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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: July 2018

With Help From Rotary, This Clinic Offers Leading Neurorehabilitation in Africa


Mo Sbai lost his brother to a tragic accident that left him struggling for years to regain full capacity. The loss inspired him to open a neurorehabilitation clinic in Marrakech. It has become one of the leading clinics of its type in all of Africa.

Mo lives and works in Salt Lake City but hails from Morocco. Working with his Salt Lake Rotary Club, he obtained multiple grants that include funds from the Rotary Foundation that have enabled him to launch this important piece of the healthcare system in his native country.

Interview with Mo Sbai, the Co-founder and CEO of The MAIR clinic.

The following is the pre-interview with Mo Sbai. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

We are creating first access to adequate neurorehabilitation in Morocco

More about The MAIR clinic:

Twitter: @MAIR_Marrakech

Website: www.mair-rehab.com

Located in Marrakech, Morocco (North Africa), MAIR is a private, not-for-profit clinic specializing in medical treatment and research in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. We provide services to children and adults with cerebral palsy and its complications, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and many other neurological conditions.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Not-For-Profit, self-sustaining in the long-term

Scale: We are not focused on making money, but we need to be self-sustaining in the long-term

Mo Sbai

Mo Sbai’s bio:

Mo is research professor in clinical neurosciences with the University of Utah Brain Institute and the School of Medicine. He he holds a Ph.D in neurosciences from the University of Paris and and MS in molecular neuro-receptology from the Ecole Normal Superieure and University of Paris. After completing a successful post-doctoral training in neuro-genetics and cloning a new gene at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, he was invited to join the New Jersey Medical School as a research faculty where he focused on cancer biology. In 2007, Mo’s brother, Moulay Ali, passed away as a consequence of a severe traumatic brain injury he suffered several years prior while driving in Morocco. This caused Mo to focus his teaching and research on neurological conditions (like TBI, SCI, Stroke, AD, PD, MS and others) as well as cutting-edge neuro-rehabilitation. In 2015, together with Imane Bentahar and many others, Mo co-founded the Moulay Ali Institute for Rehabilitation in Marrakech City, Morocco, the first of its kind. This facility is experiencing exponential growth and already having huge impact on so many lives.

Imane Bentahar

Imane Bentahar’s bio:

Imane is physical therapist by training but since getting involved in the MAIR project (early 2014), she developed skills in neurological rehabilitation. She is also the person who first collaborated in the opening of the MAIR clinic as a co-founder and a recipient of specialized neuro-rehabilitation training both in Morocco and the United States.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

These 2 Are Having Fun While Making Money and Doing Good


Zach Adamson and David Monhait, co-founders of DIVERTbrands, have found a way to do what they love, have fun, do good and make money. They are living the dream!

Interview with Zach Adamson, the Founder and CEO, and David Monhait, the Co-Founder & President of DIVERTbrands.

The following is the pre-interview with Zach Adamson and David Monhait. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

While interest has never been higher, action sports as they currently exist are out of reach to many due to geographic and financial barriers to participation. Concurrently, traditional education continues to exclude education in desired creative fields like music, art, media, and more.

These barriers and exclusions make at-risk youth more susceptible to negative influences and life choices.

DIVERT removes these barriers, making both the athletics and creative lifestyles more accessible to anyone. We DIVERT their attention away from negative influences and towards positive ones that align with the interest of today’s youth culture.

More about DIVERTbrands:

Instagram: @divertcollective

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/divertcollective/

Website: divertcollective.com

DIVERTbrands is a family of companies who believe that action sports have the power to inspire and empower on a massive scale. Because of that our shared goal is to make action sports and the surrounding lifestyles, like music, art, and media, more accessible.

The companies within DIVERTbrands are:

DIVERTagency – A boutique agency focused on creating cause marketing campaigns and initiatives that create new revenue opportunities for today’s top brands.

DIVERTcollective – A merchandise and apparel brand whose proceeds go to fund programs and initiatives that make action sports and the surrounding lifestyles more accessible.

DIVERTsessions – A 25000 sf facility that includes skateboarding, surfing, skiing and snowboarding that are enhanced with digital layers and virtual experiences. Supporting these attractions are a media lab, music stage, food/beverage, retail and more.

DIVERTcity – An 8 acre park that includes skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking, a creative and media lab, music venue, food/beverage, retail, and more.

Together, these companies enable anyone to “Achieve Their I’mpossible”

For-profit/Nonprofit: B-Corp / Social Enterprise

Revenue model: DIVERTagency – services fees

DIVERTcollective – revenue from sale of soft and hard goods

DIVERTsessions & DIVERTcity – ticketing, events, rentals, retail sales, concession sales, programming and lessons, media, and more.

Scale: DIVERTagency – 3-5 employees / DIVERTcollective – over $350k revenue in first 3 months, over 50,000 units sold / DIVERTsessions & DIVERTcity – currently fundraising

Zach Adamson

Zach Adamson’s bio:

Twitter: @zach_adamson

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zach-adamson-94b95a35/

Zach is an accomplished entrepreneur, experience designer and operator. His previous work includes transforming facilities, events, products and organizations of Fortune 500 companies into world class experiences. His work with Disney Imagineers, and pioneers in experience design/operation have provided consistent applications in business strategy, implementation and expansion. His passion in Action Sports and social change, intersects with his talents in experience design and operation to create a powerful leader and change maker at DIVERTbrands.

David Monhait

David Monhait’s bio:

Twitter: @davidmonhait

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmonhait/

David grew up skateboarding and snowboarding in the suburbs outside of Chicago. These sports, and the subculture surrounding them, taught him valuable life lessons like creativity, motivation, resilience, and developed his appetite for risk.

He continued on to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied Architecture and Planning. Throughout college, David was a sponsored skateboarder and an All-American snowboarder.

He returned to Chicago where he worked as an achitect for 5-years. During that time, he started moonlighting on startup ventures. The first, Electronic Spotlight, a docu-series that started on Youtube and after being backed by CAA and Den of Theives, aired on TV. Around the same time, David and his friends created Sin Label, a live event consultancy and event promotions web application that enabled nightclubs and venues to promote using crowdsourced influencers.

After realizing his knack for creating startups, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue ventures that were more aligned with his passion – action sports.

He consulted on various ventures such as Revel, SpotKing, RideBlock, and more until he joined DIVERT.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Meet Eva Yazhari: Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for July 2018

Congratulations to Eva Yazhari, the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for July 2018. Every month, Your Mark on the World readers choose a guest from the show to recognize.

Eva is an impact investor who manages a nonprofit fund, Beyond Capital, that invests in social enterprises in the developing world. Operating as a nonprofit allows the fund to attract professional resources on a pro-bono basis, making investments of about $75,000 each economically viable for both the investors and the entrepreneurs.

You can see my full interview with Eva here:


Yazhari says the fund is now in the process of raising a $2 million round of grant funding, she hopes to close in October, noting that $800,000 is already committed. That should allow the fund to make another 18 investments.

So far, the first fund has a paper return of 30% IRR, based on the valuations of the companies that have gone on to raise additional funding. The goal, she says, is to be able to reinvest the profits from the fund in more companies, ultimately allowing the nonprofit to become “financially sustainable” by 2024.

Eva Yazhari, Beyond Capital

Yazhari’s heart is in this work. She says she has been inspired by her grandfather who started a hospital in Tanzania in the late 1950s. She’s found a way to honor his legacy by leveraging her Wall Street experience to build a nonprofit that is now reaching more than 2.3 million people.

As the winner, Eva will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World and 10 all-access passes to GoodCrowd.school.

NPX Achieves First Close With New Impact Security; Raises $800k For The Last Mile

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Last December, I reported here that NPX, Inc., had developed a new concept for financing nonprofits called an “impact security.” In May, the nonprofit The Last Mile closed on $800,000 of financing using the new instrument.

How it works:

According to Princeton educated Catarina Schwab, 44, NPX’s co-founder, “The Impact Security allows a nonprofit to issue performance-based debt to investors and make required payments on the debt over time with donations from the established donor fund.”

The $800,000 came from a group of investors who hope to get their money back with interest. Having an impact priority in mind, they don’t have an interest in financial outcomes. Instead, they want their return to be entirely dependent on achieving a measurable outcome.

In this case, the measurable outcome is hours worked by inmates at tech jobs provided by The Last Mile. The inmates are paid about $17 per hour, a rate set by the prison. The investors paid $44.44 per hour for 18,000 hours. The margin goes to the nonprofit.

The investors only get their money back if all 18,000 hours are worked. A group of donors has contributed to donor-advised funds a total of $900,000 or $50 per hour worked. If all the hours are worked, the money goes to The Last Mile to repay the investors with interest. If fewer hours are worked, the nonprofit won’t receive funds to repay investors. The donors’ money that doesn’t go to The Last Mile, can then be redirected by the donors to other initiatives at their discretion.

The Last Mile:

With more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States and up to 70 million formerly incarcerated, helping those currently serving sentences to gain not only job skills but professional work experience could be a key to reducing recidivism—and by extension the crime and cost of jailing repeat offenders.

Catarina Schwab CREDIT: NPX, INC.

Beverly Parenti, executive director of The Last Mile, said in a statement, “NPX has transformed fundraising for nonprofits. The Impact Security enables us to focus on creating impact rather than hosting events and other fundraising tactics.”

Schwab, who shares the CEO with co-founder Lindsay Beck, describes The Last Mile as “the darling of the prison system” based on their work at San Quentin. “They’ve seen a huge transformation from these incarcerated individuals learning how to code,” she adds.

NPX Going Forward:

The NPX innovation can be replicated.

Joe Wolf is an investor in both NPX and in The Last Mile impact security. He says, “The impact security is a brilliant solution for all parties in the transaction. Donors are able to increase the impact on each dollar committed; investors are able to generate a profit while driving social good; and, nonprofits that can demonstrate measurable impact can raise capital in a vastly more effective manner vs current options.”

Scott Wu, partner and head of investments at Omidyar Network, led the firm’s investment in The Last Mile. He was impressed.

“NPX is a leader in pioneering and standardizing a new pay-for-performance impact security. Such a model could dramatically increase capital flows to the non-profit sector by enabling investors to earn returns based on defined impact results, and by bringing more rigor and diligence in non-profit performance to attract increased philanthropic donations.”

As you might expect, innovation comes from a startup. NPX is itself an early stage social enterprise. To continue to support more nonprofits with impact securities it will need to create its own success. Schwab reports that the firm has raised three rounds of seed capital and has secured four engagements with nonprofits.

For the transaction with The Last Mile, NPX received a fee at closing.

“We are now pivoting to a donor fund model where we will receive a management fee on the fund and transaction fees per Impact Security deal,” Schwab explains. “The fund model will allow us to scale the number of Impact Securities at a faster rate to unlock more capital and data for the nonprofit sector.”

Schwab is passionate about what the impact security could portend not just for the nonprofit sector but for the world.

“Linking donations with impact creates a tremendously valuable feedback loop that is missing in today’s nonprofit funding environment,” she said. “The ripple effect is profound. By simply changing the way we fund impact, over time the new model will catalyze more money, more data, and, ultimately, more impact in the sector.”

Click here to get my free webinar showing the three myths that hamper and the two keys for nonprofit crowdfunding success.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

This Veteran Seeks To Reinvent The Employment Ecosystem For Salaried Careers

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Felix W. Ortiz III, 34, is a U.S. Army veteran who is working to reinvent the process of employment for salaried positions, especially in the tech sector, by focusing on skills rather than degrees. Working with companies, colleges and candidates, the social enterprise he leads as CEO and founder, Viridis Learning, Inc., has built a platform for all three to use to better match people with opportunities.

Mark Thain, director of social innovation at Barclays, explains the challenges that inspired the bank to back Acumen’s Workforce Development portfolio, which includes an investment in Viridis. “We recognize that to have a meaningful impact on employability we need to look towards entrepreneurial models in the workforce development sector and support those innovators who are coming at this problem with scalable, self-sustaining solutions.”

“In the U.S., there is a real need for innovation in workforce development. For underserved communities, it is often a challenge of connectivity and having limited access to appropriate pathways into employment. The problem is particularly acute in middle-skilled trades, where as many as 40% of employers struggle to find the right talent, yet less than half of qualified candidates can find jobs,” he added.

That is just what Viridis is working to do, Ortiz says. “We are committed to solving the global skills gap by closing the broken education-to-employment feedback loop through data interoperability and the Skill Passport, a verified record of skill and experience with currency in an ever-evolving job market.”

The Skill Passport, he explains, is an immutable digital record of mastered skills that employers can use to match people to skilled positions.

Ortiz sees this as a social problem to be solved as well as an opportunity. In fact, the company’s pilot program was with 5,000 formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. Ortiz says Viridis was able to help 70% of them find employment and 62% of those to keep their jobs. Average salaries jumped from a range of $18,000 to $21,000 to $32,000 to $33,000.

“We first started with the formerly incarcerated community because we knew that if we can impact those lives with our algorithms they can work with pretty much anybody,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz notes that the algorithms that drive the Skill Passport seek not only to capture hard skills like coding but also soft skills like grit. The experience you get as a veteran or growing up in a tough environment can teach you to overcome challenges, something that is both difficult to teach in a classroom and that is prized by employers.

Felix Ortiz, Viridis Learning
CREDIT: DENIZ ERCELEBI

Another pilot effort was with San Jose City College, a community college in Silicon Valley. This provided an opportunity to test the hypothesis that the Skill Passport could help place alumni who hadn’t completed a four-year degree in IT jobs. Not only has it worked for the alumni, he says it has helped with corporate diversity goals as well.

The Skill Passport works for the colleges as well, helping them to focus on training skills the employers want. “The curriculum is misaligned, and that money is being mis-utilized because they’re training people for things that aren’t relevant,” Ortiz says.

It’s working for employers, too. “They realize that they have a problem and the problem is that they can’t find the talent.” The Viridis approach provides employers with access to a pipeline of employees from nontraditional sources that are properly vetted.

Ortiz remains focused on the mission of giving more people better access to successful careers. “You know, we shouldn’t be limiting the ability for me to be a tech founder just because I haven’t connected with certain people. If you’re good enough you should have the opportunity.”

Click here to get my free webinar showing the three myths that hamper and the two keys for nonprofit crowdfunding success.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

The Last Mile in the Polio Marathon Is a Real Pain–But This Isn’t About Us

The eradication of polio has proven to be much more difficult than Rotary expected when it formally launched the PolioPlus initiative with the US Centers for Disease Control in 1988. Estimating a cost of $125 million for the job, Rotary raised $250 million to start its official race to end polio. Over $10 billion has been spent to date and close as we are, the finish line has not been reached.

Similarly, in 2014, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative comprising Rotary, the World Health Organization, the CDC, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set out an “End Game Strategy” to put polio behind us once and for all by 2020. Twice since that time, the GPEI has had to acknowledge that targets weren’t met and that more time and money will be required.

It is as if having run 25 miles in a marathon, we’ve come around a bend to see the biggest hill of the race so far and the finish line is still not in sight. We know it’s close, but we don’t know how many hills to climb, rivers to cross or boulders we may have to move to get there.

When Rotary began the effort to beat polio in the mid-1980s, there were about 350,000 cases of polio each year. Last year, there were just 22, representing a drop of more than 99.99 percent. Already in 2018, however, we’ve had 11 cases compared to just six at this point last year.

It is clear there are obstacles between us and the finish line, but hope is not lost. The biggest challenge in this race is the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. Unvaccinated children in this region move around, sometimes ending up in cities, infecting children far from the fighting. In June, a cease-fire was reached between the Taliban and the Afghanistan army. The truce held and has been extended.

While there is no word yet on vaccination efforts during the cease-fire, you can be assured that all members of the GPEI are looking to this opportunity to bring the finish line clearly into view.

It is important to remember, however, that the marathon metaphor for the eradication of polio is a poor one. It puts the emphasis on the runners. The effort to end polio is not about the runners; it’s about the 15 million children who didn’t get polio over the past 30 years. It’s about creating a polio-free world where no child will ever be paralyzed by the disease again. A world where no mother will ever again be faced with the challenge of raising a child who may never walk again.

 

When You Look For Kindness You Will Find It On Every Corner.

This is a guest post from Karen Palmer, the founder of The #Globalkindness Revolution.

When I began my online shows in 2014 I felt like a person on an island of kindness. I was hearing so many horrific stories in the media and decided to learn how to use social media for a greater good. I found that setting my intention and focusing on finding stories of compassion, kindness, and peace open doors I didn’t even see before.

My show #Globalkindness #GoingViral has grown and the audience has expanded and the events are now everywhere. I now have several shows on www.facebook.com/spiritualitygonewild please visit and check it out my girlfriends and I are the #GratitudeGirls and our channel is programmed to bring more compassion, gratitude, joy, kindness, and peace on Earth.

This blog will be a place for people to hear about the good news and ways they can get involved. One thing I have learned in this journey of spreading kindness is I am not alone, there are so many who feel the same but don’t know what to do. This will be your answer. Reach out to me if you would like to be featured. I was blessed to hear about Notes for Notes and will be working to bring their mission to the masses. I would love to share their latest project and ask you to please share about it on all your social media.

I am a founding member of WorldKindness USA, and I am helping cities across the nation become WorldKindness Cities by working with schools, businesses, after-school programs and many other sectors to bring kindness back to all communities. I am the Goodwill Ambassador for my hometown in California and Notes For Notes was my next stop. I am grateful to say Kris Ehrman is looking into joining with 20 of their studios nation-wide.

 

I visited both of the Santa Barbara studios with my vision for a musical adventure in mindfulness. It all started a few months ago when I reached out to www.notesfornotes.org with my idea of helping kindness go viral…

“I want to make kindness go viral!” I said and shared my mission of empowering people to make a difference in helping other organizations that are dedicated to helping our world.

I then pulled out a musical activity coloring book that I created called #WorldKindness Day Is Happening, an activity based method book that can be used as a way to connect, play, and sing with family and friends. “It’s to help raise the levels of joy, love, kindness, and peace on Earth.” .

It’s all in effort to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of World Kindness Day happing on November 13th, 2018 and the launching of http://www.worldkindnessusa.org which launches July 2018.

“The song [ World Kindness] was written at the time when all the tragic fires and mudslides were happening and I thought …I am just one person, what difference can I make?”

   ~Karen Palmer~.

That was when it hit me. I could use social media to spread messages of kindness and hope for those who felt left out.. with or without a natural disaster.

“I am just one person, what difference can I make?”

  – Karen Palmer

We scheduled the first two sessions at Santa Barbara East, where we recorded the instrumental tracks with David Rojas at the controls. Palmer and Rojas completed the song with the help of local musicians Ray Pannell and Tompeet Frederiksen to a make a solid backing track for future World Kindness Programing.

One of the things I shared about my musical influences: Kenny Loggins, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and Poet, Prince Ea. The song was also inspired by Adam Sandler and Weird Al Yankovic. I love to create a mindful-parody spin on popular songs and to write words that remind us that we’re all actually connected to one another. Music and Dance helps us prove this point regularly.

Now weeks into the project, we have a core group of singers that are working towards the goal of producing a lyric music video together.

“Working with Notes for Notes has been a dream come true. Everyone has been amazing to work with. The guidance and knowledge everyone has, has made this experience easy and effortless. You’ve all become like family to me, each adding their own creative genius to our beautiful masterpiece. And the singers were wonderful! They loved learning about the power of compassion, gratitude, and kindness.”

   – Karen Palmer.

Our next steps are to complete final vocal takes and mix the song. We have scheduled our video shoot for July 11th and we hope to have the video edited and ready to GO VIRAL in time for the International World Kindness Day movement that will celebrate their 20th Anniversary on November 13, 2018. Stay Tuned we will have more to share with you soon.

I am truly honored to write this blog and help add to the love, light, and peace in our world. I hope you will receive my free gift to you in my bio it is for you to manifest your dreams and I would love to hear in the comments anything you are dreaming about or are doing in your corner of the world to add some kindness.

Karen Palmer
Photo Credit: Eco Angel Enterprises

Karen Palmer’s bio:

Karen Palmer is the mom who made a wish and started a kindness revolution. She is the founder of The #Globalkindness Revolution which networks with many to co-create a kinder and more loving world. She has been nick-named The Queen Of Globalkindness, and is also known as a Modern Day Mystical Mr.Rogers who uses music, meditation ,mindful practices, and mantras for empowerment of all ages. You can receive manifest your dreams for free at www.globalkindnesstv.org/dream


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Impact All Stars Share Career Insights That Could Change Your Plans

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Over the past five years, I’ve interviewed nearly 1,000 changemakers, including some of the most accomplished and respected leaders in impact investing and social entrepreneurship. This week, I reached out to some of the most impressive to get their advice for those just launching a career in impact today.

Imagine yourself sitting down around a big table with 41 accomplished impact leaders and getting their best career advice. Bookmark this page and come back to it regularly to serve as a guide throughout your life.

The advice was as diverse as the group, which included men and women from around the world, working on a wide range of topics. On a few topics, the counsel clustered around some themes but each idea they expressed was unique in some way.

Sheryle Gillihan, CEO of CauseLabs, observed that you don’t have to go to Africa to make a difference. “Consider the positive impact your work can have on your community. Regardless of where you work or what you do, you can be an impact ambassador and influence your team and business to do more good.”

Andrea Armeni, Executive Director of Transform Finance CREDIT: TRANSFORM FINANCE

Andrea Armeni, the executive director of Transform Finance, agrees. “You can have an impact in any career – in fact we need people with an impact mindset in all organizations. Think about what you can do there, rather than whether the organization itself is impactful.”

Similarly, Tara Varga Russell, president of Fathom—the impact cruise line at Carnival Corporation—says, “Ensuring your everyday behaviors positively influence others ensures you have meaningful impact every step of the journey.”

Two others also emphasized the need to be kind as a deliberate career strategy.

Tony Loyd, the host of the Social Entrepreneur Podcast, cautions about the stress of entrepreneurship. “Be good to people on the way up. The pressures of starting a new venture can bring out our…well, our not-so-good side. Social entrepreneurship is a small industry. Kindness goes a long way.”

Kate Hayes, director at Echoing Green, adds, “No matter what career you choose, everyday actions speak the loudest. We can have the most influence with those around us, so at work: lead with compassion, speak with intention, and act with grace.”

Christopher Soukup, the CEO of Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc., suggests taking a deliberately inclusive approach. “Surround yourself and cultivate connections with a diverse range of people who perceive and experience our world differently than you. They will infuse valuable insight and perspective into your work.”

One of the most consistent themes from the all-star group was the importance of passion for the work.

“Find a cause you care about; there’s no substitute for genuine passion,” succinctly says Rebecca Firth, the community and partnerships manager for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap.

Susanne Rea Oam, the founder of The World’s Greatest Meal to End Polio, has helped to raise millions of dollars to fund polio immunizations for children around the world. She says simply, “Follow your dream as your career is a huge focus in life. Being happy is essential.”

Billy Starr CREDIT: BILL BRETT

Billy Starr, the founder of the Pan-Mass Challenge bike race, which raises millions for cancer, said, “Immerse yourself. Find your new self in service to something more than yourself. Commit.”

Jacob Allen, a partner with Cicero Social Impact, says, “Find your passion first-hand; get involved directly. Get informed about root causes, real solutions, and beneficiaries’ views. And be relentless about actual change, not just doing good.”

Kenton Lee, founder of Because International, the organization that manufactures and distributes the Shoe That Grows, says, “Follow your passion and work with something you love. You can volunteer with orgs and use your skills to help them. Make a great wage and be an awesome donor. Lots of ways to make a difference.”

Carrie Romano, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area, says, “Choose to do what you love because you’ll be better at it. Be authentic. Align your actions with your intentions and leave it (whatever “it” is) better than you found it.”

The collective wisdom of the group suggests that patience pairs well with passion.

“Think big, think long, and think big tent,” says Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner for DBL Partners, an impact investing firm that made an early investment in Tesla. “Several small advances can turn into an inflection point. Hang in there and don’t stop too early. And build coalitions as broad and inclusive as you can.”

Nancy Pfund, courtesy of DBL Partners CREDIT: DBL PARTNERS

“Creating impact takes time, hard work, and vision. Your passion will have to sustain you. Your resolve will be tested,” says Jacob Lief, CEO and founder of Ubuntu Pathways. “You must be unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom and learn from setbacks.”

“Don’t try to win the war right away. Aim to move the needle,” says Jack Griffin, founder of FoodFinder. “Your cause will always be a team effort in the long run, but you can start small and have an impact right away.”

“Small but sustainable wins. Too big too soon will burn you out just as quickly as not making ends meet,” says Paul Wilson, assistant professor of social entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University – Hawaii. “Bite-sized wins, that don’t break the bank, allow you to create large scale impact overtime.”

Another theme that the experienced drivers of social impact emphasized was the need to learn.

As Thane Kreiner, executive director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship put it, “Apprentice the problem, learn from people you admire, stay focused on mission.”

“Stop spending so much time listening to other people and focus instead on listening to yourself,” says Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative. “Keep a journal for a year about what brings you meaning at work each day.”

“Soak it all in. Realize there is something to learn from every experience – and more to learn from the bad ones,” says Tamra Ryan, CEO of the Women’s Bean Project. “The more you learn the better you’ll get. Leverage every experience to be better.”

“Learn from the people who truly have expertise, which is the people you are trying to support,” says Rob Gitin, executive director of At The Crossroads, an organization that without conditions helps homeless youth. “Listen first, rather than coming up with your own ideas of what others need. Be a humble servant.”

Aaron Hurst, Imperative CREDIT: IMPERATIVE

Atul Satija, founder and CEO of The/Nudge Foundation in India, which is scaling to support millions of people in multiple ways, says, “The decision to move to the development sector is the start of an amazing personal journey of courage, self-discovery, meaningfulness and real impact. All the best!”

Mari Kuraishi, co-founder and president of GlobalGiving, says candidly, “Unless you know with dead certainty what, where, and how you want to have impact, be open to new experiences and learning that will give you skills, insights, and knowledge.”

Two of our impact all-stars focused on learning from the people you hope to help and engaging them in the process.

“Involve the benefactor of your impact in the creation process,” says Sara Day, the cause director for Even Stevens. “You can better help a person, community or organization when you adequately understand their needs, challenges and opportunities.”

“Find ways to transform the recipients of service delivery systems from passive consumers to active co-producers of outcomes,” says Edgar Cahn, founder of TimeBanks USA. “The work of the future is to play a catalytic role in creating that shift.”

Several of the experts suggested a fundamental strategy of matching your skills and interests to the social problems you see.

“Always look for gaps to fill: needed things that others may not yet be thinking about in your sector,” says Marc Alain Boucicault, founder and CEO of Banj, a tech coworking space in Haiti. “That is how you will differentiate yourself and grow skills that will positively impact society.”

Mari Kuraishi CREDIT: GLOBAL GIVING

“Look at the problems of the world and ask yourself what skills do you have that can help solve them,” says Andreas Karelas, executive director of RE-volv, an organization that uses crowdfunding to finance solar for nonprofits. “If you pursue that line of work, you’ll go to bed everyday knowing you’re a part of the solution.”

Lisa Curtis, founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli, a company that makes healthy snack bars from moringa grown in the developing world, agrees. “Figure out what social issue makes you burn with passion. Then find the fixers and ask them what skills they need in their movement.”

“Ask yourself what you are good at, what you are interested in, and what you are curious about,” says Celeste Mergens, founder and CEO of Days for Girls International. “In the mix will be clues to what might be an unexpected pathway to your future career.”

Here’s another take on developing relevant skills.

“Learn to do something. Work at a law firm or a bank. Become a teacher. Manage a restaurant or store. Make bread,” says Laura Callanan, founding partner at Upstart Co-Lab. “Good intentions won’t matter without practical experience–almost doesn’t matter what.”

Adlai Wertman, professor and founder of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the USC Marshall School of Business, suggests a new mindset. “Create a new synapse that fires every time you get a new project: Can this product or service be applied to solve a social, environmental or health access challenge?”

A few of the experts also suggested carefully screening potential employers.

“Use Larry David’s advice,” suggests Robert Rubinstein, founder and CEO of TBLI Group BV. “Interview the recruiter by asking, what are the values of the company? Do they align with yours? If not. Don’t work there.”

“Follow your passion but don’t feel that you must make a lifetime commitment,” says Richard Marker, founder of Wise Philanthropy Institute. “Not all worthy causes are great places to work. Check out the workplace culture.”

Three of the impact experts focused on defining and living your own set of values.

Laura Callanan CREDIT: UPSTART CO-LAB

“Practice your values consistently, know who you are and lead with your heart as well as your head,” said David Fanger, founder and CEO of Swell Investing. “You can rely on the UN SDGs as an impact north star.”

“Implement your values in your everyday life and practice what you preach,” says Cecile Blilious, founder and managing partner of Tel Aviv-based Impact First Investments. “Connect with thought leaders that project your values, follow them and then surpass them. Think different.”

“Develop a personal vision statement and a set of values that guide your every move,” says Shane Feldman, founder and CEO of Count Me In. “When you live and lead from this place of intention, you will be rooted in your purpose and capable of larger impact.”

Three of our influencers focused on getting started.

“Get involved!” says Bernard Loyd, president of Urban Juncture, Inc. in Chicago. “Whether you’ve got an hour per month to give or a hundred, if you’re involved you can make a difference.”

Karim Abouelnaga with student CREDIT: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

“The model of do well now so you can do good later is broken,” says Karim Abouelnaga, CEO of Practice Makes Perfect. “Now is the perfect time to do good. It is possible to do good and do well simultaneously. Society is ripe for positive disruption.”

“To make a big impact on the world start by making small, tangible impacts,” says Daryl Hatton, CEO of the nonprofit crowdfunding site FundRazr. “Pick a career where you directly measure your results. Celebrate those results! Then scale them up.”

Sheeza Shah, the founder and CEO of UpEffect, suggests focusing on the employment of those who really need it. “If you truly wish to drive impact, work for or with businesses creating dignified employment opportunities for under-represented communities and are dedicated to elevating their voices.”

Robert Kaplan, cofounder of Closed Loop Partners, which has financed over $100 million in recycling projects, says, “Remember that humans don’t make rational decisions. They make emotional decisions that they rationalize. When making the case for change, you need to hit both notes.”

Lastly, Stephanie Gripne, executive director of the Impact Finance Center, wins the prize for the most advice you can fit in a tweet.

  1. Work you love with people you love
  2. Function from a place of abundance
  3. Assume positive intent,
  4. Thinking partners who are not echo chambers
  5. Integrity,
  6. Fail fast with fun
  7. Radical self-care.

Those for whom earning a living is a necesssary but not sufficient requirement for a job will be drawn to have more impact. This collective wisdom could alter your plans and multiply the good you do and the change you make in the world.

Click here to get my free webinar showing the three myths that hamper and the two keys for nonprofit crowdfunding success.


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Principal, Rotary Club and Students Develop and Share Tools for Blind Students


Dr. John Patterson was the first president of his Liverpool-based Rotary Club. He is also the principal at St. Vincent’s, a school for visually impaired and blind children. Working with the children, they developed SightBox, a collection of games and educational tools for kids like themselves in the developing world.

Working with his Rotary Club, they share the SightBox kits with students who would otherwise have no access to such things.

Interview with Dr. John Adam Patterson, the Dr John Patterson Principal and Charter President Rotary St.Vincents of St. Vincent’s School for the Blind.

The following is the pre-interview with Dr. John Adam Patterson. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

In the UK, Visually Impaired unemployment is at 85% with 5-6 less friends than sighted peers; this is much higher in developing countries. We design access to sports equipment and send this equipment with a surround curriculum to VI schools weaving in technology teaching and learning innovation generating VI friend groups and access to learning /support for new venture creation.

Reaching out to some 6 million visually impaired young people to help generate friendship groups through sports to tackle isolation and via engagement in STEM to challenge high unemployment rates via showcasing strengths towards  employability in synergy with new venture creation.

St. Vincent’s:  www.stvin.com

More about St. Vincent’s School for the Blind:

Twitter: @sightboxuk

Website: www.sightbox.org.uk

St.Vincent’s is a residential specialist school for the blind in Liverpool, UK. Part of the school curriculum engages a ‘common good’ focus in sharing access to sports and education through the sending of a physical  SIGHTBOX to schools for the blind internationally supported by Rotary. St.Vincent pupils work with a surrounding Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculum with SIGHTBOX recipients to design new content and signpost routes to employment and  generate friendship groups in synergy with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For-profit/Nonprofit: Rotary club in collaboration with a non maintained school charity and sightbox charity ( ie SDG 17 in action)

Revenue model: Donations from Rotary and match funding for content of SIGHTBOX innovation

Scale: St. Vincents takes pupils from across the UK and has a staff of 56. Our Rotary club has over 20 members. We have sent sightboxes so far to 9 different VI communities in the world and wish to roll out our impact

Dr. John Adam Patterson

Dr. John Adam Patterson’s bio:

Originally an engineer, John retrained as a primary teacher serving in Liverpool inner city schools and across public private and voluntary sectors within EU Objective One programmes as community and education consultant leading to a Senior Lecturer role as Head of Physical Education on teacher education programmes at Liverpool Hope University. His MSC and PhD surround social capital, social enterprise, volunteerism and curriculum design. He is currently Principal at St. Vincent’s, a residential non-maintained School for VI in West Derby Liverpool rated as OUTSTANDING by The Office for Standards in Education. His research and focus remains with securing outcomes for VI young people.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Her Peace Corps Experience Shaped Her Life, Impacted Countless Others

Jaclyn “Jacque” Zoccoli started her career in the Peace Corps. That experience has shaped her life and career ever since, giving her a desire to always have an impact for good in the world. She works today to connect people to all those who can help them.

Interview with Jaclyn “Jacque” Zoccoli, the Global Collaborator of Network Builders Arizona.

The following is the pre-interview with Jaclyn “Jacque” Zoccoli. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

The problem solved is the lack of resources, (thus impact of groups), because they do not partner with others going the same direction. Through the building of alliances, and teams of them, there is an increase in commerce and growth. This eventually builds more love, prosperity and peace worldwide, the total solution.

Operation Heart to Heart:  PrincessJenniferLeeMinistries.org/OHH

More about Network Builders Arizona:

Website: NetworkBuildersArizona.com

Network Builders Arizona is partnering with Manifesting Global Solutions Group. The focus is to provide a template of resources for Eco Cities globally. There are 8 areas of development offered – from health to environment. The purpose is to provide grassroots seeds that teach communities how to become self-sufficient.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: The revenue model stems around several sources. Network Builders Arizona is a coaching business, thus individual, and group coaching are a source. The book and speaking engagements and workshops also bring in revenues. As an Influence Broker, revenue comes from client project phases, through alliances vetted and provided for the project’s increased success.

The partnership with the Manifesting Global Solutions Group will allow commissions from member interactions.

Scale: The Network Builders Arizona aspect is a one-person entity. As involvement with Manifesting Global Solutions Group increases, this will be expanded. It is estimated 16 – 32 groups/employees will be involved per project. There will be a Project Team as well to coordinate everything.

Jaclyn “Jacque” Zoccoli

Jaclyn “Jacque” Zoccoli’s bio:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/jacquezoccoli

After 2 years in the Peace Corps, in Liberia, Jaclyn began her focus on connecting people – locally, then globally. After the corporate trenches, she began her own businesses. Desktop Publishing (and teaching it – 4 colleges), morphed into creating networking groups (20) in CA.

Moving to Arizona, she turned the title “Networking Coach” into “Word of Mouth Strategist” then “Influence Broker”. While coaching, speaking, and authoring her book “Spontaneous Combustion – Developing Profitable Relationships”, she joined the Global Prosperity and Peace Initiative. Her focus changed to Global Collaborator, and she now connects people in 196 countries to resources to increase love, prosperity and peace.

The new Manifesting Global Solutions Group, offers a template for Eco Cities worldwide. Here Jaclyn will provide alliances for project phases, and coordinate the template strategies.

Mantra – “My age justifies my wisdom, my developed clarity teaches the Excitement of Awareness” that Excitement is what she is all about.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

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