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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

Philanthropy

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.

Proven Leader, Harvard Professor Explains How To Learn Leadership

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Robert Steven Kaplan , the former Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs, Harvard professor, venture philanthropist, author and regular guest on my show here on Forbes, will see his new book, What Your Really Need to Lead, published on September 15.

In anticipation of a return to the show, Kaplan shared some thoughts with me about his new book.

Kaplan said, “Leadership is one of the most important aspects of our society, yet there is enormous disagreement and confusion about what leadership means, and whether it can really be learned. I argue that leadership qualities are not something you either have or you don’t. Leadership is about what you do, rather than who you are, and it starts with an ownership mind-set.”

Kaplan says, learning to lead involves three key elements:

  1. Thinking like an owner
  2. A willingness to act on your beliefs
  3. A relentless focus on adding value to others

“Leadership is accessible to each of us, but it requires a process of hard work, willingness to ask questions, and openness to learning,” he adds.

“In the book I really try to demystify leadership and outline a specific regimen that will empower the reader to build his or her leadership skills. You need to ask yourself probing questions, and then take follow-up steps that will help you develop your skills, create new habits, and move toward reaching your unique leadership potential,” he concludes.

On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Kaplan will join me for a live discussion about leadership. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about What You Really Need to Lead:

Kaplan is the author of the new book What You Really Need to Lead. In the book, he writes that leaders in business, politics, and life are not naturally gifted: leadership is something that must be learned. The most powerful question anyone can ask in their daily lives is “what would an owner do right now?” If we look at the challenges and opportunities that confront us through this ownership lens, then we become leaders, and act in a way that benefits many people beyond just ourselves. Being a leader isn’t what you are—it’s what you do.

Robert Steven Kaplan

Robert Steven Kaplan

Kaplan’s bio:

Twitter: @RobSKaplan

Robert Steven Kaplan is Senior Associate Dean and the Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also cochairman of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm, as well as chairman and a founding partner of Indaba Capital Management. Before joining Harvard in 2005, Kaplan was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group. He divides his time between Boston and New York City.

Social Entrepreneur Works To Put his Nonprofit Out Of Business

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Eric Stowe saw a problem in the developing world and did something about it. He saw a need for clean water in the slums and created Splash, a nonprofit organization, to solve the problem.

“While working in orphanages internationally, I became aware of the crucial need for clean water for kids on the periphery in urban areas,” Stowe explains. “Hotels and restaurants had access to clean water, but across the street, children at poor schools and orphanages did not. It was, and continues to be, an easy problem to fix by leveraging economies and infrastructure that already exist rather than re-creating the wheel.”

Stowe’s Splash has some audacious goals: provide clean water to every orphanage in China, every public school in Kathmandu, Nepal and every “child-serving” institution in Kolkata, India.

“We want to put Splash out of business by 2030. Our ultimate goal is to ensure local success happens on its own time, on its own terms, through its own talent, and with its own funding. Charity is a means to that – it cannot be the end,” Stowe concludes.

On Thursday, August 13, 2015 at noon Eastern, Stowe will join me here for a live discussion about his efforts to provide clean water in Urban areas where it is desperately needed. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Splash:

Twitter: @splash_org

Splash is a field-leading WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) organization focused on urban environments and, specifically, the poorest children within them. Splash works with the public, private and social sectors in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Thailand to create lasting and local safe water solutions for orphanages, schools, clinics and shelters.

Eric Stowe

Eric Stowe

Stowe’s bio:

Twitter: @ericstowe

Eric Stowe is Founder & Executive Director of Splash. He has worked in the international NGO sector for the last 15 years and is much-watched for his leadership in international development, transparency practices, and business-approaches to solving conditions of poverty.

Girls Education In India To Provide Test Case For Innovative Financing

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

The world’s first-ever Development Impact Bond has been issued to support education of girls in India. This proof of concept financing could open a new channel of funding for the international development programs.

Modeled on social impact bonds or pay-for-success programs, the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation will earn its return only if educational outcomes in terms of literacy and numeracy among girls are achieved.

Phyllis Costanza, CEO of UBS Optimus Foundation, explains, “Our aim is to establish a proof of concept’, showing potential donors and investors how development impact bonds can contribute to societal gains while also still offering financial returns.”

“What’s different about the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond is that is 100% focused on the outcomes achieved,” she adds. “It’s not just about getting marginalised girls into school; it’s about keeping them there – and ensuring they make real progress in literacy and numeracy.”

“Investors are increasingly looking for ways to do good with their money and the development community is placing a greater emphasis on results: the Development Impact Bond sits at the nexus of these two trends. If this experiment works, then future impact bonds could go on to create investable solutions for the underserved and those at the bottom of the pyramid,” Costanza concludes.

On Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Costanza will join me for a live discussion about this innovative new financing mechanism for international development. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about UBS Optimus Foundation:

UBS Optimus Foundation’s vision is simple: a world where all children reach their full potential. To make this a reality, the UBS Optimus Foundation focuses on high-impact, innovative programs that help ensure children are safe, healthy, educated and ready for their futures. The Foundation can increase the reach of donations substantially by leveraging through its global network. And 100% of all donations go to the programs, because UBS covers all the Foundation’s administration costs.

Costanza’s bio:

Phyllis Costanza was appointed CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation in 2011. Optimus is UBS’ in-house Foundation dedicated to helping our clients fund impactful philanthropic programs that improve children’s lives globally. She has been instrumental in reshaping the foundation’s strategy and introducing innovative financing vehicles, like the first Development Impact Bond. Prior to UBS, she was a senior executive and Board Member of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a UK-based philanthropic organization, linked to the hedge fund TCI. Phyllis also has more than a decade of experience as a management consultant, and also worked in the public sector as the Manhattan Representative for New York State Governor Mario Cuomo, advising on policy and politics in Manhattan. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Wealthy Utah Businessman Hires Ex-Convicts To Lead Nonprofit; It’s Not What You Think!

In the heart of one of the country’s most conservative small towns, just a few miles from the notoriously dry Brigham Young University, ensconced in the safety of a gated community, our host for the evening introduced us to the four felons he’d chosen to run his new nonprofit, The Other Side Academy.

Sitting in the living room of Joseph Grenny’s 10,000 square-foot home with fifty other guests, I struggled to grasp the full message I was being presented. I kept tripping over the irony of the wealthy benefactor who had so successfully protected himself from ever having to think about—let alone fear—a criminal choosing to enter their world in hopes of redeeming them.

Having learned of Mimi Silbert’s Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, Grenny, the bestselling author, who has studied and written about influencers like Silbert, decided Utah needed something like Delancey Street.

The managing director of The Other Side Academy, which will be closely modeled on Delancey Street’s proven approach, is being built with an overarching goal: scale. Grenny, and his partner, Tim Stay, not only hope to create a successful program in Utah, but to roll it out nationwide—and then internationally.

The Other Side Academy Team: Dave Durocher,  Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson.

The Other Side Academy Team: Dave Durocher, Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson.

The pair have chosen David Durocher to serve as the managing director for the Utah Center. He’s the perfect choice. Before spending eight years at Delancey Street in Los Angeles, he spent 15 years in prison over four stays with very brief stints on the outside, once lasting only 59 days. His first arrest came at age 13. His last five years at Delancey Street he served as the managing director for a facility with 250 people.

The Delancey Street model has been proven successful over thirty-plus years. The system requires that those who choose to come and stay work hard, typically at low-skilled jobs that teach them how to become constructive members of society. Most participants never have been before. Delancey Street operates several small businesses run by rehabilitated ex-convicts, addicts and others who’ve hit bottom and are willing to do the hard work required to prepare themselves to lead productive lives.

Durocher will be joined by Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson, also alumni of the Delancey Street program.

The Delancey Street program is described on the website as follows:

There is no official staff at Delancey Street. Everyone who comes in works his or her way up into some sort of position in which he/she is learning a new job from the person over them who has held that job before, and teaching the job he/she has now to the newer resident. In this way, everyone at Delancey Street is pulling together toward the same goals. No one is simply a receiver; everyone is a giver as well.

The potential harmony of the Utah Mormon leaders, Grenny and Stay, playing with the ex-cons from Southern California rings with potential. The proven business acumen combined with the necessary track record of the operational directors leads one to conclude that it is possible to relatively quickly scale up a facility in Utah and then grow the model nationally.

21 Top Podcast Episodes for Global Thinkers

Reprinted with permission from Jaclyn Schiff

I’m a podcast nut! I love discovering new shows, and listening to podcasts is definitely one of my favorite ways to learn.

Podcasts are a great research tool as well. When I was looking for speaker inspiration for the online forum I’m producing, The Huddle for Global Change, I relied heavily on my podcast library to help me think of people who expressed themselves really well and had fascinating things to share.

Friends often ask me for podcast recommendations. So I consulted my trusty iPhone and put together some of my favorite episodes for all you global citizens. Here they are in no particular order:

(1) CBC News excerpts 50 hours of conversation with the late Nelson Mandela. The interviews were mostly recorded in the early 90s just after Mandela’s release from prison. → Why listen? Very candid thoughts and insights from the iconic leader.

(2) On Global Dispatches, Georgetown University’s C. Christine Fair discusses her career path. After starting out in the sciences, life events led her to study South Asia. → Why listen? Lots of take aways from the twists and turns on her professional path. Also, brutal honest about sexual harassment in academia.

(3) On The School of Greatness, Adam Braun explains the why, how and what of the Pencils of Promise, the “for-purpose” organization he founded in his early 20s. → Why listen? Get inspired and learn from a remarkable global changemaker.

(4) Author Nina Munk chats with Tiny Spark about the six years she spent reporting on economist Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages Project. → Why listen? Just because one has a good plan to end extreme poverty and $100 million+ to execute it doesn’t mean it will work.

(5) Water for People CEO Ned Breslin interviews Cameron Conaway, a former mixed martial arts fighter who published a book of poetry about malaria. → Why listen? Amazing lessons on social entrepreneurship and advocacy from a seemingly unlikely source.

(6) The Freakonomics podcast interviews Bjørn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center in “Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition.” → Why listen? A clear, informative overview of international development economics and contemporary perspectives.

(7) Back in 2012, This American Life looked at what it is like to be an American living in China. → Why listen? Apparently as a foreigner in China, you have a pretty good shot of getting on Chinese television.

(8) If you’ve noticed an over-abundance of white males in the news media, you’re not alone. On The Weekly Wonk, journalist Lauren Bohn tells Anne-Marie Slaughter how she plans to interrupt that pattern. → Why listen? Learn why it’s a problem that there aren’t more voices in the foreign policy discussion and how that can be changed.

(9) Just before he stepped down as head of USAID earlier this year, Raj Shah looked back on his tenure with the Center for Global Development. → Why listen? Some interesting thoughts from Shah on what’s needed in development and what works.

(10) Canadian astronaut and YouTube personality Chris Hadfield shares lessons from his time in space on Fresh Air. → Why listen? Space and science are cool, and so is Hadfield.

(11) Tiny Spark examines ethical questions in international aid and development through an interview with journalist Emily Troutman. → Why listen? The work might sound noble, but it certainly doesn’t make international development immune from scandal and corruption.

(12) Tom Paulson speaks with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi who won the Nobel prize for her role in the discovery of HIV. → Why listen? Hear first-hand from a scientist-activist who has been at the forefront of the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Also Barré-Sinoussi discusses why she believes an HIV cure is possible.

(13) Bill Gates and some other higher-ups from the Gates Foundation were interviewed on the Nerdist Podcast. → Why listen? Kinda interesting to hear Gates and the other Foundation folks on a less formal media channel.

(14) Canadaland devotes an episode to the story behind the rise of news organization VICE. Through several interviews with early VICE employees, journalist Jesse Brown explores how a Canadian magazine became a cutting-edge global news source. → Why listen? This is essential listening if you love VICE or are a global news junkie.

(15) In an episode of On Being, titled, “Journalism and Compassion,” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reflects on his career so far. → Why listen? Kristof is frank about his insights from life as a foreign correspondent and the role of journalism in raising awareness.

(16) Ever thought about working for the United Nations? Slate’s Working podcast got the ins and outs of working for the multinational body from Tony Banbury, the assistant secretary-general for field support. → Why listen? Interviewer Adam Davidson asks great nuts-and-bolts questions.

(17) Jessica Tuchman Mathews, the longtime head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is interviewed on Global Dispatches. → Why listen? It’s interesting to hear how coming from a famous family shaped Mathews’ worldview.

(18) Humanosphere speaks with global poverty pundit Charles Kenny who argues that the world is “getting better” according to several development measures. → Why listen? Kenny is one of those rare wonks who is easy to understand and fun to listen to.

(19) Devin Thorpe, a Forbes contributor who covers social entrepreneurship and impact investing, interviews Nancy Hughes, the founder of StoveTeam International. → Why listen? Hear how a trip to Guatemala changed Hughes’ life and learn about the critical need for clean cookstoves.

(20) For a recent weekly show, This Week in Global Health (TWiGH) held a Google+ Hangout with Hans Rosling, the Swedish medical doctor and statistician who is familiar to many thanks to his hit TED talk. → Why listen? Rosling has a knack for making development stats riveting. Greg Martin and the rest of the TWiGH team are a lot of fun too.

(21) Owen Barder hosts a fascinating discussion about what data means for international development on his podcast Development Drums. → Why listen? Thorough and well-informed thoughts from two women on the cutting edge — Claire Melamed, director of the Growth, Poverty and Inequality Programme at ODI, and Amanda Glassman, director of global at the Center for Global Development.

Jaclyn Schiff is the producer of The Huddle for Global Change, a multi-day online forum for changemakers seeking a fulfilling and impactful career in the international arena. Several podcast hosts and guests from this list are participating in The Huddle.

Original Article: https://medium.com/for-the-love-of-podcast/21-podcast-episode-recommendations-for-global-thinkers-7fd363e1aef0

‘Purpose Creates Movements And Builds Tribes,’ Author Says

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

My friend and mentor, Ty Bennett is nearly two decades younger than I, but infinitely wiser. He, along with Hall of Fame speaker Chad Hymas and New York Times bestselling author Don Yeager, recently announced the publication of their book, The Two Most Important Days, a parable about finding and living your purpose in life.

While the book targets a broad audience, it will resonate with social entrepreneurs as especially relevant.

“The main idea,” Bennett says, “is to discover what your purpose truly is. When you are driven by passion and living your purpose, your work becomes contagious.”

He adds, “I think for entrepreneurs and changemakers it is important to understand that people don’t buy what you do, they buy what you stand for. Purpose creates movements and builds tribes.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Bennett will join me for a live discussion about finding and living your purpose. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Ty Bennett

Ty Bennett

More about Ty Bennett:

Twitter: @Tybennett

When Ty was 21 years old, he and his brother Scott started a business in direct sales, which they built to over $20 million in annual revenue while still in their twenties. Since that time, he has developed over 500 sales managers globally with sales and leadership in 37 countries. As a young entrepreneur, Ty continues to engage his team’s focus to grow sales. He uses the power of influence and storytelling to get buy-in to the vision of growing their multimillion-dollar sales organization.

With a natural ability to engage and empower others, Ty draws on his experience in the trenches to share real and tangible techniques about the principles of leadership that continue to create his success. The founder of Leadership Inc., who has been featured as one of the Top 40 Under 40, Ty is a young fresh voice providing interactive presentations that are engaging, dynamic and inspiring.

His clients include some of the most recognizable brands in the world such as: Coca-Cola, Subway, Wounded Warrior Project, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Remax. Ty has shared the stage with celebrities, Olympians and world-renowned thought leaders such as President Bush and President Clinton.

Ty’s best-selling books – The Power of Influence and The Power of Storytelling: The Art of Influential Communication – are used in graduate courses at multiple universities including MIT, as today’s version of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

June 2014, Ty Bennett received the CSP Designation. At just 32 years of age he is one of the youngest ever to receive the award in the shortest amount of time. Less than 5% of speakers earn the CSP honor.

Ty lives in Utah with his wife Sarah, daughters Andie and Lizzy and sons Tanner and Drew.

Microsoft Welcomes Windows 10 With $10 Million Gift To Charity

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

[Note: I own an embarrassingly small number of Microsoft shares.]

Today, Microsoft is kicking off its launch of Windows 10 with a $10 million give-back campaign. Nine nonprofits have already been chosen to receive a portion of the $10 million and a tenth will be chosen by people using the hashtag #UpgradeYourWorld on social media.

“Giving back and supporting non-profits is a cornerstone of our company culture. Microsoft and its employees collectively give thousands of hours, and donate more than $1 billion each year to nonprofit organizations around the world,” Elisa Willman, Senior Manager Marketing Communications, Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs for Microsoft, said.

“Microsoft is proud to work with more than 86,000 nonprofits around the world every year to provide them with affordable access to the technology they need to support their work in local communities, and to leverage technology to help them be more efficient, effective and innovative in doing their important work. Whether it is through our software donations, technology solutions for nonprofit problems, or Office 365 Nonprofit, we strive to help nonprofits do more good,” she added.

Dave Forstrom, Director of Communications, Windows, said, “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Willman and Forstrom will join me for a live discussion about the $10 million #UpgradeYourWorld give back program. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Microsoft:

Twitter: @Microsoft, @Windows, @msftcitizenship

Microsoft is a services and devices company with the goal to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. We aim to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud platform and create more personal computing.

elisa-willman

Elisa Willman

Willman’s bio:

Twitter: @ElisaMWill

Elisa Willman has spent her career at the intersection of philanthropy, marketing and business. Currently Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Microsoft’s Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs team, she leads global campaigns for the company. Prior to Microsoft, Elisa worked as Executive Director of a high profile children’s charity in New Zealand and as a cause marketing consultant. She has extensive experience in sponsorship and partnerships and enjoys applying her background to cause strategy at Microsoft. When not at work, Elisa is passionate about travel, family adventures and her role as a mentor through the Global Give Back Circle.

Forstrom’s bio:

Dave currently holds the position, Director, Windows and has been with Microsoft for more than seven years where he focuses on “reimagining Windows” in our constantly changing technological world.

 

Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur Deploys Her Invention In Nepal Relief Effort

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Tricia Compas-Markman, an award-winning social entrepreneur, was among those who responded personally to the devastating April earthquake in Nepal.

She reports, “The first day arriving in Kathmandu was a real eye-opener. There was complete devastation everywhere we went with buildings, temples and squares reduced to nothing but rubble.”

She notes that she experienced hope, too, in those early days, “As we walked through Durbar Square, I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the people there. Among the rubble and temporary tent-homes, women and men had setup shops to sell their goods and wares. The locals were taking ownership and adapting to their current circumstances, and we worked within their communities, not only to train them on DayOne’s Waterbag technology, but also to learn of their needs and priorities. We deployed over 2,500 Waterbags to Nepal – enough for 10,000 people.”

Compas-Markman is the inventor of the Waterbag and creator of DayOne Response, the organization that delivers it when and where needed.

She explains, “I was committed to finding a solution to bring clean water to those affected by disaster in a way that was efficient and portable – an all-in-one device. With the help of P&G’s Purifier of Water powder, we’re able to provide, clean, easily transportable and dispensable water in 10-liter units. It’s amazing to witness how just 20,000 units can affect 100,000 people, and through the grant we received from Toyota, we’re improving emergency response efforts to provide water for hundreds of millions of people around the world.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Compas-Markman will join me for a live discussion about her work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about DayOne Response:

Twitter: @DayOneResponse

DayOne Response Inc. develops innovative solutions for disaster relief, including patented & award-winning DayOne Purification Waterbag™ — providing complete household water purification by combining the four elements of municipal water purification (collection, treatment, transport and storage) in a 10L backpack. DayOne increases the effectiveness of relief organizations ultimately improving and maintaining quality of life. They value prompt recovery, embrace new technologies, and take pride in saving lives.

tricia-compas-markman-courtesy-of-DayOne-Response-1455x1940

Tricia Compas-Markman, courtesy of DayOne Response

Compas-Markman’s bio:

Tricia Compas-Markman is founder and chief executive officer of DayOne Response, Inc. Tricia has a civil engineering background with six years’ experience working on water treatment technologies for developing countries, such as Thailand, Nicaragua, and Haiti. As co-inventor of the DayOne Waterbag, her work has been recognized by President Clinton, Tina Brown and Toyota, to name a few. She is a Toyota “Mother of Invention,” Unreasonable Institute fellow, Creativity Foundation legacy prize winner, 2013 Engineers Without Borders Outstanding member, and a Pipeline Fellow investee. Tricia received her BS in Civil Engineering and MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

To Cure A Problem, ‘Harness Market Forces,’ Impact Investor Says

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“For the vast majority of my career I have been both a capitalist and a philanthropist, and I’ve struggled at both. I struggled to make my change meaningful, and struggled at making meaningful change,” Bobby Turner told me in preparation for this piece. His response: create one of the largest firms in the impact investing space.

He founded Turner Impact Capital just 18 months ago to acquire and operate affordable residential housing projects and fund construction of charter schools in high-need communities.

“Our investment strategy is based on recognizing that making money making and making positive societal change need not be mutually exclusive,” He adds. “In fact, it’s the interdependency between profits and purpose that enable us to drive significant risk-adjusted returns with very little correlation to the broader market indices.”

“We have one mission: to create sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems by developing and investing in community-enriching real estate in densely-populated, underserved communities. We are trying to tackle some of society’s most daunting challenges— not through government or philanthropy, but by using market forces to create sustainable solutions,” he continues.

Turner has a genuine passion for using capitalism for good. He explains it this way, “If one wants to treat a problem in society, then government and philanthropy are fine. If one wants to cure, really cure a problem then one needs to harness market forces to create a sustainable solution. And that means making money for investors.”

On Thursday, July 30, 2015 at noon Eastern, Turner will join me here for a live discussion about the work he’s doing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Turner Impact Capital:

Twitter: @turnerimpact

One of the nation’s largest social impact investment firms, Turner Impact Capital is on course to surpass $1.5 billion in investment potential to create sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems. Based in Los Angeles, the firm helps to address some of the country’s most pervasive social issues by developing and investing in community-enriching real estate in densely-populated, underserved communities, and seeks to generate superior risk-adjusted financial returns by investing in markets with large existing supply/demand mismatches of relevant community infrastructure (i.e. workforce housing, public schools and preventative care facilities) and a lack of institutional capital. The firm seeks “profits with a purpose,” recognizing the interdependence between the two and the central role that improving property and the lives of people can play in achieving strong returns. The Turner Impact Capital leadership team has over 100 years of relevant experience in facilitating more than $6 billion of socially impactful and environmentally responsible real estate investments over the past two decades.

Turner’s bio:

Bobby Turner is the CEO of Turner Impact Capital, a real estate investment management firm based in Los Angeles and focused on creating sustainable solutions for many of today’s societal problems through the development of impactful infrastructure. The firm is on course to surpass $1.5 billion in investment potential, making it one of the national’s largest social impact firms.

Over the past two decades, Mr. Turner has established himself as a pioneer in the area of social impact investing. As former Chairman, CEO and Co-Founding Partner of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC, he oversaw a commercial real estate and mortgage asset portfolio totaling over $12 billion, and was responsible for launching several groundbreaking funds facilitating more than $6 billion in real estate investments that have helped define the “triple bottom line” investment movement.

Mr. Turner is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (B.S., Finance) where he serves on the University’s Undergraduate Executive Board of Advisors and where he has endowed a number of initiatives focused on social impact and triple bottom line investing. Today, these programs have grown to include student, faculty and institutional programs in such areas as social impact management and business ethics, financial scholarships for minority students and the creation of the Turner Social Impact Society and the Lauren and Bobby Turner Executive Speaker Series for Social Impact.

Mr. Turner is involved in many civic ventures, having served on the advisory boards of the Virginia Avenue Project, the Pacific Charter School Development Corporation, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (“ICIC”) and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. He has also been an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

In Zambia, Men Say AIDS Can Be Cured By Having Sex With A Virgin, Girls Cry ‘Value My Virginity’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

My holiday weekend (Utah celebrates Pioneer Day today) was interrupted by a tragic yet hopeful message. One of the past guests for my show, Nissan Bahar, sent me a video his team recorded haphazardly of a group of young girls in Zambia poetically begging for society to value their virginity.

In Zambia, Bahar says, men commonly believe—or at least claim to believe—that having sex with a virgin will cure their AIDS.

Nine-year-old Sylvia Mulenga wrote a lengthy poem about attitudes her society holds for young girls. She and six of her friends recited the poem from memory for a performance before 700 schoolmates and teachers. Without the benefit of an auditorium, forget having a PA system or stage in Kalulushi, the quality of the video can be forgiven. Focus on the message. Click the “cc” button for subtitles if you don’t see them.

Mulenga wrote the poem during a poetry workshop that her school, along with nine others in Zambia participated in with ten schools in the U.K. using Keepod technology. A final piece of the workshop was a performance of a Shakespearean play via skype for the UK partner school, according to Bahar.

The poem and the strength with which it is delivered can only be described as Malalaesque.

Bahar describes the event where the poem was performed, “At the last day of the Keepod project, the kids did for us a very exciting goodbye ceremony/party. The situation is practically 3-4 people from the project team on one side (behind the camera) and the entire school in front. They started a 30 min ceremony of songs and speeches. Then these girls came to the centre and blew our mind.”

The power of the message is evident. As the recording begins, laughing, joking and giggling can be heard in the background, almost overwhelming the recording. Nearly halfway into the video, the girls powerfully insist, “Please society, my virginity has nothing to do with either your work or your health! Defile a virgin like me is a man’s misconception and a shame to society.” The audience is virtually silent for the balance of the five minute performance until it erupts in applause of approval.

According to Bahar, the girls attend the Mitobo Girls’ School in a semi-rural, low income neighborhood. “woman empowerment is a getting strong attention,” he says.

The school is working to raise money to buy 700 Keepods from Bahar’s social venture, one for each student. The Keepods are small thumb drives with an operating system that allows them to run a small computer connected to the internet. By removing the drives from old netbooks, Bahar affordably gives each child in the school her own computer. You can learn more about the campaign here.

For less than $14,000, Keepod will connect the school to the Internet, provide every student with a keepod and every classroom with a computer, including doing the implementation. The potential of these girls to change the world with their technology is readily apparent in the video.

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