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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.

Unicorn Launches Anti-Cancer Campaign With $1M Gift

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Qualtrics, a 2002 startup that since raised a total of $220 million in venture capital in 2012 and 2014 and considered by many to be a unicorn, recently made a $1 million donation to the Huntsman HUN -3.80% Cancer Institute.

While Qualtrics isn’t a social venture, it is interesting to see such an entrepreneurial company embrace corporate social responsibility so enthusiastically.

CEO and cofounder, Ryan Smith, says, “Everyone has been impacted by cancer in one way or another – whether they have fought it or they have a friend or loved one who is fighting. Our goal is to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth. We are honored to partner with Huntsman Cancer Institute to raise funds for cancer research — research that is changing the way cancer is treated, diagnosed, and fought.”

The company didn’t stop with its $1 million donation; that is just the beginning, Smith explains.

Qualtrics and Huntsman Cancer Institute partnered to launch Five for the Fight, a campaign inviting everyone, everywhere to give $5 to the fight against cancer and then to invite five of their friends to do the same. People write on their hand the name of someone who has fought cancer and pledge their $5 to the fight in honor of that person. They then post a photo or video to social media using the hashtag #fiveforthefight, tagging the five friends they are challenging to join the fight against cancer. They then head to to donate.

Smith added that the donation was presented to Huntsman at the annual Insight Summit in Salt Lake City last week, where Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Mario Capecchi joined Smith on stage to present the check to Peter Huntsman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Smith is serious, it seems, about curing cancer. “When cancer is eradicated, the world will be a very different place. When we look around and see how many children have lost a parent to cancer, or parents who have lost a child to this dread disease or people who have lost a spouse … the list goes on and on. With so many people fighting cancer and so many more impacted by it, we are eager to help in any way we can to support the amazing research being done to fight cancer and to find a cure for it,” he concludes.

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Smith will join me here for a live discussion about Qualtrics’ #fiveforthefight CSR campaign. 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 Qualtrics:

Twitter: @qualtrics

Qualtrics is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service company and the provider of the world’s leading enterprise survey platform. More than 8,500 enterprises worldwide, including half of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 business schools rely on Qualtrics technology. Our solutions make it fast and easy to capture customer, employee, and market insights in one place. These insights help our clients make informed, data-driven business decisions. Global enterprises, academic institutions, and government agencies use Qualtrics to collect, analyze, and act on voice of the customer, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, 360-degree reviews, brand, market, product concept, and employee feedback. To learn more, and for a free account, please visit

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Ryan Smith, courtesy of Qualtrics

Smith’s bio:

Twitter: @ryanqualtrics

Ryan Smith co-founded Qualtrics in 2002 with the goal of making sophisticated research simple. As CEO, he has grown the company from a basement startup to one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Qualtrics has more than 8,500 enterprise customers including half of the Fortune 100, 1,600 colleges and universities worldwide, and 99 of the top 100 business schools. In 2012, Qualtrics received a $70 million investment from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, the largest-ever joint investment by these two firms. Additional funding was secured in 2014 to support the company’s continued product innovation and rapid international expansion. Insight Venture Partners led this $150 million round of new investment, with significant participation from original investors, Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Ryan was named one of Forbes’ “America’s Most Promising CEOs Under 35” for 2013, is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, TechCrunch and USA Today. He has also appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and FOX Business. Ryan is sought after for his business acumen and as such is a frequent guest lecturer at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Dr. Dean Ornish Partners With HealthWays To Expand Impact

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Dr. Dean Ornish, a social entrepreneur at heart, has spent his entire career working improve health through lifestyle changes. Now, he’s partnered with Healthways to implement a program to reverse heart disease without surgery or medication. This radical approach to cardiac treatment is proving the value of collaboration for social entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ornish, who is a familiar name and face in the media, highlights some of the problems with the American health care system. He notes:

  • Most of the $3.0 trillion spent annually on health care in the U.S. is spent on sick care
  • A shocking 25 percent of the adult population, 60 million people, are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs

“My colleagues and I have partnered with Healthways to help create a new paradigm of real health care by addressing the personal lifestyle choices we make that are often an underlying cause of many chronic diseases,” Dr. Ornish notes.

