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The mission of the Your Mark on the World Center is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.

Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Help Inspire the Crowd for Social Good

My latest book, Crowdfunding for Social Good, Financing Your Mark on the World, is ready to go. I just need your help to publish and promote it. 

Please pledge $4 to help me get this book into the hands of those who will use it to really change the world, to fight cancer, hunger, poverty, injustice, and bad hair pieces. Whatever their cause, if we help them to be more effective, we’ll live in a better world!

Everyone who pledges at least $4 will receive a digital copy of the book, recognition here on yourmarkontheworld.com and an acknowledgement in the book. Those who give more will receive other rewards, including printed copies of the book, opportunities to promote your business or cause in the book, and much more.

Book Cover: Crowdfunding for Social Good

By supporting my campaign, not only will you help to celebrate the success of the ten social causes profiled in my new book, Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World, you will be helping every future social entrepreneur who reads the book raise the money they need to make the change they want to see in the world.

Vivienne Harr

Like Eight-year-old Vivienne Harr who decided she would make it her life’s work to end child slavery. Crowdfunding has helped her raise almost half-a-million dollars to do it.

Sam's Birthmark

As another example, Martha Griffen wanted to help her son, born with a birthmark on his face, to learn to celebrate what makes him different, so she wrote a book called Sam’s Birthmark and crowdfunded over $31,000 to publish it.

SMAC! Monkeys

Jennifer Windrum wants to provide support to those who suffer from cancer, creating her Sock Monkeys Against Cancer—SMAC! Monkeys—financing her vision with $35,000 she raised through crowdfunding.

Other successful crowdfunders profiled in the book include Live More AwesomeDo Good BusTOHLKaden BenoitRainbow SummitsSilicon Valley Education Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.

My book began to take shape while writing my Forbes blog where I started covering crowdfunding a year ago. My first exposure to crowdfunding came when I wrote the book Your Mark on the World and included a chapter about Alex Budak, founder of StartSomeGood. I wrote that book while teaching in China. Previously in my career, I served as a corporate CFO and as an investment banker. Since leaving corporate finance I work full time at championing social good.

By supporting my campaign you’ll help me to finance the publication and promotion of my book so that I can help the helpers. Whether you contribute four dollars or four hundred, I’ll provide you with rewards and recognition that will bring attention to you, your cause, your business or your brand.

While it won’t take much money to publish my book, it takes real money to promote the book effectively enough that it gets into the hands of those who will benefit from it the most. Please help by supporting my campaign with at least $4, personally ask one friend to do the same and please help me spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on every other social media platform.

 

Strengthening community starts with U.

Guest post from Mark Feinberg, founder of Uruut.

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Ten years ago my best friend from childhood, Ross Goldstein, and I were catching up and discussing family and work, as two buddies often do.  At the time, I was deep into my career working in the real estate and investment industry and Ross was climbing the ladder at a global insurance firm. But that day our conversation took a turn – a turn that would lead me to ditch my comfortable leather office chair for a co-working desk and give up my investment clients for grassroots community groups.

Ross and I had both heard recent reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have stepped in to fund key municipal and community projects in New York City. These were projects critical to NYC, but, unfortunately, they were falling off the city budget.  We got to thinking – NYC’s budget woes were being experienced in other cities from Portland to Des Moines to our hometown of Atlanta.  Neither of us had pockets like Mr. Bloomberg (and still don’t), but that day we vowed to accomplish what Mr. Bloomberg did in communities across America. 

For years we continued our discussions and brought more and more friends into our conversation.  How do we replicate Mr. Bloomberg’s model without high wealth individuals?  We decided that by harnessing the giving power of regular folks, businesses and private foundations, we could capture enough revenue while bringing together entire communities in the spirit of good.  However, this revelation brought up an entirely new challenge – how do we simultaneously fundraise from these three sources?  The answer became clear – a highly transparent, socially engaging, crowdfunding platform.

In 2012, I made the leap from investment executive to social enterprise entrepreneur, and with the support of my tech savvy co-founder, Chad Bartels,Uruutwas born.

One of the community leaders we met with along the way is the parent of first and fourth graders – Shawn Keefe.  Shawn lives in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven where his children attend public school.  Shawn and his wife are concerned that while their elementary school is up-to-standards on the inside – a dilapidated outdoor classroom mars the exterior of the school.  The area is so hazardous the teachers won’t let the students go near it. 

