The Your Mark on the World Center is partnering with Bright Funds to create the Your Mark on the World Fund. The fund supports the work of 16 nonprofits that are working to solve some of the Earth’s biggest problems.
Bright Funds CEO Ty Walrod said, “Bright Funds was built to address the needs of a new generation of donors who want to harness the power of strategic giving. The Your Mark on the World Fund is an extraordinary example of empowering donors to create impact in a variety of causes areas, ranging from environmental issues, human rights, disease research and prevention.”
“New technology and a more enriched global perspective are responsible for changing the way we view donating to causes. A generation ago, giving was somewhat reactive. Society did not have the tools or the access to causes or charities we have today, and it made giving feel very transactional,” Ty added.
“At Bright Funds, we enable donors to go beyond transactional giving by empowering them create funds and then track the impact of their donations,” Ty concluded.
On Wednesday, August 26, 2015, Ty will join me for a live discussion about the new Your Mark on the World Fund hosted by Bright Funds and the work of the nonprofits it supports. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Bright Funds:
San Francisco-based Bright Funds helps leading companies and their employees change the world through impactful social good programs, and in doing so, make their businesses more successful. Bright Funds enables employee donors to choose their cause and give to individual non-profits or exclusively available “Funds” comprised of multiple nonprofits. In one platform, Bright Funds brings together the power of research, the reliability of a trusted financial service, and the convenience of centralized contributions and company reporting. Employees, recruits, customers, and investors and worthy causes appreciate companies that use Bright Funds for employee-empowered giving.
More about the Your Mark on the World Fund:
This fund is inspired by the Your Mark on the World Center, which is championing the work of people and organizations who are actually leading the charge to solve the world’s biggest problems. Ranging from environmental issues to human rights, poverty and disease prevention, this group of nonprofits has been identified by the Center for their work in scaling global solutions to match global problems. The Center is working to see many of these problems solved before 2045.
Ty is the co-founder and CEO of Bright Funds, the company that enables employee-empowered workplace giving. Prior to Bright Funds, Ty co-founded and built OutServe into a national organization supporting LGBT equality in the US military. He previously worked for Deloitte, with the partnership’s venture capital, private equity and technology clients, followed by his work as the lead business analyst for Coverity.
Ty is also the co-founder and a board member of Startup and Tech Mixer, a bay area professional networking organization, and a board member of Sustainable Silicon Valley, an organization dedicated to a healthy environment, a vibrant economy, and a socially equitable Silicon Valley community. He is an avid runner and mountaineer.
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Ajaita Shah, founder of Frontier Markets, a retail distributor of solar powered products in rural India, was born in the United States to Indian immigrants; a part of who she is has always remained connected to her roots. Last year, she was recognized by Forbes as one of the 30 Under 30. Recently, she was recently recognized by Acumen as a world-class social entrepreneur, having been invited to join the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.
Shah explained the challenges she faced trying to live in two communities at once. A member of the Jain Marawi religious community in New York City, Shah felt the extreme juxtaposition of her life. She lived in a close-knit religious community and at the same time in the larger, increasingly secular world.
“I realized I was meant to be an entrepreneur from college: my senior year of college (2005) was all about working on creating projects which brought me back to India regularly,” Shah said.
She goes on to explain the realities she faced when she started working on her business in earnest in 2009, “Initially, I did not understand what being a social entrepreneur was going to entail – I was merely focused on writing a business plan and then testing a pilot, and determining whether I was correct in my assumptions. I was lucky to have early mentors ready to help in the process and help me understand that in order to make FM work, I will need to invest my own money into the idea– and eventually Frontier Markets becomes my baby, my story, my future.”
The 2009 launch proved, however, to be a false start. In 2010 and 2011, she completely reinvented the business, moving from Andhra Pradesh to Rajasthan, a state with more sunlight and poverty–perfect for her solar power business.
About the same time, Shah’s cultural duality became a central part of her life. Agreeing to a traditional arranged marriage with a member of her Jain community, she began the next chapter of her life as a married woman.
