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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: October 2013

Live Interview with Joy Case, Crowdfunder and Social Entrepreneur

Joy Case is a passionate social entrepreneur who sees crowdfunding as an obvious way for everyone to participate. On Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM Pacific, Joy will be with me live to discuss her efforts to support social entrepreneurs.

Here are a couple of links that Joy shared with information about crowdfunding in British Columbia: here, here and here.

Joy provided this bio:

Joy Case (M.Ed) is the CEO of Case Global Media Inc., a social media company dedicated to building innovative, engaging platforms for companies to showcase their mission, vision and values and to amplify their message through strategic video marketing.

She is the Co-Chair for BC’s chapter of Invest Crowdfund Canada (CATA) advocating for the legalization of equity crowdfunding in Canada. Joy is launching a network for social entrepreneurs at: www.anideanation.com. Her crowdfunding consultancy company, FunditTV.com serves as a media broadcasting channel to highlight the stories of entrepreneurs and professionals in the crowdfunding industry.

Prior to her focus on video marketing and social media, Joy has over thirteen years experience as an educational leader in public schools. Her public relations, negotiations and speaking skills were also demonstrated throughout her seven year career as a real estate consultant.  

Joy’s primary competencies are in: marketing, public speaking, public relations, negotiations and conflict resolution, and consulting. She received a Masters of Education from the University of British Columbia (2002) and a Real Estate License from the Sauder School of Business (2005).

‘Disempowered’ Leader Overcomes Desire to ‘Give Up’

Guest post from Nathaniel Houghton, the President & Founder of the Congo Leadership Initiative. CLI develops the next generation of leaders to be catalysts for peace and prosperity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Something interesting happened to me last month: I felt like giving up. This is interesting because over the last five years, it has almost never happened. So in it’s interestingness, this feeling was also alarming. I paid attention.

More details: this feeling occurred on a Monday (which… of course), CLI was wrapping up a disappointing quarter, I was personally broke, I felt like I had little support, and all of the funding that looked like it was going to come in by July still hadn’t found its way into our bank account. Being a “risk taker” and “having the courage” to start an organization and “going it alone” to “change the world” all sounds good, but if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Part of what was interesting to me is that I did not feel scared. Instead, I felt weak. Every time I attempted to take on a task, a voice in my head reminded me that I might be arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Nobody likes doing that, but especially not social entrepreneurs; we want to be moving icebergs out of the way. In short, I was disempowered.

This was a big problem, but it all seemed like an issue of my personal motivation. I assumed that it was something that I needed to deal with so that I could get back to my job. And as a part of that job, I had been doing quite a bit of thinking about scale. Scale is quickly becoming, or is already, social change’s bugaboo. I think we’re starting to realize that the ideas aren’t all that hard to come by and that you don’t need a law degree to establish a company or organization. Pulling off a successful pilot program isn’t exactly easy, but it’s not all that difficult either. Growing an organization, and doing it well, is the real challenge. But why is scale so hard?

Like most big problems, there are a lot of reasons: lack of capital, lack of training, lack of a market… the list goes on. But ultimately, scale is hard because of aggregated disempowerment. As an individual or team, realizing that you’ve worked harder than you ever have in your entire life and still lacking capital, training, or a market is sort of like being in the middle of a marathon and suddenly losing your legs. Empowerment is the fuel that drives scale, and I was experiencing at a personal level what was challenging CLI organizationally.

Ultimately, overcoming the challenge of scale will require significant grit. However, I think we can all do a better job of understanding the importance of empowerment as we attempt to scale. I’m feeling better about myself and about CLI, but to move the needle and make progress against the challenges of developing our world, we’ll need to train all social entrepreneurs to believe in themselves – even when things get really hard. Regardless of title or position, that’s something we can all contribute to. 

Hedge Fund Trader Turned Social Entrepreneur Raises $2 Million For Kids’ Cancer

Hedge Fund Trader Turned Social Entrepreneur Raises $2 Million For Kids’ Cancer

What’s The Biggest One–For–One Item Yet? Hint: It’s Bigger than You Think

Guest post from Jared Johnson of Powerof2 Realty.

Some call it One For One®. Others call it “Buy 1, Give 1” (or B1G1). Either way, the idea of buying something you want with the added bonus of giving something to others is still growing in popularity.

So what is the biggest, most expensive item involved in this movement? … A house.

In November of 2012, a 7.4 earthquake rocked the San Marcos region of Guatemala, leaving buildings leveled and more than 50 people dead.  Following the earthquake, Jared Jones, a real estate broker and investment partner of many, and Jim Gawrys, Jared’s friend and real estate partner, flew down to meet some contacts there on the ground to help with the rebuilding.

When they met the Rodas-Morales family in a rural community outside of San Marcos, their mission quickly turned into one of building, instead of rebuilding.  Every member of the family has lived in extreme poverty their entire lives. Jared and Jim observed that the poor condition of the dwelling contributed to an already challenging life and made it especially difficult for children to get the education needed to better their situation.  A leaky roof, the absence of light, and a floor flooding with mud was not conducive to study, and destroyed nearly unaffordable school books.

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The family has never known anything different and did not ask for help, but they got it anyway when community leaders guided Jared, Jim and their collected funds to this family.

Immediately there was coordination to build a more adequate home for the family and construction began within the next couple of days. The original shelter made from scrap wood and metals on a dirt floor was torn down to make room for a new home.  Jared, Jim and their colleagues funded a 12ft x 20ft structure with a level steel-reinforced concrete foundation, steel-reinforced concrete block walls, an aluminum roof, two sliding windows and a steel door.

Not only was this structure larger than their previous one, but the family repurposed all of the torn down materials to enhance their outdoor kitchen.  In total, this expands their covered living space while improving it dramatically. Cleaner, warmer, drier, safer. It’s not exactly what citizens of developed countries would call paradise, but for this family, it has been a miraculous transformation.

“I’m so overwhelmed. Nobody has ever thought of us,” said Rosalinda Morales with tears in her eyes, recounting that she didn’t know what to think or believe when the family was told that a group of Americans would be building them a proper home.

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After arriving back at his home in Riverside, CA, Jared Jones called another entrepreneurial friend, Jared Johnson – that’s me – to propose a new business concept.

“Based on my success in real estate, I could build a lot of homes over the course of my life.  However, we’ll never build as many homes as we could if we were to position this philanthropy inside of a business model,” he told me.

Our mission is to leverage the U.S. real estate market to improve housing for the world’s poorest families.  Toward that end, we developed Home For Home™.  For Every home sale or purchase, we will build a new home for a family in need.

Home For Home™ allows consumers to, when buying or selling their home, generate funds sufficient to replicate what has been achieved for the Rodas-Morales family. Currently, POWERof2 Realty, founded by the two Jareds, operates as its sole real estate partner. However, we’re hoping to expand partnerships to other real estate companies and agents across the nation as consumers raise their hands to participate in this program at no additional cost.

Consumers get an authentic real estate professional who is willing to share their commission to build a new home for a family in need and sample before and after photos of the family they chose to sponsor. That’s right, we post the stories and photos of families who have been identified by community leaders onto our website so that clients can choose which family they wish to sponsor.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, 4.7 million homes were bought and sold in 2012. At POWERof2 Realty, we believe that approximately 5.9 million new homes could have been built in 2012 for the world’s poorest families, accounting for buyers, sellers, FSBOs (for sale by owner), new construction and other factors.

Right now we’re building homes in rural Guatemala, but we’re looking into additional locations to expand this philanthropy to, including Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cambodia.  Based on our projections, if everyone using a real estate agent were to participate in the Home For Home program, we could adequately house the entire country of Guatemala in just 5 months and potentially Cambodia within the same year – at no additional cost to the consumer.

Because the need being addressed isn’t a reoccurring one, a new home represents a multigenerational benefit. This makes the Home For Home the most financially viable and sustainable model for improving housing for the world’s poorest families.

Will you help us?

SECFC13 Highlights Potential Impact of Crowdfunding

The inaugural Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference (SECFC13) was held at Snowbird, Utah on September 27, 2013.

David Boyce, CEO of Fundly, delivered the luncheon keynote, observing that the innovation of crowdfunding is beginning to disintermediate traditional nonprofits–those furthest removed from the impact. Dollars are instead going directly to people and causes working closest to the action and who are using crowdfunding to attract donations.

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David Boyce delivers his keynote address. Photo by Micaela Choo.

Alan Hall, philanthropist and investor, kicked off the day with a morning keynote address to inspire participants to seek a higher purpose in entrepreneurship, to make a meaningful difference in the world.

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Alan Hall delivers his keynote address. Photo by Micaela Choo.

Wendy Robbins, CEO of crowdfunding site, RedCapes said of the event, “Devin put on an amazing conference! Informative speakers…. genuine authentic people. .. great connections…. awesome food and snacks.. do whatever it takes to come next year.”

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Host Richard Swart of UC Berkeley visits with speakers Wendy Robbins, David Boyce and Sang Lee. Photo by Micaela Choo.

Dyanne Christensen said, “This has been by far the best platform of information I have attended for the people who really want to make something happen and not just talk about it!”

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Todd Manwaring of BYU’s Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance with students who volunteered during the conference.

Sang Lee, CEO of Return On Change, who spoke at the conference, noted, “The conference was filled with innovators and change makers! Definitely something that everyone should attend and become a part of.”

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Sang Lee. Photo by Micaela Choo.

Jeff Roberts said, “As a Masters student I had to miss several classes to attend the conference. It was worth every minute. Don’t let your education get in the way of your learning!”

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Patrick Kitano and I visit about the potential for crowdfunding to have real impact in the world. Photo by Micaela Choo.

Another guest noted, “I loved be surrounded by compassionate and interesting individuals. It was great to learn the latest on Crowdfunding, Impact Investing and Social Enterprise! I look forward to going again. Thanks for all of your hard work bringing everyone together!”

SECFC13 was sponsored by Ellenoff Grossman and Schole, Snapp Conner PR, YESCO, the BYU Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, Carman Lehnhoff Israelson, Return on Change, Stealth Startup, Tanner, LLC, USTAR, and Utah Valley University. 

The Van Squigglebottomses’s Mark on the World

This is a guest post by Jessica, the future Ms. Van Squigglebottoms.

One in three people today live in poverty.  Children die from preventable diseases.  So what are we going to do about it?  We’re going to change our last name to Van Squigglebottoms.

If we raise $1 million for Oxfam America’s lifesaving work by December 31, my husband Jeff and I have pledged to take and use the last name Van Squigglebottoms for the rest of our lives.

It’s an absurd name.  But we think that the fact that poverty exists in a world of plenty is even more absurd.  And that’s the rub: we’re doing something completely crazy to engage people who have never been involved in poverty relief, because the world is full of goodhearted people who want to be asked in a way that makes them feel good, rather than guilty.

When we talk to people about poverty relief, we sometimes see them shut down.  Faced with the stark reality is that people are dying needlessly, many of us feel helpless.  The truth is, global poverty is also an inspiring challenge.  The extra money we spend on movies and lattes can save lives and bring justice.

Right now, for example, Oxfam America is deeply involved in helping Syrian refugees help themselves.  This presents a great opportunity to spread joy to people whose lives are so difficult right now.  A donation of $20 can buy water collection and storage containers for an entire household of refugees.  $40 is enough to provide a family with a blanket, mattress and pillow. $125 is enough provide two weeks’ worth of food vouchers for a refugee family.  And $240 can build a shower to serve 50 people in a tent settlement.

Sure, Jeff and I are attached to our last names.  We didn’t change them when we got married nine years ago, because they’re a piece of our identities.  But if taking a crazy name can give people a laugh and inspire them to give to poverty relief efforts, we’re game.

We’re still a ways off from our $1 million goal, but we’ve raised more money than we ever have running marathons or 5k races.  Most importantly, our efforts have gotten people to contribute to Oxfam America’s lifesaving work who have never before been involved in poverty relief efforts.  Other generations had their charity balls and auctions.  Our generation wants online content with real-world consequences: the kind of stuff that’s going to make people laugh, think, and share.  We’re pretty sure we’re at least making them laugh.

Mayer Dahan’s Mark on the World

This is a guest post by Mayer Dahan of Dahan Properties.

My name is Mayer Dahan and I’m a bit of a dream chaser. I have come from humble beginnings and feel that it is my duty to bring those that are distant from their dreams back towards the frontline. Recognizing my aspirations and my ability to actively pursue them, is what saved me during during my younger years.

My mother and father were both US immigrants from Israel, who worked vigorously to make ends meet. The language barriers and financial restraints made it difficult for me to connect with my community. My continuous identity struggle reinforced feelings of alienation and crippling thoughts of not belonging.

My father was very ill growing up. When I was seven years old he had a stroke which devastated my family. I would escape to a pleasant alternate universe in order to distract myself from the painful reality. I saw the world as a dirty, dangerous, unforgiving place and I imagined a more prosperous world that was prettier, cleaner and safer.

I also found release in playing with LEGOs. The small, colorful blocks were fascinating to me and I would build houses and structures with them. My LEGO set served as an outlet for me and a unique form of expression. With every LEGO structure I built, I felt an overwhelming rush of accomplishment. The LEGO homes that I constructed were the product of my vision and creativity. They reflected the utopias world I always dreamed of and made me feel more connected to my community than ever before. That’s when I realized my strong need to create, which has lead me to where I am today.

Given my vision for a beautiful new world and my passion for building, I was always intrigued by the real estate industry. At twenty one I obtained my real estate license, and enhanced my education by pursuing a degree in Business and Finance at California State University Northridge. While obtaining my degree, I was working at Los Angeles Property Company where I was given heavy responsibilities and essentially running the company single handedly. I decided to apply that enlightening experience towards opening up my own company one day.

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Originally I was managing four commercial properties in gritty, low income areas. My luck shifted when a good friend and business associate, James Suarez gave me a high end building to manage. This was the perfect opportunity for me to prove myself by performing and delivering on a larger scale. Before the end of 2004 I had over 100 units and contracts with ten buildings all over Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter I sold the company to a local property management firm which afforded me the freedom to pursue my true passion… Housing development, and this time not with LEGOs.

I am now currently the CEO of Dahan Properties, a Los Angeles based, full-service real estate development company. We develop properties and build Green, sustainable housing with the objective to make a client’s perfect “dream home,” a reality. Each house I build is an extension of my childhood vision of living in a world that is aesthetically, socially and environmentally pleasing. I am in the process of building several homes on Laurel Avenue in West Hollywood and upcoming projects in Hancock Park that will finish in 2014.

The eco-friendly element of my business is important, because these homes are bettering the community as they are designed to withstand earthquakes and reduce pollution. I see the eco-friendly homes as revolutionizing the real estate industry as we know it. Not only are these homes beneficial to the environment, they are also ultra-modern and extremely functional. Although I am living my dream as a developer, I see the success with real estate as only a stepping stone. I won’t feel 100 percent accomplished until the visions I had as a child of making the world a better place are completely manifested. 

My business projects are relevant to one another. Each project enriches the other, and they  all give back to charities. Dahan Properties is an umbrella for my entrepreneurial and philanthropic initiatives. I am in the process of building an app with a real estate focus. The proceeds generated from the app and all of my other business endeavors, will be given to The Dream Builders Project. Everything that I am doing from a business standpoint is with the intention of enriching my companies, and ultimately giving back to the community. The Dream Builders Project invests in charities and has already contributed to influential nonprofit organizations that speak to my past experiences.

If it weren’t for my early discovered passion for constructing objects and buildings, I wouldn’t have been able to pivot my life from a boy to an ambitious businessman. That’s why I am an avid supporter for nonprofit organizations like:  K.I.D.S, Habitat for Humanity, the Polaris Project, Restore NYC, The Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Advisors in Philanthropy, Lupus LA and Team Fox. I believe these organizations have a positive influence on the lives of people and have the potential to make a significant difference in their lives. With every contribution I make, I’m one step closer to accomplishing my dream. 

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