Bob Porter, the Managing Director for the new Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversal of Cardiac Disease at Healthways, commented specifically on heart disease, “Chronic disease, and specifically cardiac disease, is a growing clinical and financial crisis in the US and other parts of the world.”

Porter adds, “Through decades of rigorous research, Dr. Dean Ornish has proven that adoption of a healthy lifestyle rooted in four, integrated elements – diet, exercise, stress management, and love and support – can not only prevent the onset of chronic disease but actually reverse the progression of disease process.”

Porter notes that the collaboration between Healthways and Dr. Ornish is spreading the approach across the country to implement the program. This will allow people to “transform their health status and quality of life by reversing their disease.”

Porter points out the bottom line impact of this approach. “There is a direct and dramatic impact on health care costs by averting in many cases the need for medicine, surgery, and other expensive interventions used to treat the effects of chronic disease.”

Dr. Ornish’s program is designed to create lasting change, Porter explains. “The delivery model for the program is unique in that cohorts of 10-15, together, go through 18 four hour experiential sessions during which they “live” the Ornish Reversal Program guidelines. This approach has proven to be highly effective in creating sustained behavior change so that this is more than a program that stops and starts. It is the first stage of a permanent change to a new and healthier lifestyle.”

Ornish explains his vision for what he calls “lifestyle medicine.”

We are empowering millions of people with information and support that help them transform suffering into healing—including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and early-stage prostate cancer—and helps turn on protective genes and turn off ones that promote prostate, breast & colon cancer. Lengthens telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control aging—reversing aging at a cellular level. Lifestyle medicine.

Porter concludes, “Most importantly, this program has proven to transform the quality of health, and life, for the individuals who participate in the program and for their loved ones. Over and over again we are inspired by the stories of program “alumni” who express their gratitude for having been given a second chance at life.”

On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Porter and Dr. Ornish will join me here for a live discussion about this partnership and its potential to impact the lives of people suffering from at at risk of heart disease. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about the Preventive Medicine Research Institute:

Twitter: @DeanOrnishMD

Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He is also a LinkedIn Influencer.

For over 35 years, Dr. Ornish directed research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. Recently, Medicare began covering his program, the first time that Medicare has covered a program of comprehensive lifestyle changes. He directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. His current research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease, as well as increasing telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes which control aging (in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009).

Dr. Dean Ornish, courtesy of Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Dr. Dean Ornish, courtesy of Preventive Medicine Research Institute

He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers, including: Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease; Eat More, Weigh Less; Love & Survival; and The Spectrum.

He has written a monthly column for Newsweek and Reader’s Digest magazines and is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post (45 million unique readers/month).

Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and he was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. He is a member of the boards of directors of the SF Food Bank and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He established an integrative medicine clinic in the Saint Vincent de Paul homeless shelter in SF which will be replicated throughout the country. Dr. Ornish chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-2009.

More about Healthways:

Twitter: @healthways

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at

Bob Porter, courtesy of Healthways

Bob Porter, courtesy of Healthways

Porter’s bio:

Robert (Bob) Porter joined Healthways early in 2013 after a long and distinguished career in health system leadership, predominantly with SSM Health Care. While with SSM, Bob served in a variety of roles including hospital Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer for a 550 bed hospital in suburban St. Louis. In 2002 he moved to leadership roles with SSM’s St. Louis based regional network, serving first as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development and ultimately as President of the 6 hospital, 280 physician network.

Bob’s career has been characterized by a deep commitment to exceptional performance through engagement of staff, physicians and community members in designing innovative solutions centered on the patient experience. He led the development of a “hospital of the future” project for SSM and the resulting facility which opened in 2009 has been widely recognized for its innovative design and impact on performance. He most recently led the ACO development effort for SSM St. Louis, pioneering the design of an integrated platform prepared to navigate the journey from traditional payment to assumption of increasing levels of financial risk. His transition to Healthways was driven by his desire to continue to work toward the badly needed transformation of the US health care system, improving care and reducing cost by focusing on improving well-being.

A frequent speaker and author on a variety of leadership topics in and out of health care, Bob has been an influential player in the movement toward population health management. He holds an MBA and JD from Stanford University, and his proudest achievement is having had the status of “lay affiliate” bestowed on him by the community of the Daughters of Charity in recognition of his work in Catholic health care and in the broader social ministry of that Vincentian order.

At Healthways, Bob leads the growth, development and operation of the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversal of Cardiac Disease following acquisition of Dr. Ornish’ intellectual property by Healthways. Responsible for all aspects of leading this start-up business line including defining and executing sales and market strategy, building the organization structure and team, managing operational performance to achieve customer focused, reliable performance.

Generation Ubuntu’s Critical Impact

This is a guest post from Julia Lindau, news producer and volunteers for Generation Ubuntu.

There’s a fair chance you know someone in the US living with HIV. More than a million Americans are positive. But you may not be aware your friend, neighbor or colleague has the virus, because medicines like ARVs are widely available and easily accessible in the US, and they allow people with HIV here to live long, healthy lives.

In South Africa it’s a different story. There are more people living with HIV/AIDS there — almost 7 million — than in any other country. Many of them do not have access to the crucial lifesaving drugs that make the disease manageable. That’s especially true for disadvantaged children: orphans, kids whose parents are living with HIV, and children living in poverty.

This is where Generation Ubuntu comes in. The organization improves the health and well-being of children and teens living with HIV in South Africa through a comprehensive care model of health and nutrition, psycho-social support, HIV and life skills education, and community engagement. At Generation Ubuntu, HIV is no longer a death sentence; it is a manageable condition. We enable children to live full, successful and meaningful lives.

Whitney Johnson started the organization a decade ago. She studied abroad in Cape Town and saw a critical gap in HIV services for young people in the city’s townships (slums). No one was helping them; they had nowhere to go to help themselves; and to exacerbate their dire situation, their community often excluded them. Whitney returned to the US to finish studying, but went back to South Africa as soon as she graduated to serve the children who desperately needed someone to champion their cause.

I was Generation Ubuntu’s first fellow in 2009. When I arrived, we served 30 children in the back of a crumbling church with weeds growing through the floorboards. Even with limited resources, I witnessed Generation Ubuntu’s incredible power. Yes, its social workers and caregivers go out into the community to make sure they are reaching the most vulnerable children. Yes, its health and education professionals ensure the kids take life-saving drugs. Yes, the cooks serve a full, nutritious meal to children who may not otherwise eat all day. But what I witnessed at Generation Ubuntu was more profound than that. It gives young people living with HIV a safe, supportive community, and it shifts their mindset from “I’m doomed to live a short, unhappy and sickly life” to “I can do absolutely anything I want because I am strong, smart, and healthy”. Through love, Generation Ubuntu transforms kids. They start believing in and loving themselves.

Today, Generation Ubuntu helps more than 200 kids and teenagers a year. It’s still doing the same incredible work, just in a nicer building with a few more resources. And the impact is clear. Every single child who has regularly attended the program is not only living, but healthy and thriving.

That’s why I’m back, helping the organization 6 years later. I have been involved with non-profits for almost a decade, but none impacts the community it serves like Generation Ubuntu. Saving lives and spreading love — it’s what “Ubuntu” is all about.

Julia A Lindau with Generation Ubuntu child in South Africa OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Julia A Lindau with Generation Ubuntu child in South Africa

About Julia Lindau:

Julia Lindau is a news producer and volunteers for Generation Ubuntu.


Renowned Speaker Offers Tips To Women Entrepreneurs

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

As member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame and a a Certified Speaking Professional, Pegine Echevarria is at the top of her game and the top of her industry. Her multi-million business, Team Pegine, contracts with both the world’s largest companies and governments. Pegine has provided me with some tips to help Latinas and other women succeed as entrepreneurs.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Pegine and later heard her speak. She isn’t ordinary. She isn’t average. She isn’t boring. She is, in her own words, “Feisty, Fearless, Focused, Fun.”

As the head of a multi-million dollar business and with such an track record as a speaker, I asked her for some insights for women who, like her, are running their own businesses or hoping to.

Here are the three tips she gave me:

  1. Exude confidence and credibility everywhere you go. You have 30 seconds to influence others. In business you must exude confidence and believe in yourself to buyers, investors, supporters and advisors. Act “as if.” Know that if you waver people will pick up on it immediately. Practice standing tall, speaking with a smile, asking questions. Always have five questions ready to ask anyone to engage them, assess them, and to be prepared to ask them for introductions, help or advice. Beware of relying on your woman owned status; to gain deals, you need more than that. Your confidence, credibility and competency to deliver is what closes deals.
  2. Be in control of you time and money. Have financial partners come to you. Know your banker, your accountant and your advisers. Know what different financial partners can offer you. Hold financial speed dating days. Invite 5 banks to pitch their services to you. Give them an idea of your business beforehand, inform them they will have 20 minutes and make sure they know that four other banks are coming that day. Have a panel of your advisers. Each should have questions that are important for you to know. Think Shark Tank for bankers/accountants/planners and you are the sharks. You might stay with your old bank or find a new one. Remember this is your business.
  3. Stay steady. Be focused on your company’s vision and mission. You direct your business and your career. The bottom line is that you are the driver and the determinator. You are the one who must take the big risks and be confident that you will thrive. It might take longer than you think, be harder than you think, however you have to think and believe that you can do it, you will do it and no one is going to stop you from doing it. Know people will advise you what to do. However, late at night when things go south (which happens), what happens will be 100 percent up to you. Just own that and be proud that you can do this.

Fortunately, there is more. On Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 2:00 Eastern, Echevarria will join me for a live discussion about these tips and more. 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 Team Pegine:

Twitter: @PegineMotivateU

Team Pegine, Inc. is an award-winning leadership development, training and marketing firm that educates leaders in a diverse world through extraordinary interactive experiences. Team Pegine works with corporations and government as well as military and corporate leaders to engage, train, develop and market, both internally and externally, to women and multicultural leaders.

Pegine Echevarria, courtesy of Team Pegine

Pegine Echevarria, courtesy of Team Pegine

Echevarria’s bio:

Pegine is one of only 8 women and the only Latina inducted into the 58 member Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame (Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield are also inducted). Named 1 of the 100 Global Thought Leaders on Diversity and Inclusion by SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management). is a leadership, inclusion success expert. Using interactive experiences both in her speeches and large scale live situational exercises, Pegine creates memorable lessons providing leaders techniques that they can use during high stress, high value moments, gaining influence and confidence in a diverse world. Her company,, was named North Florida’s #3 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Company. She is a Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Champion of the Year. Hired by Fortune 500, government and the military, Pegine offers clients fresh ideas to leaders to engage diverse markets to help them achieve their goals, presenting her ideas vividly with unusual stories and metaphors, captivating listeners. Politicians, executive leaders, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executive hire her coaching service that include role players and live situational exercises to increase their effectiveness, charisma and confidence communicating in a diverse world. Companies use Team Pegine to engage and nurture diverse leaders. Pegine is one of fewer than 700 speakers worldwide to earn the designation of Certified Professional Speaker® less than 1% of professional speakers worldwide hold the designation. The DoD awarded her company the rarely given CPAR rating of excellence for contracts over one million dollars. Pegine thrives on big ideas and big productions. She designed, led and implemented a live simulation leadership cultural negotiation training exercise with 50 role players, 12 villages, with over 12,000 officers participating, from all branches of the military and 12 ally countries. Pegine holds an MSW in group and organizational behavior and has authored several books. Her book “Sometimes You Need to Kick Your Own Butt” was a SHRM Best Seller four years in a row. On the cover of Minority Business Entrepreneur as a “Women in Business Who Rocks” she is also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Hispanic Business Magazine.

Warriors Heart Founders Offer Help To Struggling Veterans

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Every day, an average of 22 veterans take their own lives. This tragic reality motivated Josh and Lisa Lannon and Tom Spooner to do something.

They founded Warriors Heart, an addiction treatment center that provides peer-to-peer solutions to help veterans, law enforcement and first responders who struggle with addiction and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Josh Lannon took the time to explain the challenges that veterans face, what Warriors Heart is doing and what he hopes will come of their efforts.

Lannon says the VA isn’t the answer. “While the VA (Veterans Administration) has good people, they can’t keep up with the needs of veterans after 14 years of war.”

The program, Lannon says, is holistic in its approach. “We are looking at the “whole body” versus sending a warrior to multiple doctors because so many are dealing with multiple issues including addiction, PTSD and MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury).”

Lannon notes that the focus of the effort is to help those who have helped us. “Our facility specializes in serving Warriors. These are the men and women who are currently active and veteran members from organizations that protect and serve the citizens of the United States, e.g, Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force , law enforcement, fire, paramedics, first responders, hospital personnel and civilian warriors.”

Warriors heart relies on senior veterans to share their insights with those who are suffering today. “ Warriors Heart is a community of elder warriors, healers and support staff united in the battle of addiction and PTSD. Together, we serve and support our warriors who are still suffering and their loved ones.”

He notes, “Warrior’s Heart currently has warriors answering hotline calls 24×7, and anyone can call for help: 844-448-2567.”

“The Warriors Heart program is covered by most insurance,” Lannon says. “A Foundation has also been created, Operation Warriors Heart Foundation, and people can make donations to support a warrior in need of financial support for the healing program. This 501(c)(3) will help supplement the cost of treatment and assist in placing service dogs for free to those who deserve the extra battle buddy when returning home.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:00 Eastern, Lannon will join me here for a live discussion about the work of Warriors Heart and the effort to help those who have given so much for us. 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 Warriors Heart:

Twitter: @warriorsheart22

Warriors Heart is providing a peer-to peer based solution to help the over 13 million American Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement and First Responders faced with the self-medicating struggles of alcohol addiction, prescription and drug addiction and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). With decades of experience in addiction healing, military service and law enforcement, the 3 Warriors Heart Founders are dedicated to serving warriors. Successful Private Treatment Facility Providers, Josh and Lisa Lannon and former Special Forces Tom Spooner (Green Beret, Delta Force Operator and Mission 22 Co-Founder) are leading the team on this special mission of warriors healing warriors. Warriors Heart has also partnered with Mission 22 (established to raise awareness of the fact that that the US has an average of 22 veteran suicides per day). Warriors Heart Founders’ work has been featured by KENS5 CBS CBS -0.21% News San Antonio, FOX 10 News Phoenix and Addiction Pro magazine.

Josh Lannon, courtesy of Warriors Heart

Josh Lannon, courtesy of Warriors Heart

Lannon’s bio:

Twitter: @JoshLannon

Before going into the behavioral health field, Josh apprenticed with his father in the nightclub industry, eventually running the clubs. Under his leadership, it was common to have nightly door counts up to 1500 patrons. His team led the Las Vegas nightclub to be voted the #1 country nightclub, 5 years in a row. Exciting as the Vegas lifestyle was in his 20s, it took its toll. Facing a divorce and being spiritually broken, Josh checked himself into a rehab center – a decision that would forever change his life. In 2001, Josh dedicated himself to creating a career in sobriety and building businesses that are more socially conscious. He retired from the nightclub industry and, together, Josh and Lisa Lannon launched Journey Healing Centers, a private drug and alcohol treatment center. JHC grew to 6 locations with 100 team members. Then in late 2013, Elements Behavioral Health, a leading nationwide provider, acquired JHC. Josh’s continued passion for building businesses that assists those who are struggling from addiction. This is one of the driving forces behind Warriors Heart.

Former Haitian PM Works For Social Impact In Two Ways

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe recently announced the formation of a foundation named in honor of his father, The Dr. Louis G. Lamothe Foundation. The Foundation will fight social injustice in Haiti and complement the work he is already doing through LSL World Initiative.

“The Dr. Louis G Lamothe Foundation is an organization that aims to carry on my father’s work as a socially responsible activist in the fight for an inclusive and united Haitian society,” Lamothe said. “Decades of poverty, squalor, violence, economic insecurity and dictatorship have ravaged our country. As a result, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with a limited capacity to respond to the effects of political and social instability and natural crises. This Foundation is essential and long overdue as it will focus on providing the Haitian people with opportunities to transform their own country – something my father believed in and fought for.”

Lamothe is also a social entrepreneur and impact investor who leads the LSL World Initiative, which works to arrange innovative financial resources for developing countries around the world. The Foundation will give Lamothe another tool for helping the people of his homeland.

He told me, “I started LSLWI to provide solutions for innovative financing based on my personal experience in the private sector as well as former Prime Minister of Haiti where I had to a do a lot with little, and innovative financing helped a great deal.”

He notes that the success of LSLWI will give “governments the resources to reduce poverty and level the playing field for all their citizens.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 4:00 Eastern, Lamothe will join me for a live discussion about his work in Haiti and around the world, via both the Foundation and LSLWI. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about the LSL World Initiative:

Twitter: @lsl_wi

LSL World Initiative is a global organization dedicated to the socio-economic empowerment of emerging countries, with a proven track record of results that benefit the most vulnerable populations. We help governments attain their sustainable development goals in line with national needs and priorities.

Laurent S. Lamothe, former Prime Minister of Haiti, courtesy of LSL World Initiative

Laurent S. Lamothe, former Prime Minister of Haiti, courtesy of LSL World Initiative

Lamothe’s bio:

Twitter: @laurentlamothe

Former Prime Minister, Republic of Haiti

President and Founder of LSLWI, Laurent S. Lamothe successfully served as Prime Minister of Haiti between May 2012 and December 2014, the longest tenure of any Prime Minister in the last three decades. During his time in office, Lamothe presided over the design and implementation of an important social policy agenda that targeted the poorest sectors of the Haitian population. Lamothe also presided over the largest infrastructure development in recent memory that included schools, bridges, roads, and which are now clearly visible throughout Haiti.

Additionally under Lamothe foreign direct investment increased to the highest level since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in the mid 1980s. Under his leadership Haiti pursued reforms that made Haiti a safer and more business-friendly country including 15-year tax holidays and tax breaks to companies investing in the island nation, and increasing the police force by 30 percent.

Lamothe brought to the office of Prime Minister an entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism that earned him the title of “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young in May 2008. More recently in November 2014, Latin Trade magazine recognized his innovative skills by naming him the year’s Innovative Leader of the Americas. Latin Trade noted that Lamothe “helped establish a paradigm shift for Haiti as a destination for investment, rather than simply for humanitarian aid.”

Having grown up in a country affected by poverty and lack of resources at all levels, this savvy businessman has developed throughout his life a deep sense of social responsibility and a strong tendency to assist those in need. Lamothe is a pragmatist who throughout his role in the public sector emphasized practical solutions over partisan politics to address the urgent needs of Haiti. Lamothe obtained a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Barry University in Miami and in 1996 earned his MBA with honors from University of St. Thomas. In 1998 Lamothe founded Global Voice Group SA (GVG) considered today a world-leading provider of ICT solutions for telecom and fiscal authorities. He served as CEO of GVG until he stepped down to assume his public sector duties with the government of Haiti.

Profile: Successful Entrepreneur Joins Breast Cancer Battle

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Wheels Up is a membership-based private aviation enterprise founded by Kenny Dichter, a successful entrepreneur. Recognizing the suffering that so many families experience due to breast cancer, Dichter is using a clever campaign to bring more money to the cause.

Dichter explains, “As we all know, breast cancer affects one in eight women in America and that unfortunately means it touches all of us. Statistically, we all know someone’s mother, wife, sister, aunt, cousin or friend who will be diagnosed.”

Wheels Up has launched a program around a pink plane from the Wheels Up fleet to serve as the centerpiece of the campaign to raise funds to fight breast cancer. The program is in partnership with Textron Aviation along with the NFL, Avon and Estée Lauder.

The Wheels Up Pink Plane is the first-ever pink Beechcraft King Air 350i. Proceeds benefit the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai in New York City. Photo courtesy of Wheels Up.

The Wheels Up Pink Plane is the first-ever pink Beechcraft King Air 350i. Proceeds benefit the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai in New York City. Photo courtesy of Wheels Up.

“In October 2015, we debuted the first-ever pink Beechcraft King Air 350i as a flying symbol of breast cancer awareness, along with a Fly-A-Thon, our fundraising effort, inviting members and the general public to donate to the cause,” Dichter continued. “The Pink Plane will remain in the Wheels Up fleet indefinitely to continue to raise ‘air-wareness’ all year long among our members, employees, and anyone who sees it; it’s something to see on the tarmac for sure!”

It is notable that Dichter himself appreciates the role of social media in advancing the social cause. “We also sent Wheels Up pink hats and shirts to all of our members and ambassadors and implemented a social media campaign on the Wheels Up Facebook and Instagram pages along with a hashtag to get the word out. So far, J.J. Watt, ESPN GameDay and many of our members have featured the Pink Plane on their social media accounts which helps to spread awareness of the Pink Plane and breast cancer.”

“We partnered with Dr. Elisa Port and Dr. Eva Dubin at the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital, a cutting-edge institution that delivers that highest level of care and serves women of all socio-economic backgrounds, regardless of their ability to pay. Through our fundraising efforts, we are supporting research, patient screenings, and daily care to women from all over the world who seek out Dubin’s expertise and innovative model.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 at noon Eastern, Dichter will join me here for a live discussion about the Wheels Up effort to fight breast cancer. 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 Wheels Up:

Twitter: @WheelsUp

Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the upfront costs to fly privately, while providing unparalleled flexibility, service and safety. Created and led by renowned entrepreneur Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up operates with a 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year culture, offering guaranteed availability to its private fleet of new Beechcraft King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft to individual, family and corporate members. With the cutting-edge Wheels Up mobile app, members can seamlessly book flights, manage their accounts and participate in ride-share opportunities. Members also have access to Wheels Down, a program featuring exclusive events and experiences, unique partner benefits and a full-service luxury concierge.

Kenny Dichter, courtesy of Wheels Up

Kenny Dichter, courtesy of Wheels Up

Dichter’s bio:

Twitter: @KennyDichter

Kenny Dichter is Founder and CEO of Wheels Up, the revolutionary membership‐based private aviation company that minimizes the upfront investment needed to fly privately. A lifelong entrepreneur, Dichter has built numerous successful companies, including his first aviation company, Marquis Jet, which he sold to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway for $4 billion in 2010. Since his youth, he has been known for being a trend spotter and trendsetter and always has his eye on early-stage businesses where he sees potential for hyper growth. Among other ventures, he has an active role and has invested in Juice Press, a Manhattan‐based, multi‐location, grab‐and‐go organic, raw food and juice company; and in 2010, co-founded Tequila Avion, an ultra-premium brand that is now distributed by Pernod Ricard. Dichter co‐founded Action America, along with AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, to unite and activate Americans everywhere to turn the events of 9/11 into positive action. He chairs the Council of Advocates at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital for Dr. Ken Davis, Mount Sinai’s Chairman and CEO, and sits on the Board of the Jack Martin Fund, which currently works with the hospital’s cutting‐edge pediatric oncology department. Dichter is also a major supporter of his alma mater, University of Wisconsin‐Madison.

