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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


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.

Eagles Care: How the Philadelphia Eagles Maximize their Community Impact

This is a guest post from Julie Hirshey, Director of Community Relations for the Philadelphia Eagles.

When I tell people that I work for the Philadelphia Eagles and what I do, I usually get one of two reactions: “That sounds amazing!” or “That sounds hard.” My answer is always yes. One of our biggest challenges is how to balance the desire to be of service to as many people as possible while still creating genuine impact. For years, it seemed impossible to do one without sacrificing the other.

Three years ago, we got a gift from Eagles leadership that doesn’t often come along, particularly in business. We got the opportunity to take a step back, reevaluate our strategic giving and then move forward in whatever new way we saw fit. (Like I said… a gift!) In doing this, we reviewed our giving and calculated the value of our donations in contrast with the true impact we were having on the community. Let’s just say the equation was off.

So we went back to the drawing board. We reviewed our mission, our core issue areas and looked at what we considered to be our biggest assets. We also wanted to make sure that we were representing the values of partnership and teamwork that are so important to our organization. What we learned through this process was that if we broadened our view of our assets and narrowed the focus of our giving, we could amplify our impact. Eagles Care was born.

Through Eagles Care, we focus on capacity building in nonprofits, working to provide great nonprofts with the assets they need to evolve into their best selves. We do this through some traditional giving but the focus is now on non-traditional giving, nonprofit staff development and creative problem-solving.

Throughout the season, our Eagles Care partners receive our full support via education, mentoring and resource allocation. In addition to traditional giving – money, player appearances, autographed items that they might auction off for fundraisers – we provide leadership training, marketing support, public relations counsel and development help, guidance with social media platform management and more. All of this support comes from Eagles staff who are eager to truly engage with these nonprofits to provide meaningful help. In order to get to the heart of how our staffs can help them increase their capacity to help others in the community, we encourage these nonprofits to start by asking themselves not what they THINK we can do for them, but what they could actually benefit from. We then go through a process of matching our resources with their needs.

The range of aid we have given is wide from arranging for donated furniture from our corporate partners to help with computers, graphic design and messaging sessions that help the leadership and often the boards of these nonprofits boil down their missions in creative ways. Our facility management team even helped a partner with construction needs by building a wall in their work space – a simple task that overnight doubled the nonprofit’s ability to serve its community.

At its core, the Eagles Care program is a year-long partnership between the team and the nonprofit that allows both organizations to grow and learn about the shared community we all call home. This partnership has created profound impact not just on the nonprofits but on the community at large because we see that strong nonprofits do indeed build strong communities. But the impact does not stop there, our employees have been touched by this new program as well in ways we had not expected. The staff is eager to help, to learn more about the way the nonprofits work and to offer help based on their knowledge. It feels good for both partners.

With every passing year, our Eagles Care Network continues to grow larger and larger. Now in our third season, we have developed relationships with 15 local non-profits who we continue to support even after their year-long partnership is over via connections and special support when needed. We have become a resource for them and they have become a resource for us as well. But perhaps more importantly, those non-profits have developed relationships with each other that will allow them to support each other for years to come. They are now working together because they experienced firsthand the lessons of community partnership.

Although we believe this is an approach that is unique in the NFL and sports in general, we hope that it is a model that other organizations can mimic. Through our nonprofit partnerships, this new approach has allowed us to meet our challenge and provide meaningful aid and service to our community.

Julie Hirshey

Julie Hirshey

Julie’s bio:

Julie Hirshey is the Director of Community Relations for the Philadelphia Eagles where she works to execute the team’s mission to serve as proud partners of the Philadelphia community.  In this role she leads the team’s efforts to support generations of Eagles fans and works to partner with non-profits throughout the region.

‘WaterCredit’ Turns World’s Poor Into Paying Customers

This post was originally produced for Forbes. is leading a revolution in the provision of clean drinking water in the developing world, turning the recipients of charity into regular water customers through microloans funded by impact investments.

Gary White, CEO of, explains the problem, noting, “The poor are not a problem to be solved, they are the solution. I see constant innovation in the financial sector—new models, new products. is applying that kind of thinking to the philanthropic sector—creating new opportunities for private and philanthropic capital to make systemic change. Access to water and sanitation has been the focus of charity. But there’s a market-based solution. We realized that if we could provide the poor with access to small loans at reasonable rates, we could get them into the water system. And not as charity, but as customers.”

White explains further, “Changes in the water supply & sanitation (WSS) market at the Base of the Economic Pyramid (BOP) have unleashed significant new demand for WSS services. There have been significant gains in reducing poverty over the last two decades, and the trend will continue with support from the international community to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. These socioeconomic changes are driving an increased willingness and ability to pay for improved water access and water quality as well as improved sanitation.”

“We created WaterCredit to unleash the power of the poor. By enabling the poor to finance toilets and taps in their own homes, we’re spreading capital costs across a broader swath of stakeholders,” he adds.

While these are still early days, is past the pilot phase and is scaling up its WaterCredit initiative. White explains the progress and impact:

Evidence from’s and WSP’S existing programs in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and the Philippines demonstrate that a viable market can be made for financing water and sanitation improvements. MFIs have developed and launched water and sanitation lending programs that have disbursed over $120 million in loans. A conclusion from the programs have shown that as access to water and sanitation credit became available, low-income clients chose to take out loans and were able to repay those loans.

Water and sanitation lending programs have demonstrated benefits for financial institutions, development partners and most importantly clients and their households. These findings indicate that microfinance principles can be successfully applied to the water and sanitation sector and leverage funding to achieve greater reach than traditional subsidy based models. Governments and NGOs can work with MFIs, as both demand generators and financiers, to help accelerate access to safe water and sanitation.

On Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, White will join me here for a live discussion about WaterCredit. 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

Twitter: @water

For more than twenty years, has been at the forefront of developing and delivering solutions to the water crisis. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, pioneers innovative, community-driven and market-based initiatives to ensure all people have access to safe water and sanitation; giving women hope, children health and communities a future. To date, has positively transformed the lives of more than three million people living around the world.

Gary White, courtesy of

Gary White, courtesy of

White’s bio:

Gary White is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation. ( is the resulting organization of the July 2009 merger between WaterPartners, co-founded by White in 1990, and H2O Africa, co-founded by actor Matt Damon). White’s entrepreneurial vision has driven innovations in the way water and sanitation projects are delivered and financed, and these innovations now serve as a model in the sector.

White has led during a period of rapid expansion, growing revenue by an average annual rate of 50 percent since 1994 and positioning as an innovative leader in the global water supply and sanitation space. He developed the organization’s WaterCredit Initiative, creating new financing options for poor populations to meet their water supply and sanitation needs.

White is a leading advisor in the water and sanitation space, counseling organizations such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and Diageo on responses to the global water crisis. White is a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates.

In 2002 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by the School of Public Health at the University of NC-Chapel Hill. In 2003, he was named a fellow of the British American Project. In 2008, he was inducted into the Philanthropy World Hall of Fame. In March 2009, WaterPartners received the Skoll Foundation’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship and White was inducted into the community of Skoll Social Entrepreneurs. In October 2009, White received the ONEXONE Difference Award for his work over the past two decades in addressing the global water crisis. In 2009, he was named an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2010, he was named the Kansas City Global Citizen of the Year by the mayor of Kansas City, MO. In 2011 he was named to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. Also in 2011 he was named one of 28 Alumni of Distinction among a pool of more than 50,000 living graduates of Missouri University of Science and Technology. In 2012 White received the World Social Impact Award from the World Policy Institute as well as being named one of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of 2012. Most recently Gary was invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water.

White’s educational credentials include three degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Teaming Up Locally to Help Out Globally

This is a guest post from Angie Stocklin’s, COO and Co-Founder of One Click.

It’s nearly 2016 and time to wrap up a season of giving. Family and friends gathered together to count collective blessings and to share food, stories and gifts. We are, as New Year’s approaches, entering the handful of days when we are all focused on making and keeping promises — about how to treat ourselves better and how to treat others like we treat ourselves. So, it’s the perfect moment to reflect on the ways we can and do give back; to think about how we share the fruits of our success with those who need help the most.

Our mission statement calls on One Click, from senior leadership to our entry-level team members, to “enrich lives by helping people find the eyewear meant for them.” For those most desperately in need, “the eyewear meant for them” means the reading glasses and sunglasses we provide at no cost through our partner in giving — Timmy Global Health.

Timmy Global is a local (Indianapolis) 501(c)3 dedicated to providing, improving and expanding healthcare and health-related programs in Latin America. Their goal is to establish long-term, sustainable programs to provide a variety of assistance including clean drinking water and on-site health exams. All of this is built around long-term, individualized profiles. Medical teams who visit every 2-3 months will come equipped with the medical history of their patients in order to provide the most effective, efficient care possible.

The fit for us is a natural one. We’re able to provide Timmy with reading glasses that can be crucial to a family in need when their means of earning a living depends upon being able to see up close, such as weaving or fine beadwork. We’re also able to provide sunglasses that serve both as protection from the brightness of the sun, as well as from diseases of the eye that arise from the accumulation of fine dust and plant particles.

For so many people around the world, being able to see through a reading lens or a UV tint means being able to perform vital work. When, for some, cost and availability of that eyewear is insurmountable, access to relatively low cost eyewear can become a matter of basic survival.

In our partnership with Timmy Global Health, we’re not just giving the eyewear to individuals; we’re giving eyewear to individuals so that they can continue to provide for their families. When their families are strong, it means that they can work together to make stronger villages. When those communities are healthy and vibrant, when they become thriving social and economic centers, they are less likely to need help so that Timmy can concentrate on bringing aid to the next community in need.

Because our partner is local, we’re able to make low-cost deliveries of high volumes of product without having to cut back on the amount of help we’re able to give. Which in return means that our giving can be more efficient, wide-ranging and, ultimately, helpful. And, just as importantly, we’re able to spend time getting to know the Timmy Global Health team. Sometimes, saying “hi” and “how are you doing?” leads to conversations that develop into decisions that lead to increased efficiency, bigger ideas and, most importantly, the ability to simply help as best we can.

So, in this season of promises — of introspection and dedication to bettering ourselves and the world around us — we are proud to renew our commitment to improve the lives of people in need. We are incredibly blessed to be in a position to help the less fortunate and grateful to have a local partnership so perfectly suited to making that help as effective as possible.


About Angie Stocklin:

Twitter: @easterday77

Angie Stocklin, COO and Co-Founder, along with her husband Randy, of One Click, oversees business operations including customer service, order fulfillment, merchandising and vendor account management for felix + iris, and Sunglass Warehouse.


‘It Is Not Enough That We Do Our Best’

On Christmas Day, Pamela Atkinson, an advisor to Utah’s last five governors and the state’s leading advocate for the homeless, hosted–as she does every year–a dinner for 800 of her homeless friends.

The steak dinners are first class and the volunteers who serve the guests their meals are among Utah’s notable, this year the team included President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Past events have included other luminaries, like Governor Jon Huntsman. Being invited to volunteer is a privilege.

Pamela Atkinson after serving dinner to 800 homeless friends, photo by Devin Thorpe.

Pamela Atkinson after serving dinner to 800 homeless friends, photo by Devin Thorpe.

Pamela limits the number of volunteers to ensure that everyone has a role and that every role is completed. She doesn’t want volunteers standing around feeling that their time and energies weren’t appreciated.

For the past few years, it has been my privilege to join my son Dayton as a volunteer at the dinner. It has become an important Christmas tradition.

This year, one of my friends in attendance Lew Cramer, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial, who is active in supporting the homeless year round, said wistfully, “tomorrow they will be hungry again.”

Unsure what to say to him, recognizing his point that so much more than one meal is needed to solve the problem of homelessness in our community, I said weakly, “We can only do our best.”

Lew Cramer

Soberly, he put his arm around me and said, quoting Winston Churchill, “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”


Utah has by several measures become a role model for the nation in reducing homelessness–in no small part due to Pamela’s tireless work. One of the things I love about Utah is that the community looks at our homeless problem as one of its top priorities and considers homelessness to be absolutely unacceptable.

Our community doesn’t have all the answers, but that doesn’t stop us from looking. The mayors of both the city and county of Salt Lake both independently commissioned community leaders and activities to come together to work on homelessness. The two commissions will be combined to bring the work together using a collective impact approach to formalize collaboration among all of the community resources serving the homeless.

The annual Christmas tradition of serving a meal to the homeless seems to be in no risk of being due to a lack of homeless people to serve in 2016, that seems to be community goal.

Once we recognize that helping people isn’t about having made an effort, that the gesture isn’t a solution, we can get about the real work of solving problems. To Lew’s point, it isn’t about our effort; it is about doing what is necessary to end the suffering.

Legal Keys to Fundraising from Abroad in the U.S.

Michael Durham, an attorney at our sponsor Kirton McConkie, works on cross-border philanthropy; he helped me to understand more about the challenges faced by international nonprofits fundraising in the U.S. Specifically, he shared three tips for helping nonprofits set up a U.S. nonprofit affiliate to help with fundraising.

Here are the three tips for setting up a U.S. nonprofit arm for fundraising for an international nonprofit:

  1. Ensure that the U.S. nonprofit controls where the money goes.
  2. Build a record of decision-making in the U.S. entity.
  3. Consider alternatives to setting up your own entity.

Let’s take each of these in order.

First, Michael says, “Make sure it is properly structured to vest real discretion and control over how the funds are used in the U.S. entity.” He explains, ” U.S. law does not permit donors a tax deduction for amounts contributed to foreign organizations or amounts funneled through U.S. organizations to foreign organizations.”

“But U.S. organizations can raise money and use that money to serve charitable purposes overseas,” he clarifies. “The clearest case is one where U.S. board is not controlled by foreign org, and all grants of U.S. raised funds are for specific charitable projects approved on a case-by-case basis by the U.S. board. If that is not possible, other models may also work, but ideally you would disclose those in your exemption application so that you are confident that your structure has been cleared by the IRS.”

Second, “Remember to build a record of real decisionmaking in the U.S. affiliate as to how the funds will be used by the international nonprofit,” he says.

Michael cautions, “It is easy to fall into a routine where the foreign organization simply makes a request for grants serving some broad goals, and the U.S. organization periodically turns over the bulk of its funds in response to such requests. In several recent rulings, the IRS has rejected U.S. ‘friends of’ foreign charities where they left too much discretion to the foreign charities. For instance, if the funds were being used to provide scholarships at a foreign university, the IRS might expect the U.S. affiliate to have reviewed the foreign university’s standards for determining financial need. The U.S. entity should review full details of the programs in advance, and should obtain detailed reports about how the funds were spent after the fact.”

He further warns, “Be careful how you describe the use of funds in fundraising appeals. It is permissible to state that funds will be used to support the foreign organization, but it should be clear that the U.S. organization could alter that decision if it no longer appeared that the foreign organization’s programs would carry out the U.S. ‘friends of’ organization’s purposes.”

Third, Michael says, “Consider other options besides setting up your own entity.”

He notes, “Many foreign organizations overestimate the amount of funds that a U.S. entity will attract. While it is true that U.S. charitable giving is higher than that of many other countries, attracting significant funds requires time and effort to distinguish your organization from all the others. A U.S. entity must comply with annual public filing requirements, including exhaustive financial information and salary information for the leadership of the U.S. entity, in some cases including salaries paid by the foreign affiliate.”

“As an alternative to setting up and maintaining your own U.S. affiliate, you might consider opening a ‘friends of’ fund with an existing public charity that manages such funds on behalf of multiple foreign charities. That is a lower-cost way to ‘test the waters’ to see how much your organization can realistically expect to raise in the U.S. before you invest in maintaining your own U.S. 501(c)(3) organization,” Michael concludes.

On Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Michael will join me for a live discussion about optimizing a U.S. entity for fundraising for an international nonprofit. 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:

Twitter: @kirtonmcconkie

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.

Michael Durham, courtesy of Kirton McConkie

Michael Durham, courtesy of Kirton McConkie

Michael’s bio:

Michael Durham is a Shareholder at Kirton McConkie, a law firm based in Salt Lake City, where he focuses on the laws affecting nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, he spent ten years practicing in the same area at Caplin & Drysdale, in Washington D.C. Michael has devoted a significant part of his practice to dealing with the increasingly complex rules governing cross-border philanthropy. His clients include internationally active high-tech nonprofits, religious organizations, private foundations, and donor advised fund organizatons, among any others. Michael is a graduate of the Yale Law School. He currently serves as co-chair of the Religious Organizations Subcomittee of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section.


Finding Strength and Healing Through the Holidays

This is a guest post from Sona Mehring, founder and CEO of the global nonprofit organization

Whether the holiday song in your head is the Andy Williams classic, the version by Garth Brooks or the Staples office supply commercial, we are, indeed, approaching “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” And while my window on the world could easily be closed – or even boarded up – to “the hap-happiest season of all,” the opposite is true.

As founder of CaringBridge, the nation’s most established social networking platform for people immersed in difficult medical journeys, my exposure to the struggles of patients, family caregivers and loved ones seems reason enough to just skip the holidays. Instead, I feel inspired. Across more than 550,000 CaringBridge websites that have received 2 billion visits over 18 years, I am awed by the power of hope and compassion that shine through a health crisis. In moments of celebration – a clean MRI! –and in the terrible times, too, I have come to believe in the gift of healing.

Of course, healing is a less dazzling gift than boxes with bows, Hanukkah gelt and Kwanzaa zawadi. But who wouldn’t prefer health over sickness? Home over hospital? Cookies over chemo? One CaringBridge site authored by a woman whose husband had a brain tumor recurrence six months after their wedding, wrote that they “just wanted to be people. Not people with cancer.” Or stroke, heart disease, infection, traumatic injury, premature birth, surgical complications, organ failure …

But for those jolted from “normal life” into roles as patients and family caregivers, sharing their stories often creates a healing effect. And while the impact of responses of sympathy and encourage menton outcomes is not clearly defined, the love and hope that friends and family want to give becomes an empowering force. A business executive who launched a site after his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis as a “form of self-defense,” merely to organize the chaos of sharing news, said he was amazed by the healing their social network provided.

I can’t pretend to explain the gift of healing, but I experienced it when I created the first CaringBridge site in 1997. My dear friends, JoAnn and Darrin, had endured a life-threatening pregnancy and devastating loss of their newborn daughter, Brighid. I never imagined what Darrin’s overwhelmed and exhausted request for me to “Just let everyone know what’s going on,” would become. I also never imagined the sea of caring people at baby Brighid’s memorial service whose waves of love and support had surged through the Internet to comfort her parents. On that day, I saw what healing looks like.

As a software engineer by trade, I naturally seek data that will also show what healing looks like. And there is some research:

  • 88% of patients and family caregivers who responded to a Forrester Research study sponsored by CaringBridge said connecting with family and friends had a positive impact on healing.
  • Social support was identified as the strongest of four factors contributing to positive health and treatment outcomes by a Robert Wood Johnson and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute study (social support: 40%; health behaviors: 30%; clinical care: 20%; physical environment: 10%).

But mostly, I have given myself over to not being able to measure magic. A CaringBridge author fighting mantle cell lymphoma described being surrounded by loved ones with healing strength as “emotional sustenance.” Is there any better gift?

As a nonprofit CEO, I am thrilled to imagine the healing aspects of CaringBridge as a lifeline. But as a mom, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and friend, I am adamant that no one should navigate a health journey alone. This requires “leaning in” to wrap your arms around something you’d rather run from. It can take the form of hot dish-delivery, making pillows from t-shirts of a loved one, or the stiff-and-awkward hugs for which Minnesotans are famous. It also means saying something – anything – when there are no words.

Any time you can give – or receive – the gift of healing this holiday season, do it! The gifts come as much from taking time to express encouragement as they do from pausing to take in encouragement. My hope is that for a brief minute,you, too, may experience the essence of the “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

Sona Mehring

Sona Mehring

About Sona Mehring:

Sona founded CaringBridge, the first and most widely used social networking site focused on communicating with loved ones during a health journey, at a time when the Internet was just becoming a household name.

Sona is frequently recognized and honored for her passion and visionary leadership. In 2015 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honored her as a top CEO in technology with the Titans of Technology Award. In 2014 The Women’s Health Leadership TRUST named her one of the top 35 Women Leaders in Minnesota Healthcare. In 2013 Minnesota Monthly placed her on their list of the 75 most influential people of the Twin Cities. She was named one of 2011’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company.


This Woman Devotes Her Life to Helping Female Refugees

Here’s the harsh reality:

Female refugees are more oppressed, the victims of greater violence, and less supported than any other refugee group. When they arrive in Utah, their conservative cultures require them to maintain the home and raise children, their family’s poverty requires that they go into the workforce, often without adequate English or skills to do so. Female refugees suffer PTSD, domestic violence, social ostracism but have few social safety nets to fall into when they are overwhelmed.

This, according to Samira Harnish, an accomplished, retired engineer who has devoted herself to serving refugee women.

Samira’s organization, Women of the World, is here to help. She says, “Women of the World serves and advocates on behalf of female refugees independent of their time in the United States. WoW ensures women feel at home before developing a customized service package for them which can include our Practical English Program, partnering with mental and physical health professionals, immigration or housing agencies, or enrollment in our Economic Empowerment program. We work until our ladies our self-reliant and then recognize them to make role models out of their efforts.”

