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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 stories about philanthropy, typically covering the generosity of individuals, families, groups of individuals and foundations (nonprofits primarily in the business of funding other nonprofits.

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Heathcare Philanthropy Plays Vital Role In US

The role of healthcare philanthropists in the U.S. has never been more important than it is today. Gail Rudolph heads up the planning for the annual conference of top leaders in healthcare philanthropy, members of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

This week, the AHP will be holding its annual conference in San Antonio. I’ll be honored to speak.

Gail joined me to talk about the vitally important work that healthcare philanthropists do and what is coming up at the conference next week. We talked about the increasing role of crowdfunding as a part of philanthropic fundraising.

Learn more about the conference at

Interview with Gail Rudolph, the Committee Chair for upcoming Leading Forward Conference in San Antonio of Association of Healthcare Philanthropy.

The following is the pre-interview with Gail Rudolph. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We are trying to enhance leadership within the industry to further advance healthcare though our hospitals within our communities

More about Association of Healthcare Philanthropy:

Twitter: @AHPIntl



The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) is an international professional organization dedicated exclusively to development professionals who encourage charity in North America’s health care organizations. Established in 1967, AHP is the source for education, networking, information and research in health care philanthropy. AHP is a not-for-profit organization with its headquarters located right outside Washington, D.C. in Falls Church, Virginia.

AHP’s 4,500 members represent more than 2,200 health care facilities around the world. They embody all aspects of health care fundraising, from executive directors and chief development officers, to major gift officers, annual campaign managers, event coordinators and grant writers.

Our mission is to inspire, educate and serve those transforming health care through philanthropy.

Our vision is to be the definitive authority in health philanthropy.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: This is a professional association for people in Healthcare Philanthropy

Scale: Our units are not just  the number of attendees at the conference.  It is really much broader by the number of people who are touched by better leadership.

Gail Rudolph

Gail Rudolph’s bio:

Twitter: @AdvmtResources


Gail Rudolph, CFRE

Gail partners with leading companies and healthcare organizations in building a solid approach to leadership, organizational structure, and teamwork to elevate human potential. She works with clients throughout all phases of the process, from assessment and analysis to design and implementation, helping individuals, companies and teams achieve their fullest potential.
Gail has more than 25 years of experience serving in leadership positions across a spectrum of organizations, including community hospitals, academic medical institutions, large healthcare systems and consulting.

Gail’s past experience includes extensive work in Leadership and Philanthropy at Cleveland Clinic, Northwestern University, Advocate, Dignity Health and various other community organizations and companies.  Gail holds a master’s degree in Human Services Administration and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Among her many accomplishments, Gail has been named a “Top 10 Leader You Should Know”.

For the second year in a row Gail is serving as the Chair of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s (AHP) Leading Forward Executive Summit, helping to enhance leadership skills within the healthcare industry.  As an active member and frequent speaker with AHP, Gail believes in the impact that Leadership can have on an individual and organization, which compels her to share and mentor from her experience.

Gail has been featured in numerous publications including the Non-Profit Times and Executive Health Magazine, regarding her work in philanthropy and grateful patient programs.

As a Senior Consultant with Advancement Resources and Executive Director on the John Maxwell Team, Gail is a Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker. Gail offers workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, strategic partnership opportunities and coaching, aiding personal and professional growth through study and practical application of proven leadership and organizational methods. Working together, she helps to move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goal.

Gail has just recently obtained a Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, Leadership-Entrepreneur Certification.  

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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!

Votem To Use Blockchain To Record Immutable Voting Records

Pete Martin was challenged to come up with an idea to impact 1 billion people in a way that would positively impact their lives. He decided to reinvent voting by using blockchain technology to create immutable, auditable records of your votes.

He is building a system that will allow you to verify that your vote was counted at the same time the government can verify that you voted–while preserving the anonymity of your vote. No one will know who you voted for except you.

Interview with Pete Martin, the Founder & CEO of Votem.

The following is the pre-interview with Pete Martin. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We provide more secure, verifiable, and transparent voting events with better access than paper-based/in-person voting.

More about Votem:

Twitter: @votem



Votem offers a blockchain-based mobile voting platform called CastIron which is used by private and public (governmental) organizations to securely cast votes in elections across the globe.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We sell our voting systems to countries, states, counties and cities for public elections and organizations that run private voting events such as officer elections, fan voting, contract votes, etc. on both a subscription basis and enterprise software sales basis.

Scale: We have almost 20 employees currently and have recorded over 8.2 million votes on our blockchain platform.

Pete Martin

Pete Martin’s bio:

Twitter: @votempete


Pete Martin is the Founder and CEO of Votem, and is a successful serial entrepreneur who has started and sold several businesses including most recently selling his consulting firm to KPMG which provided the seed money to start Votem. Pete had successful careers with IBM and as an executive at SAP until starting his consulting firm. He has been a successful executive in the technology space for more than 20 years.

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!

Deaf Professor Brings Transparent Surgical Mask to US Healthcare to Facilitate Lipreading and Communication

Anne McIntosh didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur, but when she delivered her baby, her world changed. When she needed an emergency c-section, everyone donned masks. Hard of hearing, she lost her ability to communicate when she could no longer read lips. She’s spent 16 years bringing a transparent surgical mask to market.

Interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh, the President of Safe’N’Clear, Inc..

The following is the pre-interview with Dr. Anne McIntosh. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

I could not lipread my medical provider during childbirth; what were they saying to me?  My health and the health of my newborn depended on my ability to communicate and cooperate with those helping me. They were wearing protective gear (masks) that blocked my ability to see their lips. I partnered up with a US manufacturer who understood and had compassion for what I was going through and knew I was not the only one. Prestige Ameritech has partnered with Safe’N’Clear, Inc. to bring an FDA approved  ASTM 2100 Level 1 face mask with a clear view to the market.

I did approach larger mask manufacturers in the past and they were satisfied with profit margins they were making in the masks that exist today on the market.  They did not think there was enough “profit” to be made in this mask that would benefit children (reduce their fears and anxiety by being able to see the warm, caring smile of their healthcare provider) or the one in seven Americans who have a hearing loss and depend on lip-reading and facial expressions. Being a social entrepreneur means that you do what is right; while The Communicator will benefit these populations; truth is that EVERYONE gets additional understanding from looking at others during communication exchanges so The Communicator can become the gold standard for all masks. Think about this: Out of deafness, the world has the gift of telephones, Morse Code, and the Internet. These innovations were created to improve communication. The Communicator face mask with a clear view is such an innovation.

And, we have also identified ONE organization that we will support with our proceeds: Solace for the Children, Inc. is a non-profit organization that brings children from war-torn countries to the US for medical, dental, and optical care. We believe in their mission of building peace on a foundation of health. Solace has helped children of all kinds of medical issues, including hearing loss.

More about Safe’N’Clear, Inc.:

Facebook: @SafeNClear


Safe’N’Clear, Inc. is a deaf-owned, woman-owned company that strives to make sure communication-friendly products are available.  Right now, we are focused on a face mask that is used in medical and dental industries that healthcare providers can use that allows others to see more of their faces, facial expressions, and read lips. With 93 percent of the meaning in communication coming from non-verbal, The Communicator mask with a clear view is great for everyone.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Revenues stem from sales of The Communicator mask with a clear view, model FM86000

Dr. Anne McIntosh

Dr. Anne McIntosh’s bio:

Dr. Anne McIntosh is a college professor who has taught communication classes/workshops in the private sector and post-secondary level. She has published journal articles, edited book chapters, and authored three books related to communication. When she and her husband went to the hospital to deliver their first child, Dr. McIntosh quickly went from being a confident and competent “communication expert” to one who was unable to communicate effectively with her healthcare providers after they put on medical masks and she could not lipread what they were saying. Fortunately, all went well and mother and baby were fine; however, Dr. McIntosh knew this was not everyone’s outcome. Dr. McIntosh started on a quest to make sure that a medical face mask with a transparent window around the mouth was available to the US medical and dental markets.

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!

We Are In ‘The Golden Age Of Purpose’ So How Do We Capitalize On It?

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Nancy Mahon, SVP of global philanthropy and corporate citizenship for The Estee Lauder Companies and global executive director for the MAC AIDS Fund, has some counsel for social entrepreneurs and other business leaders interested in impact. It begins with context. We are in “the golden age of purpose.”

“We are seeing an acceleration of a trend that has been in motion for some time where consumers are voting with their dollars and they are saying yes we care that you care. We share your values and we want not only a good financial model, but great products and a place to work and a great stock to invest in, we want a sustainable business. You have to make the world a better place,” Mahon says.

MAC Cosmetics, an Estée Lauder brand, has been selling Viva Glam lipstick for more than 20 years and giving every penny of the retail revenue to the MAC AIDS Fund to fight AIDS. At the end of 2017, the lifetime total raised reached $480 million with $25 million raised in 2017.

Mahon summarizes the strategy, saying, “The more products you sell the more money you are able to give away,” adding, “We try and really marry how we can do good business and also do good for the world.”

