amazon facebook_32 gplus_32 linkedin_32 pinterest_32 tumblr_32 twitter_32 website_32 youtube_32 email_32 rss_32

 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

Nonprofit

This category includes articles about nonprofit organizations and NGOs that are actively working to accomplish a social mission. The work of foundations that primarily work as grantors to other nonprofits is covered in Philanthropy.

Author: To Do More Good, ‘Focus On Impact’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Wendy Lipton-Dibner, the bestselling author who has just seen her latest book, Focus on Impact, published has focused her career on helping people put results and outcomes ahead of financial returns with the reassurance that by focusing on impact, the money will come.

When Lipton-Dibner talks about “impact,” she’s using the word in a more traditional sense, meaning non-financial outcomes and results rather than its use in social enterprise circles with a focus on social good.

That said, her focus on traditional impact is highly relevant for the socially conscious–and her message is good news for social entrepreneurs. As we focus on impact, she says, success will come.

In preparing for this piece, I asked Lipton-Dibner for three tips to help social entrepreneurs have more impact. Here’s what she shared:

  1. Best practice isn’t always smart practice. If your business goal is to make a lasting and profitable impact, traditional business models won’t get you there. Research of over 1000 multi-national enterprises, hospitals, private practices, non-profit organizations and small businesses has shown the more people focus on increasing profitability, the more money they end up spending to make up for problems they caused by focusing on money. The answer:  Focus On Impact in every area of business from visualization to execution, internally and externally.
  2. Capitalize on the social shift. Gone are the days when we trust the words of the CEO who reassures us his/her products and services are best in class. Consumers have learned the hard way that just because we say we can help them, doesn’t mean we will. They’ve learned to trust shoppers more than sellers. They’ve become cynical, skeptical and cautious. The traditional “voice of authority” has shifted from business to consumer and this social shift has created the “Era of Sampling” – a try-before-you-buy economy in which impact is the new global currency. Now is the time to take control over the shape of your impact, the size of your impact and the rewards you reap as a result of your impact.
  3. Maximize your unique impact. You’ve been impacting people since the first moment you kicked inside your mother’s womb. Every since that moment you’ve impacted hundreds – perhaps thousands of lives – simply by interacting with people and bringing your unique combination of DNA, social experiences, education, skills, perspective and personality to the world. In business, your unique impact carries an extraordinary opportunity. Every email, every post, every tweet, the simple act of answering your phone, leading a meeting or talking to a stranger – everything you do and everything you don’t do has an impact on someone else. The secret is to define your unique impact and strategically infuse it into your marketing, products and services to create the one-of-a-kind, measurable impact that will set you apart as the go-to in your industry.

On Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Lipton-Dibner will join me here for a live discussion about her insights for having more 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 Professional Impact:

Professional Impact, Inc. is an international training and consulting firm, specializing in helping experts, executives and entrepreneurs maximize and capitalize on the unique impact they bring to people’s lives through one-of-a-kind messaging, products and services. Since 1983 we’ve had the privilege of serving hundreds of thousands of people in corporate, healthcare, small business, non-profit and entrepreneurial industries through in-house training and consulting, international bestselling books, live events, online training programs, world-class speaking engagements and media interviews. Our mission is to make an impact on people’s lives so they, in turn, can make an impact on every life they touch.

Lipton-Dibner’s bio:

Twitter: @impactexpert

Wendy Lipton-Dibner, M.A. is the world’s leading authority on business development through impact strategy. President of Professional Impact, Inc. and founder of The Action Movement™, Wendy is internationally-recognized for her unparalleled ability to help clients grow profitable businesses by maximizing and capitalizing on the impact they bring to people’s lives through their message, products and services.

Christian Organization Works To Restore Peace In Violent Honduras

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Honduras may have the highest murder rate in the world. The Christian organization called the Association for a More Just Society (AJS) is working there exclusively to help restore peace to a traumatized population.

Co-founder Dr. Kurt Alan Ver Beek explains the situation, “Honduras’s violence is widely reported on. It’s been listed as having the highest or one of the highest homicide rates in the world for the last several years. Honduras’s systems of laws and justice are very weak, they are applied unfairly (the poor are neglected), and they suffer from endemic corruption. As an example, an AJS study in 2014 found that 96 percent of homicides in Honduras never result in a guilty conviction. With such an ineffective system, what’s to stop the violence?”

“As a result, drug traffickers have flocked to Honduras as a haven for their illicit activities and have aggravated the situation,” he adds.

And these issues are just the tip of the iceberg Ver Beek describes. “At the same time, public services offered by the Honduran government have been hemorrhaging resources to corruption.”

AJS has programs to address peace and public security on one hand and corruption on the other.

