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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: April 2014

Financial Advisor Guides New Philanthropists

Peter Klein works with affluent families to develop estate planning to professionalize their philanthropy.

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On Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Peter will join me for a live discussion about strategies for maximizing impact through professional philanthropy.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

Peter’s bio:

Peter joined HighTower in 2013. Previously, Peter worked at UBS, where he was recognized in the UBS Global Circle of Excellence in 2008. Peter earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from Stony Brook University and a Master in Business Administration in finance from CUNY Baruch College in New York City. He is a Certified Financial Analyst® (CFA). Peter is also the author of two well-regarded books, Getting Started in Security Analysis (Wiley, 1998, 2009) and A Passion for Giving: Tools and Inspiration for Creating a Charitable Foundation (with Angelica Berrie, Wiley, 2012).

Peter and his wife have been married more than 20 years, and they have three children. He is very active in his community, advising private foundations in a professional capacity and volunteering on various boards. He is President of The Claire Friedlander Family Foundation and sits on the boards of The Holocaust & Tolerance Center of Nassau County, The Long Island Community Foundation; The Tilles Center for Performing Arts, The Dante Foundation; Bronx High School of Science Alumni Association and Endowment Committee

About High Tower:

HighTower is an industry-leading financial services firm offering a unique platform that blends objective wealth management advice with innovative technology. Our dedication to transparency in wealth management for investors and comprehensive support for independent advisors sets us apart. See www.hightoweradvisors.com.

At HighTower’s Klein Wealth Management, we are committed to providing financial insights and education to our clients. We dive deeply into questions of importance and are passionate about providing truly valuable solutions. We seek to make a meaningful impact in the lives of each of our clients. As a recognized authority in the areas of security analysis, investment management and philanthropic services, KleinWealth Management puts its extensive knowledge to work for affluent individuals, retirees, corporations and private foundations. Our commitment to providing financial insights and education gives us a distinct advantage as portfolio managers and advisors.

Klein Wealth Management provides enhanced services for charitable giving and private foundations. The accumulation of wealth quite often creates a desire to share it, to give back, often through contributions of time and resources to a foundation. Establishing a philanthropic legacy is a major accomplishment in any person’s life. The greater the philanthropic vision, the greater the complexities surrounding its realization—and the more important the details become. Philanthropy is a core capability at Klein Wealth Management. We encourage the “professionalization of giving” by helping you do well by doing good. We work collaboratively to find the most effective ways to establish your legacy through charitable giving so that the people and causes that are important to you receive the greatest benefit.

14 Social Entrepreneur Ideas That Will Surprise Or Inspire You

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Over the last several days, the Social Venture Network (SVN), a national association of social entrepreneurs held its spring conference in San Diego and I had the opportunity to attend.

Amory B. Lovins

The membership of SVN has a palpable passion for organic food, protecting the environment and changing the world. Below are some of the messages I picked up at the conference.

  1. Be Political. Gary Hirshberg, founder and chair of Stonyfield, said he left his position as CEO of Stonyfields to work full time at advocating and lobbying on behalf of the organic industry. He emphasized that 92% of Americans favor disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients in their food. This won’t happen, he says, without collective advocacy.
  2. Go where others don’t. Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, shared the story of opening a store in downtown Detroit, where there hasn’t been a supermarket in 30 years. The community has rallied around the store to make it a success and the company has learned from it, allowing the company to learn how to open stores in other inner-city communities.
  3. Corporations harm the environment but many don’t want to. Amy Larkin, author of Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy explained the connection between the growing environmental crisis and global economics. She noted that many corporations want to invest in clean tech, but choose not to because of the short term financial pain—even though many green investments have positive long term financial impacts. She advocated specifically for accelerated depreciation for green infrastructure investments to incentivize, really enable, corporations to invest in reducing the environmental harm.
  4. “Children in America don’t lack calories, they lack food.” Neil Grimmer, Plum Organics, President and Founder says the company make food available to food banks because there are 16 million kids who lack consistent access to food, creating a need for billions of meals per year. Having donated over 3.6 million, Grimmer notes there is a lot left to do.
  5. Rape is treated as an occupational hazard in the military. Megan Lowry, whose father was a Marine and who committed suicide within the past week, creating the emotional pinnacle of the conference by sharing her experience as a woman who had been raped in the military, and as the victim was treated as the offender and ostracized. On average, 22 veterans kill themselves every day. Megan herself attempted suicide four times and was ultimate helped by an organization called Honoring the Path of the Warrior.
  6. “Place matters.” Kondra Mason, the CEO and co-founder of Impact Hub Oakland, share the story of Trevor was killed in a drive-by shooting, despite having no involvement with gangs because he lived in Watts, near Los Angeles. She notes that “Your zip code has more to do with your life expectancy than your genetic code.” Her point: society must do more to support and improve communities like Watts.
  7. Classism is found in the disconnects. Betsy Leondar-Wright, program director, Class Action, pointed out that good intentions of founders, owners and managers may not achieve all of their objectives because of unrecognized classism. Hiring practices, advancement and other activities may be intended to achieve diversity, but may actually work against it in subtle ways because management may lack the perspective and understanding of employees who come from working class or poor families.
  8. “Money is a dangerous substance.” Money tends to corrupt; few people can handle large amounts of money without being corrupted by its, says Joel Solomon, Chairman of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest social venture capital firm. “Love,” he says, “is the real currency” for social change. We have to take responsibility for the way our money is used, including especially when it is invested. He challenged the audience to consider the impact of every financial decision.
  9. The world can save $5 trillion per year by eliminating the use of fossil fuels. Amory B. Lovins, whom Time named as one of the “100 Most Influential People” explained how using existing technology, the automobile industry can—and will—shift to advanced, light-weight materials to reduce the need for batteries by more than 50%. Similarly, commercial transportation technology is creating trucks, buses and airplanes that are three times as efficient as today’s standard. Additional gains can be realized with planning and incentives for reduced driving. By 2050, Lovins argues, the world can move completely away from fossil fuels for transportation, saving the world $4 trillion per year. The last trillion in savings will come as demand for electricity declines, he says, because energy efficiency in buildings will provide economic benefits based on existing technology.
  10. Faith and values can drive successful entrepreneurship. Adnan Durani, who was recognized at the conference for his service to the SVN community, founded American Halal/Saffron Road, a food company that sells Halal certified products. His strategy was built around his Muslim faith and a desire to encourage healthy food and social justice. The company has become the largest producer of Halal food in the U.S. and reports that 70% of customers are not Muslim.
  11. A soccer ball can make a difference. Mal Warwick, founder of One World Futbol, a social enterprise that makes and distributes nearly indestructible soccer balls around the developing world, fostering play and exercise among disadvantaged children. Warwick was inspired by his experience as a youth in the Peace Corps where he saw children who had literally nothing to play with.
  12. Don’t just be a designer, become a designer with a mission. Amy Hall of Eileen Fisher, the successful social enterprise that uses organic fabrics and employs people at fair wages, noted the special culture of her company, where designers have told her, “Before, I was a designer. Now I am a designer with a mission.” She celebrates the shift that individuals and companies can make to go beyond production to production with a purpose.
  13. Not all impact investments work. Philanthropist and impact investor Bonny Meyer has learned by experience that some of the mission driven projects into which she has invested failed. She has nonetheless continued investing for social impact. She is now a partner, with Bob Massaro, in Thriving Communities, a real estate development company that builds workforce housing that are sustainably built and designed to foster real communities where people care about each other. Many of their communities are designed with such efficiency that there is no electric bill. They are seeking to build the greenest multi-family housing in America.
  14. A marriage can survive social entrepreneurship. Husband and wife business partners Dale Rodrigues and Mary Waldner launched Mary’s Gone Crackers more than ten years ago. At the conference, the reminisced about the early days—and the frequent fights that accompanied the launch of what has become a successful organic, vegan, whole-grain, kosher food company. And they are still married today. In fact, it was only working as a team that allowed them to maintain control when a power struggle with venture capitalists developed.

New Impact Investment Fund At Columbia Launched To Solve Big Social Problems

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

A team of young social entrepreneurs has created an impact investing fund at Columbia University called 118 Capital that will operate as a nonprofit. The founders all have recent degrees from Columbia.

118 Capital will invest in the U.S. and Latin America, focusing on serving underprivileged groups there. The fund will engage students in the process, providing an excellent educational experience for them while providing low cost labor for the fund. The team is fundraising presently on the crowdfunding site Razoo, where the tally shows just over $50,000 donated.

On April 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM Eastern, three of the leaders of the new fund will me for a live discussion about their efforts to solve big world problems by funding social entrepreneurs. Tune in live here to watch the interview.

About 118 Capital:

118 Capital is an impact investing organization and fellowship program that believes innovative entrepreneurs can solve society’s most important economic, social and environmental challenges. It exists to find, finance and support social enterprises and entrepreneurs working towards measurably improving conditions for underprivileged groups in the United States and Latin America while contributing to the development of future leaders that are changing the way we value businesses today.

Goodman’s bio:

Alex holds an MPA in Economics and Energy from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Bucknell University. Prior to 118 Capital, Alex spent five years with the advisory practice of Grant Thornton, where he advised a range of public and private clients in Washington D.C., Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay on corporate and project finance and performance management. He also was responsible for business development to support Grant Thornton International’s global growth initiatives.

Bertie’s bio:

Tanita is a Colombian industrial engineer and operations specialist with over six years of experience in customer acquisition, negotiation, transportation logistics and process optimization. She holds an MPA fom Columbia University’s School of International Affairs. Tanita helped certify the First Fair trade rose grower in Colombia and had valuable experience working within a sustained coordination of public & private sectors initiatives through Alianzas Productivas Para la Paz program.

Price’s bio:

Mr. Price has over eights years of experience in the social impact sector. He holds a masters degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and bachelors degree in Economics from Boston College. Mr. Price has worked with the Peace Corps, GOOD/Corps, the Global Impact Investing Network and Columbia’s Impact Investing Initiative where he served clients such as Echoing Green, IGNIA, and TONIIC. Mr. Price has raised millions in philanthropic funding for the national headquarters of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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The Woman Who Is Trying To Prevent 4 Million Deaths Each Year

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Nancy Hughes, a widow who might have been expected to enjoy a quiet retirement with an occasional cruise on a calendar, has instead joined the effort to address one of the world’s single biggest problems: poor people in the developing world are killing themselves and their children cooking over open fires while deforesting the planet in the bargain.

Working with her Rotary club, Nancy has established a nonprofit organization called Stove Team International that built seven factories in five countries to manufacture clean burning wood stoves that require less than half as much wood and produce no visible smoke, 68 percent less particulate matter and 85 percent less carbon emission. Because the stoves are locally produced, they create quality jobs in communities that desperately need them. Almost 45,000 stoves have been produced so far, but that is a drop in the bucket compared with the estimated need of six million stoves in Guatemala alone.

Stove Team TISI +0.81% International was recognized for its work by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stove Team notes that, “The most dangerous activity a woman can undertake in the developing world is cooking for her family.” The indoor air pollution is believed to cause 4 million deaths per year. Not only is the indoor air pollution resulting from the stoves devastating to the health of mother and children, but the some estimates suggest that 4 million burns occur each year associated with cooking fires. The scale of indoor cooking fires generates one billion tons of greenhouse gases each year and contributes dramatically to deforestation.

“I was very lucky,” Hughes says. “I was left with enough money to do what I want. This is what I want to do.”

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Hughes will join me here for a live discussion about her work. Tune in here then and listen while you work.

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Nancy Hughes

Nancy’s bio:

In 2002, Nancy Sanford Hughes’ life changed forever. During a medical mission to Guatemala, Nancy met a girl whose hands had been burned shut after falling into an open fire at the age of two. Nancy soon learned that burns were only part of the problem of open cooking fires.

Throughout the world, mothers tend smoky indoor cookstoves with babies strapped to their backs – babies who breathe in the equivalent of three packs of cigarettes per day. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of death among children under five, and Nancy was advised there was a need for six million stoves in Guatemala alone to protect people from these dire health problems.

For Nancy, the only solution was to find a way to distribute safe fuel-efficient stoves that would save lives.

Within a year, with the help of her Rotary club and other supporters, Nancy worked with volunteers and engineers to help develop a safe, portable and affordable fuel-efficient stove, and also helped a local entrepreneur in El Salvador start a factory to produce them.

StoveTeam International has now helped establish seven factories in four countries with more in development.

To date, StoveTeam has worked with entrepreneurs who have created their own businesses and produced and sold more than 44,600 stoves, improving the lives of more than 334,000 people in Mexico and Central America.

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Social Entrepreneur Launches Kuli Kuli Bars Into NorCal Grocery Stores

On April 23, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Lisa Curtis, the CEO and Founder of Kuli Kuli will join me for a live discussion about her social venture.

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More about Kuli Kuli:

Kuli Kuli is the first company to introduce moringa, a unique superfood, to the U.S. food market. Moringa was featured on the Dr. Oz show last year and Kuli Kuli was recently on the homepage of Yahoo! in an article entitled “The Next Superfood is Here and It’s Called Moringa.” Kuli Kuli’s first product is a gluten-free nutrition bar full of simple, wholesome ingredients and a nutritious burst of moringa. Kuli Kuli supports women-owned farming cooperatives in West Africa to grow moringa and use it to improve the health of their communities. Kuli Kuli recently raised $53,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, making us one of the most popular food campaigns in Indiegogo’s history. Kuli Kuli is now selling in Northern California Whole Foods stores and other natural foods grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tune in here to watch the interview live!

If you have any difficulty viewing the video here, try viewing on YouTube.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe on iTunes.

Lisa’s bio:

Lisa Curtis began working on Kuli Kuli while in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. As a volunteer in her village’s health center, she gained a first-hand understanding of the common nutritional challenges faced in West African villages and how moringa can play a role in helping to address a few of those challenges. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic where she managed a team of six to grow the company from zero to over $5M invested in solar through Mosaic’s online marketplace. Previously, Lisa wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, served as a United Nations Environment Programme Youth Advisor and worked at an impact investment firm in India. She writes for a variety of outlets including Forbes, The Huffington Post and Grist. Lisa has been recognized as a StartingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator and a Udall Scholar.

Changing the World with Data & Technology

This is a guest post from Tamarah Black, CEO, Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group

When the family foundation I was working with wanted to know how its donations could make a bigger impact on the nonprofit organizations receiving them, the quest to find an answer morphed into a three-year research project. I managed the grant administration and made recommendations to our board about funding, but there were very few tools that helped me make those recommendations. Mostly, I relied on meetings with the nonprofit’s executives and their annual reports, which was incredibly time-consuming and expensive. There were hundreds of nonprofits programs with projects and by my calculations, it would have taken more than three years to meet with each of them just once.

With the direction and support of the foundation’s president, I was able to use those three years in a more productive pursuit – creating a database that would allow me to see performance data, analyze it and compare it. To my surprise and dismay, there was a lack of available data; very few of the nonprofits knew if they had the data we needed, or if they did, it was not compatible to compare it to the others; everyone was tracking results differently and it was difficult to learn much about the organization outside of the tax records.

As we began building the database, we learned how to code various pieces of data so they could be compared, pulled up in reports, tracked and matched with our mission. The results of that project not only changed the way that foundation makes funding decisions today, but it spawned the idea behind the development of Phoenix Impact Exchange, a cloud-based social networking platform that reimagines the logistics of philanthropy by uniting data, analytics, performance measurement, grant management and storytelling to connect every stakeholder in the nonprofit sector.

From that research, we understood that there are subtleties and nuances that can skew straight data, making a nonprofit look less effective than it actually is, and vice versa. Looking beyond the language of numbers, Impact Exchange makes room for the subtlety and storytelling that funders need to be aware of, and nonprofits wish for, when facing evaluation.

For Impact Exchange, we used the intelligence and experience gained from our previous research and development to initiate a dialogue with experts across many fields that led to conceptualizing a new scalable platform that can bring together vast amounts of data from nonprofits across the U.S. and provide funders with “nonprofit intelligence” in a way that previously was simply impossible.

We introduced the Impact Exchange prototype at SXSW in March to a very enthusiastic audience. Nonprofit executives were eager to offset the cost of entering their organizations’ data using Impact Exchange’s gamification technology, so they can finally reap rewards parallel to the data and effort they provide. They also were happy with the opportunity to get to tell their story to an interested audience, build new relationships with funders, raise more money, articulate their impact, reduce administration fatigue and become “investment ready.” Funders – foundations, philanthropists, institutions –areinterested in the ability to use the cloud data platform and nonprofit intelligence dashboard to access the information, receive secure direct, immediate exposure to the results of grants and investments, monitor and evaluate grants, manage a strategic portfolio, measure portfolio performance against third-party sector benchmarks, obtain sector insights, trends and reports and obtain criteria based “opportunity “alerts for joint ventures and projects. Providing Standard & Poor’s-like reports on social benefit organizations and their impact, Impact Exchange has the potential to become the standard-bearer of the $316 billion US philanthropic industry.

As we prepare for its second round of funding, we believe Impact Exchange is a national surveying apparatus that will forever change the philanthropic industry….and ultimately, the world.

To learn more about Impact Exchange, visit our website: http://pcgimpact.com/what-we-do/phoenix-impact-exchange/. Follow us on Twitter: @pcgimpact; and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/phoenixcosmopolitangroup.

New Podcast Series Gives Easy Access To Inspiring Content

For the past year, I have been using Google Hangouts on Air to interview CEOs, celebrities, impact investors and social entrepreneurs to learn what they are doing to make the world a better place–and how we can help. Now I’ve created a podcast to share some of the best content in a format that many find easier to use for long-format interviews.

It is been a wonderful to get to know so many remarkable people. In March, I interviewed John Taft, the CEO of RBC Wealth Management-US, about the company’s $50 million commitment to improving access to clean water.

Last fall, I interviewed Archie Panjabi, who plays the smart, seductive and tough-as-nails Kalinda on “The Good Wife,” talking about Rotary’s effort to eradicate polio.

In January, I visited with 16-year-old Jack Andraka about his invention of a diagnostic device for detecting pancreatic cancer while he was still in middle school. We discuss the reality that we can rid the world of cancer within thirty years.

Each week I do a new set of interviews, so every day at 7:00 Eastern a new episode is posted and will be available on iTunes. Even if you don’t live in an Apple world, you can subscribe to the podcast here. To scroll through the available episodes, click here or simply see below.

You can also listen to the podcasts on Stitcher here.

All of the interviews I do will continue to be available on the websites for which they were created, Forbes, CrowdFundBeat, Crowdcast and right here on Your Mark on the World. You can also find them on my YouTube channel.

New Technology for Growing Food Spurs Movement

This is a guest post from Richard Nelson, Founder of lifePOD.

Food is a very difficult subject, since agriculture is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The problem is more than the challenge of “closing the hunger gap” – we have an even bigger problem with global agribusiness, because our food, in the form of grain, has become a weapon that destroys health and is bring the ecosystems of the earth to the point of collapse. And the truth is, we cannot win when we battle with nature. The dogma that we are in a “struggle for life” is framed in a system of untruths we all have learned in an education that is designed for our oppression and and is then imprinted upon our emotions by the constant shocks and trauma of living in a system with extremes of scarcity and excessive accumulation – and we become so conditioned by this life experience that we start building our own walls of isolation that immobilize our possibilities for change.

We think it cannot be true that a few powerful corporations and the privileged people who control them can be so unjust as to exhaust the earth and undermine the health and manipulate the freedom of the vast majority of people; but our eyes must open to see that: “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings… Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.“ – Nelson Mandella (from “Make Poverty History” day speech, London 2005).

Even with global population peaking above 9 billion, we can succeed in our mission to intensively localize food abundance with a common sense solution, lifePOD, that we are co-creating in a global Creative Commons collaboration. However, while the “livingry” innovations are essential, it is equally challenging to birth the new social enterprise relationships of collaboration & cooperation that will empower a local-to-global movement for food security for everyone, everywhere. Together, we can build a viral movement with the power to disrupt the entrenched and powerful agribusiness system and the old world of scarcity, hunger and poverty will be "made history”.

HIPGive: Leveraging Investments in a New Age

This is a guest post from Diana Campoamor, the CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Most people don’t associate Hispanics with “typical” philanthropy; however Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) is working to change that perspective through the power of personal storytelling and impact investing. Examples of Latino generosity are everywhere, although sometimes unseen to the public eye. There’s the humble family who won the lottery and started a foundation in San Jose, California. Or employee number 500 at Facebook who grew up a campesino farm worker and now runs his own foundation. Or the beltway bandit who a decade ago made good on her promise to never ignore another’s suffering, and turned her energies to human rights activism.

These important stories of Latino generosity inspire HIP’s work towards strengthening Latino leaders, diversifying the field of philanthropy, and increasing investments in Latino communities. Building upon its past work and the culture of Latino giving, HIP recently entered the exciting world of crowdfunding with the launch of HIPGive, an innovative online giving platform specifically focused on Latino issues and capacity building of Latino community organizations in the U.S. and across the Americas.

Cutting edge technology has been at the center of great discussion regarding its potential for wide-scale social impact. It would be impossible to ignore these conversations or the impact that so many have made thus far in utilizing these new tools—they’ve shaken up the world, the potential for communication, and, to a great extent, the potential within the world of philanthropy.

What makes this foray so unique for HIP is how it incorporates a key tenet of HIP’s philosophy on social impact: the potential for leveraging investments.

In the early years, HIP launched as a member organization – a way to network, promote diversity within the world of philanthropy and identify gaps in knowledge about the needs of the Latino civil sector. In 2000, however, a meeting of minds conceived of a bold and innovative way to achieve a much greater social impact through the power of leverage, which earned HIP the Scrivner Award for Creative Grant making and led to the disbursement of over $45million over the subsequent 13 years.

The HIP Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities was a groundbreaking model wherein large grants, solicited by HIP, were matched and distributed by HIP and mid-level funders to carefully-vetted grassroots non-profits within these funder’s own communities. Specifically, the model highlighted leverage as an incentive for impact investing, and incorporated capacity building tools and convenings into the grant making process.

HIPGive is not a blind stumble into the world of crowdfunding and online social impact. With incentivizing leverage prizes from big funders, and capacity building tools for grantees to build out their online projects, it’s a carefully crafted tool based on the lessons learned and the approach honed through the Funders’ Collaborative. It’s a translation of a successful model to modern-day standards, bringing funders of all sizes to a new table – one in the online world, and equipping Latino community organizations with the tools they need to share their stories within the field of philanthropy.

Hidden Casualties of War: Supporting the Children of Wounded Veterans

This is a guest post from Margaret B. Davis, President of Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

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Margaret B. Davis

“My friends deal with planning a party Friday or Saturday night, and I deal with whether I should drive my dad to the hospital or my mom should.”

This isn’t your typical teenager’s weekend plan, but it’s the stark reality for many of the 52,000 children living with a parent who has been wounded in action—particularly the severely wounded.This jolting perspective was shared by a 15-year-old daughter of a wounded Marine a recent study.

The groundbreaking Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members: Hidden Casualties of War, commissioned by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, zeroed in on the roadblocks that prevent children of wounded veterans from thriving—and the ways that we, as a Nation, are falling short in our support of them.

As the President and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the country’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, I’ve seen the ways military kids struggle and sacrifice. The children of wounded veterans grow up fast–they have to. They take on caretaking duties and often experience stress and uncertainty at home.

Seeing this every day inspired us to commission this study.

For a year, we worked closely with researchers at the University of San Diego, along with our partners at more than a dozen organizations–including the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, and the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment. Researchers interviewed the wounded and their families, took stock of available resources, and spoke to dozens of organizations that support the wounded.

The full study, which is available on our website, is a clarion call from the families of the wounded to the organizations that support them. Resources available to these children quite often miss the mark. They’re lacking, and the resources that are available often don’t address long-term needs.

It’s essential that veteran service organizations work together towards collective impact that children and spouses of severely wounded service members desperately need.

In 2011, the Scholarship Foundation established the Heroes Tribute Scholarship Program for Children of the Wounded: We provide up to $40,000 in post-high school scholarship support to children of injured Marines and Navy Corpsmen–ensuing an education is not one more thing these families must sacrifice.

While we’ve supported many children’s pursuit of an education, there’s much more to be done—and as 12 years of war wind down, our job is just beginning.

A critical component of the study is its recommendations, pulled directly from interviews with families of the wounded. These families are asking us for:

  • Long-term family resiliency programs that prepare families for the future
  • Online communities for children to connect with one another
  • Mentoring and “healthy parenting” programs for parents
  • A central database of available support in local areas across the country

It’s not possible for one organization to do it all, and we have a long road ahead of us as we, as a nation, support these families as they heal. But together, we can continue to strive toward collective impact—by sharing a common agenda, keeping consistent and open communication, and reinforcing and supporting each other’s activities.

Our hope is that this study will help us all rise to the challenge: ensuring there are no more hidden casualties.

Read more at the Scholarship Foundation at www.mcsf.org. Join the dialogue on Twitter and Facebook.

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