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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.

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Devin D. Thorpe
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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Entrepreneur, Industrialist, Scientist, Philanthropist George Mitchell Remembered

Entrepreneur, Industrialist, Scientist, Philanthropist George Mitchell Remembered

One BILLION toothbrushes, which take HUNDREDS OF YEARS to decompose, end up in landfills EVERY YEAR!

Guest post by Scott London.

We are “reVITALize,“ and our goal is to bring the collective consciousness of Burning Man to the outside world through a recycling program that engages kids all across the country. Embracing the Burning Man principle of “Leave No Trace,” the reVITALize Toothbrush Coalition program seeks to create awareness, educate, and enlist kids to join the fight against the full-blown plastic epidemic that threatens our environment, starting with their toothbrushes. 

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Now you may be asking, ”Why toothbrushes?“ Well, the answer is that we thought it would be really cool to make a giant disco ball out of them, and then have it suspended 100 feet in the air by a crane, lighting up the desert at this years Burning Man festival of course.

We thought it should look something like this:

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Alright, back to business. To further exasperate the plastic epidemic, the American Dental Association now recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months, further threatening the stability of our environment. reVITALize offers a year round sustainable program through our recycling partner TerraCycle, whereby each participating school earns .02 cents for every piece of plastic they collect and recycle. In addition, our organization will award a $5,000 grant to one participating school through a drawing to be announced this August. 

And this is where the real fun begins. The donated toothbrushes are being used as the building blocks for an art installation designed and constructed by Yarrow Mazzetti and Overkill, to be unveiled at the 2013 Burning Man festival at Black Rock Desert, Nevada. The physical installation and interaction with the piece will be documented and sent to all the participating schools. The idea is simple. Showing kids how their small contributions assisted in the creation of something so large scale and beautiful will instill in them a sense of pride and a sense of ownership of the environment that we all live in. But it doesn’t stop there. Through our partnership with TerraCycle, each participating Colgate Brigade school will receive two cents for every toothbrush they send in indefinitely. 

Let’s use our collective power, creativity and care, to reVITALize our youth’s awareness of environmental and social responsibility, ignite their passion for the artistic power of a collective, and help them understand how their small contributions can make enormous differences in the world. The important thing to remember is that this project is not about recycling per se, or even making really cool art. reVITALize is about creating awareness of the collective consciousness of Burning Man, the principles that it represents, and instilling in our youth a sense of responsibility, ownership, contribution, and an understanding that we as individuals are all part of something greater, and we are greater as individuals through our contributions to the collective good. 

We are looking to our friends both old and new to help "bring us to the finish line,” on project Desert Disco Ball and we are hoping to raise $16, 500 to subsidize the completion of fabrication, as well as fund the logistics of transportation and installation at Burning Man 2013. 

Follow this link to view other spectacular Burning Man masterpieces.

I’d Like to Buy the World a Musical Contest

Gues post By George Ruiz, Co-founder of SuperXtar.

You may remember, if you’re a member of the generation from the 70s or before, a Coke TV commercial in which a group of young people from all races and from different parts of the world gather in a mountain to sing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” (http://goo.gl/6uA4ph)

I was a kid growing up in Peru at the time, and every occasion that this commercial popped up on the TV, I used to rush over to it to watch it. It was so beautiful and inspiring! The song had a nice melody and a moving message. Just to watch all of these people together singing a song of world unity touched me, even when I was just a kiddo. Still now when I mention this commercial to anybody who remembers it, they all agree; it was maybe the most beautiful and inspiring TV ad ever.  My wife—who, at that time, was also a child, but growing up in a different country, the USA—says that it used to bring tears to her eyes. Yes, regardless of if you liked to drink Coke or Pepsi, this commercial touched your heart, whether you lived in Peru or the USA and spoke Spanish or English.

Music is a very powerful force. It influences people. William Congreve had a famous saying: “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast.” Yes, music inspires people and nations. It is well-known that it influences behavior, especially of the young ones. Music even changes society. It was a great factor in the freedom movements of the 1960s generation.

On the other hand, worldwide competitions help to unify the world in some ways. Beauty pageants, World Soccer Cups, and the Olympics all gather nations of different races and languages for the common purpose of competition. It even brings together enemy countries “to smoke the competition peace pipe.”

As popular as sports are, not everybody likes them. However, everyone in the world loves music. You cannot find a group of people on this planet that doesn’t like some form of music. Sports, by nature, are very competitive, so they don’t help to bridge the division and hatred of this world in quite the way that music does.

People worldwide enjoy music and entertainment. You can see how talent shows like American Idol, The Voice, and The X Factor are taking over the world. People enjoy them from the USA all the way to China.

So what about if we make a world musical talent contest? This could be a contest where people from every nation could participate, regardless of their language or geographic location. If we make a big deal of it, maybe people around the world—especially young ones—would be less inclined to wage war and kill each other. Instead, they could invest some of that energy into singing and dancing and having a good time. We already know that folks from all over the world like talent shows, but does music really have the power of unifying people?

Let me tell you about one of my experiences. When I was a teen in Peru, because of an old war that we lost with one of our neighbor countries, there were still some resentments toward that nation, even though this war had happened several generations ago! However, when a well-liked and popular musical group from that “enemy country” came to our land for a concert tour, all of the sudden, all of the young people wanted to watch this band, and their songs were played and sung everywhere. At that moment, nobody seemed to remember the old scars of war; their music was helping to heal old wounds! The “enemy country” was no longer a hated nation. How could you hate them and still sing their songs? These music ambassadors did with their songs and performances what years of diplomacy couldn’t. That is the unifying power of music.

SuperXtar is a worldwide, musical entertainer contest that will look for the unifying element of music. It will pick up where the Coke TV commercial left off. It will reach people from all over the world to encourage them to participate in this musical competition every year.  It will be a musical talent contest where the winner will be celebrated globally and his or her music and performances will be sung and danced worldwide!

SuperXtar will also bring other new things to the world music table because its international flavor it will make popular new beats and melodies. The American/ British music, which has dominated the musical world for years now, has been stale for more than two decades. The great bands and performers of the 60s, 70s, and even 80s have disappeared and haven’t been replaced with new ones. We need a new infusion of music in the world—and who knows?  Maybe it will come from places like Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

Also another contribution that SuperXtar will make is that it will help to start or re-start popular music programs in the USA and around the world. Music is one the few things that everybody in the world enjoys, but it isn’t taught in every school. Even here in the USA, schools have removed music from their programs due to budget cuts.

Many kids in the US and around the world have never been able to strum the strings of a guitar or to pound the keys of a piano. We want to help to fix that.

Give a kid a guitar or a set of drums. Teach him how to play the piano and create songs and most likely he will be less inclined—when he grows—to hold an automatic weapon against his fellow human.

Yes, we’d like to buy the world a musical contest!

The SuperXtar crowd-funding campaign will be launched at the end of September. We need your help.  Contact us at george@superxtar.com or follow us in Twitter @superxtars. Thank you!

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Thank You So Much!

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In order to fund the publication and promotion of Crowdfunding for Social Good, Financing Your Mark on the World, as seems only fitting, I did a crowdfunding campaign on StartSomeGood.com. Over 50 people supported the campaign helping me to raise over $3,000 to help me get this book into the hands of real change agents who will use its principles to leave a mark on the world.

The following people generously supported my campaign at the financial levels indicated:

$499 and up:

Jason Best
Crowdfund Capital Advisors
http://crowdfundcapitaladvisors.com
Raising money isn’t easy. But crowdfunding makes it easier than ever before. Success with Crowdfunding has created an educational series that is your key to crowdfunding success.  Visit SuccessWithCrowdfunding.com.

Anonymous

$299 and up:

Joy Schoffler
Leverage PR
http://www.leverage-pr.com
The Leverage PR team is unbeaten in the crowdfunding space; no one knows the people, products and platforms better. –Devin Thorpe

Doug Ellenoff
Ellenoff Grossman and Schole
www.CrowdESQ.com
Recognized as a thought leader and expert on the legalities of the JOBS Act, he’s been a key representative and advocate for crowdfunding.

Sydney Armani
CrowdFundBeat
http://crowdfundbeat.com
Crowdfundbeat.com is an online source of news, information and resources for crowdfunding.

John Child
The Brainchild Company
http://johntchild.com
Marketing to the Core: The 4 key concepts that will create results for your small business marketing efforts.

$99 and up:     

David Bradford
HireVue
http://www.HireVue.com
HireVue is a way to interview on demand!  Simply email a link to questions and empower candidates to record responses via webcam.

Chris Camillo
Author, Laughing at Wall Street
http://laughingatwallstreet.com
In 2007, in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Chris invested $20,000, and grew it to just over $2 million.

$49 and up:    

Anonymous

Rick and Alta Davis
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
http://www.cff.org

Andy Kristian Agaba
Hiinga
http://hiinga.org

Donald Rands
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
http://www.cff.org

Jane Wolfe
Mardi Gras Throws for Education
http://ubuntuatwork.org

Pearl Wright
Choice Humanitarian
www.choicehumanitarian.org

$19 and up

Anonymous

Bridgett Thorpe

David M.

John Holt
Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund

Victoria Mita
FundMyTravel

Paul Joseph
Caring Voice Coalition, Inc.

Abe Carter

Alex Budak
Start Some Good

Bill Aho

Cheryl Snapp Conner
Snapp Conner PR

Dave Boyce
Fundly

David Sheffield
Miles of Gratitude

Dyanne Christensen

Evan Malter

J. Todd Anderson
Boy Scouts of America

Kevin Jessop

Anonymous
Tomorrow’s Luminary Foundation

Mikey Leung

Rose Spinelli
Animal Protection

Stephen Scott

Steve Grizzell
Girl Scouts of Utah

Nicole Pitzer             
Stone by Stone Moving Mountains in Haiti, Inc.

Tom Dawkins
Start Some Good

Wayne Moorehead

$4 and up      

Sandy Darlington
Suzanne Rajkumar
Anonymous
Todd Leishman
Devan Thorne
Caroline Udall
Raymond Sweger
Andrew Gardiner
Asha Aravindakshan
Dayton
Franci Eisenberg
Gail Thorpe
Greg Gunn
Kushaan Shah
Leonardo Hudson
M.Cole Jones

West Virginia Nonprofit Reaches Out To Educate Girls In African Refugee Camps

Guest post from Matt Vincent of Scottie’s Place.

We arrived at the Dukwi refugee camp on a blistering January afternoon, after a five-hour drive from Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. Months earlier, I had been asked to join Scottie’s Place Founder, Paul Winter, on a fact-finding mission to five refugee camps in Africa. Our goal was to better understand the educational challenges faced by girls living in the camps, and the ways in which Scottie’s Place could help. At that time, Scottie’s Place, a nonprofit organization based in West Virginia, was expanding its mission to empower and educate children affected by poverty in the US, to include vulnerable children from around the globe.

The Dukwi refugee camp is located in east-central Botswana, near the Zimbabwean border. Confined in this wholly unnatural environment are 4,000 people, whose nationalities represent nearly a dozen African countries. As we moved through the camp on that first day, the obvious poverty was in great contrast to the degree of development: in addition to UNHCR tents for new arrivals, there were adobe-type shelters and even tin-roofed store fronts situated on tiny plots of land. Many homes had gardens that had been cultivated for years to supplement food rations. This was entrenchment at its essence. People seek refuge for immediate protection from violence and hunger, hoping to return home as soon as possible. The hard truth is that for those of us who must flee our countries, the average confinement in a refugee camp is an incredible 17 years. As I looked around me, I wondered, how education could be used as resource, as a means for these girls to break the bonds of generational encampment.

Over the next four days, Paul and I spoke with parents and teachers and many wonderful girls, learning about the students’ daily activities, what their school experience was like, what types of clubs and community organizations they participated in, and what their future aspirations were. Like girls everywhere, the students we spoke with were committed to their education and showed tremendous promise. Yet we learned of the many dangerous and oppressive challenges in their lives that left them struggling to maintain concentration and engagement in school. From hunger to early marriage, sexual violence and poor prospects for leaving the camp – in the hierarchy of survival strategies, girls’ education came last. Yet the girls were painfully clear that education was their only chance.  

When Paul and I returned home, we immediately began designing the Leadership, Education, and Empowerment Program (LEEP), a preparatory program that takes core components of the Scottie’s Place programs for vulnerable children in the US and applies this knowledge to academic and leadership programs for high-achieving refugee girls. Beginning with students in 8th grade, LEEP will provide academic tutoring, and peer mentoring to help prepare students for scholarships to boarding schools and universities. Equally important, LEEP will provide leadership training to the girls, promoting student-led activities within the camp that are aimed at identifying needs and targeting solutions to long-term displacement. At the core of LEEP is on-going support and guidance for girls with a passion for excellence, ensuring that, as women, they will have the skills to participate fully in the peace building and reconstruction of their communities.  The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has asked Scottie’s Place to launch LEEP this October in Dukwi, and I will be headed there to manage the program.

In order to launch LEEP, Scottie’s Place must raise $10,700, which will cover programming costs, hiring a teacher from the camp, and outreach. We need your help. I’ve put together a fundraising page on Indiegogo.com; please visit the page, check out the short video, read our brief concept paper, and look through the budget. Once I’m there, I’ll be hosting live Google+ Hangouts to update you on the progress of LEEP, introduce you to the amazing young women in the program, answer your questions, and hear your ideas.

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Etress, one of the incredible girls from Dukwi, spoke frankly: “Education is life for a refugee.” We have the ability to help these remarkable young women find a way out of Dukwi and become a part of a new generation of global leaders. 

True Global Ties: UCLA Student Offers a Simple but Powerful Concept to Change the World in a Small Way: Buy a Bracelet

This is a guest post from Steven Ng.

Imagine change through e-commerce.

That is the simple but powerful concept at the core of UCLA student Steven Ng’s Global Ties, a new non-profit campaign joining in the fight against world hunger.

When Ng, a San Francisco native and a junior at UCLA, participated in a volunteer trip to Kenya, Africa, he never thought that his experience would inspire him to launch a worldwide campaign against hunger. As a result of his life-altering trip, Ng created the non-profit organization, Global Ties. While on his trip to the African country, he captured footage to create a campaign portraying the Global Ties mission, goals, ideas and spotlighting sobering global hunger statistics.

The Global Ties’ campaign offers visitors to his website an opportunity to purchase three types of bracelets, which Ng himself created:  Black Rope Silver Bracelet, Brown Leather Rose Gold and Black Leather Gold. The goal of these bracelet sales is to help feed the hungry worldwide. These bracelets represent the Global Ties theme as they can be wrapped around the wrist with a “G” as the charm to hold the “ties” together.

Ng has experienced  the success of a prospering startup through not only his parents’ businesses when growing up in San Francisco, but his own company, Dash Wallets, which he recently launched through kickstarter to help fund his education. He hopes  to not only see Global Ties aid with the world’s hunger problems but to eventually expand to take on  other global issues including HIV/AIDS, clean water and cancer

Global Ties’ crowd funding campaign can be found on indiegogo.com with current bracelet styles. Every bracelet/necklace is manufactured in environmentally friendly facilities.

Black Rope Silver: Feed 12 individuals. Cost: $9.00image

Brown Leather Rose Gold: Feed 24 individuals. Cost: $15.00image

Black Leather Gold: Feed 48 individuals. Cost: $25.00image

For additional information: http://www.global-ties.org/

To contribute: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/global-ties-help-end-hunger.

Embrace: Healing Our Heroes’ Homes

Guest post by Sean Sheppard, Founder of Embrace.

Growing up as an only child, I was accustomed to thinking only about myself, and through high school, college and graduate school, I was completely self-absorbed. My friends and I were womanizers, we smoked pot, sold pot, partied, and fit the bill of your typical “college party-goers.” This selfishness eventually took a toll on my overall well-being, and I came to a point in my life where I looked at the worst part of my day was the point where I left the house to deal with other people. I was in an extremely negative place at the time and focused on everything I didn’t have. As the economy downturned, so did my personal finances and my Columbus, Ohio rental property went into foreclosure. What I thought was bad before, was nothing compared to this. I turned to God for guidance and strength, and began spending my time at the Salvation Army helping the homeless. During my time volunteering, I came to the realization that people had it a lot worse than I did, so I decided it was time for me to make a positive change, not only for myself, but for the community. For the first time in a long time, I gradually started feeling better about the person I was. With barely any money of my own, I found joy in giving back to my community and helping the less fortunate. I had discovered my true calling in life, and slowly but surely, I was able to get back on my feet.

Volunteers stand with Sarah and Matt Bettencourt outside of their renovated home.

In 2008, when the economic downturn took effect, I saw “everyday people” lose their jobs, resulting in a rise in homelessness and closure of many non-profits. With little money to my name, I provided food and water for people living in the street, but I still felt I could do more. That year, Embrace (http://www.embrace1.org), a San Diego based non-profit organization that I founded in 2000 that mobilizes college students to serve less fortunate civilians and veterans, launched a homeless outreach program called Embrace The Streets. An organization that started with no venture capital and no full time employees has grown exponentially since 2008. We now have several full and part time employees, literally hundreds of regular volunteers and a 6-figure operating budget.  

Sarah Bettencourt wheels herself up the brand new ADA compliant disability ramp. Sarah’s husband will no longer have to carry her into their home.

I knew Embrace would be able to serve more people if I recruited others to join me, and in the last few years college student volunteers have allowed Embrace to flourish by injecting tens of thousands of community service hours into the city of San Diego’s homeless, low income and disabled veteran communities.

Embrace founder, Sean Sheppard 

The Healing our Heroes’ Homes (H3 for short) campaign is one of our programs that helps disabled veterans remodel their homes and rebuild their lives. On our most recent mission, we helped retired Marine Captain Sarah Bettencourt, a 100% disabled military veteran.

Bettencourt, a 29 year-old medically retired Marine Corps Captain, served the country during the Global War on Terrorism. She was one month away from being a designated Naval Aviator when she developed a rare neurological disorder in 2008. Despite her disability, she continued to serve in the Marine Corps as an Adjutant until symptoms ended her service in 2012. Today, Sarah struggles with day-to-day tasks due to her unstable mobility, cognitive and central nervous system.

Sarah was the perfect candidate for Embrace’s Healing our Heroes’ Homes campaign due to her charismatic personality and positive outlook on life despite her disability. This past July, Embrace was able to extensively remodel her home with the help of student volunteers, volunteer contractors and sponsors including SDG&E, The Home Depot Foundation and the Jack in the Box Foundation. By remodeling the kitchen, building ADA compliant wooden and concrete wheelchair ramps, widening doorways, creating an ADA compliant driveway and landscaping, Sarah is now able to move freely through her home and perform daily tasks she was unable to do before. In short, her sense of independence is back.

Touching the lives of people such as Sarah is a constant reminder of the amazing things people can do while working together. In the last 13 years, Embrace has exceeded my expectations, and I am certain that the college students, volunteers and sponsors that donate so much of their time will help the organization continue to achieve great things in the future.

For more information about Embrace, visit www.embrace1.org

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