Ver Beek describes three of the peace and public security initiatives:

  1. Violence prevention programs in dangerous neighborhoods that work with 350 especially at-risk youth and their families
  2. Teams of investigators, lawyers, and psychologists who solve homicides (84 arrests in 2014) and sexual abuse cases (17 arrests in 2014) in poor neighborhoods — helping to amend the broken bonds of trust that perpetuate violence
  3. Investigations and data-driven advocacy that inform public policy — helping to reduce the national homicide rate by more than 20 percent in the last three years

Similarly, he lists five anti-corruption initiatives:

  1. A watchdog journalism team
  2. Social auditing of the public health and education systems (brought accountability that kept public schools open for more than the government-mandated 200 days, instead of the 125 days of class they had been averaging)
  3. A legal team that helps investigate and report cases of corruption (helped bring 13 government officials to trial related to corruption in the public medication warehouse)
  4. Land rights reform (125 corruption cases reported)
  5. In-depth investigations into five government divisions (part of an agreement between the Honduran government, Transparency International, and AJS)

Ver Beek reports that real progress is being made. “Based on our experience uncovering and working to reform the medication purchasing system, in March of 2014, an independent trust became responsible for the buying and distribution of pharmaceuticals to state-run hospitals. Purchases made by the trust are handled by the United Nations Office for Project Services with technical assistance from the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund. AJS and other civil society groups are providing independent oversight of the trust, plus the delivery of medications. AJS is now seen as a Honduran civil society leader in reforming the public health system and dislodging corruption from it.”

On Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Ver Beek will join me here for a live discussion about the dangerous and important work of AJS in Honduras. 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 Association for a More Just Society:

Twitter: @ajs_us

AJS is a Honduran NGO that is focused on issues of anti-corruption and anti-violence in Honduras. Honduras continuously has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and the police/justice system is broken to the extent that there is a 96% probability that a murder will never reach a guilty conviction. This is the reality that AJS is working to change — and the dangerous context in which the organization is operating. The range of AJS’s projects is significant, however the efforts that have received the most international attention involve teams of AJS investigators, lawyers, and psychologists who help to ensure convictions in homicide and child sexual abuse cases. As an example of these efforts, AJS has faithfully worked in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa — and has witnessed a drop of more than 75% in the neighborhood’s homicide rate. AJS also operates an investigative journalism website, runs a corruption report hotline, performs extensive corruption investigations, does policy advocacy, and organizes social audits of the public health and education systems. AJS is a Christian organization, and its staff is made up of about 100 brave Hondurans dedicated to making Honduras’s system of laws and government work properly to do justice for the poor. This work involves certain risk, and in 2006 an AJS lawyer was assassinated on his way to court. It should also be noted that AJS is the Honduran chapter of Transparency International.

Dr. Ver Beek’s bio:

Dr. Kurt Alan Ver Beek has lived and worked on development and justice issues in Central America for more than 25 years. Kurt directs Calvin College’s Justice Studies semester in Honduras and has conducted research on the role of faith in development, the effects of short-term missions, and the impact of the maquila industry on Honduras. He is also a co-founder and board member of the Association for a More Just Society (AJS), a Christian justice organization with a specific focus on Honduras. By standing up for victims of violence, labor and land rights abuse, and government corruption in Honduras, organizations around the world, including Transparency International and the United Nations, are increasingly recognizing AJS as a pioneer in achieving justice for the poor. In addition to fighting against drastic crime in Honduran neighborhoods, AJS works towards peace and public security reforms on a national level.

Kurt received his B.A. in sociology from Calvin College, his M.A. in human resource development from Azusa Pacific University, and his Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University. Kurt and his wife, JoAnn Van Engen, are originally from the Midwest, but have made Honduras their home since 1988. In 2001, they moved to one of the poorest communities in the capital city of Honduras. Living there has greatly influenced their understanding of how corruption and violence affect the most vulnerable.

 

Three Surprising Legal Tips for Nonprofits

Ask anyone in the nonprofit world and you’ll hear that budgets are constrained. Running a nonprofit, however, is not easy. Brent Andrewson, an attorney at our sponsor Kirton McConkie, offers these three surprising legal tips to help.

  1. Be mindful of conflicts of interest. If you have a great board of directors, officers and employees it is likely you’ll find your organization navigating conflicts of interest from time to time. The existence of a conflict does not mean that you cannot proceed with a proposed project or transactin, but it does mean that you need to proceed carefully in this nuanced arena.
  2. Be sure to know when you need to register with a state for fundraising there. Forty states require nonprofits to register. Just having a website doesn’t trigger registration requirements, but other normal solicitation activities, including crowdfunding may.
  3. Being a nonprofit triggers regulation; it doesn’t exempt you from it.The tax, fundraising and other implications of nonprofits subject organizations to increased–not reduced–scrutiny from regulators.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern to talk about these three tips. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about Kirton McConkie:

Kirton McConkie is Utah’s largest law firm. It provides excellent service in helping clients solve problems, achieve results and realize opportunities. We serve individuals and businesses, from large multinational organizations to small start ups. As the largest law firm in Utah, we represent a depth of collective knowledge and skills, clients desire. We also know, for the most part, clients tend to hire individual lawyers they have heard about, who have been referred to them or who they already know. We know it is true because it happens for us all the time. Many of our new clients come from referrals. To us, this is the highest form of recognition for the work and service we provide as lawyers and as a law firm.

Brent Andrewsen, Kirton McConkie

Brent Andrewsen, Kirton McConkie

Brent’s bio:

Mr. Andrewsen is a member of Kirton McConkie’s Corporate, and Tax and Estate Planning sections. His practice includes estate planning, probate and trust administration, gift taxation, tax-exempt organizations, charitable trusts and planned giving. Mr. Andrewsen also has advised clients with respect to business matters and has assisted in forming various business entities and transactions. He is a frequent speaker on issues regarding tax-exempt organizations, planned giving, estate planning, and related topics. In addition to his professional work, he has sat on the boards of various charitable organizations over the years. Mr. Andrewsen has an AV PreeminentTM peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is recognized as one of Utah’s Legal Elite for estate planning, a Mountain States Super Lawyer for estate planning and non-profits and a Best Lawyer for trusts/estates and nonprofit/charities. He was also honored by Utah Business magazine as a 40 Under 40 Rising Star.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Social Entrepreneur Works To End ‘Summer Slide’ And Close Achievement Gap For Urban Poor

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The achievement gap between affluent and poor students gets worse every summer as the less fortunate forget much of what they learned during the school year, a phenomenon known as the “summer slide.”

Karim Abouelnaga, the young social entrepreneur who launched Practice Makes Perfect, explains, “The achievement gap is damaging to our society at a basic level. In 2009, McKinsey & Company estimated that the gap was costing our economy $310-$525 billion in GDP each year, which is the equivalent of a permanent national recession. The achievement gap is likely to widen as our income gap widens.”

“Our nation’s summer school system is broken. It’s well-intentioned but, as currently conceived, it doesn’t work. In reality, summer school is punitive; it’s for students who failed to learn enough to be promoted. It’s taught by teachers, many of whom are burned out from the previous 10 months. They put low-performing students together in a class to struggle. Students are assigned worksheets for tests that don’t really matter. They’re not engaged. They merely “do their time” in hopes of getting promoted and the cycle will likely repeat next year,” he observes.

Practice Makes Perfect operates in New York City’s toughest schools, where Abouelnaga observes, “Fewer than half the students in summer school pass end-of-summer reading and math tests and yet they will be promoted anyway because the city’s promotion policy also factors in attendance and classwork.”

The Cornell-educated Abouelnaga is proud of the program he’s created to address the problems he’s observed.

“At Practice Makes Perfect, we have re-imagined the summer learning experience. We work closely with schools to operate summer school programs for them,” he says.

Abouelnaga outlines the program as follows:

  • Our team handles the on-boarding and outreach process for schools.
  • We start by tackling the stigma associated with summer school and changing students’ perception around learning. Then we identify high-achieving peers who act as mentors to our students.
  • We hire college students who are aspiring teachers to lead our instruction. They conduct home visits before our program starts to build rapport with the students and their families.
  • We then hire teachers from the schools we work with to act as teaching coaches for the summer. They receive professional development and spend their summer mentoring aspiring teachers instead of burning out by teaching all summer.
  • We extend the school day incorporate local field trips, and do community service.

“We’ve created a model where everyone wins,” he exults.

Abouelnaga has a grand vision, “Practice Makes Perfect has the potential to eliminate summer learning loss and narrow the achievement gap by two-thirds. More importantly, our nation can take a huge step forward in providing equal opportunities for children of all backgrounds. We want to re-write narratives and change social paradigms. No longer will your zip code or where you’re born be the reason why you do or do not attain a high-quality education.”

Abouelnaga is one of the remarkable social entrepreneurs just completing the Santa Clara University Global Social Benefit Institute at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Abouelnaga will join me for a live discussion about the problems facing our low-income, urban students and the solutions that Practice Makes Perfect is deploying to solve them. 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 Practice makes Perfect:

Twitter: @PMPUSA

Practice Makes Perfect (PMP) is a non-profit organization that provides an innovative summer learning program to struggling inner-city students. PMP’s unique “near-peer” model places K-8 students in small groups with higher achieving mentors from the same neighborhood who are four years older. PMP’s alternative to traditional summer school narrows the educational achievement gap among students in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Results from Summer 2015 showed that students who have completed the PMP summer program show average gains of 2 months English Language Arts (ELA) and 6 months of Math proficiency.

Karim Abouelnaga with student, courtesy of Practice Makes Perfect

Karim Abouelnaga with student, courtesy of Practice Makes Perfect

Abouelnaga’s bio:

Twitter: @KarimAbouelnaga

Karim Abouelnaga is the founder & CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, which he founded at 18 while still a college student. He is the product of under-resourced New York City public schools, but benefited from mentors who helped lift him out of his neighborhood into Cornell University, where he received over $300,000 in scholarships and aid to make his college education possible. He founded the organization to “pay it forward,” to help students with a background similar to his who didn’t have the opportunities he had. Karim is an Echoing Green Fellow and Global Shaker and, at the age of 23, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education list in 2015.

Matchbook Learning Claims Solution To Struggling Public Schools

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

K-12 education in the United States just ain’t what it used to be. (Please pardon my use of the vernacular to emphasize the point.)

Sajan George, Founder and CEO of Matchbook Learning, explains, “Our nation’s K-12 public education system is in need of a turnaround. Children born in the bottom 25% income zip code have just a 9% chance of graduating from college. Our nation’s schools continue to slide against international peers. We once ranked at the top of the world in how we educated our next generation and now we are in the middle. We are failing both as a country and particularly our children of poverty. Our country needs a sustainable, scalable turnaround solution.”

George is leading revolution in education that he hopes will turn this disturbing trend around.

George describes the effort, “Matchbook combines the best in both public school turnaround expertise and blended learning expertise. Our principals are some of the country’s leading practitioners in engagements involving ‘lead turnaround partners,’ blended school design and implementation and coaching of master teachers.”

He emphasizes the use of technology and customization. “We have brought this tri-fold experience together to target school turnarounds with a customized blended model that blends face-to-face and virtual instruction in brick-and-mortar schools via a 1:1 computing environment, while coaching teachers to personalize instruction for the benefits of each and every child in their classroom.”

The focus is to enhance education at schools with most poverty, George says, noting, “Our unique and innovative blended turnaround school model is the first of its kind in the nation to be offered to schools with the highest poverty rates and needs.”

George hopes to expand the program, asking that we “encourage parents, funders and government officials to allow conditions for these kinds of 21st century models of school to proliferate based on results with the conditions necessary for rapid, sustainable scale.”

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 4:00 PM Eastern, George will join me for a live discussion about the problems facing K-12 education in the U.S. today and the Matchbook Learning solution. 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 Matchbook Learning:

Twitter: @matchbooklearn

Matchbook Learning is a national non-profit school turnaround management organizaiton. We courageously seek to turnaround some of our nation’s chronically failing K-12 public schools via our technology-enabled, personalized learning model of school. When we do, we believe that we will create powerful proof points that can transform the country.

George’s bio:

Sajan founded and leads Matchbook Learning, a national nonprofit school management organization launched in 2011 to turnaround our nation’s bottom 5% of under performing public schools with a unique blended model of school that leverages both online technology and turnaround management skills. Matchbook Learning has launched three successful school turnarounds in Detroit, MI, one in Newark, NJ and has plans to continue to expand nationally. Prior to founding Matchbook Learning, CEO Sajan George was a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal (“A&M”) where he led the Firm’s Education Practice. In that role, he led a diverse group of talented turnaround professionals across the U.S. in running entire K-12 public school districts. Sajan and his team at A&M employed turnaround strategies across major urban cities with precedent setting reform efforts in St Louis (2004 – first ever district to contract out its entire management to a private management firm), to New Orleans (successful post-Katrina success in designing the reopening of several schools within days after the levees historically broke – 2005 & 2006) to New York City (well chronicled turnaround and Broad Prize winner for in 2007 under Joel Klein) to Detroit (2009 & 2010 – historic State takeover and appointment of Emergency Fiscal Manager) with numerous mid-tier cities in between. Prior to A&M, Sajan was a Senior Director in Arthur Andersen’s Corporate Restructuring Group wherein he led turnarounds of companies in crisis across a range of industries in Canada, Australia and the United States.

Hat tip to Tara Russell at Fathom for the introduction to George.

Women With Disabilities Face Avoidable Challenges, This Nonprofit Seeks To Help

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“It’s a tough fact of life that women with disabilities face challenges many of us cannot even imagine. But the tragedy is that many of their most difficult challenges could be avoided,” says Richard Ellenson, CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

Ellenson elaborates, “Women with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities receive basic healthcare services that are widely and persistently inadequate, inconsistent, and substandard. In fact, many physically disabled women experience life-threatening crises, and endure life-draining experiences, directly related to deficient medical care. All women deserve recognition and delivery of optimal healthcare; for women with disabilities, efforts aimed at improving their particular requirements for optimal healthcare delivery is urgently needed, deserved, and long overdue.”

To address this crisis, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation has launched its “Transforming Healthcare for Women with Disabilities” initiative.

Ellenson explains, “CPF, with the extraordinary support of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, has put together an innovative collaboration with four leading medical institutions – Columbia, UCLA, Harvard, and Northwestern – to create an organic team approach to addressing this issue.”

“We will spend our first year developing a model, and our second putting that model in place in a beta test. We will then spend that second year refining and evolving our approaches. Eventually, all the institutions will implement these new protocols and begin to share the work nationwide,” he adds.

Ellenson shared his vision for the future that will result from the current effort, “The success of this project will empower women with cerebral palsy to expect the same standard of healthcare received by us all. And give physicians the knowledge to finally deliver it. While women with cerebral palsy are the focus of this project, the outcomes will benefit many more women with physical disabilities including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis.”

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at noon Eastern, Ellenson will join me for a live discussion about the new initiative, including further discussion of the problems facing women with disabilities and what he hopes CPF can do to alleviate those problems. 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 Cerebral Palsy Foundation:

Twitter: @yourcpf

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation is a 60 year old organization whose Chairman Emeritus is Paul A. Volcker. Our mission is to transform lives for people with cerebral palsy today – through research innovation and collaboration.

Our collaborative networks bring together great thinkers in science, research, and technology who work actively with us developing solutions to the most pressing problems faced by people with cerebral palsy and related disabilities.

CPF plays an instrumental role in a wide variety of initiatives – from improving basic healthcare to adapting new technologies which provide advanced access for gaming and therapies, to funding translational research and clinical application which allow individuals to leverages the enormous advances being made in the sciences.

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation is guided by a deep commitment to delivering innovations that can change lives today. We are driven not only by vision, but by experience. More than half of our Board members have children or family members with CP, or have the condition.

Richard Ellenson with his son Tom

Richard Ellenson with his son Tom

Ellenson’s bio:

Richard Ellenson brings enormous vision and energy to his role as CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. In his first year there, he has launched major initiatives that have helped evolve the Foundation and ready it for significant growth in its work and profile.

Prior to leading CPF, Richard was founder and CEO of two assistive technology companies (Blink Twice and Panther Technologies) which helped transform and reimagine the field of assistive technology. Said Alan Brightman, Founder of Apple AAPL +0.86% Computer’s Worldwide Disability Solutions Group and now Vice President for Global Accessibility at Yahoo YHOO +3.23%, “The mass market mentality Richard Ellenson brought to this market was unprecedented in the history of assistive technology.”

Prior to this work, he was an advertising executive who created memorable campaigns for brands such as American Express AXP +1.32% and Remy Martin, and who penned the classic line, “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO.”

Richard has worked tirelessly to create awareness about people with disabilities and to share stories about their vibrant lives. He and his son have been featured as ABC World News People of the Year, on CNBC’s Squawk Box , in a New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, and as a feature on ESPN’s E:60.

Richard has been honored with many awards in the field, has served on several Advisory Councils and has also been the recipient of two NIH grants. Richard is a graduate of Cornell and holds an MBA from The Wharton School. He lives in New York City with his wife Lora, Director of Gynecologic Pathology at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell, and with his two very special children, Thomas and Taite.

The Woman Who Distributed 25 Million Dictionaries Still Looking To Give More

Mary French is a on a crusade to improve literacy around the world. Partnering with organizations like Rotary International for help, Mary French has collected and distributed 25 million dictionaries, mostly to third graders in every state in the U.S. and in other countries around the world.

“The problem is that children do not have access to dictionaries with more than 32,000 words in school. In order to be functionally literate a person must know more than 5,000 words to be able to read instructions or hear them and understand them to complete a task,” Mary explains, adding, “A dictionary is a reliable resource that makes a person self-reliant and able to think independently.”

Mary is making remarkable progress with the Dictionary Project. She notes, “To solve the problem of illiteracy we partner with people who want to put dictionaries into the hands of students where they live by giving them their own personal dictionary. Since the project began we have donated over 25,000,000 dictionaries to people in all fifty states and around the world.”

Mary has a remarkable vision of the future she’d like to create. “We would like to have more people involved to ensure that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary so that they will be able to use the English language effectively. To solve the problem of illiteracy in every community children need to be encouraged to spend more time reading and less time watching television. By learning new words people are able to form associations with other people and create more connections to enrich their lives and make this country a better place to live for all.”

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Mary will join me for a live discussion about her inspiring work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about the Dictionary Project:

The Dictionary Project is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that raises money to provide dictionaries to everyone to ensure that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary.

Mary French

Mary French

Mary’s bio:

Mary has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English from Charleston Southern University. She has been the Director of the Dictionary Project since 1995 when the organization began, founded by Mary and her late husband Arno French. She has written and published ‘The Best Dictionary for Students’, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer’, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer, Canadian Edition and ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Gazetteer, Caribbean Edition’, and with the help of Siddarth and Karan Rai, ‘A Student’s Dictionary & Animal Gazetteer’. Mary and Arno were terrible spellers. The dictionaries were a reliable and accurate aid to help them spell words correctly and expand their frame of reference. The Dictionary Project was created to provide that opportunity to all of the children in South Carolina; a state that ranked 47th in the nation in education. Improving education is a difficult challenge. South Carolina is now 42nd in the nation in education in part because of the Dictionary Project.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Ex-Convicts To Run The Other Side Academy To Help Convicts

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Tim Stay, one of Utah’s leading tech entrepreneurs and executives, recently launched a new venture with successful entrepreneur Joseph Grenny. They’ve chosen several ex-convicts to run the new business, The Other Side Academy.

This may not be such an odd choice. You see, the new venture, modeled closely on Delancey Street Foundation, is a nonprofit that will work to really rehabilitate convicts.

Stay explained to me recently that our prisons “provide criminals with a masters degree in criminology” rather than rehabilitating them.”

He elaborates, “The problem is that there is a portion of the criminal population that doesn’t get better by doing time. Many of them are repeat offenders, spending their lives in and out of jail and prison. They usually have substance abuse problems and many times find themselves unable to secure or keep a job and eventually wind up on the streets, being involved in criminal activity, and going back to jail. And this cycle continues at great expense to taxpayers. These people are living lives of increasingly destructive behaviors to themselves, to their families, and to society.”

He says that TOSA, as everyone involved in The Other Side Academy quickly abbreviates, will “provide a two-year live-in educational program for ex-convicts, drug abusers, homeless and others that have hit rock bottom that teaches our participants how to live successful, productive lives free from crime and substance abuse.”

Dave Durocher, TOSA’s managing director, explains further, “Our mission is to address the issues of drug addiction and criminality and improve the dismal record of the rehabilitative community when it comes to addressing the issues of relapse and recitivism. We belive that a long term “theraputic community” approach is what works best. While there are mixed and often conflicting statistics in this regard we know from first hand experience that it can work.”

Durocher and his colleagues Alan Fahringer and Lola Zagey, know first hand, “We know this because [we] have over 25 combined years residing in arguably the most succesful theraputic community in the world, Delancey Street, which is the model we are replicating with a few twists that we believe can make The Other Side Academy even more succesful.”

Having already raised $750,000, Stay has a wish list for the next several months. “In the next 3 months, we are moving into our new facility in Salt Lake City and we will be launching several of our businesses so we can become self-reliant.”

“We need financial contributions to cover the start-up costs of the facility and of the new businesses. We need in-kind contributions of cars, trucks, construction tools, warehouse space, and housing supplies such as beds and dressers. We need volunteer help with things such as business plans, web design, marketing, graphics. We need champions to help spread the message through social media and with their friends,” he concludes.

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Durocher, Fahringer and Zagey will join me here for a live discussion about TOSA and their plans to create a program that will truly change lives. 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 Other Side Academy:

Twitter: @GoToOtherSide

We provide on-the-job vocational training, education, and basic life skills along with long-term residential housing to former drug/alcohol abusers, homeless and others who have hit rock bottom. Our organization is run by graduates of the program and we are a mutual self-help organization. That means that healing occurs when we can have “Each One Teach One” and that when A helps B, A gets better. We run our own businesses so we can be self-reliant and not dependent on Government money and so we can offer the program at no cost to those that join us. Participants obtain a minimum of high school equivalency and gain the job and life skills needed to return to various communities as decent, law abiding individuals.

The Other Side Academy Directors, David Durocher, Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson.

Durocher’s bio:

Managing Director Dave Durocher was arrested for the first time at the age of 13 years old. By the time he was 38, he had been to prison four times for a total of 15 years. When he was given the option to go to Delancey, he was facing 29 years in prison. Dave pleaded guilty of his crimes and went to Delancey in Los Angeles. Dave was at Delancey Street for 8 years and became the Managing Director of their 250 person Los Angeles facility for 5 of those years. Dave is articulate, humble, tenacious, interpersonally skilled, a good manager and a good public speaker. He was able to double revenues in their Training School businesses while he was there and when he left, he had tripled their earnings from when he had took over the facility. Dave has helped countless others regain their dignity, their families and their lives before he moved on to enjoy his own success as the person he had become. Now Dave is embarking on the next chapter of his new life; to help create a place, much like the one he credits with saving his life, only better. A place people can come to learn about integrity, honesty, hard work and self-respect. All the things that protect those inclined from falling prey to their addictions so as not to become the kind of person Dave was, but rather the kind of person he is today.

Fahringer’s bio:

Alan began using marijuana and other drugs in his early teens. He spent his adult life as a “functioning addict” until he was introduced to methamphetamine. That began a thirteen year downward spiral of multiple arrests, lost marriages, lost careers and eventually homelessness. Alan’s troubles culminated in his being arrested three times in a span of eleven months for manufacturing meth. Facing many years in prison, Alan says he was rescued from himself by an empathetic Judge who allowed him to go to Delancey Street instead of prison. That most fortunate occurrence, as he calls it, saved his life, he says. He stayed two years as required by his plea bargain and another four years voluntarily to help others experience the redemption and renewal he had found. While at Delancey Street Alan worked in Corporate Development, Finance. Retail Sales and eventually found his niche in Community Relations. Alan was responsible for advocating Delancey Street as a sentencing alternative to the Judicial and Legal communities. He was a natural. He is articulate, persuasive and living proof that the process can work. Alan has done speaking engagements throughout New Mexico and southern California enthusiastically advocating for just the type of therapeutic community that he will now help foster in Salt Lake City at The Other Side Academy. “I’m so blessed. I get to help build a place just like the one that saved my life. What could possibly be more gratifying than that?”

Zagey’s bio:

Lola has always dreamed of making a difference in the world. Her progress was stopped dead in its tracks twenty years ago when she developed an all-consuming addiction to heroin. This new path took Lola down to a place where all drug dependent people go… to rehabs, jails, and prisons. She was stuck in hopeless desperation and after being arrested one more time, she knew she had to try something different. Lola had heard about Delancy Street Foundation and wondered if the judge would give her a chance to try this program. The judges quickly agreed to two years in Delancy Street or do five years in prison. He gave Lola a stern warning. He said he would offer this deal to her but he recommended she do the prison time. He has seen addicts like Lola before and at this point, he believed she would fail the program and end up in prison anyway. Lola had a different idea. With gratitude for this opportunity, Lola excelled at Delancy Street. She worked her way up to the finance department where she learned skills in accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping with an emphasis in rehabilitation management. Lola’s two year sentence in Delancy Street turned into a five year life changing stay. Once graduated, Lola quickly found work in the medical field as well as property management and the sky was the limit. The only thing missing was her desire to help other addicts still suffering. Enter The Other Side Academy. Now Lola can live her dream of making a difference in the world.

Rabbi Rescues At-Risk Youth In Utah

Over three years ago, I launched the work of the Your Mark on the World Center with the publication of my book, Your Mark on the World. In the book, I profiled some wonderful people doing amazing things to make the world a better place.

One of the most fascinating people I profiled was Rabbi Benny Zippel of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, who had launched a program to provide spiritual help and support to at risk youth spending time in residential schools, including some who were there as an alternative to incarceration.

Three years later, I’m eager to catch up with Rabbi Zippel and his Project HEART.

“Thousands of precious young souls find themselves in Utah for 9-18 months at a time in a variety of residential treatment centers, to help them be able to better cope with their challenges in life. As one can understand, the challenges facing these young men and women are not limited to them themselves but can have a lasting impact on their families and loved ones as well,” he explains.

“As the Executive Director of Project HEART, my work focuses on providing a support system for these young people, based on the principles of Judaism and spirituality, helping each and every one of them discover how they truly are a gem, and all that is necessary is for them to uncover the beauty that exits within them,” he adds.

Operating and funding the program is a big challenge. Yesterday, Project HEART raised over $200,000 in 24 hours via Charidy in a one-day crowdfunding campaign. The success was driven in part by matches from Gail Miller, Scott Anderson and a group of other supporters so that every dollar donated became four.

Rabbi Zippel explains, “Project HEART is a non-profit organization that functions only through the generosity of the local community. We are hoping that by raising awareness of the help that our students need, people will get involved and do their part to help us change these lives.”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Rabbi Zippel will join me here for a live conversation about the work of Project HEART.

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

More about Project HEART:

Twitter: @ChabadUtah

Project HEART was founded in July of 1992, as one of the branches of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, the local branch of the world’s largest Jewish outreach organization. Project HEART focuses on providing love and unconditional support for young men and women who find themselves here in Utah in Residential Treatment Centers, as well as support for their families.

rabbi_zippel

Rabbi Zippel’s bio:

  • Born in Milan Italy, May 5, 1966
  • July 1984 Oxford Institutes, Milan Italy: Advanced Degree Modern Languages
  • June 1988: Rabbinical College of America, Morristown New Jersey: Bachelor Of Religious Studies
  • September 1989: Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch, Brooklyn, New York: Rabbinical Ordination,
  • Married Sharonne Schochet, February 13, 1990
  • Moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in July 1992 to establish Chabad Lubavitch Of Utah (Utah branch of world’s largest Jewish Outreach Organization, Chabad Lubavitch)
  • December 1992: Founded Project H.E.A.R.T. (Hebrew Education for At Risk Teens) – a weekly outreach endeavor to hundreds of Jewish teens throughout Utah with acute behavioral and life threatening issues.
  • February 2002: official Salt Lake Olympic Chaplain Jewish chaplain for XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, UT
  • August 2006: Gave Invocation at Luncheon at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted by US Senator Orrin G. Hatch welcoming US President George W. Bush.
  • December 2007: Attended White House Chanukah Party in Washington D.C., as guest of US President George W. And First Lady Laura Bush.
  • May 2009: Accompanied Governor Jon M. Huntsman on his 1st visit to Israel
  • May 2012: Gave keynote address at National day of Prayer event at Utah Valley University
  • June 2014: Received Bronze Minuteman Award by the Utah National Guard at Utah National Guard Fifty-Third Annual Dinner at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City in recognition for work with Project H.E.A.R.T. (Hebrew Education for At Risk Teens) throughout the State of Utah
  • Father of 6 children (4 boys, 2 girls)
  • Speaks: Italian, English, French, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Portuguese.

Carnival’s Fathom Sailing Toward Cuba ‘To Make A Social Impact’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Carnival newest cruise line is sailing in a new direction; Fathom’s destination is social impact. Initially sailing with one vessel, the Adonia, Fathom passengers will visit the Dominican Republic and Cuba to work alongside locals as volunteers on water and other projects.

The brains behind Fathom, its President, Tara Russell, explained, “We didn’t want Fathom to be a ‘voluntourism’ company. We wanted Fathom to be so much more than that. So we found a way to leverage the resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company (Carnival Corporation) to create a new kind of cruise that combines the love of travel with the desire to make a difference. Truly nothing like this exists today.”

“We created Fathom to give people an easy, safe and convenient way to make a social impact that is both meaningful to society and personally rewarding, ” she adds.

Russell describes the projects passengers will undertake, “In the Dominican Republic, for example, more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Fathom travelers will work with a local organization there to build water filters using clay and other natural resources to make healthy drinking water available to Dominican families.”

“Fathom will send thousands of travelers a year – more than 700 travelers on every trip – to Caribbean communities in need to work with our local partners and directly alongside local citizens on ongoing social impact programs in each community. This sustained and large-scale impact is what makes Fathom truly unique. Travelers will have the opportunity to make transformative societal contributions that will extend far beyond their individual involvement. It will be incredibly rewarding,” she concluded.

Fathom’s seven-day cruises to the Dominican Republic will start at $974 and those to Cuba will start at $1,800.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Russell will join me for a live discussion about Fathom’s 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 Fathom:

Twitter: @fathomtravel

Fathom is a new kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference. Part of the Carnival Corporation (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) family, Fathom is the pioneer of impact travel, a new category of travel that will offer consumers authentic, meaningful travel experiences to enrich the life of the traveler and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs. Fathom is unique in that it leverages Carnival Corporation’s expertise and scale for a one-of-a-kind business model to create long-term collaboration with its partner countries, allowing for sustained social impact and lasting development. Fathom will serve the sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans – in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide.

Russell’s bio:

Twitter: @taravrussell

Tara Russell is the president of fathom, a social impact company that offers a new category of travel, and global impact lead of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest travel and leisure company. Russell generated the idea for fathom in 2013, and led research, design and development of the brand, business model and experience from January 2014 to launch in June 2015. She now leads the fathom team as it offers a unique experience to purpose-driven travelers who desire authentic, meaningful social impact opportunities. fathom provides the opportunity to immerse in another culture and community, and systematically work alongside that community to make relevant contributions that endure. fathom is the newest addition to Carnival Corporation, which is also the world’s largest cruise company with nine global cruise lines providing extraordinary vacations at exceptional value for nearly 11 million people around the world every year. Russell has responsibility for fathom and the corporation’s global impact programs and reports to Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Prior to Carnival Corporation, Russell was Founder and CEO of Create Common Good (CCG, www.createcommongood.org), a non-profit social enterprise that provides training and employment to refugees and a wide variety of other populations with barriers to employment. Russell created CCG in 2008 in order to use food to change lives by empowering for self-sufficiency through a creative food-production social enterprise production model. CCG has delivered more than 100,000 job training hours, with an average employment success outcome of more than 90 percent, and returned more than $18 million back into the community via graduate earned wages. The organization’s noteworthy work to promote healthy eating habits through snack and grab & go production recently earned grants from Newman’s Own Foundation and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. Russell is currently Chairman of the Board for CCG.

In 2007, Russell was part of the founding team of Jitasa, a for-profit social venture that provides affordable financial services to the non-profit industry and has become a profitable, global enterprise serving hundreds of global social sector enterprises, including Boy Scouts of America and many other large, scalable impact entities. Jitasa is a certified B-Corporation with offices in the US, Thailand and Bosnia.

Prior to this, Russell spent four years in Thailand, where she offered pro bono small business development training to nongovernmental organizations. Russell also co-founded NightLight, an international organization that addresses the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Russell started her career with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including roles in product development with Nike; technical sales and marketing at Intel; and engineering and manufacturing with General Motors. While at Intel, she was selected for the Emerging Leaders program and had the opportunity to work with the executive team. During her four years with GM, she was chosen to represent Saturn Corporation in the Shanghai GM New Vehicle Build & Launch Project in 1999 in China. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
Subscribe to news from YourMarkOnTheWorld.com
* = required field
Content I want: