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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.

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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.

NET Effects Traders: Changing Lives. One Bag at a Time.

This is a guest post from Ardice Farrow, the Founder and Director of Net Effects Traders.

At the age of 63 I looked back on my amazing life. A life full of adventure, love and deep satisfaction. I looked forward into those “golden years” – the last third of my life and wondered to myself “What do I want to do with these years? What do I want my final legacy to be?”

I knew I wanted to be having the time of my life, I wanted another grand adventure and I knew that I wanted to contribute to women and children. I wanted to “Retire on Purpose”. I had no experience with nonprofits, social programs or teaching in the classroom but at the age of 63 there is little to lose and much to gain so I hopped on a plane to Cambodia after a short volunteer stint in Tanzania.

I did not expect to fall in love at this late stage in my life. But I did. Within weeks I was head over heels in love with Cambodia. Despite the wretched past of the Khmer Rouge and massive genocide and the generational poverty that grips most of the country the Cambodians are the most loving, generous, joy filled and funny folks I have ever met. I was further seduced by the warm tropical weather the drama and the romance of the torrid monsoon rains and the mighty moonlit Mekong River. I loved the food, the crazy traffic and I could wear flip flops every day.

I was soon hired by a large non-profit organization to create leadership programs for young adults, empowerment programs for impoverished moms and women working in small fair trade garment centers.

After two years of experiencing the power of Trade instead of Aid, trying to break the cycle of generational poverty, I had developed a huge affinity for the disenfranchised women of Cambodia. They had become my friends. I had sat in their humble homes – hundreds of make-shift shelters built on an old landfill with conditions that would appall most of us here in the West. I had shared the triumph of their children in school, the heartbreak of abusive husbands and not having enough food and helped those in the small garment centers build their confidence, self-respect and leadership skills.

we-love-our-team

Empowered by their growing skills as artisans and good wages I saw these capable women become confident, as collecting a fair wage led to more financial freedom and allowed them to make good decisions for their families and continue to educate themselves. My adventure had turned a corner. I was now an advocate to end generational poverty and provide structures for partnership instead philanthropy. I asked myself ‘What could I do to accelerate this process?’

And so Net Effects Traders was born. Net Effects Traders is a focused on creating fabulous fashion bags for western consumers made by artisans in Cambodia for whom I provide training and fair wage jobs. I also have the great good fortune of partnering with a Phnom Penh design and production team and a Cambodian business leader who had been training landmine and polio survivors, hearing impaired and impoverished mothers for over a decade.

These are incredibly wonderful and hardworking people would have been left to scavenge the streets at night for cans and bottles to sell just to feed their families or been found on a street corner, child in hand, begging for a few coins from passing cars.

Today the Net Effects collection features everything from wallet – clutch hybrids to durable beach totes and hip retro style messenger bags. We decided our colorful bags and totes should be “zero waste” made from repurposed industrial and agricultural netting found in Cambodia that would otherwise end up in the city dump. We also decided to give back further by donating portion of our proceeds to “Nothing But Nets”, the international organization that is distributing mosquito nets to impoverished families around the globe.

I now have the pleasure of promoting the notion of “Shopping for Change” and speaking to the life-altering impact consumers can have simply by becoming more and more conscious about the companies they buy from. One does not need to hop on a plane and fly across the globe to make a difference. But I’m glad I did.

Ardice Farrow

Ardice Farrow

About Ardice Farrow:

Ardice splits her time between Cambodia and Los Angeles, as Founder and Director of Net Effects Traders. Practicing Trade not Aid, Ardice advocates to impact and empower disenfranchised Cambodian women through training, fair wage jobs and great working conditions.

She Left a Student; She Returned an Activist


Everything changed when she got there.

Ann Cotton was studying in Cambridge. She wanted to know why so few girls were attending school in Zimbabwe. There were 7 boys for every girl in school. She’d repeatedly heard that parents didn’t want to send their girls to school.

Then, in 1991, she traveled to Zimbabwe.

When she talked to parents, she learned they did want to educate their girls. The problem was money. They didn’t have enough money to send all their children to school. Forced to choose, they sent their boys who had better prospects for work.

She returned to Cambridge an activist.

Ann Cotton

Ann Cotton

No one believed her. She had to go it alone. She held bake sales to raise the money to send 32 girls to school in Zimbabwe. The girls prospered and Ann grew the program.

She called her organization The Campaign for Female Education or CamFed. CamFed has now directly supported the education of 1.4 million children in five countries in Africa.

What if she had never gone?

Learn more on Forbes.

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

 

1.1 Million Refugees Arrive in Germany; What Happens Next Will Inspire You

She thought the images weren’t fair.

When Anne Kjaer Reichert saw the photos in the media of some of the 1.1 million refugees arriving in Germany, she said,

“We need to stop talking about refugees and start talking with refugees instead.”

Anne met a refugee named Mohammad, who had been a programmer.

He explained that he couldn’t program because he didn’t have a computer.

She knew that 43,000 I.T. jobs were open in Germany.

So, she decided to launch the ReDI School of Digital Integration to teach them coding skills.

In one year, she launched her nonprofit school and has already trained dozens of students.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan even visited the school and “geeked out” with students.

The program is working!

Her students even created an app called Bureaucrazy to help refugees navigate the bureaucracy.

Rotary’s John Hewko said, “If we don’t act now to build the conditions for peace, then events that undermine it will only increase.”

Learn more on Forbes.

Never miss another story! Join Devin here!

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

 

She Feared the Worst and Found It Was True

“We had to let them use us,” they said.

Celeste’s mind raced. What did they mean?

She feared the worst. The girls confirmed that they were being sexually exploited for access to feminine hygiene products.

The girls were ecstatic receiving their first reusable pads.

Celeste Mergens is the founder of Days for Girls, a nonprofit that provides washable, reusable sanitary pads to girls in the developing world.

Celeste says, “If you are sitting on a pile of leaves [for lack of a pad] how can you believe you have as much to contribute to your community as anyone else and that your voice counts?”

She’s learned that 2.6 million girls are not attending school in Kenya alone. Providing sanitary pads keeps girls in school and breaks cycles of poverty—in addition to reducing gender-based violence.

Having already reached 300,000 girls in 101 countries, her “audacious” goal is to reach every woman and girl in the world by 2022.

Learn more here.

Never miss another story! Join Devin here!

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

 

Entrepreneur Launches High Impact Nonprofit Without Giving Up Career

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“Somebody ought to do something about that.” If you’re like me, you’ve said that–if only to yourself–on occasion. The most successful people in the world seem to be the ones who don’t. Instead, they do something.

Most of us aren’t willing to give up our careers to “do something” to solve a social problem, especially if there is no good answer to the partner question, “What’s in it for me?” Mellanie True Hills, a professional speaker who has earned the National Speakers Association’s Certified Speaking Professional designation, recognized a problem and created a nonprofit to address it without giving up her career.

Hills launched her nonprofit, American Foundation for Women’s Health, which in turn runs StopAfib.org, after having a near-death experience resulting from atrial fibrillation or “Afib.” StopAfib.org is a patient-to-patient organization that works to help those experiencing Afib to advocate for themselves with the healthcare community to get the best possible outcomes.

StopAfib.org operates on an annual budget of approximately $500,000, she says. The revenue comes from donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. With a small staff, the organization has been able to drive significant impact by partnering with other organizations and advocating at the national level. For instance, Hills was a driving force in the creating and national recognition of Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month.

Hills says she is on a mission. “My mission is to rid the world of strokes caused by atrial fibrillation through raising awareness of it and through educating and supporting those living with it.”

Mellanie True Hills, courtesy of StopAfib.org

Mellanie True Hills, courtesy of StopAfib.org

“Approximately 30 million people worldwide have atrial fibrillation (AF or afib), an irregular heartbeat that causes strokes, heart failure, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Afib-related strokes are twice as deadly as other strokes (because the clots are huge), and three times as deadly as other strokes in the first 30 days,” Hills says, highlighting the reasons that understanding Afib is so important.

Hills notes that there is another problem. “Many people may not even know that they have atrial fibrillation, especially the silent form of it. Thus, they may be time bombs walking around waiting to go off.” This makes awareness particularly important as people who don’t know they have Afib certainly aren’t getting the treatment they need.

Hills’ work began with the Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month she helped to create in 2007. Since then, StopAfib.org has organized or helped to organize conferences and roundtables on the topic to educate patients. She says, StopAfib.org convened the First National Atrial Fibrillation Health Policy Roundtable in Washington, DC, which brought together patient organizations, medical societies, government agencies, and payers to surface issues and work together to address them.”

The young organization has had outsized impacts by partnering with other organizations. She says, ”We have worked in conjunction with medical societies, such as the Heart Rhythm Society (electrophysiologists), the American College of Cardiology (cardiologists), and the American Heart Association (heart doctors), to get Congress to introduce Resolutions related to Atrial Fibrillation.”

The last effort brought an interesting connection with the world’s most famous romantic balladeer. “It was in conjunction with this that I had the opportunity to follow Barry Manilow in front of members of Congress to thank the Senate for passing the AF Resolution and to ask the House of Representatives to do so,” she says.

StopAfib.org has had an impact globally, not just in the U.S. Hills notes, “Globally, we have been part of the Action for Stroke Prevention Coalition of medical societies and patient organizations, working together around the globe to develop stroke crisis reports and work with policymakers to elevate atrial fibrillation and strokes on national health policy agendas in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.”

The organization, working with others, is focusing more attention on those who may have Afib and not know it. As part of an international effort called AF-Screen International, StopAfib.org has worked to poll 3,000 patients to better understand the problem. Hills admits the organization now faces a challenge: “tackling healthcare systems at the country level to get them to address this problem” by requiring and funding screenings.

Pegine Echevarria, a prominent member of the National Speakers Association and Hills’ professional colleague, says she has been successful because she is focused. She adds, “She is influencing those who serve in the StopAfib community through education, tireless advocacy and intense research. She is a powerful matriarch within the community, relentless, passionate and fierce in her mission.”

Linda Swindling, JD, CSP, professional speaker, author of several books, is also a professional colleague. She’s known Hills for over 20 years and so has seen StopAfib.org grow from its seeds with Hills in the hospital nearly a decade ago. She’s seen the impact her work has on individuals.

Swindling says, “Personally, I’ve seen the impact this vital information has had on friends and families. My father is a heart patient and I know how important great advice is. When one of my friends needed information quick on her own condition, Mellanie came to the rescue. She not only gave my friend tools, information and talking points, she got on the phone and discussed questions to talk over with my friend’s medical team. Interesting that this intelligent communication about the heart is created by someone whose brilliance is supported by her big heart.”

Hills sees her work as a way for her to save lives and help people avoid the tragic complications of strokes even when they are survived. “Through awareness, and getting people diagnosed and treated before they have a stroke, we can decrease the number of Afib-related strokes worldwide. That decreases overall healthcare costs in a time where healthcare resources are more and more precious; even more importantly, people with afib can continue to be productive members of society, and their family members are not relegated to being caretakers for stroke victims.”

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 1:00 Eastern, Hills will join me here for a live discussion about her remarkable dual career and the impact she is having on the world through her nonprofit work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Hilton Prize Winner Works to Eradicate Vaccine-Preventable Disease


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

Improving public health in the developing world faces seemingly insurmountable odds. The Task Force for Global Health, or TFGH, is working to change those odds. Last month, CEO Dave Ross accepted on behalf of the organization a $2 million prize from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its annual Humanitarian Prize.

“The Task Force is about compassion, collaboration, and smart solutions,” said Hilton Foundation CEO Peter Laugharn upon granting the award. “The organization and its partners roll up their sleeves and solve massive global health problems, and they do it without fanfare. This is an organization that, with its partners, is on track to help eliminate three diseases in the next decade. That is something we should all celebrate.”

Dave frames the problem this way: “People who live in extreme poverty survive on less than $1.25 a day and lack access to food, clean water, and basic health services, including immunizations and medicines. Because of their impoverished status, they also are preferentially targeted by infectious diseases that cause blindness, disfigurement, impaired cognition, stunted growth, paralysis, and even death.”

A boy helps Samuel Nicol (age unknown), who was blinded by river blindness, walk through the village of Gbonjeima, Sierra Leone, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. The Task Force for Global Health is working with partners to eliminate river blindness by 2025. Copyright: Olivier Asselin, courtesy of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

A boy helps Samuel Nicol (age unknown), who was blinded by river blindness, walk through the village of Gbonjeima, Sierra Leone, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. The Task Force for Global Health is working with partners to eliminate river blindness by 2025. Copyright: Olivier Asselin, courtesy of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The TFGH is working to reduce the odds of preventable illnesses, ultimately working to reduce the odds to zero wherever possible.

“The Task Force for Global Health is working to improve the health of people most in need, primarily in developing countries,” Dave says. “The Task Force consists of programs focused on neglected tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, public health informatics, and health workforce development.”

The work isn’t easy and there is no guarantee of success. The obstacles that stand in the way seem too large to overcome.

Dave says, “The Task Force faces four types of challenges in its work. They include:

  1. Coordinating and managing complex disease control and elimination programs at significant scales;
  2. Maintaining these programs in countries with conflict and unrest;
  3. Addressing scientific challenges to disease control and elimination; and
  4. Keeping international attention and resources focused on addressing diseases of extreme poverty.”

Ultimately, the size of the problem is the biggest challenge, meaning that the organization needs help to achieve its mission.

“The massive scale of these problems represents the biggest challenge to The Task Force’s work and makes it impossible for us to address them alone. Collaboration is essential to solving global health problems that affect billions of people around the world,” Dave adds.

The benefits of success could tremendously outweigh the costs to get there, however. Once eradicated, a disease will never kill or maim another child.

“Disease eradication is often considered the holy grail of public health because its benefits extend to everyone, both current and future generations. In communities affected by these diseases, fear of the future has been replaced with hope for lives free of debilitating diseases and suffering. The humanitarian impact of The Task Force’s work extends beyond alleviating the burden of diseases that have plague humanity for millennia. Ending these diseases has long-term implications for the development of poor countries,” Dave concludes.

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Dave will join me here for a live discussion about the Hilton Prize, the work of the TFGH and a future free of vaccine preventable disease. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Dave Ross, courtesy of the Task Force for Public Health

Dave Ross, courtesy of the Task Force for Global Health

More about the Task Force for Global Health:

Twitter: @TFGH

The Task Force for Global Health is an international, nonprofit organization that works to improve health of people most in need, primarily in developing countries. Founded in 1984 by global health pioneer Bill Foege, The Task Force consists of programs focused on neglected tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, public health informatics, and health workforce development. The Task Force works in partnership with ministries of health and hundreds of organizations, including major pharmaceutical companies that donate billions of dollars annually in essential medicines. Major funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, de Beaumont Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, Sightsavers, Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK. The Task Force team consists of 120 scientists, program experts, logisticians, and other global health professionals. It is affiliated with Emory University, headquartered in Decatur, Georgia, and has regional offices in Guatemala and Ethiopia. The Task Force currently supports work in 151 countries.

Dave’s bio:

Dave Ross, ScD, is president and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Task Force for Global Health. In this role, Dr. Ross provides strategic direction to The Task Force and oversees seven programs focused on neglected tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, and public health informatics. He assumed leadership of The Task Force on May 1, 2016, after 16 years as director of The Task Force’s Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and its predecessor All Kids Count.

For more than 35 years, Dr. Ross has led collaborative programs to strengthen information capacity of public health systems in the United States and other countries. In addition to his non-profit experience, he has worked in the public and private sectors on both healthcare delivery and medical informatics.

Dr. Ross launched PHII in 2002 and spearheaded its growth to become internationally recognized in the field of public health informatics, a discipline that focuses on using information to improve health outcomes. Today, PHII has a $7.4-million annual budget with a diverse portfolio of domestic and international programs supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and top-tier national foundations. Most recently, PHII partnered with the Emory Global Health Institute on a major initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help understand and ultimately address the causes of death and serious illness for children under 5 in developing countries. This initiative will last at least 20 years and may commit more than $1 billion in funding to support improved disease surveillance.

Dr. Ross is a thought leader and one of the pioneers of public health informatics. He was founding director of CDC’s first national initiative to improve the information infrastructure of public health in the United States. Dr. Ross also has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and frequently serves on national panels focused on public health informatics. He co-chaired “Data for Health,” a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative that is exploring how information and data on health can be harnessed to help people lead healthier lives. Before joining The Task Force, Dr. Ross held leadership, administrative, and corporate consultant roles with the U.S. Public Health Service, CDC, a private hospital system in Maryland, and one of the largest health information technology firms. Dr. Ross holds a doctor of science degree in operations research from The Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

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

The Story of Choice Humanitarian

Jim Mayfield, the Founder of CHOICE Humanitarian, has devoted his life to the eradication of poverty.

“At $1.25 they may have a meal every other day—they never have a meal every day. Their children don’t go to school because they are begging, trying just to survive.”

In 1965, I believe that more than half of the world’s population lived in this state. The World Bank estimates that by 1981 about 44.3 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty.

It estimates that the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped in 2015 to less than ten percent of the world’s population or about 700 million of the more than 7 billion people on the planet. While this is still 700 million too many, it is progress. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

In March of 2015, I visited Nepal with CHOICE Humanitarian to help people living near the threshold of extreme poverty.

Local leaders from the village of Bakhrejagat directed our work, helping villagers install smoke-reducing stoves in their modest homes to replace their open fires. My good friend Rainer Dahl joined me for the trip. At 70, he was more than a decade younger than Jim Mayfield, CHOICE’s founder who also came. The village is scattered among terraced hills and farms speckled with tiny homes. Each day, Rainer would rise with the rest of us to trudge up and down hills to get to the homes. Then, working with a small team of local and visiting volunteers, he did the back-breaking work of knocking a hole in a stone wall for a chimney and installed the cast iron stove.

Afterward, Rainer said, “My impression of the Nepali people that we tried to help on a small scale was that for people that have so little, they are blessed with great kindness and love for their families, neighbors and us as outsiders.”

How will extreme poverty be eradicated by 2030? By people like Rainer making an effort “on a small scale” to empower the ever dwindling number of people in extreme poverty to lift themselves from it.

Read more on Forbes here.

Never miss another story! Join Devin here!

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

 

Pan-Mass Challenge Raises $46 Million In 2016, $546 Million Over 37 Years

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The Pan-Mass Challenge 200 mile bike-a-thon in Massachussetts appears to be the biggest athletic-based nonprofit fundraiser in the world. Founded by Billy Starr in 1980, the just completed 2016 event will raise about $46 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

According to Starr, the PMC has an annual operating budget of about $4 million. Another $5 million of in-kind donations make it possible for 100 percent of donations to go to Dana-Farber. PMC funds the operating budget with event sponsorships and registrations so that 100 percent of funds donated can go directly to Dana-Farber for cancer research and treatment.

Riders are required to pay a registration fee of up to $230 in addition to raising $4,500 in donations. On average, the 6,3000 riders each raise $7,500, according to Starr.

He started the PMC in 1980 after losing his mother, a cousin and an uncle to cancer in the 70s. He started, he says, “before biking was popular.” The goal was to raise money. The first event raised about $10,000 from 36 riders, including Starr, who continues to ride every year.

When they did the first event, Starr says he didn’t have plans for a 1981 event, but the success of the first year propelled them. While total giving to Dana-Farber has now reached half a billion dollars, he notes that they didn’t reach a total of $1 million until the tenth year.

Though this year’s ride happened on August 6 and 7, fundraising will continue through October 1, 2017. Starr says the goal for this year is $46 million, up about $1 million over the 2015 total of $45 million.

Billy Starr, 2006, by Bill Brett

Billy Starr, 2006, by Bill Brett

Many people who participate, make it an annual event. Excluding first timers, Starr says, the average number of rides is 8.5. The PMC has 1,200 ten-year riders and 46 30-year riders.

Josh Bekenstein, a partner at Bain Capital and Chairman of the Board of Dana Farber Cancer Institute, is one of those who have ridden repeatedly–24 years in all. He says the money has made a difference. The prognosis for cancer patients today is much better than 37 years ago when Starr launched the ride.

Bekenstein says the ride can continue to grow and increase its impact. He points out that when the PMC produced $35 million in a single year that it had become the largest athletic fundraiser in the world, yet it has continued to innovate and grow since then. He expects that it will continue to do so.

Ellen Freeman Roth, a freelance writer and essay coach from Weston, Massachussetts, joined a ride after losing her mother and aunt to cancer. Later she did a story about the PMC and “became an ardent PMCer.”

She may be Billy’s biggest fan. “He’s highly focused, bold, direct, and will not be deterred, characteristic of successful leaders across industries. His success in fundraising for cancer research has been astonishing. He was one guy with a vision working out of a garage, and he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.”

She also points out the impact of the PMC on the cycling community. Thousands of people have gotten into the sport because of the ride. “Two decades ago I liked to ride a bike. I heard about the PMC and trained. Years of riding the PMC has led me to also get involved in other cycling events and in a broad cycling community, which has enriched my health and my life exponentially.”

Billy Starr riding into Provincetown, MA as he completes the 192-mile route from Sturbridge, MA for the 37th time, courtesy of the PMC.

Billy Starr riding into Provincetown, MA as he completes the 192-mile route from Sturbridge, MA for the 37th time, courtesy of the PMC.

As she thinks about the past and future of the PMC, she recognizes the constraints on space and logistics have had an impact on the ride and the community that supports it. Because there is a limit to the number of riders, the minimum fundraising requirements have been edging up. “Because the PMC’s mission is fundraising and the event draws so many, and a single event with limited roadways can accommodate a limited number of people, the financial fundraising commitment has to some extent moved the PMC away from its grassroots beginning.”

The results, she adds, point to the success of the model but she hopes for ways to attract more people.

Starr has addressed the concern with a number of rides. The original ride was about 200 miles and every year the PMC does a two-day, 200 mile ride. Over the years, shorter rides, including a 100-mile one day ride has been added; 12 different route options were available this year. The fees and fundraising goals for the shorter rides are not as high as for the 200 miler.

Starr seems to approach life with a positive attitude. As we visited, he said, “The modern PMC shows what happens when thousands of people are aligned. I’m proud to live in this ecosystem. It is a nice world.”

On Thursday, September 8, 2016 at noon Eastern time, Starr will join me here for a live discussion about the history and future of the Pan Mass Challenge and its impact on cancer. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Virtual Summit to Explore ‘Investing in Human Solutions’


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

Andrea Barnes has spent her entire career doing nonprofit fundraising. She now runs AB Funding, a consulting practice focused on helping nonprofits raise money. She’s worked the past year to prepare “The Giving Principles Global Nonprofit Telesummit | Investing in Human Solutions” September 12 – 30, 2016.

The conference will bring together 15 nonprofit leaders to share insights into sustainable impact and the fundraising strategies that support them. “Our speakers represent proven, world-class organizations,” Andrea says. “They are thought leaders in support of social good. Their charities are tested and their results are proven. Each has a vital story to share.”

Some of the themes that will be developed by the speakers include:

  • Taking a local charity and scaling it to operate throughout the country
  • Asking the provocative question — How do we eliminate chronic hunger? And then evolving your charity to do just that.
  • Taking a stand for the greatness of women and girls
  • Challenging corporations to thrive while doing good
  • Developing future leaders for sustainable change
  • Changing the way we understand and use money
  • Engaging your entire team in raising money for your cause

The speakers include Lynne Twist, author of the Soul of Money; Michael Nebeker, SVP, Operation Smile; Leah Barker, CEO, CHOICE Humanitarian; Jean Oelwang, CEO, Virgin Unite; and, yours truly, Devin Thorpe.

Andrea says, “Participants will learn strategies to support fundraising success; hear best practices for impact and accountability, leave inspired to raise sustainable funds, and will learn about a mindset that will allow ease in raise more money for great causes.”

You can sign up to participate in the Summit at no charge here.

On Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Andrea will join me here for a live discussion about the Summit and what you can hope to learn from it. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Andrea Barnes, courtesy of AB Funding

Andrea Barnes, courtesy of AB Funding

More about AB Funding Solutions:

Twitter: @giving_andrea

Andrea Barnes founded AB Funding Solutions after having spent her entire career raising money for worthy non-profit organizations. Our company exists because we believe in the nobility of raising money for great charitable causes and facilitating the growth and development of the people who do this work – board members, executive directors, development staff, volunteers and social entrepreneurs. Our programs develop fundraising and advocacy competencies, strengthen the individual’s personal conviction and resolve to do the work and help to develop institutional cultures that respect, support and nurture the fundraising role to ensure the highest possibility of success. Only when the development role is competently and passionately staffed can the vital work of the life-changing, life-saving charity be realized.

Andrea’s bio:

Twitter: @andreahbarnes

Andrea Barnes has been active in the fundraising arena since 1985 and is the CEO of a fundraising, marketing and educational consulting company, AB Funding Solutions. She is the creator of the fundamentals course, The Giving Principles | Learn to Raise Money for the Cause You Love. She has served as the Executive Director of The MORE Project, Sr. Vice President for Globus Rlief, Director of Development for the Waterford School and Pioneer Theatre Company and was the General Manager of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation. Ms. Barnes graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in Germany Studies and an MFA in Arts Administration. She has served on various boards and councils including Kingsbury Hall, Utah Society of Fundraisers, the Children’s Center, Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, University of Utah College of Fine Arts Alumni among others.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

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

 

1.1 Million Refugees Arrive In Germany; This Entrepreneur Goes To Work

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Anne Kjaer Riechert, a young, Danish entrepreneur living in Germany saw the flood of refugees arriving in 2015 and did something about it. [Unrelated to this story, I have written about polio eradication for the Rotarian magazine.]

Riechert, a past Rotary Peace Fellow, moved to Berlin in 2012 to set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab in collaboration with Stanford University. When she observed what ultimately became 1.1 million asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, she saw an opportunity. ”Currently, there are 43,000 open jobs in IT in Germany,” she says.

John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, who spent much of his career in Europe, commenting on the refugee situation there, says, “If we don’t act now to build the conditions for sustainable peace, then the likelihood of events that undermine it, such as profound social instability, a lack of integration of migrant populations into their new host countries, and failures of national governance will only increase.”

So, she created a coding school called ReDI School of Digital Integration to train refugees to fill some of those jobs. Partnering with German companies, including Daimler AG, she is providing training in coding languages “like Ruby on Rails, CSS, HTML, Python” along with “skills like entrepreneurship and business intelligence,” she says.

Michael Vormittag, Retail Digitalization at Daimler AG, says, “I am convinced of the great work ReDI is doing. That’s why we work together. I think that a cooperation like ours is highly beneficial for both sides.”

“On one hand we provide the refugees with industry-insights and work-experience which will support their future professional career. On the other hand they are highly motivated and offer new perspectives with their diverse background and fresh ideas. I believe that this diversity drives innovation and with the integrated working-approach real integration can be achieved,” he says.

The nonprofit school raises money any way it can, through partnerships with companies, who, like Daimler, may provide help in several ways, including providing mentors and trainers and sponsorships for the school. Reichert says they have also used crowdfunding. “In the future we hope to also add funding from foundations and public funding,” she adds.

Anne Riechert, photo by Loulou d’Aki

Anne Riechert, photo by Loulou d’Aki

The operations are just six months old. The school has two co-founders, five part-time employees and 40+ volunteers. The school has enrolled 42 students in the first cohort, 35 of whom graduated. Another 60 were enrolled in 10 summer school courses and another series will begin in October.

Reichert says she hopes to expand to two or three more cities in Germany in 2017.

The students, she says, are mostly from Syria and many are in their early twenties, having completed a year or two of college before being forced from their homes.

Completing the trip from Syria to Germany proves they are “resourceful in body, mind and soul,” she says of the struggle. Once they arrive, they often wait 12 to 16 months to get permanent papers allowing them to work. She sees an opportunity to use that time for productive training so that they not only learn some skills but connect with people as well.

The education is transferable. “IT is also a skill you can use anywhere on the globe,” she says. Hence, she equips the participating refugees for success, even if they aren’t ultimately allowed to stay.

The courses, typically taught three times per week for a total of eight hours, use a project approach intended to benefit more than just the students themselves. “The classes are all project based learning, meaning that the students are working to build their own projects as part of the class. One group is, for instance, building a web-based app called ‘Bureaucrazy’ to help newcomers in Germany better navigate the bureaucratic paperwork. Another group built a website and started a catering service where illiterate Syrian women cook for company events.”

She adds, “All our classes happen Face-to-Face, because we believe getting a job in Germany is ’50% what you know’ and ’50% who you know.’”

Anne Riechert on stage at TEDx, courtesy of ReDI School of Digital Integration

Anne Riechert on stage at TEDx, courtesy of ReDI School of Digital Integration

The scale of the problem with millions of refugees in Europe is daunting. “We would like to expand into other parts of Germany and Europe to be able to provide many more asylum seekers the opportunity to take part in our classes. In order to expand, we need to find the right local partners–refugee homes, companies and volunteers–and to secure enough funding for us to be able to coordinate all the volunteers and partners,” she says.

It is clear the realities she faces weigh on her. “Applying for funding takes a lot of time, and since we are a small team that has to coordinate 100+ students and volunteers and secure a high quality delivery of content, it is hard to find the time to sit down and write grant proposals. As a relatively new organization, we are also still young and untested in comparison to other players helping refugees.”

“But I hope our agile processes, innovative approach, speed and quality of delivery will attract the right kind of partners,” with characteristic entrepreneurial optimism.

Riechert has a four-point vision of the future:

  1. On a individual level I hope to help as many asylum seekers as possible get well settled in to their new host countries and ensure that they get a good job and through that can become financially independent.
  2. On a national level I hope that our students can be role models to inspire other asylum seekers to pursue education and good careers.
  3. On a global level I hope that our students can help build technical solutions that will help all the refugees that are stuck in UNCHR camps or live as illegal refugees.
  4. On a political level I hope that we can change the way people look upon refugees – from somebody to be afraid of – into someone to welcome with open arms, interest and compassion.

Hewko says, “Anne’s efforts to integrate refugees into the European tech economy is an example of how Rotary Peace Fellows and Rotary members are striving to create sustainable peace throughout the world.”

On Thursday, August 11, 2016 at noon Eastern, Riechert will join me here for a live discussion about her work in Germany to educated and welcome refugees into the European economy. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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