an example as leaders in this digital world. We are paying forward a symbolic and systematic gift to safeguard social solidarity and global understanding… security and peace. In every nation, we are creating hubs that respond to the visual binary code of the emergent global village. We invite our cube recipients to capture interest, involve, and inspire new friends with our friendship cube and our unique light-code. The friendship cube is our emergent digital meme. It is a symbolic and logical gift… a gift that keeps on giving… a gift that comes with it a moral obligation and a moral standard. Our friendship cube system is a phenomenon that invites a ripple effect… a chain reaction of planned acts of kindness that capture interest and inspire the people of the world with your unique message and with our unique medium. Our friendship cube activism… in sum… is making a positive mark on the world. Students and cube-holders… as activists… are empowered to spread their own unique message through the evolving worldwide social and semantic web. Together we promote our chosen causes internationally via our shared friendship cube code… available as a simple and free font for download at:

www.FriendshipCube.com

“In 2001, I started reaching out and creating new connections… and new life long friendships started to form around me. I am sure that if you chose to do the same thing as I have, you can achieve the same things… and yes even greater things through your participation with our Friendship Cube System. Our Friendship Cube Group is systematically making friends around the world, and through our network, we are catalyzing a change and making our mark. A single act of kindness can make a mark across the entire world. Through our system, our medium becomes your message. Your single act of kindness and your unique message will spread and make global change. We invite you to do a good deed in the name of our Friendship Cube Group. Kindness today captures interest… and it inspires millions of ordinary people to embrace our emergent global language of light… the code of our cube. It keeps growing and growing… all through this great system that calls upon us as participants… to “pay it forward”.”

~Graeme Kilshaw, Team Leader with the Friendship Cube Group
+1 250 220-0947

mothernaturenetwork:

What are the world’s most charitable countries?

Eunice Omole, Sparking Success With Style And Substance

This is a guest post from Eunice, First runner-up in the inaugural hit reality TV show “The Apprentice Africa.” This international businesswoman and philanthropist is widely known across Africa for launching Africa’s premier communications agency, O&M Media.

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Philanthropy is more than just giving money. I was raised with the belief that I needed to help family, friends, and the community so we can all grow together. Be successful together. Rise together. That’s how we as a society move forward and upwards—creating social change for the better for a lifetime.

My purpose and belief is to have a positive impact on the world. I connect high-achievers and companies with resources and information that helps them both grow. People are an integral part of my career, whether I’m brokering deals, fundraising for a cause, or simply meeting new people for the first time and making a connection. The best thing about my job is that I get to meet and interview business and style icons and I am able to share their back-stories in a way that uplifts and inspires others. I get to work according to my tagline—“Sparking success with style and substance.” I can help people get a jumpstart on what they need to be successful. Basically, their success is my success. When others are happy, I feel a sense of joy because I have helped them to get to where they want to be.

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Soon after placing as 1st runner-up on The Apprentice Africa, I met fascinating entrepreneurs, designers, writers, and politicians during my tour across the Sub-Saharan and South Africa. Their unique stories inspired me to create a platform for sharing these tales, and I launched O&M Media, producing a new, Pan-African television series called Africa’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs, through which I hoped to connect the showcased entrepreneurs with the many younger men and women who aspire to be like them. My experiences abroad brought tremendous professional and personal growth, as well as another surprise discovery, my passion for helping people achieve their goals.

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People give me energy and vice versa. I spend my free time as a volunteer for Dress for Success leading presentations on image. Dress for Success, an organization dedicated to facilitating economic independence for disadvantaged women by provisioning them with attire befitting of professionals, career development tools, and a network for support designed to help them thrive in their professional and personal lives. This program has helped so many women become successful, and I am excited that I get to be a part of it.

My current passion project is to provide a platform where people can feel the inspiration to fulfill their dreams, whatever those may be. I am currently working on an entertainment documentary called “Footprints,” which provides a substantive look into the lives of extraordinary trailblazers, highlighting the challenges and triumphs they encountered along their paths to success. It is my sincere desire that this can provide inspiration for people to pursue their innate objectives and contribute to a society ultimately responsible for bettering itself one person at a time.

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John Hewko, Head Of Rotary, Explains Polio’s Legacy

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

If you ask someone crippled by polio about the legacy of polio, you would likely hear about the life-altering implications of the horrid disease. When you ask the partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative–Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation–you will get another answer altogether.

Polio’s real legacy, they say, is in the infrastructure established to eradicate the disease, which can be used to battle all infectious diseases. Add to that, the clear implication that mankind can radically shape the environment in which we live for the better within time scales that individuals–not just humanity–can appreciate and you begin to see a different picture.

On March 31, 2014 at noon Eastern, John Hewko, the General Secretary of Rotary International–the senior-most paid executive in the organization–will join me to discuss the end game strategy for completing the eradication of polio and the legacy the effort leaves behind.

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John Hewko, General Secretary, Rotary International

Tune in then and listen while you work.

Hewko’s bio:

John Hewko is the general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

From 2004 to 2009, Hewko was vice president for operations and compact development for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance to the world’s poorest countries. At MCC, he was the principal United States negotiator for foreign assistance agreements to 26 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. During his tenure, he completed the negotiation of assistance agreements totaling $6.3 billion to 18 countries for infrastructure, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, and education projects.

Prior to joining MCC, Hewko was an international partner with the law firm Baker & McKenzie, specializing in international corporate transactions in emerging markets. He helped establish the firm’s Moscow office and was the managing partner of its offices in Kyiv and Prague.

While working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, Hewko assisted the working group that prepared the initial draft of the new Ukrainian post-Soviet constitution and was a charter member of the first Rotary club in Kyiv.

Hewko has been a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has published papers and articles in leading U.S. and international publications, and he has spoken extensively on political and business issues dealing with the former Soviet Union, Central Europe, Africa, and Latin America. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York.

As general secretary, Hewko leads a diverse staff of 800 at Rotary International’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices. Hewko is a Paul Harris Fellow. He and his wife, Margarita, live in Evanston.

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Jesuit Colleges Jump Into Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Thane Kreiner of Santa Clara University, Center for Science, Technology, and Society leads the program to establish social entrepreneurship programs at Jesuit colleges across the country.

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According to a publicist, Santa Clara U’s Global Social Benefit Incubator, which taps into Silicon Valley expertise to help social entrepreneurs in third world countries, has spawned 202 enterprises, impacted nearly 100 million people. Forty percent of the social enterprises they have worked with are scaling and financially stable and 90 percent are still in business. They have helped Social Enterprises raised $89 million. Now, the GSBI® Network, a growing group of Jesuit universities and other mission-aligned institutions with a common focus on leveraging social enterprise for social benefit, is multiplying the incubator’s impact by sharing curriculum, methods, best practices and other resources for launching and operating social enterprise incubators and accelerators.

On March 31, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Dr. Kreiner will join me for a live discussion about the growing social entrepreneurship program.

Tune in here then to listen while you work.

Dr. Kreiner’s bio:

Howard and Alida Charney University Professor of Science and Technology for Social Benefit
Thane Kreiner, PhD, is Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. Thane was previously Founder, President, and CEO of PhyloTech, Inc. (now Second Genome), which conducts comprehensive microbial community analysis for human health applications. He was Founder, President, and CEO of Presage Biosciences, Inc., a Seattle-based company dedicated to bringing better cancer drugs to market. Thane was the start-up President and CEO for iZumi Bio, Inc. (now iPierian), a regenerative medicine venture based on the break-through iPSc (induced pluripotent stem cell) technology. Prior to his efforts as a “parallel entrepreneur”, Thane spent 14 years in various senior leadership roles at Affymetrix, Inc., which pioneered the DNA chip industry. Thane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the BioBricks Foundation and as a Board member for Didimi, Inc.. Thane earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business; his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University School of Medicine; and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin.

Sam Renick And The Kids He Teaches Are Having Fun Learning To Save Money

Sam Renick’s, founder of It’s a Habit, is striving to teach young people to save money by using catchy tunes that are fun to sing. The remarkable thing is, according to Sam, it’s really working!

The following video will help you understand quickly just what Sam is up to:

Sam is working with schools and parents to help teach young people how to manage money wisely before it’s too late.

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On March 31, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Sam will join me for a live discussion about his program.

Tune in here then to listen while you work.

Sam’s bio:

Sam X Renick is an award winning author, songwriter, financial educator, and social entrepreneur. Sam founded the social enterprise “It’s a Habit!" and co-created children’s character, Sammy Rabbit, to help parents and teachers more effectively share lessons with children on great money, reading, and writing habits. Sam and Sammy have read their stories and sang their songs directly promoting financial education to over a quarter million children in 8 countries. The tools Sam and It’s a Habit have developed have had the unique distinction of being used by others to win national and regional awards on three different levels: University, Corporate, and High School Teen Trainer. Team Sammy is now in the process of launching the world’s first, music driven, “early age” financial education program titled “Dream Big Set Goals!” The online program is FREE of charge and can be accessed at sammysongclub.com

My World Water Day Promise: No More Showers for Me

This is a guest post from Sarah Evans, Founder and Executive Director of Well Aware.

March 22 was United Nations World Water Day, and many people took time to recognize global water issues. Some attended events and possibly even thought about water conservation and the importance of water in their own daily lives. But there is a group of people in Austin, Texas who recognized World Water Day by forgoing showers for a week to bring attention to, and raise funds for, clean water for people who have none.

We are inundated with statistics about lack of clean in places like Africa, and the saturation of “water charity” work in the philanthropic media space has become a continual buzz that many have started to tune out. Moreover, what we’re told about water charity and how it impacts the people it’s supposed to serve is confusing and, at times, insincere.

The sobering reality is that almost one billion people in the world still suffer from lack of access to clean water. What’s worse is that more than 60 percent of “water aid”, albeit well-intentioned, is tragically ineffective.

I started an organization to get water to people who have none. Then, I grew it to address all of the issues that challenge the success of water aid, so that all of our water systems work and are sustainable. All of the communities we have worked with are thriving. (You can see how we operate and the projects we’ve completed at our website: www.WellAwareWorld.org.)

Our successful model and hard work alone aren’t enough to achieve our goals. We still have to come up with the resources that the communities lack to kick-start their prosperity. So, we invented the Shower Strike.

Before we broke ground on our first water well, our small, scrappy team sat on the floor in my living room (likely killing a bottle of wine), brainstorming about how we could raise enough money to pull off our first project. One of our very creative members said something like, “Hey, Sarah, you don’t shower anyway. Let’s all go on Shower Strike.” My personal hygiene wasn’t that compromised by most standards, but I worked from home at the time, and, well, why bother if no one is going to see you that day, right? We all had a belly laugh about it, but then we thought we might be onto something. What better way to bring attention to this crucial cause? And, our friends and family will likely be motivated to fund our campaign if it meant we would resume our regular washing.

So, in August of 2009, in the scorching heat of a Texas summer, we launched our first Shower Strike awareness campaign and fundraiser. We talked 12 of our friends into joining us, and we all vowed to eschew the shower until we raised our goal amount toward our first water well.

Back then, on a shoestring budget, I winged it and created our own “crowdfunding” campaign. I spent time coding PayPal buttons for all of our unwashed warriors, and I updated everyone’s pages individually every hour. I blasted poorly-written press releases to all the local media, and sent determined pleas to all of our contacts manually (and repeatedly).

My parents thought I had gone off the deep end. My boyfriend told me I was nuts (but he still helped out). We received some pretty nasty comments on local media blogs. Our modern day hate mail ranged from “get out of Texas, you filthy hippies” to “if I see you funky weirdos out, I’m going to douse you with my beer.”

But, the negative attention ended up furthering our crusade, and it was thrilling! I got a notice every few minutes that someone donated to our Shower Strike, and by the end of the week, we had raised a little more than $25,000. We almost couldn’t believe it. We had enough for the water well we had been working toward for three years in just one week. Then, we knew we were onto something. So, I trademarked Shower Strike and started making plans for years to come.

Shower Strike has been evolving every year since. We raised $110,000 in 2013 for our projects in Kenya, and we have provided clean water to more than 15,000 people with this initiative.

This year, our fundraising goal for Shower Strike is $150,000, and, with that, we will transform the lives of more than 10,000 people in three communities. Our proven sustainability model and efficiency allow us to provide water to an individual for only $15 for 20- 30 years.

Going without a nice, hot shower for a few days can be a bit of an imposition. But, when I see my young daughter get a big glass of water from the kitchen sink, I think of all the children who have to spend their days walking in the heat to carry forty pounds of water back to their families- because that’s all they have. And, then my sacrifice doesn’t seem so rough.

So, that’s what I’m doing today, and I want you to join me and be part of our movement at www.ShowerStrike.org. But, if you’re unable to skip a shower or two (it’s really not that bad!), a contribution toward our clean water work this year, in any amount, will make an impact. The water systems supported by Shower Strike this year will serve schools, medical clinics, disabled childrens’ centers, agricultural initiatives and entire communities. (To read more about these projects, visit http://wellawareworld.org/latest/blog/announcing-shower-strike-2014-projects.)

Thank you for taking the time to read about the unique way we’re tackling the water crisis. I hope you’ll take the plunge with us for next year’s Shower Strike!

Well Aware provides the most cost effective way to save and impact lives with clean water. We are not just a water charity. Well Aware is redefining water aid delivery and management in Africa and our methods of efficiency and sustainability are setting the standard.

We are honored that you are joining our revolution.

www.WellAwareWorld.org
512.200.7312
info@wellawareworld.org

I Talk To Strangers

This is a guest post from Robbie Stokes, Jr., a global social movement founder and executive director of global nonprofit I Talk to Strangers Foundation.

What is the world? Well that question is very hard to answer because there are so many opinions of what things are. But what if the question could be answered with 4 words? I TALK TO STRANGERS.