Still, it is important for social entrepreneurs and other business leaders to understand the model more completely. The retailers who sell MAC Cosmetics agree to remit 100% of the sales price for Viva Glam lipstick and “lipglass” to MAC Cosmetics, which then remits the entire amount to the MAC AIDS Fund, which then funds programs to fight the disease.

Retailers sacrifice their profits on these products and MAC Cosmetics still has to produce, distribute and market the products. In the marketing department, they get some help. In the past, luminaries like Rhianna, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have served as spokespeople for the products at a fraction of their market value.

Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollet

In 2017, Taraji P. Henson, who played in the hit film Hidden Figures and also stars in the TV drama Empire, was added to the roster. She was joined by Jussie Smollett, one of her Empire costars for the campaign. For 2018, the singer SIA stepped up to promote the cause and the brand.

“We combine the power of celebrity with the power of purpose,” she says.

“What we find is the most effective use of celebrity in the Viva Glam campaign are celebrities who are what we call the real deal, who are willing to talk in a very authentic way about the issues they’ve confronted and why that drives them to give back,” Mahon explains.

Sia for Viva Glam

She is careful to share credit for the impact with the makeup artists who sell the products, the MAC Cosmetics employees and the customers.

Despite being in good times for social purpose, Mahon notes that the world is prematurely moving past AIDS. Government funding is being cut. So, even as she says, “we can see how we can end AIDS,” she acknowledges there are challenges ahead.

“Four hundred and eighty million dollars, while a lot of money is not enough money. So we are working with other donors to be as effective as we can,” she says. The MAC AIDS Fund partners with the UN and other NGOs to stretch its dollars and to maximize impact.

Mahon works toward an objective of ensuring that everyone, regardless of their economic background, where they were born, their age, their employment status, their minority status or any other factor has access to AIDS prevention protocols and treatment if needed.

She challenged us to do something now. “The good news is that I feel [we are in] the golden age of purpose. The question for us, for people like me and for you, is how to capitalize on it. How do we take the discussion how do we take the work even deeper and stronger now that we have such an incredible listening in the world?”

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.

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!

Indian Leaders Are Scaling Solutions To The Country’s Challenges

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Watch my interview with Atul Satija above. You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes or Google Play.

Even as India is increasingly recognized as a global power, the developing country continues to wrestle with vexing challenges. Some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and corporate executives have come together to help scale solutions.

Atul Satija, 40, is leading the charge through an organization called The/Nudge Foundation. He says, “In India, we are adding 1 million people every month to the labor market. Roughly 50% come from poor backgrounds; more than 25% are school dropouts and 50% lack skills to be employable. At the same time, there is a skill deficit of 400 million people in the country in the foreseeable future.”

After just a few years of addressing this problem head on with a program called Gurukul, the leaders recognized that the social challenges in the country required additional interventions if poverty is to be eliminated. In response, they created another program called N/Core to incubate high-potential nonprofits to accelerate their scale in reaching millions of people.

Entrepreneurs and executives from some of India’s largest companies, including multinationals headquartered elsewhere are participating. Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, 64, is chairman and senior consultant cardiac surgeon for the company he helped found, Narayana Health, which went public in 2017 and has 15,900 employees, 50 facilities and 6,888 beds. He also serves on the advisory board for The/Nudge Foundation. The company reported EBITDA of 10.7% on $254 million in revenue.

Watch my interview with Dr. Devi Shetty above. You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes or Google Play.

“If a solution is not affordable it is not a solution,” Shetty, the consummate social entrepreneur, says. Over the nearly three decades since he returned to India from England where he was trained, he has focused relentlessly on bringing the cost of cardiac care down. In India, the biggest cost in healthcare, unlike the US, is not labor but infrastructure.

By operating the surgical suites 12 hours per day, six days per week rather than eight hours per day, five days per week, Narayana Health can perform more surgeries in each facility and with each piece of equipment over its useful life, significantly reducing the cost per surgery.

Atul Satija

Shetty is excited about the work The/Nudge Foundation is doing. It’s primary work is to help vulnerable young people learn skills that will help them become more self-reliant. He says the work that Satija is leading “is extremely, extremely important for my country.”

“We have a serious problem. We need to find jobs for at least 300 million if they’re not gainfully employed, they can destroy everything,” Shetty says.

Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty

The Gurukul residential program works to help students create a successful life, so the program reaches beyond job skills to facilitate life skills.

Satija describes four tenets of the Gurukul program:

  1. Focus on core values of belief, ownership, and grit to develop the necessary mindsets and behaviors to be sustainably out of poverty.
  2. Innovative andragogy of learning-by-doing and applied learning of skills to address poor attention span and lower learning baselines.
  3. Preparation for jobs and urban life through resume building, skills showcase, interview practice and sessions on transition to urban living.
  4. Continuous post-training support on career, health and wealth management to enable alumni and their families to stay out of poverty.

One of the core values of the organization is “impatience toward our goals,” Satija says. The focus on goals, on outcome and impact is relentless. “We measure everything.”

He says that 99% of students get job offers. Some choose to continue their education and others choose an entrepreneurial path, but a vast majority accept employment opportunities. Positions are offered in sales, driving, beauty and plumbing verticals.

Before entering the program, 60% of students were unemployed. Among the rest, they average a 40% increase in salary after completing the program.

The program is graduating 2,000 students per year, looking to increase that to 5,000 students in 2018.

The Gurukul program is funded via three channels: corporate social responsibility, foundations and individual donors. This allows the program to be delivered to students for free.

The other program at The/Nudge Foundation, N/Core was launched in 2017 with the goal of incubating more than 100 nonprofits over the next five years. “India’s challenges are large. Any simple problem you take, there are millions affected by it,” Satija says.

By training promising nonprofits to scale rapidly and effectively he hopes to address more problems more quickly. In order to address the needs, nonprofits need to be serving not hundreds or thousands of people but millions.

The first cohort is now completing the six-month training program begun in September. N/Core received 1,032 applications from 19 countries from 2,654 entrepreneurs. Just 10, less than 1% of the applicants, were admitted.

Satija says they plan to incubate two cohorts each year and they are working to build a network of funding sources to help the nonprofits raise more money to scale more quickly.

When he first started his career, Satija says he didn’t give much thought to social impact. About the time he turned 30, ten years ago, he began seeing social issues and he itched to address them more directly. At first he thought he’d give himself over to a new career focused on social issues in his 60s, later thinking 50s, then 40s, until finally in his late 30s, he made the switch. Now, he says, he’s content knowing what he’ll be doing for the rest of his life.

Hundreds of nonprofits learned to successfully use online fundraising to reach–or surpass–their goals with my crowdfunding training. Get my free guide to attracting media attention.

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!

Life Led James Hagen To Deliver Better Health By Mouth

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

James Hagen admits his health wasn’t great while working as a hedge fund analyst. The stress and a chronic disease diagnosed as a kid left him looking for answers.

When his parents decided to retire from their catalog dental supply business, he recognized the old catalog business needed to be converted to an e-commerce model and hoped to find a lower-stress environment. He decided it was time to head for home in Minnesota.

His research into better health, not surprisingly led him to focus on diet, exercise and sleep. Then, attuned to the dental industry, he began finding evidence that better oral care can improve whole-body health.

He decided to launch Boka, an oral care business that would focus on overall health.

Having helped found the nonprofit Surge, Hagen wanted to do more than make a profit. He wanted to make a difference. Not only is he hoping to improve the health of his customers, he has already started supporting Surge’s efforts to improve access to clean water for the 800 million global citizens who lack it.

James Hagen

“When I started Boka it was really important to me that a modern brand or company was addressing some of these global issues,” Hagen says. “I think it’s becoming more and more important for the private sector to step up and have an impact.”

The business is already profitable, has five employees and generates a gross margin of 55%.

“Oral care is the most important problem in preventive health that isn’t being considered as such,” Hagen says.

Dr. Vladana Babcic Tal, endodontist and partner at Cameo Dental Specialists in Chicago, advises Boka. She says, “We haven’t seen much innovation in toothpastes or oral health products. The same toothpastes that were on the shelves when I was a kid are still there now… but our needs are changing. I notice my patients becoming more and more involved in their overall health. They want to know what they are using, they want to be involved in the decision making. Most importantly, patients are finally focused on preventative health. Boka is a product that understands the strong connection between oral and systemic health. Patient’s want to avoid cavities as well as periodontal disease, which has shown a connection to heart health.”

Boka’s mouthwash product, Cocorinse, typifies Hagen’s approach to product development. He eschews alcohol-based products as both harsh on the mouth and gums and for unnecessarily killing the good bacteria in the mouth along with the bad. He’s trying to debunk the old industry mantra, “If it’s burning it’s working.”

Cocorinse is made of coconut oil, mint and a nano-technology developed by NASA called nano-hydroxyapatite that remineralizes teeth better, he says, than fluoride. The use of coconut oil as a mouthwash may go back thousands of years as an Ayurvedic practice in India. “It’s really nature and traditional medicine coming together with contemporary medicine,” Hagen adds.

Boka has used a similar philosophy to create a natural toothpaste with “science-backed” ingredients.

Like alcohol in mouthwash, Boka rejects fluoride in toothpaste. Hagen is careful not to take sides in what has become more of moral debate than a scientific one about the effectiveness versus the risks of the classic toothpaste ingredient. He says Boka omits fluoride simply because the nano-hydroxyapatite works better.

Babcic Tal says, “Boka’s toothpaste is a great alternative to fluoride toothpastes as it is able to remineralize the enamel without risking potential toxicity connected to fluoride products.”

Hagen says he’s learned some important lessons along the way. Chief among them is this: “Smile at everything that comes your way.”

Hundreds of nonprofits learned to successfully use online fundraising to reach–or surpass–their goals with my crowdfunding training. Get my free guide to attracting media attention.

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!

This Company Makes Halal Investing Easy

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Halal investing forbids investing in debt, making many traditional investment vehicles off-limits to Muslims seeking to follow Sharia guidance. As a result, many in the Muslim community have limited their investments to cash savings and real estate, leaving them poorly diversified. Junaid Wahedna decided to fix that.

Wahedna, who graduated from Columbia University and spent years working in finance in New York City, was in a good position to launch Wahed Invest, making Halal investing easy.

“I’ve been very, very fortunate to have a good education, the resources and wherewithal to be able to do something and so I felt quite personally responsible to give back,” Wahenda says. “What right do I have not to actually go in there and fix this problem?”

Wahenda reports raising $7 million from venture capitalists and angel investors.

Halal investing has not been especially difficult for wealthy investors. A variety of products and advisors have been available to the high-net-worth individuals for generations. The challenge has long been finding compliant investments for small investors.

Halal investment standards are fundamentally ethical investment standards. In addition to proscribing investments in debt and traditional fixed-income securities, the standards require investments to be in ethical companies.

“What we do is run an ethical filter over all our investments. So, what that means is we screen for excessive debt, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, pornographic material and a few other you know minor unethical things,” Wahedna explains.

One key to building a successful platform for ordinary investors to conform to Islamic investing standards was to give them access to sukuks, a Halal fixed income product traditionally sold in $200,000 minimum increments. “Sukuks are in essence Islamic bonds,” Wahedna explains. Yields closely parallel traditional fixed-income investments along the yield curve.

Wahed Invest allows ordinary investors to open an account with just $100 and to participate in Sukuk investments along with carefully screened equity investments.

Wahedna hopes to prove that ethical or religious investing needn’t come with a cost by efficient use of technology.

This is all enabled by technology commonly called robo advisors. Virtually all broker-dealers are employing some level of technology to facilitate investing today. By dropping the cost of managing an account to near zero, minimum account sizes drop even while allowing people to participate in more sophisticated investment strategies.

Wahed Invest has automated processes that calculate debt ratios, cash balances, and other keys to identify companies that meet ethical and Halal screens, the company also has a full-time Sharia review board and ethical review board that ensure Halal investment standards are followed.

Junaid Wahenda

But it isn’t all technology driven. Wahedna is proud of the firm’s annual “purification report,” which calculates earnings from “impermissible” sources, like excessive interest income from one of the companies in the portfolio. This gives investors an opportunity to purge those funds by donating to charity.

“This is just something we feel is necessary that people should have at the end of the year to see exactly what has happened,” he said.

The ethical standards of Halal investing are appealing not only to Muslims but to other investors with a similar ethical view. Still, the service solves a big problem for ordinary investors wishing to comply with Halal investment standards who haven’t had the option in the past.

“Clients tell us that ‘We are so happy we don’t have to just keep our money in cash!’” Wahedna says, noting that many customers are first-time investors.

Hundreds of nonprofits learned to successfully use online fundraising to reach–or surpass–their goals with my crowdfunding training. Get my free guide to attracting media attention.

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!

Their Plan to End the Deforestation of Haiti Is Gaining Traction

Kevin Adair and Franz “Franky Fanfan started working on the Island of Hispañola in 2005, hoping to bring solar cooking to the Dominican Republic. Slowly, over the years, their focus has shifted to Haiti, where they are working to eliminate charcoal in favor of briquettes made from recycled paper, cardboard and sawdust.

Up to 90 percent of the energy present in wood is lost when it is turned into charcoal. When you light a piece of charcoal, you are left with only 10 percent of the energy present in the wood used to make it.

Adair and Fanfan are using a process for making briquettes that doesn’t start with burning away most of the energy. Instead, the briquettes are made in a slurry, formed and dried and can then be burned efficiently in special, highly efficient wood-burning stoves.

Their approach is to convert institutional kitchens from charcoal stoves to their briquettes and high-efficiency stoves. Once done, a kitchen can cook more quickly and efficiently at lower cost, with fewer health effects on those cooking and far superior outcomes for the environment.

Interview with Franz “Franky” Fanfan, the General Manager / Co-Founder of El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti) and Kevin Adair, the President / Founder of Fuego del Sol Haiti / FdS Haiti SA.

The following is the pre-interview with Franz “Franky” Fanfan and Kevin Adair. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Haitians cook with 400,000 tons of charcoal annually, destroying 4M tons of trees, (with as much as 70% smuggled illegally from the Dominican Republic); Haiti is the world’s 11th least developed country.  Haiti has bountiful biomass waste, agricultural potential, recyclables, and a 70% under-employed workforce. Haiti has millions of tons of underutilized recyclable materials that are currently either being dumped and burned, washed out to sea, or collected and sent to countries such as China, which are more developmentally advanced than Haiti. Haiti’s resources should be utilized in Haiti, creating jobs in Haiti. Charcoal cooking also destroys the health and lungs of Haiti’s cooks. Charcoal cooking is the number-one killer of children under 5 in Haiti. Propane has been suggested as a solution to Haiti’s charcoal dependence, but Haiti is already over-dependent on international petroleum, and the charcoal industry provides a huge percentage of Haiti’s household incomes. The only advantage of the charcoal industry is that Haiti’s cooking fuel is over 90% produced on the island of Hispaniola. To replace charcoal, Haiti needs a domestic cooking fuel which can utilize the country’s available materials, and replace charcoal jobs with better-paying, safer jobs. Other materials such as plastic, glass and aluminum are similarly underutilized in Haiti. Thus, FdS works on three main fronts: ecological protection by substituting charcoal with recycled briquettes, jobs creation by replacing charcoal industry jobs 1:1, and improving the health and lives of Haiti’s cooks.

More about El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti):

Twitter: @ElFuegoDelSol



El Fuego del Sol (FdS Haiti) is a social-eco enterprise based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We are a full-service waste management, recycling and clean cooking enterprise working to improve environmental, economic and health conditions in Haiti.

Fuego del Sol Haiti SA / FdS Haiti SA is a Haitian Social-Eco Enterprise dedicated to introducing innovative international technologies to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. FdS selects these technologies to directly meet the needs and challenges that Haitian families have rated as their highest priority. FdS technologies are designed, developed, implemented and adapted in a co-creation model with Haitian and Dominican citizens to maximize adoption and cultural acceptance of the technologies, as well as long-term job creation. As the world’s 11th most fragile state, Haiti’s need for jobs and ecological development is critical. FdS has created a sustainable model for the implementation of ecological products and services throughout Haiti with the additional benefit of creating quality full-time and part-time jobs. FdS is sustainable at its current scale, and numerous developments in the waste / recycling / renewable energy / ecological cooking sectors continue to provide FdS the opportunity to expand. FdS is initiating strategic partnerships, structured development plans, and equipment acquisitions that will allow it to grow from its current Port-au-Prince site into more key Haitian locations specifically selected for compatibility and escalation of the FdS 100% reuse and recycling model. FdS is the first large-scale paper-products recycler in Haiti and has now recycled over 130 tons of paper, cardboard and sawdust into FdS ecological fuel briquettes, which are used in schools, orphanages and homes to alleviate Haiti’s deadly charcoal dependence. FdS develops and produces efficient briquette stoves for homes and schools in Haiti. FdS provides full waste collection, sorting, separation, and recycling services to embassies, NGOs and other environmentally conscious clients in Haiti. FdS also ecologically reprocesses waste motor oil into efficient diesel fuel. FdS is on target to be Haiti’s highest-volume reprocessed eco-fuel producer.

For-profit/Nonprofit: Mixed-model: for-profit enterprise with 501c3 fiscal sponsorship

Revenue model:

FdS Haiti is a Social-Eco Enterprise. We are a legally registered corporation in Haiti with IRS tax-exempt status in the US through our fiscal sponsor, Omprakash, making our fiscal model a hybrid for-profit/non-profit structure. The donations we receive are designated toward the start-up and scale-up of FdS. All operational expenses are generated through FdS local program-based income. The financial structure is best demonstrated by the FdS ecological business cycle: FdS provides complete fee-based waste collection services to clients in Port-au-Prince who choose FdS, as we recycle more materials than any other local waste collector. Paper, cardboard and wood waste materials are pulverized, mixed with water and formed into FdS biomass briquettes. FdS produces ultra-efficient wood-gas cookstoves, which also include recycled components. Clients then purchase the stoves from FdS along with an ongoing contract to purchase the FdS briquettes. FdS trucks deliver the briquettes, and return with the waste materials described above, and the cycle begins again. FdS earns Program Based Income on both legs of the trips by our truck.


Since relocating to Haiti in 2012, FdS has participated in the production / delivery / deployment / operations of over 780 institutional biomass cookstoves in Haiti. FdS has also delivered over 1.5 million of our briquettes and recycled over 130 tons of waste. The briquettes have cooked over 600,000 meals, mostly in schools, orphanages and community centers, and we are now expanding into industrial parks and factories. FdS has offset over 13,000 trees that otherwise would have been used to cook these meals. FdS has 20 full-time employees and 8 part-time. The FdS annual operating budget has grown from $24,000 in 2012 to over $120,000 in 2017 with further expansion indicated for 2018. Orders are confirmed for 25 stoves in one factory by the end of March and 25 additional stoves for an industrial park by the end of May 2018. Each FdS institutional briquette stove cooks an average of 30 servings of food.

Franz “Franky Fanfan

Franz “Franky” Fanfan’s bio:

Frantz is a true Haitian migration success story. Born in Haiti, he started out working during his high school years, milking 100 cows every day, then going to school in the afternoon. Frantz later worked in the tourism sector of Bavaro – Punta Cana starting in 2001 for prominent companies such as VIP Tours, Tourinter, Club Caribe, and Nexus. Frantz speaks Spanish, English, Haitian Creole and French and has been a solid member of the Fuego del Sol corporate team since the company’s inception in 2005. Frantz has worked as Tourism and Outreach Manager for the FdS project and Recycling Director for the waste management project. Currently Frantz oversees all aspects of Fuego del Sol operations including employee relations, training, briquette production, program development, and delivery coordination.

Kevin Adair
(Photo credit: Jack Powers)

Kevin Adair’s bio:

Twitter: @kevadair


Kevin Adair believes that each human life is a century-long interactive creative performance. He has always combined creative expression with social and ecological activism with focus on building community. International audiences may recognize Kevin as a touring juggler, magician, hypnotist, fire dancer, and motivator. Then, after decades performing and over 10,000 shows, Kevin’s trade-winds led him to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where for the past 13 years he has worked in international social, ecological and community development.

It is Kevin’s quest to co-create, introduce, evaluate, foster, promote, facilitate, encourage and verify social / ecological development technologies in his adopted Caribbean island countries. Kevin founded the social-eco enterprise, FdS Haiti, and now works with local communities to address the issues that people find most daunting in their lives. Through the FdS developmental model, local people are consulted and empowered throughout the R & D and implementation process in a Co-Creation process. Each additional FdS project / program is designed to be financially sustainable and to build on existing FdS activities growing an infrastructure / eco-system of mutually beneficial developmental activities in conjunction with community, international, and local partners. Kevin is also the primary author of the Sun Oven System, the scholarly white-paper that documents one of the most successful ecological solar-stove introduction programs in the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Kevin holds a Double BA with Honors from Illinois Wesleyan University, with continuing education credits from the National Geographic Society Geotourism Ambassador Training, Los Fondos de Capital, un Mecanismo de Financiamiento de Empresas presented by the INCAE, and the UN Foundation’s Women’s Empowerment Fund Training of Trainers, where Kevin was awarded the Accolade of ‘Most Engaging.’ Kevin is a featured Social Entrepreneur from SOCAP 14. FdS Haiti is a 2014 Buckminster Fulller Award Semi-finalist and a 2015 Echoing Green Semi-Finalist. The FdS Haiti Team is thrilled to be the only 2015 – 2017 IADB IDEAS competition winner based in the Caribbean region.

Most international development efforts have either attempted to enforce their will on potential beneficiaries, or they have worked to provide resources for solutions already locally available. Kevin has developed the: Listen. Lead. Listen Again. implementation strategy which combines learning the needs and wants of local community members, introducing new technologies and solutions that would not otherwise be available in remote locations, and then following up with a successive feedback-loop to gradually adapt the new solutions to best fit the local people’s needs. Kevn is also writing a book and article series: Listen. Lead. Listen Again. at

In the Des Moines Register, columnist Rekha Basu, sums up the nature of Kevin’s quest, “His project should inspire all of us to see that with imagination and enterprise, anyone can help find creative solutions to intractable world problems.”

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This Organization Works To Help Community College Students Finish 4-Year Degrees

With most community college students hoping to transfer to a four-year college, statistics show that most don’t transfer and only half of those who do, finish. The Kaplan Educational Foundation, headed by Nancy Lee Sanchez, is working to help community college students transfer successfully to universities and earn bachelor’s degrees.

Interview with Nancy Lee Sánchez, the Executive Director of Kaplan Educational Foundation.

The following is the pre-interview with Nancy Lee Sánchez. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

81% of first-time beginning community college students from the bottom income quartile aspire to complete a bachelor’s degree, but only 21% transfer to four year institutions within 5 years, and only 10% attain a bachelor’s degree. (Horn & Skomsvold (2011); Shapiro et al. (2013)). Bachelor’s degree holders earn 31% more than those with an associate’s degree and 84% more than those with just a high school diploma. (Carnevale, Rose, and Cheah, 2011).

Solution 1: Kaplan Leadership Program:
The Foundation’s support begins early in a student’s associate’s degree studies and continues through the completion of a bachelor’s degree.  Financial assistance includes scholarships and additional funding to assist with other educational and living expenses.  All Kaplan Leadership Scholars are provided with academic advising, transfer admissions, career counseling and job placement support, and admissions guidance for graduate and professional programs. The KLP’s curriculum was developed to target the academic, financial and personal/social development of its participants reflecting our belief that the whole student must be addressed to effect long-term success.

Solution 2: Transfer Initiative Program:
In 2017, KEF launched the Transfer Initiative Program (TIP) to increase the number of students reached. In addition to the 7 KLP Scholars accepted each year, all KLP finalists (up to 15 students) are invited to become TIP Scholars and receive transfer admissions advisement, and application support through individualized writing support and financial support to cover the following costs: transcript fees, financial aid application fees and testing fees.

Solution 3: Your 2018 Guide to College Transfer:
Also in 2017, KEF expanded its mission by publishing Your 2018 Guide to College Transfer, A comprehensive handbook profiling top schools for transfer across the United States, serving as a resource for students, parents, and advisors to navigate the entire transfer process, from application to enrollment.

Additional Resources:

More about Kaplan Educational Foundation:

Twitter: @kaplanedfdn



The Kaplan Educational Foundation (KEF), an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity, seeks to eliminate barriers to education for overlooked and underserved students and develop them as leaders for the American workforce and their communities. KEF launched the Kaplan Leadership Program (KLP) in 2006 to do just that. KLP is a unique and trailblazing model that addresses the needs of the ‘whole’ student, successfully transferring low-income Black, Latino and Native American students of exceptional academic merit from New York City’s community colleges to top four-year universities throughout the country, while preparing them to succeed academically and assume leadership roles in their professions and communities. Our Kaplan Scholars receive a comprehensive array of financial and academic support, transfer admissions advising and leadership skills development.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: The Kaplan Educational Foundation (KEF) is a 501(c)(3) public charity. In addition to receiving donations, KEF recently published a book, “Your 2018 Guide to College Transfer,” and 100% of the proceeds go to KEF.

Scale: KEF has a full-time staff of three employees who focus on changing the lives of a small number of students in a big way. Through the Kaplan Leadership Program, we have accepted 69 students. 24 students are active within the program (currently enrolled in either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program) and 38 alumni have successfully earned their bachelor’s degrees. Results from the program include: 87% of all Kaplan Scholars earn a bachelor’s degree. 100% of our Alumni are employed full-time at jobs in their fields of study or in graduate school. Over 30% of alumni are in or have completed graduate school.

Nancy Lee Sánchez

Nancy Lee Sánchez’s bio:

Twitter: @nleesanchez


Nancy Lee Sánchez, M.A. is the Executive Director for the Kaplan Educational Foundation. As the founding Director for Academic Advisement and Student Development, Nancy was responsible for the design and implementation of the Kaplan Leadership Program model.

Sánchez has over 18 years of expertise providing greater access to higher education, improving the college experience, and supporting leadership among low-income, underrepresented, and nontraditional students through collaborative partnerships and services that directly target factors affecting degree-attainment gaps.

Sánchez’s own educational journey started at Kingsborough Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree in early childhood education. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Long Island University and a master’s in sociology from Brooklyn College. As a 2014 National Hispanic Executive Leadership Fellow, Nancy completed an Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership. Born in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, Sánchez currently resides in Brooklyn.

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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!

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