Things improved and she made progress beginning in 2011. “Spending everyday in the field; trying to crack this model,” she says of 2011. “By 2012, I feel like I have achieved something. I grow the company, get more investors, [and] suddenly FM is on the radar of many social impact investors–what we’re doing works. Our philosophy of building last mile retail for solar is working. We start growing, and suddenly, I am no longer an entrepreneur, but a CEO.”
But the cultural duality of her life proved in some ways to be unsustainable. She explained, “2013-2014 was the toughest year for me as social entrepreneur, as a woman leader; managing a company in India is hard. Rules and regulations I do not understand; whom to hire, whom to trust? There are a lot of cultural barriers–though I am Indian, I can speak, read and write in Hindi–I am still very aware of not being a local. I make many mistakes, hire the wrong people, try things and fail – but with a supporting investor group, amazing advisors, and strong partners, I come on top.”
But success with Frontier Markets was balanced by the end of her marriage. She said her mother-in-law come “soap opera enemy” laid down the law. “At the end of the day, the message was clear: if I wanted to be married to him and his family, I would have to give up my dreams and stay at home with them; work as a hobby, not as a career. Speak when spoken to. Live the way you are expected to live, not desire.”
Last year, she notes, was a year of achievements, including the Forbes recognition and more recently the Acumen-SAP fellowship.
“Today, I am free. Today, I am empowered. Today, I have control. Frontier Markets is doing well; we have 225 retail points, have sold 50,000 solar solutions in Rajasthan, [and] I am leading a team of 40 people. FM and I have gotten a lot of recognition for our work. I have a loving and supportive family both in India and the US. I have set up a foundation in the US that allows me to share my experiences from the field, continue to bridge gaps in the energy access space, and also now think even bigger – global,” she concluded.
Frontier Markets received an investment from Acumen and Shah was named an entrepreneur in the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.
On Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Shah will join me from India for a live discussion about her work of bringing solar power to the masses in rural India. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Frontier Markets:
Frontier Markets is a sales, marketing and after-sales service distribution company in Rajasthan. Founded in 2011, Frontier Markets works with local channel partners and field staff to educate, relate, and reach households providing them access to high quality and affordable clean energy solutions. We create solar retail points in the last mile and support them with service centers and after-sales. We work with manufacturers to get the right products to our rural customers. We create women entrepreneurs which is the solar saheli campaign; as well as working with local rural villagers to build presence of solar in Rajasthan. To date, we have sold over 90,000 solar solutions and have created 800 retail points and 500 solar sahelis. Frontier Markets has expanded access to clean energy products including solar and clean cook stoves to its partners on the ground in Rajasthan, primarily, Centre for Microfinance and their NGO partners. We have worked on creating a program to empower women through energy access called Solar Saheli.
More about the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen:
Acumen and SAP, global business software leader, have collaborated to create the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship to accelerate the growth of social enterprises serving the poor in East Africa and India. Leveraging Acumen’s 14 years of investing in early-stage social enterprises and SAP’s global business and innovation expertise, this unique collaboration will bring together emerging and established CEOs committed to building sustainable, socially driven businesses, creating a more inclusive global economy, and expanding opportunities for the poor to lead lives of dignity and possibility.
Ajaita is the Founder/CEO of Frontier Markets and the President of Frontier Innovations Foundation. Frontier Markets is a rural marketing, sales, and service distribution company providing access to affordable and quality solar solutions to low-income households in India. She has been working in India for 10 years in microfinance and clean energy distribution. She is a 2006 Clinton Service Corp Fellow, 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, 2013 Cordes Fellow, has been awarded the most influential award in Microfinance for people under 30, and Business Week’s 30 under 30 award, and most recently, Forbes Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Recently, she has been recognized as the #3 of top 40 women entrepreneurs of India in 2014, and Nasscom Foundation identified her as Women 2.0 of 2015. She actively speaks at conferences for the US Green Business Council, Universities, global forums. She has been an active educator, collaborator, and catalyst in helping scale clean energy access globally. Ajaita serves on the board of Frontier Innovations Foundation, a non-profit focused on last-mile distribution support for clean energy companies. As well as NASE, the National Association for Social Enterprises in India, a network for social enterprises. She is also an advisor to various social enterprises in India focusing on product development for the poor. She is an active member of the UN Practitioner’s Network, Asian Development Bank’s Energy For All Partnership. Ajaita Shah holds her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.
“Everyday 8,300 students drop out of high school, costing society $292,000 over the course of their lifetime because they are more likely to live in poverty, experience poor health, and be involved in crime,” explains Kip Kint, the Director of Training for School of Life Foundtion, an organization that aims to significantly reduce the rate at which students drop out of High School.
Jack Rolfe, the CEO and Founder of School of Life, notes, “The mission of the School of Life Foundation is to assist in reversing this trend and increase high school graduation rates. This is accomplished by teaching an afterschool program to at-risk students.”
Kip explains the program’s focus on teaching life skills, “Taking ownership of one’s own life is the key to success. The School of Life empowers students to take ownership, even if less-than-ideal circumstances remain in other parts of their lives. They come away knowing they have more power than they thought they did.”
Rolfe notes that the program is highly effective, “Of the Senior students dropping out of high school that complete the program 88% turn around and graduate on time. The success rate of underclassmen advancing to their next grade level is 98%.”
As a result of the program’s effectiveness, the program launched just four years ago will operate in 30 high schools across three states this fall.
On Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Jack and Kip will join me for a live discussion about the program and the data they use to track their impact. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about the School of Life Foundation:
The School of Life Foundation™ is a nonprofit organization that aims to disrupt troublesome high school dropout rates throughout the United States and is committed to the social, moral and character development of youth. We donate our workbook, Learn To “School” Your Toughest Opponent™, and accompanying training program to high schools. The book offers life-guiding principles and values to help youth achieve straight A’s in the school of life™. Many of our partner schools are implementing the School of Life program as Tier 2 of their Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) system to enhance their school culture.
Mr. Rolfe is a retired physical therapist and girls basketball coach. He is a past President of the Nevada State Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association and also past President of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador group the Dixie Sunshiners. His coaching experiences consisted of little leagues, middle school, high school, college camps, WNBA camps, and traveling AAU clubs. From these life experiences Jack was inspired to write the book Learn to “School” Your Toughest Opponent which contains the Straight A’s in Life curriculum. To share the message of this workbook Mr. Rolfe created a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the School of Life Foundation and now serves as CEO. In an effort to further the mission of the Foundation he attained a Masters of Nonprofit Administration Degree from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame graduating in 2013. Mr. Rolfe also authored the book 27 Seconds and coauthored Life Choices: It is Never Too Late and Heart of a Toastmaster. He enjoys speaking professionally and was honored to speak at the First Annual National Youth Mentoring Summit held at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Jack and his wife Lexie reside in St. George, Utah. They have five children and nine grandchildren. Jack’s cohort at Notre Dame named him the Silver Fox!
Kip Kint is the Director of Training for the School of Life Foundation. Kip is also the author of You Can If You Will: How to Succeed Through Commitment and Accountability. He has more than 20 years of business and leadership experience, having worked in leadership positions for large, successful companies such as WordPerfect, Novell, FranklinCovey and BNI. Kip has been an Executive Trainer and Success Coach for over 20 years. He is a Certified FranklinCovey Coach, an effectiveness expert and a professional speaker. Clients of note have come from prominent organizations such as the U.S. Department of Justice, The United Nations, Allied Waste/Republic Services, The New York Stock Exchange, Disney, Microsoft, BNI and many others.
Some people just don’t fit the mold you’d cast them in. Adlai Wertman, professor and Founding Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the Marhsall School of Business at the University of Southern California is just such a person.
While a former investment banker becoming a business school professor is a well enough worn path, the shift from investment banking to a heartfelt passion for helping the homeless is startling.
Adlai is also the founder of Chrysalis, a nonprofit enterprise that provides employment to the homeless in Los Angeles and has helped over 1,000 clients and generated over $4.5 million in revenue.
Adlai explains his thinking, “It is unfair that historically business educations have been solely used for pursuing profit maximization. That same skill set and education must also be applied to solving the world’s biggest social challenges.”
Every year, Adlai gives his students a personal challenge, “With the world telling you that success is about making money, do you have the courage to define success for yourself?”
On Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Adlai will join me for a live discussion about his remarkable career switch and the social entrepreneurship program at USC. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about the USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab:
The USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL) focuses on educating and supporting USC students, faculty, staff, and community members on using business models to address global social, environmental and health challenges. . Through coursework, education, programs, events, and career development, we provide the tools to equip and inspire the next generation of enlightened business leaders and social entrepreneurs. The Lab recently introduced a one-year Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship – the first such degree offered by a business school in the United States.
Adlai Wertman is a professor of clinical entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business and holds a joint appointment at the Rossier School of Education. He is also the founding director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at Marshall —a center focused on educating and supporting USC students, faculty, staff, and community members on using business models to address global social, environmental and health challenges. Prior to joining the faculty at Marshall, Adlai spent seven years as president and CEO of Chrysalis — the only non-profit in Los Angeles devoted solely to helping homeless change their lives through employment. As part of its award-winning program, Chrysalis ran one of the larger social enterprises in the country — Chrysalis Enterprises — with annual revenues over $4.5 million and employing nearly 1,000 clients each year. Prior to Chrysalis, Adlai spent 18 years as an investment banker in New York and Los Angeles.
Adlai is an advisory board member of the Global Health Institute the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Sydney Harmon Academy of Polymathic Studies, and a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the USC Center on Social Innovation. He has also served as a commissioner of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Fund. Adlai is a frequent speaker on the issues of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Adlai was a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and a Wexner Heritage Fellow. Adlai earned his BA in Economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his MBA in Finance, Public Policy Management and Strategic Planning from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Adlai is a member of the Social Venture Network.
Your Mark on the World Center sponsor Mike Schwager is a media consultant who focuses on impact in all he does. He operates MediaMavens.com and TVtraining.tv, helping people prepare for appearances on television.
Mike explains his philosophy, “Serve companies that tell the truth about the products and services they deliver, that minimally don’t hurt anyone; and optimally serve the public good and interest. Who you represent is an extension of who you are.”
He works to choose his clients carefully, noting, “The best companies value people above profits, encouraging human development as the cornerstone of quality products and services.”
Mike offers some important advice about promoting a client that applies equally to those promoting themselves, “In promoting a book, a product or service, or an organization use news to make news; think ‘impact,’ think ‘timeliness/immediacy,’ think ‘novelty,’ think ‘relevance.'”
Like all communications professionals, Mike helps people face public relations crises. He offers this advice to others, “Organizations should admit mistakes, offer constructive solutions. Tell your clients the truth in confidence, even if they may not want to hear it.”
Mike sees real strategic value in adding a meaningful social impact to a for-profit business; he advises, “Help your for-profit clients see the value of allying themselves with worthwhile causes that can enhance their own reputations, and do some real good in the world as well.”
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Mike will join me for a live discussion about his career and insights for public relations. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Worldlink Media Consultants:
PR/Media Relations firm specializing in: speech writing, publicity, marketing communications, media interview and crisis training, creative marketing consulting and reputation repair on behalf of authors, non-profit and humanitarian organizations, companies invested in cause-related marketing, politicians, celebrities and countries.
Also advance issues such as dialogue, self-empowerment and motivation, animal advocacy, global poverty solutions, alternative energy via two websites: www.Enrichment.com, and www.EnrichOurWorld.net – and my radio show, “The Enrichment Hour” on WSRadio.com.
As a writer for CBS Audience Services, media specialist for Burson-Marsteller, as president of Michael Klepper Associates, and as head of his own two media relations firms – The Media Relations Group and Worldlink Media Consultants – Mike Schwager has been an accomplished media relations/public relations executive, with a track record of building reputations for non-profits, associations, companies, governments and authors.
His publicity efforts have helped raise millions for humanitarian enterprises; and he has successfully put organizations such as CURE International, Opportunity International, Geneva Global, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, KidsPeace, The John Templeton Foundation, The United Negro College Fund, Magazine Publishers of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the public spotlight. He has introduced China to America as Director of Public Relations for The Exhibition of the People’s Republic of China, and has gained increased respect for Mexico in the American mind by developing television news stories on behalf of the United States-Mexican Development Corporation. He has spearheaded successful p.r. campaigns for such companies as Kelloggs, Data General, ABC/Capital Cities Publishing, Tadiran and World Color Press.
He has also implemented promotional campaigns for best-selling books such as Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, and created successes for such other books as You Can Heal Your Life; For Entrepreneurs Only; Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties; The Hidden Pope; A Billion Bootstraps: Microcredit, Barefoot Banking and the Business Solution for Ending Poverty; The BEST In Us: People, Profit and the Remaking of Modern Leadership; and The Evolution of an Entrepreneur: Featuring My 50 Best Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Business.
Mr. Schwager is an acclaimed counselor to CEOs, and as a media interview trainer has prepared many CEOs, diplomats and authors for appearances on national television. He is also an accomplished writer of Opinion Editorials and speeches for executives and politicians.
As he’s travelled on his journey, Mike has come to see himself as a healer through communications. In addition to serving humanitarian organizations in media relations, he
became host of a spiritual/humanitarian radio show, “The Enrichment Hour” on WSRadio.com, and he created two websites, Enrichment.com, an idea envisioned on a walk down a Soho street in Manhattan during the winter of 1990; and EnrichOurWorld.net. Within this vision was the sense that as the world converges technologically, so is the time also ripe for a convergence and new integration between people, races, genders, religions and cultures…coming together and finding common ground through dialogue and heart-felt expression. The time is also fertile for increased opportunities for human fulfillment, and the growth of human potentiality – through service to the Earth and humanity, vocational/entrepreneurial growth, and creative/ spiritual insight, growth and self-development.
It is hoped that his radio show, The Enrichment Hour, Enrichment.com, and EnrichOurWorld.net, will inspire and help enrich people’s lives in building the better world!
In development are the creation of a new radio channel, called “The Enrichment Channel” and a new website, “United Friends of Earth.”
Dr. Thane Kreiner of Santa Clara University, Center for Science, Technology, and Society leads the program to establish social entrepreneurship programs at Jesuit colleges across the country.
According to a publicist, Santa Clara U’s Global Social Benefit Incubator, which taps into Silicon Valley expertise to help social entrepreneurs in third world countries, has spawned 202 enterprises, impacted nearly 100 million people. Forty percent of the social enterprises they have worked with are scaling and financially stable and 90 percent are still in business. They have helped Social Enterprises raised $89 million. Now, the GSBI® Network, a growing group of Jesuit universities and other mission-aligned institutions with a common focus on leveraging social enterprise for social benefit, is multiplying the incubator’s impact by sharing curriculum, methods, best practices and other resources for launching and operating social enterprise incubators and accelerators.
On March 31, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Dr. Kreiner will join me for a live discussion about the growing social entrepreneurship program.
Tune in here then to listen while you work.
Dr. Kreiner’s bio:
Howard and Alida Charney University Professor of Science and Technology for Social Benefit
Thane Kreiner, PhD, is Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. Thane was previously Founder, President, and CEO of PhyloTech, Inc. (now Second Genome), which conducts comprehensive microbial community analysis for human health applications. He was Founder, President, and CEO of Presage Biosciences, Inc., a Seattle-based company dedicated to bringing better cancer drugs to market. Thane was the start-up President and CEO for iZumi Bio, Inc. (now iPierian), a regenerative medicine venture based on the break-through iPSc (induced pluripotent stem cell) technology. Prior to his efforts as a “parallel entrepreneur”, Thane spent 14 years in various senior leadership roles at Affymetrix, Inc., which pioneered the DNA chip industry. Thane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the BioBricks Foundation and as a Board member for Didimi, Inc.. Thane earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business; his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University School of Medicine; and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin.