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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: November 2013

Products That Support The Producers

Guest post by James Edwin Bettney.

In Nepalese culture, widows are discriminated against, often being branded witches or whores. Their society believes it is their immoral actions in a previous life that form the defining reasons  behind the deaths of their husbands. They have, therefore, been ostracized for generations, losing their status in both the home and society. Forsaken even by their own families, they struggle to find enough work to feed their children and put a roof over their heads.

Below is an introduction to the Takuro documentary, telling the story of these outcast women.

Ocean Of Sorrows from Takuro. on Vimeo.

We believe that for too long, large corporate fashion houses and brands have exploited cheap labour in order to manufacture products at unsustainable prices. This trend has to stop and a new age of ethical fashion has to take its place.
 
Our ethos at Takuro is to work with outcast widows in Nepal, who have suffered generations of discrimination. With the help of the charity WHR-SWG (Women for Human Rights – Single Woman’s Group) who train these women to sew, we will employ widows from Nepal, giving them the means to be independent.
 
We won’t just stop there, however. Our profits will go back into providing shelter for these women and their children, as well as better facilities to manufacture the very best quality products. We want to support everyone in our team because that’s what families do and that’s what we want to achieve. Our goal is to build a large international family that keeps quality and equality at the core of its belief.

Please visit our Indiegogo campaign page to have a look at our products and find out more about our social impact venture: http://igg.me/at/takuro

Project Picnic: How to Engage Your Employees to Create a Meaningful CSR Activity

Guest post by Laura McCafferty. Follow Nestlé Waters North America on Twitter.

As we head into the holiday season, those of us at Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) have been reflecting on the ways we have given back this year. NWNA is committed to encouraging volunteerism, and it’s important to us that our employees spend time giving back to the community around us.

In September, we started to discuss how NWNA could celebrate National Volunteer Month, but at first, we weren’t sure how. We decided to turn to our employees for inspiration and to find out what they cared about most. One employee suggested a volunteer initiative to beautify and restore the communities around the Stamford area that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Noticeably absent from these communities were picnic tables that had been lost or destroyed. The team of volunteer coordinators suggested that we build picnic tables out of recycled plastic bottles.  Given NWNA’s goal of achieving a 60 percent recycling rate for PET plastic bottles in the U.S. by 2018, we immediately took to this idea. The result: Project Picnic.

On October 3, NWNA organized a collaborative community event, along with project partners Cougles Recycling Inc. and Keep America Beautiful, to engage local non-profit organizations that could benefit from new picnic tables.  Volunteers were broken up into teams led by safety leaders and worked side by side with recipients to create the six-foot long picnic tables. NWNA CEO Tim Brown and then Mayor of Stamford, Michael Pavia, were on hand to help and spent time speaking with volunteers. At the end of the day, Project Picnic volunteers built 111 bright blue picnic tables using 15,000 lbs. of recycled material made from 120,000 HDPE plastic bottles provided by event partner Cougles Recycling, Inc.  The tables were then donated to over 20 participating local parks and non-profit organizations.

“Keep America Beautiful came out in full force to build picnic tables for the Stamford community,” said Peter O’Keefe, manager, Keep America Beautiful. “There was a great vibe as many employees and nonprofits came together for a great cause.”

“Our team enjoyed working side-by-side with Nestlé Waters staff and other community organizations in support of   Project Picnic,” said Brenda Smith, Human Resources Manager, Stepping Stones Museum for Children. “We had fun building three tables, one of which we were able to take back with us to share with staff in our outdoor break area. Many thanks to  Nestlé  Waters for not only caring about the environment, but for supporting local non-profit organizations like Stepping Stones Museum for Children.”

Recipients of the picnic tables included the City of Stamford Parks and Beaches, Bartlett Arboretum, Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, the Connecticut Humane Society, DOMUS, Gray Farms Nursery School, Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Inspirica, Kids Helping Kids, Sound Waters, Stamford Animal Shelter, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, and Stepping Stones Museum.