Faced with the daunting challenge of helping women from around the world to overcome seemingly overwhelming problems, Samira strikes an optimistic tone. “Women are the pillar of the family and when they have a voice, an agent of change for the entire community. Women of the World not only creates in roads for refugees, but also serves to educate the broader Utah populace to the struggles and perseverance of our new neighbors and ways they can get involved.”

She adds, “Indeed it is easy to help female refugees, you befriend them and speak to them in English, this practice and social network will ensure they become active citizens”

On Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Samira will join me for a live discussion about her work in helping refugees. 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 Women of the World:

Women of the World is a women’s refugee service organization that helps women move from victim to active citizens in the SLC community. We accomplish this through our programs of Customized Advocacy, Practical English, and Economic Empowerment. Women of the World is a five year young organization that helps refugee women that are no longer getting resettlement assistance in all of their roles in order to attain our mission of Supporting Refugee Women to Achieve Self Reliance, Economic Empowerment, and a Voice in the Community. Women of the World has been granted the SLC Mayor’s Award for Diversity and Human Rights along with numerous foundation grants. Women of the World’s Annual Fashion Show during the International Women’s Day is a signature event for teaching Utahans about the cultures and trials of our new neighbors.

Samira Harnish, courtesy of Women of the World

Samira Harnish, courtesy of Women of the World

Samira’s bio:

Samira Harnish is the Founder & Executive Director of The Women of the World, a non-profit helping refugee women achieve self-reliance. She struggled against bigotry and poverty to get her degree in Civil Engineering and, after settling in Boise, getting a job as a semiconductor manufacturing engineer. As a research and development engineer, Samira was integral to the development some of the most advanced memory products ever assembled. When she retired, Samira was in charge of storage node development at the largest domestic manufacturer of semiconductor memory.

Samira has always served her community. She has been responsible for educating young women in the sciences as a member of Women in Engineering, assisting the elderly in Meals on Wheels, and interpreting in Arabic in the courts and healthcare sectors. In Utah, she served as an officer in the Iraqi Community of Utah and as a contractor at Utah Health and Human Rights Department. In 2010, Samira founded Women of the World to fulfill a lifelong dream of assisting women refugees who had suffered mental and physical trauma in war and camps to achieve self-sufficiency in her adopted country of America. Women of the World is Samira’s heart on her sleeve, a 24/7 small business with the mission of supporting refugee women to achieve self-reliance, a voice in the community, and empowering economic success. Samira has received numerous awards for her service work including Enlightened 50 and the Mayor’s Diversity and Human Right’s Award.

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

Devin D. Thorpe


How Tony Robbins Was Inspired By A Turkey To Feed Millions

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Tony Robbins, The New York Times number one bestselling author, is working to feed 100 million meals to America’s hungry this year through a partnership with Feeding America –and they’re almost there. (You can donate here.)

Robbins explains the tragedy of hunger in America, saying, “It’s a tragedy that in the United States, the richest country in the world, 49 million people, including 16 million children, may go to bed unsure if they will have a meal tomorrow. These are some of the hardest working people on the planet, often people that we interact with each day, and are scraping by from paycheck to paycheck, just one unexpected expense away from not being able to put food on the table.”

It struck me as being almost out of character that the author of Awaken the Giant Within, a book that is all about teaching people to take responsibility for themselves to overcome whatever obstacles they may face, would be so engaged in this effort. So, I asked him why. His answer surprised me. This giant of a man, who is the very picture of success, relates to the hungry personally because he was once hungry.

“I know that those are more than startling statistics — those numbers are human beings suffering — and I came from one of those families,” Robbins confessed.

Then he shared the story of one Thanksgiving when he was eleven years old:

For me, money was always out of reach as a child. It was always a source of stress because there was never enough of it. I remember having to knock on the neighbor’s door to ask for food for my brother and sister and me. Then, on Thanksgiving Day when I was 11 years old, something happened that changed my life forever. As usual, there was no food in the house, and my parents were fighting. Then I heard someone knocking at the front door. I opened it a crack and saw a man standing on the steps with grocery bags filled with enough food for a big Thanksgiving dinner. I could hardly believe it. My father always said that nobody gave a damn about anybody. But all of a sudden someone I didn’t know, who wasn’t asking for anything in return, was looking out for us. It made me think, strangers care. And I decided that I was going to find a way, somehow, someday, to give back and pay it forward.

