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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: May 2014

The Women of Crowdfunding

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

While tech entrepreneurship continues to be dominated by men (see Cheryl Snapp Conner’s piece), women appear to be playing a larger role in the crowdfunding ecosystem.

Note that Sally Outlaw, included in this article, is one of my clients.

There is a growing list of influential women leading the crowdfunding industry. Sara Hanks, CEO of CrowdCheck, Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul, Jenny Kassan, CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo, Sally Outlaw, CEO of Peerbackers, Danae Ringelmann, Co-founder of Indiegogo, Joy Schoffler, CEO of Leverage PR, and Joanna Schwartz, CEO of EarlyShares will all join me for a live discussion about the crowdfunding industry.

The live discussion will occur at 2:00 PM Eastern on May 14, 2014. Tune in here then to watch the discussion.

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Hanks’ bio:

Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. Sara’s most recent position was General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Prior to that, Sara spent many years as a partner of Clifford Chance, one of the world’s largest law firms. Sara began her career in London and later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process.

Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Helman’s bio:

Jilliene Helman is the Founder and CEO of RealtyMogul.com. Realty Mogul is crowdfunding for real estate, the largest online marketplace for investors to pool money and buy shares of pre-vetted real estate investments.

Jilliene is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the business.

Previously Jilliene was a Vice President at Union Bank, where the majority of her time was spent in Private Wealth Management working with the broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, real estate lenders and wealth planners. Jilliene is a Certified Wealth Strategist, holds Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses and earned a degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She has been featured in countless publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, NYT and Bloomberg , and is a frequent speaker on the subjects of crowdfunding, real estate finance and entrepreneurship.

Kassan’s bio:

Jenny has over eighteen years of experience as an attorney for and creator of social enterprises. She is the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a consulting firm that helps social ventures raise capital in alignment with their goals and values. Jenny is also an attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group, a law firm that serves social enterprise. Her legal practice areas include small business start-up and financing, securities regulation, nonprofit law, and cooperatives.

Jenny earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.

Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities. She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Post Carbon Institute.

Mansford’s bio:

Lesley Mansford is the CEO of Razoo, a leading crowdfunding platform for causes, with over $220M raised for nonprofits. Mansford is a seasoned CEO, marketer and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment with companies like Electronic Arts. She was co-founder and COO of pogo.com, the largest online casual games community acquired by EA in 2001. In the same year she received the Superstar award from Ad Age. She speaks regularly on the power of online to democratize philanthropy. She is a powerful advocate around issues like women’s entrepreneurship and child sex trafficking in the US. Her board positions have included The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Leadership Institute for the Ecology and the Economy and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment.

Outlaw’s bio:

As co-founder and CEO of peerbackers.com, Sally has helped thousands of entrepreneurs reach their crowdfunding goals. Sally is a seasoned entrepreneur having run her own businesses for the last twenty five years. Her media and business ventures took her across the globe – including ten years of conducting business in Russia. Sally is a speaker on the topic of small business financing at various universities, business incubators, and entrepreneurial events and has been a repeated source on the topic of crowdfunding for national media outlets. Her book, “Cash from the Crowd” on how to successfully crowdfund, was published fall 2013 by Entrepreneur Press.

Ringelmann’s bio:

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Today, as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer, Danae is focused on driving total customer satisfaction and steering the company’s employee culture and value initiatives.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a securities analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered publicly traded entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank.

Danae was listed on Fast Company’s “Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology” in 2011 and was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40″ in September 2013. Danae frequently speaks at conferences around the world, including TEDx, Le Web and CeBIT. Danae also testified before the United States House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Financing America’s Small Businesses: Innovative Ideas for Raising Capital” in June 2013.

Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower. She currently resides in San Francisco.

Schoffler’s bio:

Joy Schoffler, Principal of Leverage PR, is a nationally recognized author and speaker, overseeing day-to-day operations and directing strategy for all of Leverage’s public relations accounts.

Prior to launching Leverage PR, Joy consulted and worked with a number of growth-phase firms, including serving as Director of Acquisitions for the two-time Inc. Award-winning investment firm, The PPA Group. Companies Joy has worked with have been acquired, raised large amounts of capital, secured Fortune 500 accounts (from startup phase) and experienced tremendous growth through creative messaging and dynamic media strategies.

Joy has shared her knowledge in several outlets, including: Entrepreneur.com, Social Media Monthly, MO.com, The Glass Heel and MarketingProfs. She has also been a featured speaker for a number of events and conferences, such as Crowdfunding BootCamp, Startup America, Kingonomics, SV Crowdfund, Execsense, SXSW and the Crowdfunding Professional Association’s annual conference. She has additionally done behind-the-scenes work for high-profile events: Crowdfund Texas, The Crowdfunding BootCamp and a crowdfunding summit in Washington D.C. titled “The State of Equity-Based Crowdfunding,” which included a press conference held at the National Press Club, a luncheon on Capitol Hill, a White House meeting and a meeting with SEC officials responsible for Titles II & III of the JOBS Act.

In 2014, Joy’s efforts were truly recognized, as she became a Stiletto Woman in Business Awards Finalist, an Austin Under 40 Finalist and won the Women Communicators of Austin Outstanding Austin Communicator Award.

Outside of the private sector, Joy served as a Finance Officer for six years in the U.S. Army Reserves and three years as a Public Relations Officer for the Texas State Guard. Her service included a year on active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she led a 16-man team of finance soldiers and interned at the Pentagon. Joy sits on the board for Athletes for Change – an organization of NFL players dedicated to helping foster kids –the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) – the main lobbying organization for the crowdfunding industry that works directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), to help establish industry standards and best practices.

Schwartz’s bio:

Joanna Schwartz is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur with 18 years of experience founding and leading financial services, technology, consumer product, and e-commerce businesses. Joanna is CEO of EarlyShares, a leading funding platform that connects smart investors with unique opportunities. By enabling individuals and companies to leverage the opportunities created by the JOBS Act, EarlyShares helps small investments ignite big ideas. Prior to joining EarlyShares, Joanna served as Managing Director of small-balance commercial lender Silver Hill Financial, leading the company from inception to over $1 billion in annual volume.

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Gregory Adamson’s 2nd Career Ensures his Live Art Performing Gives Back Like No Other…and He Has FUN

This is a guest post from Julie Du Brow and April Hua.

Julie Du Brow is principal for dubroWORKS PR+Marketing, championing clients in the worlds of sustainability, the arts, architecture + design, and non-profit.

April Hua is a Communications Major at UCLA focusing on the entertainment industry.

How many times have you wondered if your current career was the right choice for you? How many people do you know who have acted on this uncertainty and changed life paths? One such individual who has restarted his life and made giving back the centerpiece of his second career is Gregory Adamson.

by Deborah Dodge

A former 30-year banking executive, Adamson longed for the artist life, even before banking. In a move just a few years ago that would change his life for years to come, he decided to act upon this urge and become a performance artist with a truly unique flair, talent and philosophy. Adamson believes in the art-entertainment experience, creating art not for just art’s sake, but rather, for the sake of doing good for philanthropic endeavors. In line with this perspective, Adamson drives his business by giving back through raising money for charity. After his fast-paced performance art (VIDEO), in which he paints “live” to music with bare hands or brushes, creating huge masterpieces in just minutes, a live auction is held that sends off his painting to the highest bidder. When audiences witness his artwork being created in front of their very eyes, they develop a deeper connection with the artwork that is reflected in the amounts he garners through bidding. In this fashion, Adamson has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities of all ranges and levels, and plans to expand his business further to continue his philanthropic work.

His next step is to add to his repertoire a positive team-building experience through his art for corporations. As an executive, he sat through many team building exercises and motivational programs that often put him to sleep because they lacked any sense of fun and interactivity. He has created specific exercises that engage the attendees with these things in mind…from creating their own version of a master’s painting through simple collaborative steps to assembling digital collages to tell a particular story.

by GARY FLORIN

Adamson has achieved renown throughout Southern California, as well as domestic and international acclaim. He has painted from coast to coast and abroad, performing at concerts with major recording artists, and at regional and national political events. He has entertained for members of Congress and other national leaders, for Olympics officials, the USO, business groups, major charity fundraisers and festivals. He has clients across the spectrum of the music industry, and he has created multiple portraits for the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares events—of Carole King, Neil Diamond, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Young.

His commissioned works are owned or exhibited by celebrities, elected officials, major corporations, public institutions, professional firms, and in the Congressional Offices in Washington, D.C. His work has also been exhibited in New York, Canada, United Kingdom, China and Japan.

Adamson is truly an inspiration, and his success is a constant reminder that it is possible to change paths later in life if you are 150% committed, or “all in”, as he says—and most importantly, it is possible to help make a difference in the world, even if it is one painting at a time.

For more information and pictures of his artwork, please visit http://www.gregoryadamson.com/

Twitter: @GregoryAdamson
Instagram: @GregoryAdamsonArtist

Solar Roadways Brings The Road To Life

Scott Brusaw and his wife Julie have created a remarkable new solar technology that we can all drive on. Solar Roadways, his company, is developing a new glass road surface that can generate electricity.

On May 14 at 7:00 PM Eastern, Scott will join me for a live discussion about his company and the new technology.

Solar Roadways is presently raising money with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Tune in here then to watch the interview.

More about Solar Roadways:

Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole. They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.

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More about Scott Brusaw:

Scott is an electrical engineer (MSEE) with over 25 years of industry experience. This includes serving as the Director of Research and Development at a manufacturing facility in Ohio (developing their line of products for over 12 years), a voting member of NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), and developing several networked control systems from the ground up. Scott has multiple patents and his hardware and software have been sold internationally.

A Leader Fighting For Children By Fighting Against Their Diseases

Robert Selliah, PhD, is leading American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation to seek cures for rare childhood diseases.

On May 14, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Robert will join me for a live discussion about his work to save children.

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about American MedChem:

American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation (AMC) is a social enterprise in the area of pharmaceutical R&D, with a charitable purpose to serve the unmet needs for safe and effective new medicines for children suffering from rare or neglected diseases. Drug discovery research in childhood rare and neglected disease is essentially ignored by the extant commercial pharmaceutical R&D and risk capital for obvious reasons of ROI. But children who are sick need safe and effective medicines, to be healed from their serious diseases, live a good quality of life as they grow up, and contribute positively to society. The fact is that only systematic drug discovery R&D can bring forward drugs to treat any disease or any population size; drug discovery R&D is the only hope for kids and their families afflicted with serious and life-threatening rare or neglected diseases. AMC will serve the needs of this patient population through a collaborative research model aimed to expedite the translational research to discover new drug candidates, and share the success and risks with its collaborators. AMC will carry out drug discovery research in collaboration with leading academic research investigators and institutes, thus synergizing the translation of biological discoveries to drug candidates for testing in the clinical stage and approval by FDA. AMC is an IRS approved 501-c-3 public charitable organization, with research laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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More about Robert Selliah:

Robert Selliah, Ph.D., is the Founder, President & CEO of American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation. Dr. Selliah is an experienced pharmaceutical R&D professional who has turned to social entrepreneurship with a vision to provide much needed safe and effective modern medicines for children afflicted with rare or neglected disease. Dr. Selliah has more than 18 years of experience in technology, leadership, and management in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and preclinical development in the United States and the global pharmaceutical and biotech sector. He was most recently vice president of Medicinal Chemistry at SAI Advantium Pharma in India, where he led a group of over 200 scientists. Dr. Selliah is a co-inventor of two clinical development candidates—PRLX93936 (oncology, Prolexys) and AL12182 (glaucoma, Alcon)—and several preclinical candidates, and he contributed to the discovery and development of Travatan®, a marketed prostaglandin drug for glaucoma. He currently serves as a consultant to early-stage biotech companies in the U.S. Dr. Selliah received his B.S. (Special Honors in chemistry) and Ph.D. (synthetic organic chemistry) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

The Small Things

Bekka Ross Russell is a young mother of two and founder of The Small Things, a nonprofit organization supporting families in Tanzania. 

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Bekka will join me for a live discussion about her work in Tanzania. 

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about The Small Things:

The Small Things was founded in 2011 by Bekka Ross Russell, her family and a group of dedicated volunteers who had spent time at the Nkoaranga Orphanage, which houses up to 30 children, newborn to five years. The children have all lost mothers, and many lack fathers or other relatives who could step in, or their extended family is incapacitated by poverty. TST has partnered for several years with the local staff and management of Nkoaranga Orphanage, as well as other organizations, to improve child care. They recently received a major grant from the Visram Family and Happy Family Brands to begin the first phase of construction on a Children’s Village, which will provide loving, family-style homes for children aging out of the orphanage who cannot be reunited with family. It will also allow them to scale up their outreach program to keep families together whenever possible. The mission of The Small Things is to provide comprehensive assistance for orphaned or vulnerable children and their families in Nkoaranga Orphanage and Hospital/Usa River, Tanzania, not only in moments of crisis, but with thoughtful and long term plans. Working with the local community, TST aims to educate and assist our clients, primarily women and children, in becoming contributing, healthy, active citizens impacting their country and our world. 

Bekka’s bio:

Bekka Ross Russell is a twentysomething adoptive mother of two, and the founder and executive director of The Small Things, a nonprofit bringing together people from all over the world to help orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania, build families for those that don’t have them, and keep kids in families wherever possible. She holds a BFA in Metalwork and Jewelry from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a BA in Women’s Studies from Tufts University, and is completing a MPA in International Development at the London School of Economics. She is also the author of “Gender and Jewelry: A Feminist Analysis.” She currently lives on the ground in Tanzania with her husband Riz, son Saimoni, and daughter Zawadi, and can be reached at bekka@thesmallthings.org.

Cystic Fibrosis Utah Great Strides Walk – This Saturday, May 17!

This is a guest post from Rick Davis, Chair of the Utah-Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Wow, has the past year screamed by!  It’s well past due for my annual update of progress being made in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis and again invite your participation in the 2014 fundraising campaign.  My afflicted grandchildren, Clare and Elliot, are both now 6½ years old, and continue to grow while responding positively to their therapies and medicines. Both receive nightly nutritional supplements through a tube surgically implanted directly into the stomach.  Although initially quite uncomfortable, the extra g-tube feeding has brought prayed-for successes as Clare is growing stronger at a better rate, and Elliot has gained enough weight to support his extremely active lifestyle. Clare’s parents (Chrysi and Rick Davis) and Elliot’s’ parents (Alta and Mike Hales) continue to be models of diligence and patience in providing all of the physical, emotional and spiritual support that these precious children require every day.  Their efforts are inspirational to many, specifically in the Salt Lake and Atlanta communities, but even more generally throughout the CFF communities nation-wide.

It continues to be a blessing to our family to assist in a small way with emotional and physical support with Elliot and Clare.  As they grow and begin to perceive their distinctiveness, we adjust and broaden our understanding of this horrible affliction.  Although there is still not yet a cure for this fatal disease, important developments of the last two years have brought rational optimism in the short-term progress of new medications which are effecting a virtual cure of the basic cellular defect caused by certain discreet strains of the disease.  The drug released last year exceeded all expectations by eliminating virtually all of the negative cellular symptoms for carriers of a specific strain of the disease.  Although our grandkids do not have that particular CF strain, confident pronouncements made at this year’s CFF national health providers meetings declared an expectancy that all CFF victims will be similarly treated with related compounds by the end 2017.  We are absolutely thrilled with the expectations that these efforts will result in longer and fuller lives for Elliot and Clare.

Just over six years ago, I joined the Board of Directors of the Utah-Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) to assist in its fund-raising efforts.  For each of these past six years, our family has whole-heartedly embraced the objectives of this extremely efficient charitable cause.  I continue to serve as Chairman of the Board for this Chapter and am overwhelmed at the growth in public participation and revenue that we have experienced here in Utah.  Alta and I are both convinced that we have a personal mission to help accelerate the reachable goals of the Foundation.

Without intending to be overbearing or to potentially endanger our friendship, I would feel guilty if I do not again express the urgency of my passion for this cause and invite your participation in 2014.  Please click here to see the video that Amanda prepared for Clare and Elliot.

Feel free to pass the video on to anybody you would like.  You can also watch Amanda’s other videos, chronicling the prior years’ progress of Elliot, Clare, and our family, by clicking on the other videos listed next to Amanda’s name.

Our family has sincerely appreciated concern that each of you has expressed over the past years.  Many of you continue to ask if you might help again.  I’m sure that many of you have received other announcements of CFF fund-raising events.  I hope that these emails have neither been intrusive nor the cause of perceived pressure of any kind.  The purpose of this and all prior emails is to clearly explain what assistance you might offer.  You are invited to do one or more of the following:

1. Join with us at the “Great Strides” Walk scheduled this coming Saturday morning – May 17, at 9:00 am at the Energy Solutions Area (301 West South Temple) in Salt Lake. Elliot plans to be an active participant at the walk.  Clare will attend the walk in Atlanta.

2. Make a donation to the CFF either by check or online at my CFF fund raising link

3. Personally remind the parents of my grandchildren how much you love and admire them.  They are doing a wonderful job of raising beautiful children under sometimes trying circumstances.

Again, please don’t take offense at the directness of this communication.  But, if you desire to participate in any way, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.  The Chapter is hoping to raise $150,000 though the Salt Lake Walk, more than 90% of which will go directly to the medical research and development efforts.  Every contribution will help.  You can make a donation on line through the above link (also shown in the video), or write a check to “Cystic Fibrosis Foundation” and mail it to me.  I’ll forward it on.  Even if your circumstances do not allow any financial contribution, please consider coming to either Great Strides Walk, just to show our children and their families your support.  We have more of the Clare and Elliot T-shirts we passed out last year available for you.  If the Walk doesn’t work for you, that’s “ok” too. There are a great number of other equally worthwhile causes that I know many of you are just as committed to as I am this one.  Thank you for your support, your patience and friendship.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or ask by return email. 

Feel free to share this post with others who might be interested in participating,  And please give me and my family the opportunity to reciprocate by helping you and your family sometime. 

Direct Public Offerings: Legal Investment Crowdfunding – Without The Wait

This is a guest post from Jenny Kassan, the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital and an attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group.

Jenny Kassan

Can’t wait for the new crowdfunding securities exemption created under the JOBS Act?

It may be awhile before the SEC and FINRA finalize the regulations for Title III, the section of the JOBS Act that allows companies to use crowdfunding campaigns to offer investment opportunities to both accredited (wealthy) and non-accredited investors.

What many startups and investors may not know is that the new crowdfunding exemption is not the only way – or even the best way – to legally raise investment capital from the crowd. Just ask Ben & Jerry’s, Annie’s Homegrown and Real Goods, three companies that successfully raised capital from the crowd using a tool called a Direct Public Offering (DPO).

A DPO allows companies to self-underwrite and self-administer public securities offerings to both accredited and non-accredited investors in one or more states. A company can market and advertise its offering publicly by any means it chooses – through advertising in newspapers and magazines; at public events and private meetings; and on the internet and through social media channels. Sounds a lot like crowdfunding right? That’s because it is.

There are several legal compliance pathways that can be used to conduct a Direct Public Offering. Depending on various factors, a company or nonprofit organization can use a DPO to raise up to $1 million per year and in some cases more.

While start-ups wait in anticipation of the SEC and FINRA to finalize crowdfunding exemption rules, companies across the country are raising much-needed capital using DPOs:

  • Farm Fresh to You in California’s Yolo County, has raised over $1 million from its customers and is continuing to raise capital on an ongoing basis. Interest on the notes purchased by investors is paid in credits toward organic produce rather than cash. 
  • Greenfield, MA-based Real Pickles reached its goal of $500,000 in just two months by offering non-voting preferred stock to investors in Vermont and Massachusetts and converted to a worker-owned co-op. 
  • People’s Community Market in West Oakland has raised almost $1.2 million and will open a neighborhood grocery store that helps West Oakland families thrive by offering quality fresh foods, affordable groceries, health services, and a place for community building and recreation. 
  • Quimper Mercantile in Port Townsend, Washington, raised about $750,000 by selling common stock to Washington residents and opened for business, ensuring that local residents could continue to buy essentials in their own community.

No matter what happens with the JOBS Act, Direct Public Offerings will continue to be an increasingly popular tool for raising capital, and in many cases may be a better option for many businesses. Here’s why:

  • Issuers may be able to Raise More than $1 Million Using a Direct Public Offering: Under the new crowdfunding exemption, issuers can only raise $1 million in any 12-month period, whereas a DPO allows companies, in many cases, to raise more than $1 million.
  • No Investor Caps with DPOs: The new crowdfunding exemption caps investments at 5% of an individual’s net worth or income. Direct Public Offerings have no such limit, thereby allowing a broad range of investment sizes.
  • Single State Offerings are More Appropriate for Community-Based Businesses: Many small businesses simply do not need to conduct an offering in all 50 states. Community-based companies looking to raise capital can find investors in their own back yard, within their local community and state. Ben and Jerry’s, for instance, raised capital for its first ice cream plant from Vermonters who knew and loved their Health Bar Crunch.
  • Unrestricted Marketing Efforts for Issuers: With DPOs, there are no required middlemen and there are no restrictions on marketing activities for issuers. Contrast that with JOBS Act restrictions that prohibit companies from advertising the terms of the offering “except for notices which direct investors to the funding portal or broker,” and prohibit direct communication with potential investors.
  • No Reviewed or Audited Financials: The crowdfunding exemption requires reviewed or audited financials for offerings over $100,000 – an expense that can be prohibitive for small businesses with minimal operating capital. On the other hand, most states don’t require financials for a DPO, and of those that do, many allow companies to waive the requirement under certain circumstances.
  • State Reviews Provide a Safety Net: The JOBS Act intends to make offerings easier by eliminating regulatory review, but the fact that state securities regulators must review each Direct Public Offering can provide investors with much more comfort and assurance, knowing that a regulatory body has vetted the offering prospectus.

Ultimately, the new crowdfunding exemption (when it becomes legal) will provide companies with another option for accessing securities-based capital from the crowd. In the meantime, the original crowdfunding model, the DPO, continues to provide companies with an effective way to conduct a self-underwritten and self-administered public securities offering.

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Kidoodle.TV To Launch A Safe Streaming Video Service For Children

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Kidoodle.TV is a new streaming video service for children that is intended to be controlled by parents, creating a safe and educational experience. The enterprise is backed by philanthropist Tom Crist, who has personally invested in the upstart media company with his foundation as the intended beneficiary.

Crist has become notable recently for having won a $40 million lottery prize and placing in his charitable foundation. Crist established the foundation after retiring from EECOL Electric, where had had spent 44 years, ultimately as CEO.

On May 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Lowe and Crist will join me for a live discussion about the social enterprise.

Tune in here then and watch the liver interview.

More about Kidoodle.TV:

Kidoodle.TV is an exciting, new online, streaming video service for children ages 12 and under. It is not only mobile, but safe, with robust parental controls and time limits. Featuring a brightly colored, easy-to-use user interface, customizable profiles for up to 5 children, and great entertainment and educational content from a variety of sources for only $4.99/month, Kidoodle.TV is child oriented and convenient, with no adult content and no commercials. Commercially launched on January 1, 2014, Kidoodle.TV™ is owned by A Parent Media Co. Inc., a family focused company. Looking for ways to benefit his charitable foundation, the Crist Family Foundation, which was formally established in March 2014, Tom Crist made a personal, multi-million dollar investment in A Parent Media Co. Inc. It is the intention of the Crist family to find ways to benefit causes near and dear to their hearts. The family has announced intentions to work with Kidoodle.TV to find ways to reach out and better the lives of children and families. The Crist family also intends to pool its resources and work with Kidoodle.TV to grow its foundation so that it can continue to undertake philanthropic activities for years to come.

Lowe’s bio:

Michael Lowe, President of A Parent Media Co. Inc. (“APMC”) received his education in journalism in Alberta, Canada. Lowe has a strong background in the media and entertainment industry, with a focus on new media development and the evolution of digital content distribution. Lowe founded APMC as a way to make the online world a safer place for kids, as well as to make a positive impact on families through a strong corporate social mandate that with gives back to the community. In 2012, he assembled a team of like-minded individuals to develop Kidoodle.TV and to build and lead APMC with a corporate vision that combines a return on investment with corporate responsibility.

Crist’s bio:

Philanthropist, Tom Crist, formally established the Crist Family Foundation in March 2014 after a rewarding 44 year career at Calgary’s EECOL Electric. After retiring as CEO, Crist announced plans to place a $40 million lottery winning in a family trust to be donated over the coming years to select charities in honor of his late wife, Jan Crist, who passed away from cancer. It is the intention of the Crist family to work together to find ways to benefit causes near and dear to their hearts, including causes that benefit children. The family also intends to pool its resources to grow its foundation so that it can continue to undertake philanthropic activities for years to come. Crist personally invested in Kidoodle.TV’s parent company (A Parent Media Co. Inc.) as a way to benefit the Crist Family Foundation, which the family intends to grow into a larger fund and make sustainable over time. It was also an alignment with a company that has similar values and a corporate ethic to provide a return on investment that is both financial and human, an important aspect for both business and societal well-being.

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Beagle Freedom Project Fights Animal Testing

The Beagle Freedom Project is working to rescue beagles who are being used for animal test and to prevent their use in animal testing. Beagles are often used in testing because of their docile, friendly dispositions.

On May 5, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Shannon Keith, Founder and CEO of the Beagle Freedom Project, will join me for a live discussion about the group’s work.

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about the Beagle Freedom Project:

We are a non-profit 501©(3) dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals used in research, and to that end, educating the pubic about animal testing, and ultimately ending it.

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Shannon’s bio:

Shannon Keith is the president & founder of Beagle Freedom Project which is a mission of a ARME (Animal Rescue, Media & Education). Shannon is an animal rights attorney as well as multi-award winning documentary filmmaker. Her films Behind the Mask and Skin Trade portrayed different facets of the animal liberation movement in order to bring public awareness to the issues. In 2010, Shannon started Beagle Freedom Project when she was fortunate enough to rescue two beagles from an animal testing research laboratory. The rescue of these two dogs, so poignant and so bittersweet, brought forth the realization, that not only could this be done, but that when people meet the actual faces of vivisection, they listen.

Joyful Heart Works To End Rape Kit Backlog

The Joyful Heart Foundation works to end the backlog of untested rape kits in America. The Federal Government estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits that remain untested for DNA in police and crime lab storage lockers.

On May 5, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Sarah Tofte, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation will join me for a live discussion about the problem and the progress the organization is making.

Tune in here then to watch the interview.

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

The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation:

Our mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

Sarah’s bio:

Sarah Tofte is an expert on criminal justice responses to violence against women and girls, including the rape kit backlog in the United States. Before she began work at the Joyful Heart Foundation, she was a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, where she published reports on the rape kit backlogs in Los Angeles and Illinois.

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