NWNA employees from around the country teamed up to create picnic tables for their own communities. Our NWNA team in Raynham donated their tables to a local Boys and Girls Club, and our team in Carlisle, Ohio donated their tables to a local elementary school. Our team in Pasadena, Texas constructed tables and gave them to a neighborhood school serving limited-income children.

All in all, this was a wonderfully rewarding event. It was exciting to see the picnic tables go up around Stamford and know that we supported a cause that our employees truly cared for. We hope to continue this tradition of volunteering through the New Year and into 2014, and look forward to our next NWNA Volunteer Month project.

Do you have the next big idea? Get your prototype built for free!

Guest post from Vishesh Duggar, CEO and Founder of CauseCode.

Startups are busy finishing up their applications and garnering some momentum by collecting votes towards their application as I write this.

500Hrs is a unique incubator for cash strapped startups to work with a high quality software development team for free! But for that to happen they need to prove that they are pursuing something that solves a pain, are passionate about solving it and all they need is some momentum.

It’s amazing to see startups from so many verticals apply, we have teams from social media startups, water conservation, dating, deals, advertisements, video distribution, crowdfunding, entertainment, mobile to you name it. We are currently accepting applications and you can apply here. The last date to apply 4th December 2013.

Who should apply and why?

You have an idea that can change things around, make a difference in somebody’s life and you are itching to make it happen. Your solution to the problem has a crucial web or mobile component.

We have been working with startups for 5 years now and have startups like AltruHelp, ClothesCritics, WeAreCurio.us, Addicaid and CheersMeUp to name a few. You are getting a chance to build this prototype for 0 USD, no strings attached. Typically it takes somewhere around 25,000 USD to build something like this.

Why we are doing it?

It is surprising how many people with great ideas are robbed of the opportunity to pursue building a company that could make a difference as they are too busy with their 9 to 5 jobs or don’t have a team to execute. During our years of experience in working and talking to startups one of the biggest problems we’ve come across is the lack of funds to build a prototype. And to get funds you need to actually show investors some traction for which you need build a prototype. Chicken and an egg! But I am hoping that we do more than just help one startup. For all the startups competing, our goal is to make 500Hrs becomes a platform to showcase their team and hopefully gain the momentum and strength needed to take that leap!

“79% of startup founders have no prior experience in startups. 52% pursue their startup part time. I think if we can provide them enough momentum to convert full time and if they can avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made or seen other startups make, it could make a difference.”

How can you help?

We are trying to reach out to as many people as we can in the pursuit to find a life changing idea that is solving a pain. If this isn’t the program for you but you like what we are doing, please share this with other startups or people in your life who could use this opportunity. You can also click here to tweet about it. 

JB Dondolo – Everyone deserves a chance to have a better life

Guest post from JB Dondolo.

JB Dondolo (www.jbdondolo.org) believes in the achievement to provide a marked balance, enrich lives, and create a positive ripple effect for future generations to come. The mission is simple. To promote and develop projects that stimulate growth and improve people’s lives in low-income, impoverished areas. The focus is on humanitarian projects that have been started but not finished or thought of but not started, all due to certain circumstances.

Our main focus is on those markets that cannot afford the simple, basic necessities.

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The foundation was founded by Dondolo’s children in November of 2012. The foundation is named after the late father, JB Dondolo, an orphan, farmer and humanitarian advocate, whose values and principles on giving continue to inspire his children, friends, and families across the world. JB Dondolo played a critical role in the fight against poverty. Dondolo’s children saw the need to form a foundation in honor of their father so his legacy of good deeds continues. 

J.B. Dondolo, Inc. works on one project at a time. Presently, the Igusi Hospital project in the rural area of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, Africa, is the first project in the pipeline since the organization was just launched this year. Igusi Hospital, really a clinic that is run like a hospital, lacks basic necessities. The actions of J.B. Dondolo, Inc., working together with the hospital’s staff can save the lives of mothers, unborn and newborn children, the elderly, and the rest of the Igusi community. Not to mention the fact that the construction project also creates local employment for all of the men and women contractors in the general vicinity towards the completion of the hospital. The project needs additional awareness in order to bring in more donations so that the building can continue and the entire project finished.

The following is a short video that encapsulates the efforts of J.B. Dondolo, Inc. and the Igusi Hospital Project.

The company provides charitable services to the needy by promoting and developing programs and projects that stimulate growth in the low income areas; projects that have been thought of but not started or started but not finished due to certain circumstances. Our interest is in those projects that promote community growth and a better future.

In today’s world, it is vital to give and help those who can’t otherwise help themselves. We value every effort with the understanding that even the smallest effort counts as long as a good deed is done for the less fortunate and progress is measurable. It takes a village to raise a child, but it will take all of us working together to save lives. We value the partnerships and connections we make. We look forward to working with you to accomplish our mission.

Why Shared Giving Matters

Guest post from Susan Cooney, Givelocity Founder & CEO.

Why Shared Giving Matters

Susan Cooney, Givelocity Founder & CEO

For the past 20 years, I have watched technology evolve and connect us in ways I could never have imagined. At LinkExchange, I learned from Tony Hsieh the importance of building online communities. At PayPal, Peter Thiel showed me the tremendous potential in facilitating peer-to-peer transactions. I saw the transformative power of connecting people, and I began to wonder how it could be applied to the world of philanthropy. After all, I wanted to give, but alone, what difference could I make?

Today’s technology enables us to seek out and quickly build new connections based on natural affinities. It amplifies our collective voice and increases our ability to effect change. Why not harness our social networks and collective reasoning for good? By building communities for shared giving, I believe we reinforce our sense of fellowship and our human desire to connect with and support others. We gain the power to change the world.

Thanks to today’s increased connectivity and transparency, we see social challenges more clearly, and in real-time. Yet despite that connectivity, we still watch, seemingly helpless, as people starve, animals suffer, and segments of society are repressed. With our limited time, money, and insight, how can we possibly make any difference? And, even if we feel passionately about giving, we are pre-conditioned to find that one cause, and to then give as much as we can to a charity serving it. It’s a very singular behavior, and it perpetuates one of the biggest challenges facing NPOs today: most giving is one-time or event-driven, making their business models, no matter how important their cause, unsustainable. Then we hear that only a small percentage of our donation actually went to the cause, making us question our charitable impact.

The bottom line is that most of us can only give so much as individuals. And we lack leverage because our dollars are distributed. We don’t see significant impact in any one area because we’re spreading our resources out, not pooling them. Charities lack leverage too. They’re forced to spend inordinate portions of our donations on fundraising because they didn’t receive enough to support their programs. And they come back to us again and again for more.

Charities also constantly compete for donations. With 1.6 million registered charities in the U.S. alone, and the hundreds of thousands of causes listed on sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Crowdrise, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus enough resources to drive world-changing, sustainable solutions.

As I read stories about persistent human and global issues, I ask myself, why haven’t we solved these problems? We have the resources and the capacity; where’s the innovation? What if we turn our social networks into communities for shared giving?

Enter Givelocity, a platform for shared giving among social networks. By building online communities that nourish philanthropic themes, we create a more powerful ecosystem for giving. We mitigate the lack of leverage by coming together with many small donations around single themes for deeper social impact. We promote a more sustainable model of active, subscription-based giving, relieving charities of the need to come back and ask for more.

With Neighborhoods, a new feature launching on December 3rd, Giving Tuesday, members can pool their donations with others’ to target specific areas of interest. Animal lovers can ‘move in’ to the Animal Kingdom Neighborhood and know that their monthly donations will only benefit animal causes. Members focused on children’s causes can ‘move in’ to the Children’s Network Neighborhood and be assured that their dollars will only support children. Members are welcome to join as many neighborhoods as they like. If they don’t see a neighborhood that feeds their passion, they can build their own. Together, we can leverage crowdsourcing to drive funding support to causes that matter most to our shared communities.

As we better map our common human threads, we can make more dramatic progress in areas like poverty, hunger, access to clean water, and other major social themes. Givelocity offers a transformative user experience, increasing members’ network power exponentially for higher social outcomes.

We are disrupting philanthropy by tapping into a new era of connection. That matters. Join us at http://www.givelocity.com/join/ and follow us at http://twitter.com/givelocity and http://www.facebook.com/Givelocity.

For Forbes this morning I visited with Jack Andraka, the genius teenager who created a new device to diagnose pancreatic cancer. Just watch one minute of this video. Jack is amazing!

Social Entrepreneur Shares Her Story Live

Jessica Ekstrom, who recently shared her story in a blog post here, will join me live on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM to talk about her efforts to help those suffering from cancer.

Jessica’s bio:

My name is Jessica Ekstrom (you can call me Jess) and I’m a student at North Carolina State University. Here’s a little about me and Headbands of Hope…
Right before my 20th birthday in the summer of 2011, I did an internship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina.
During my internship, I saw that girls loved to wear headbands after losing their hair to chemotherapy. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already and losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic. Not only do they have to face the risk of losing their lives, they feel that they lose a part of their feminine identity. 
Therefore I started Headbands of Hope! For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to theSt. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.

The Cellular Connection Spreading A “Culture Of Good”

Guest post by Scott Moorehead, president and CEO of The Cellular Connection.

All parents remember their proudest moments of their children: baby’s first steps, toddler’s first craft project, first “A” on a test. Before they know it, those children have grown into young adults, throwing their graduation caps in the air.

These are memories every parent should be able to have and life events every child should be able to experience. Unfortunately, sometimes these are merely dreams for families. Nearly 16 million children live in the U.S. under poverty, and 40 percent of children living in poverty aren’t prepared for primary schooling. As CEO of The Cellular Connection (TCC), which has 900 stores nationwide, I knew my company had the ability to make an impact on children in a major way. After coming across these heartbreaking statistics, I worked with my team to come up with a way to give back to low-income families. This was the first step in developing our “Culture of Good,” a concept I implemented with the intention of giving back to the local communities in which we do business.

As the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S., a significant part of our company’s efforts focus on community investment. On Aug. 3, we held the School Rocks Backpack Giveaway where we donated 60,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children across the U.S. Each store donated roughly 100-150 backpacks filled with school supplies. There was no “catch” for the customer. They could literally just walk in our doors and grab a backpack for their kid(s).

Why backpacks? According to the National Retail Federation, the average person with children in grades K-12 spends $95.44 on school supplies. I realized that not all families had the means to spend that amount of money on school supplies for their kids. I wanted to give kids backpacks they could be proud to wear on their first day of school and supplies that would help them succeed in the classroom.

We made a difference for 60,000 kids by simply leveraging our presence in local communities. TCC’s School Rocks Backpack Giveaway was a huge success and allowed parents to focus on providing other necessities for their children: food on the table, medical check-ups, clothing and more. With our national backpack giveaway, we took the idea of a “Culture of Good” to a level I couldn’t have dreamed of. And, that got the wheels turning on how we could do even more.

Shortly after the giveaway, I implemented a policy where each of our 1,400 employees can take two paid days off a year to volunteer at a local organization of their choice. Additionally, I’m giving $500 to every TCC store to give back to the local community however they wish. With more than 900 stores across the U.S., those little ways of giving back will really add up. 

I’m honored to represent a company that practices social responsibility. With our School Rocks Backpack Giveaway, we helped the dreams of parents and children come true. Our “Culture of Good” initiative puts me at peace knowing that we are doing all we can to make the world a better place.

Scott Moorehead is president and CEO of The Cellular Connection (TCC), the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S. with more than 900 locations across 28 states. Founded in Marion, Ind., in 1991 by Steve and Phyllis Moorehead, TCC owes its success to its ability to hire top-notch professionals who understand the meaning of customer service.

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