Robbins hasn’t given up on the principles of self-reliance. He notes that personal responsibility is the long-term solution to poverty and hunger.

“There are a variety of factors that play into food insecurity, poverty being one of the main ones. Growing up in a poor household, working my way up from a janitor to where I am now, I’ve always believed that working to improve yourself and your skill sets is a key component to ending hunger long-term with any individual or family,” he says.

In his new book, Money: Master the Game, Robbins credits Jim Rohn for teaching him key principles of success. “I asked Jim years ago, ‘What’s the secret to economic success? The key,’ he said, ‘is to understand how to become more valuable in the marketplace.’”

Robbins says, “[Rohn] looked directly in my eyes and said, ‘All you have to do to earn more money in the same amount of time is simply become more valuable.’”

On Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM Eastern, Robbins will join me for a live discussion about his goal to provide 100 million meals in partnership with Feeding America and about his new book. 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.

Tony Robbins, NYT Bestselling Author, courtesy of Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins, NYT Bestselling Author, courtesy of Tony Robbins

More about Anthony Robbins:

Twitter: @TonyRobbins

Anthony Robbins is an entrepreneur, New York Times #1 best-selling author, philanthropist, and performance strategist. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations and organizational turnaround, he has served as an advisor to leaders around the world. Author of five internationally bestselling books, including the recent New York Times #1 best-seller MONEY: MASTER THE GAME, Mr. Robbins has empowered more than 50 million people from 100 countries through his audio, video and life training programs. He created the #1 personal and professional development program of all time, and more than 4 million people have attended his live seminars.

As a successful entrepreneur, he serves as chairman of seven privately held companies ranging from media production and business services to education and hospitality. Additionally, Tony recently partnered with America’s Best 401k, one the most disruptive solutions in the retirement planning space offering plan sponsors and participants freedom from expensive 401k plans and underperforming investment options.

He has been honored by Accenture as one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World”; by Harvard Business Press as one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus”; by American Express as one of the “Top Six Business Leaders in the World” to coach its entrepreneurial clients; and Fortune’s recent cover article named him the “CEO Whisperer.”

As a philanthropist, Mr. Robbins has fed more than 42 million people over 37 years and he is working to reach 100 million total through his partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. His nonprofit Anthony Robbins Foundation provides assistance to inner-city youth, senior citizens, and the homeless, and feeds more than three million people in 56 countries every year through its international holiday “Basket Brigade.”

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

Devin D. Thorpe

How To Launch A Nonprofit Quickly and Easily

Brent Andrewsen, an attorney with Your Mark on the World-sponsor Kirton McConkie, explains the simple steps required to form a nonprofit charity.

There are two basic steps required. First, you need to create a legal entity and second, you must obtain tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the entity.

Most “nonprofits” are either a charitable trust or a nonprofit corporation. Brent recommends a nonprofit corporation for organizations looking to operate a traditional nonprofit. The formation requires articles of incorporation, bylaws, a board of directors (at least 3 in number), naming of officers, etc. The articles must be registered with the state, and the state also requires the names and addresses of board members and officers. These steps are almost completely within your control and while they sometimes take months, they can be done as quickly as you are willing to do them.

Once the entity exists, you are in a position to prepare and submit an application to the IRS on Form 1023. The IRS estimates that you can learn what you need to learn to complete the form yourself and complete the form in approximately 20 hours. Most applicants get at least some help from attorneys like Brent who have submitted hundreds of applications. Brent says he’s never had an application rejected. Once you submit the application, the IRS will take three to four months to review it. Sometimes, the IRS will respond with additional questions. Sometimes they will respond with an immediate approval.

Brent notes that the application is important. “Get help from an expert.” If the IRS ever has a question about whether your organization should be subject to tax, the IRS will conduct an audit. If the auditors find that you are doing what was approved in your application, the audit usually will be quick and painless. This also provides protection should the IRS change its opinion about the nonprofit’s activities. The IRS cannot penalize your organization for conducting activities disclosed in the application. In order to ensure efficient audits and protection from penalties, Brent encourages applicants to be “specifically broad” in their applications so that the auditors will quickly recognize that your activities align with your approved application.

One secret that Brent suggests for those who are financially constrained with respect to the legal costs of setting up a nonprofit, is to ask your nonprofit lawyer for templates and some coaching up front and then to prepare the documents yourself. As a final step, ask your attorney to review your work. In this way, your attorney can help you create a successful application at reduced cost.

On Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Brent will join me for a live discussion about the process of setting up a nonprofit. 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

Branson’s Virgin Unite Launches ‘100% Human At Work’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Virgin Unite describes itself as the “entrepreneurial foundation” of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. It is a registered nonprofit and the part of Virgin focused on social impact. Branson, not typically labeled a social entrepreneur, sure seems to be one.

Recently, I’ve connected with Virgin Unite President Jean Oelwang to learn more about the organization and about its work.

A quick perusal of the website will tell you that Branson is concerned about a wide range of social issues from the oceans, to youth unemployment and homelessness, and from AIDS and TB to rural transportation for health workers (motorbikes).

Oelwang is championing a new initiative that addresses broad, global issues, called 100% Human at Work” led by The B Team, a global nonprofit incubated by Virgin Unite.

“We live in a world in which change is happening faster than ever: environmental pressures, population growth, massive advancements in technology, and significant shifts in the demographic of the workforce to name just a few,” Oelwang says.

“This has inevitably sparked changes in the ways in which we work and people’s aspirations and desires for their work are also shifting. This is an amazing opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of change and to start to build purpose-driven organizations that prioritize people and planet alongside profit,” she adds.

Oelwang explains, “The B Team’s vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Its mission is to help develop a ‘Plan B’ that puts people and planet alongside profit. Plan A – where companies have been driven by the profit motive alone – is no longer acceptable.”

“One area that the B Team is focusing on is the way in which businesses treat their employees. The B Team has developed an initiative called ’100% Human at Work’ which was driven by the belief that it is time for businesses to stop looking at people as resources and to start seeing them as human beings,” Oelwang continues.

She says, “We have also collaborated to identify the five elements that define a 100% Human company: Respect, Equality, Growth, Belonging, Purpose.”

“Through partnerships and collaborations we also want to inspire business for the next generation, so that together we can make our workplaces 100% Human. We want to turn work upside down to become a place where people can contribute to society, the planet, their company and to their own personal growth,” Oelwang concludes.

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 at Oelwang will join me for a live discussion about building a “100% Human” company. 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 Virgin Unite:

Twitter: @virginunite

Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. We believe disruption is at the heart of entrepreneurial thinking – to defy the status quo and turn challenges into opportunities.

How do we do it?

  1. We shine a spotlight on unacceptable issues and great entrepreneurial approaches. Using the strength of the Branson family and the brand’s convening power, we leverage our 53m customers, 20m social media followers, and 65,000 Virgin staff, to raise awareness of and take action around important issues.
  2. We create disruptive collaborations. We bring together the best people and organisations from all sectors to change business for good, protect the planet (and beyond!) and create better global governance.
  3. We empower entrepreneurs to change business for good. We help them get the skills, support and funding access they need to succeed, while showing how to put people and planet alongside profit at the heart of their business.

In all that we do, we are uniting a powerful global community of entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and inspirational leaders, who share our belief that entrepreneurial ideas, together with the right people, can create change around the world. Why not take a closer look at what we’ve done over the last 10 years!

Our overheads are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of all donations received go directly to the frontline.


Oelwang’s bio:

Twitter: @jeanoelwang

Jean Oelwang is President and a Trustee of Virgin Unite, the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group.. In 2003, Jean left her post as joint CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia to begin working with Richard Branson and the Virgin staff from around the world to create Virgin Unite. Over the last 12 years, Jean has worked with partners to create new approaches to social and environmental issues, such as the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship and a global platform to support budding entrepreneurs. She has helped incubate a number of global leadership initiatives such as The Elders, the Carbon War Room, The B Team and Ocean Unite. In addition, Jean has been instrumental in working with Virgin’s businesses and others worldwide to put driving positive change at their core.

In her previous life, Jean lived and worked on six continents helping to lead successful mobile phone start-ups in South Africa, Columbia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US.

Jean has long explored the overlap of the business and social sectors and has been involved in both, having worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a VISTA volunteer where she worked with – and learned from – homeless teens in Chicago.

She sits on the Advisory Council for The Elders and the Boards of the Carbon War Room, Ocean Unite, Ocean Elders and Just Capital. She is also a Senior Partner in the B Team.

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