Like many of us, Shawn is a concerned parent who wants his kids to receive the best education possible in their local community.  Likewise, his school, Ashford Park Elementary, is like thousands of other public schools across America – cash strapped and forced to scale back vital curriculum and projects.  I knew Shawn’s dream would be the perfect first project to receive Uruut funding, or as we like to say – “get ruuted.”

Uruut launched our public beta on July 11, 2013, and to date, thousands of folks have viewed the Ashford Park School project and each day we raise more and more money to help them build a 21st century outdoor classroom and amphitheater.  You can click here to view their story and donate.

Like Ashford Park Elementary School, every community has great projects that can’t get off the ground. But with Uruut, yours can be different. Your park needs a new playground? Uruut it. Need a new library? Uruut it. Senior center? Bike path? Dog park? Uruut it.

At Uruut our tag line is, Strengthening community starts with U.  It took me 10 years to fully embrace this motto and make the leap to launch this idea, but I truly believe we’re revolutionizing the traditional fundraising model and hope you’ll join us in funding projects and getting your project funded

As for my buddy, Ross, he was the first member of Uruut’s board of directors and remains my constant advisor in this endeavor.  Perhaps it’s coincidence that as Mr. Bloomberg prepares to retire from the NYC mayor’s office, we’re picking up the torch and aiming to strengthen communities across our nation.

Mark Feinberg is a 15-year veteran of Atlantas investment and business communities with senior leadership experience from the IBM Corporation and Ernst & Young Consulting. Through Uruut, Mark is able to blend his business, technology, investment and entrepreneurial background with his passion for strengthening community. Mark holds both a Bachelor and Master of Business Administration from Emory University and is a founding member of the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce.  Find Mark on Twitter @MarkLFeinberg and @Uruut.

Film Celebrating Girls From Around The World To Be Screened In SLC

The Salt Lake City Chapter of Oxfam America will screen the critically acclaimed independent film Girl Rising on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at Fort Douglas.

Girl Rising profiles nine girls from around the world, impoverished, enslaved and unwilling to accept the roles they were expected to fill. The film features voice performances from Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Selma Hayek.

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Meryl Streep said, “This film gives visual corroboration to knowledge we already have: Educating women and girls has the most optimistic, positive effects on families, communities, and economies worldwide. If to see it is to know it, this film delivers hope; reasonable, measurable, tangible hope that the world can be healed and helped to a better future.”

The screening of the film will be a fundraising event for Oxfam Salt Lake City, a grassroots organization supporting Oxfam America’s fight against hunger and injustice all around the world.

Kristen Bayles, the President of Oxfam Salt Lake City, said, “We are excited to bring this film to Salt Lake; we are confident that this film will inspire everyone who sees it.”

Tickets for and more information about the screening are available online here

Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. We save lives, develop long-term solutions to poverty, and campaign for social change. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions.

Oxfam Salt Lake City is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that raises money to support Oxfam America and its mission to end poverty, hunger and injustice.

JOBS ACT Title II for Accrediteds NOT MUCH HELP for Entrepreneurs

Guest post from Howard Leonhardt, founder of the California Stock Exchange.

The number of accredited angel investors in the USA declined 15.8% to 268,000 in 2012*.  Less than 35% of these 268,000 potential investors or 93,800 have any interest in seed stage investments.   Of these 93,800 potential seed stage investors less than 33% of these have any interest to invest in a company where they do not personally know the founders.  This leaves 30,954 for the all the startups in the USA to chase with the enactment of the JOBS ACT Title II permitting general solicitation.   Of this remaining 30,954 61% of their investments will go into healthcare, software and biotech.  If you are not in these limited categories then you are down to chasing 12,072 potential pre-qualified angel investors nationwide.
This very limited exclusive group of angel investors interested in seed stage investments and open to investing in people they do not know personally are already the most over-shopped group of people in the history of planet earth.  Every distressed real estate deal is already coming their way.  Every artificially depressed value pink sheet public company that fell off of NASDAQ is coming their way.  Every angel group has already recruited them to join their lists.  They receive probably two dozen emails a day with offers already. Opening this group up to MORE general solicitation advertisements is going to do absolutely nothing to improve the funding of our startup enterprises.   We need full fledged crowdfunding to be implemented, as passed by house 407 to 17 in November of 2011 and the Senate shortly thereafter, which was signed into law the President in April 2012 with a strict mandate by the congress and the President that the SEC implement it by no later than December 31, 2012.   This will open up entrepreneurs to access millions of new investors, which is what is needed for economic and job growth. 

New Book: Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World

Over the last year of writing my Forbes blog for the last year, I have had the opportunity to really dig deeply into the world of crowdfunding. I’ve just completed my first draft of my new book, Crowdfunding for Social Good: Financing Your Mark on the World.

The book is a guide to successful crowdfunding for people who want to change the world.

The book is not a sequel to my book, Your Mark On The World, but it is written in the same spirit. I’ve studied a dozens of successful crowdfunding campaigns, interviewing the people behind them to learn their secrets for success.

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While I shouldn’t do this, I can save you the trouble of reading the book if that seems daunting to you: successful crowdfunding is a lot of work!

The book profiles ten people or organizations who have been remarkably successful with their crowdfunding efforts. 

For instance, Eight-year-old Vivienne Harr decided that she would make it her life’s work to end child slavery. Crowdfunding has helped her raise almost half-a-million dollars to do it.

As another example, Martha Griffen wanted to help her son, born with a birthmark on his face, to learn to celebrate what makes him different, so she wrote a book called Sam’s Birthmark and crowdfunded over $31,000 to publish it.

Jennifer Windrum wants to provide support to those who suffer from cancer, creating her Sock Monkeys Against Cancer—SMAC! Monkeys—financing her vision with $35,000 she raised through crowdfunding. 

This book distills the lessons from successful social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations into actionable and practical steps that anyone can follow to raise money for their dream of changing the world.

No One Can Stop Me But Me!

No one can stop me but me!

The story of Underground Arena started in May of 2013 when my girlfriend and I visited my high school gym, which I liked so much because of the people and positive atmosphere that filled it. So, I decided to recreate that kind of atmosphere and started Underground Arena.

In October of 2013 we opened the door, and, in 8 months, we achieved way more than my original vision. We created a place that people looked forward to going to, where they reached new limits and experienced indescribable euphoria. More importantly, they gained a feeling of unity and togetherness without the feeling of being observed through a narrow lens. We created a place where equality radiated.

After returning from a week-long seminar in February of 2014, something special happened. I received a list of stories from people that were visiting Underground Arena, which left me astonished and at a loss for words. Everyone’s life was changed in some way or another; however, all of them in different manners. For me, the most important thing that I can achieve is to make others feel self-confident and appreciated.

Even though I received this awesome reinforcement for my work from my clients, I felt that I still wasn’t doing enough. I wanted to spread positive energy and a feeling of confidence and hope to more people. Those people who are struggling day to day are whom I want to focus on to encourage them to keep living happily.

To start helping people who truly need it, I began organizing outdoor charity boot camp sessions for the general public. The first of such boot camps took place in March of 2014 and we had 10 people attend. Although small in numbers, the amount of enthusiasm made up for that and motivated me in the process.

All the money that was collected on the registering fees was given to a regular individual who suffered from an incurable disease. When we all saw him excited to be at the boot camp and noticed that he wasn’t even paying attention to his disability, he gave us an unbelievable amount of energy, fueling our passion.

In the end, the family did not take home a big sum of money, however, they brought home something much more valuable, the feeling that someone cared about them and what happened to them, something that can’t be measured by dollar signs. They are now aware that people do exist who won’t turn their backs on them. From that point on, I decided to actively create this boot camp monthly.

People at one of our first charity bootcamps.

I want to help collect more funds for these kids and their families that have found themselves in unfortunate situations. This was the driving force behind why I started my own charity foundation, Train and Help.

This foundation will help me gain trustworthy partners and also increase my ability to collect funds for the families who need them. The vision is to organize a massive, monthly boot camp session while creating an unforgettable atmosphere and a sense of belonging to something bigger than us.

I started a crowdfunding campaign (igg.me/at/undergroundarena) through IndieGoGo platform, and our goal is to raise enough money in order to register the Train and Help organization as a charity foundation and also rent equipment and space for the first couple boot camp sessions.

It is a great opportunity for us to effectively help and provide the encouragement these people need in order to keep fighting their day-to-day struggle. We are here to make sure that their lives will be filled with as much happiness as possible.

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