We are all people of this world made from the same genetic makeup. We breathe, eat, feel emotions, and live in a balanced daily life. But what if there was a variant. Something that really turn signals from together to separate. So enters what is different.

Different is what makes us afraid. Different is what makes as cautious. We don’t like change and we are creatures of habit. When you make subtle changes like, gender, race, language, background. Things now get scary. We don’t know how to react, we don’t know how adjust so we group.

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We group into what is familiar, and what is comfortable. And you defend and protect the group through emotional or physical means. So now you create these circles within circles of people protecting, defending, and feeling comfort within these groups, but forgetting the biggest factor of all. We are all the same. So we rarely venture out.

When I discovered this truth in 2009 I met a retired military Lt. Colonel name Ken Baskett at a fraternity convention in New Orleans. He was 69 and I was 23 and after a conversation at a bar he invited me to his home in Atlanta if I was ever in town. Crazy thing is that I went spur of the moment and changed my flight back to college and had a great time. Basically, I started an idea of what if we crossed into each other circles through kindness. What if I could walk up to someone not like me and say hello. Yes, I may scare them or make them guarded but if my next reaction is a smile or a friendly gesture then maybe we can possibly become friends. I naturally understand the critics of parents not feeling comfortable, but again, why do we have to take things to the extreme. Why can’t kids talk to each other in the classroom. They do it anyway. But something happened when we were up. The world became scary and unfair and we lost interest and hope in making genuine new friends.

Maybe, We can possibly talk past ones social, physical, or emotional barriers and really open up about who someone truly is. Once I started doing this more consciously and making real friends I knew I could change the world. Because I saw that everyone in the world just needed a good conversation from someone new.

So I sold everything and backpacked around the world with nothing more than hope, that I could travel around the world and meet total strangers and have a great time. And I did. And I created a social stir about how did a Young African American male leave a prominent job in DC to backpack around the world and talk to strangers and make it back to the US in 4 months?

So, that is how the movement was started. Now we are a social movement and alliance that is banding with like-minded individuals to create some real change in the world. As a not-for-profit, we work with corporations, organizations, and governments to bring this new social norm that the world is not scary and we can learn to talk to each other again.

Check out the free release of Part I of the ITTS Documentary and look out for the full release touring the world starting this summer.

This is our time, this is our world. Let’s bring the world together, one stranger at a time.

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Physicians for Peace: Teach One, Heal Many

This is a guest post from Ron Sconyers: CEO and President, Physicians for Peace

Nearly 10 years ago, I was given the opportunity to join Physicians for Peace, an international nonprofit located in Norfolk, Virginia that transforms lives by training local healthcare professionals in developing regions to serve quality care in their communities. It wasn’t too long after starting my new post that I found myself in Nigeria with a team of Physicians for Peace International Medical Educators (IME’s) teaching a group of nearly 50 health practitioners the basic skills in neonatal resuscitation. At the end of our first training day, a pediatrician with 20 years of experience walked up to me with tears in her eyes and said, “If I had known what you taught me today, my own baby would still be alive.”

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Ron Sconyers

This was as powerful a moment as I’ve had as the president and CEO of Physicians for Peace. This woman wasn’t a bad mother or an incompetent doctor. Rather, a victim of a growing public health issue in developing countries: the lack of relevant training and education for health care providers. This issue affects millions across the world. It kills mothers and leaves their children with an ever-shrinking chance of survival. The cruel reality is, however, that it’s largely preventable.

At Physicians for Peace, we believe education is the most effective solution to some of the world’s most serious global health challenges and envision a world where no one struggles with illness, disability or death due to the lack of quality local healthcare.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than one billion people lack access to basic healthcare services, simply because their communities don’t have enough trained health workers. Limited access to healthcare debilitates communities, and creates dramatic differences in health that are morally unacceptable. If people aren’t healthy, they can’t pull themselves, or their families, out of poverty. This can leave people vulnerable to social and economic conditions that are beyond their control.

In desperate places around the world, every minute of every day, a woman dies giving birth . The situation is aggravated by the fact that only 66 percent of women in developing countries have access to a midwife, doctor, or nurse during childbirth and more than eight million children die annually pre/post-delivery or during their first week of life. A trained midwife could easily save these lives.

Physicians for Peace mobilizes teams of committed healthcare providers who want to share knowledge and make a difference in the world. We are leaders in healthcare education, with a reputation for delivering thoughtful approaches to patient-centered care. In practice, that means we teach our colleagues how to care for all of a patient’s needs.

By leading with education, Physicians for Peace creates a path to better health for entire communities. One doctor. One nurse. One physical therapist. Think how many people they can train and heal. That’s the power of education. Rather than healing one person, we teach others to heal, so they in turn can heal many.

For more information, please visit: http://physiciansforpeace.org/ and follow us @Physician4Peace

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