The Christensen Fund Finds Grants Management Software To Grow As The Funder Grows

This is a guest post from Aaron Lester, Demand Generation Manager at Fluxx

The Christensen Fund was started in 2004 to help promote biological and cultural diversity to sustain and enrich a world faced with great change and uncertainty. Through place-based work, impact investing and funding, the Christensen Fund supports international efforts to recover global diversity and locally-recognized community custodians of heritage.

The Fund works primarily through grantmaking by awarding $15 million a year to people and institutions who believe in a biodiverse world. By early 2013, the Christensen Fund realized it needed a more flexible and forward thinking grants management solution for their large grant program. The foundation knew there was a smarter, more efficient way to award its grants. It was time for a change.

“A lot of the products we were looking at, including Cyber Grants, felt old and rigid. They seemed to be trying to shoehorn new technology into an old outdated structure,” says Brian Burgin, a grants manager at the Fund who specializes in processes and systems at the foundation. Christiansen was searching for a “more dynamic” grants management software solution.


The San Francisco-based foundation focused its efforts in regions chosen for their potential to withstand and recover from the global erosion of diversity. Most of the foundation’s program officers are located in these regions, including the African Rift Valley, Northwestern Mexico, Melanesia, and Central Asia. These far-flung grantmakers needed a system that understood grantmaking from the ground up. Burgin discovered Fluxx, and was attracted to the platform because it “was designed by grantmakers for grantmakers.”


The Christensen Fund went live with Fluxx in August 2014. Since then, Fluxx’s configurable dashboards and intuitive interface has allowed the foundation to cut down on extraneous ­– and, at times, cumbersome – processes to streamline their workflows. “Communications with grantees prior to Fluxx was done largely through email,” Burgin says. “Proposals, reports, and the like would come in and have to be manually added to the record.”

Christensen also realized new visibility into their work. “Fluxx makes it far easier for our staff to track where records are in any given process and to readily see which records are ready for their action without extraneous communication.” Previously, its staff needed to email back and forth about the status of a request, grant, or report.

“Now we can see what’s on our plate at any given time,” Burgin says. “Our processes can become complex. The intuitive dashboards are extremely helpful in helping us see where we are in the grants process at all times.”


A year after implementation, Christensen is still finding great way that Fluxx’s full suite of features benefit the Fund. The software has the ability to grow with the foundation as its processes evolve. “It’s going to be the driver of helping us do things a lot more efficiently in the future,” Burgin says. For example, Bugin is particularly interested in exploring more reporting capabilities. “The way we are preparing reports for the IRS and for our Board right now is quite tedious. Specifically, I want to create something that creates exactly what we need for 990 IRS reports.”

Burgin continues: “Our Directors are also keen on being able to view at a glance the status of where we are in grantmaking at any point in the year to ensure that we are on track to meet our goals. December was really hectic because we had to push a lot out before the end of the year, and they want to be able to see that coming and try to prevent it.” Additionally Burgin looking forward to using Fluxx’s new Microsoft Word Plug-in and the DocuSign integration. The foundation also wants to set up a process and workflow to handle grant amendments, which now causes undue amounts of manual work for Christensen.

With ambitious goals for the future, Christensen is secure in the knowledge that they have the tools in place to go where they want to go. It’s great peace of mind for any grantmaker who does not relish the chance to live through multiple technology implementations as a matter of course.

Aaron Lester

Aaron Lester

About Aaron Lester:

Aaron is the writer and demand generation manager at Fluxx.

Pay For Success: Impact Investing’s Answer to #BlackLivesMatter

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

It seems that hardly a day passes without headlines about unarmed black men being killed by police in our country. If there isn’t a new case, we’re trying an old one either in court or in the media.

Ben Hecht, the CEO of Living Cities, a nonprofit group that makes and facilitates impact investments in cities around the country, including my own here in Salt Lake City, explains the broader problem:

US cities are places of great opportunity, hope, change, resilience and energy. Unfortunately, they are also places of great inequality. Home to more than 80% of the population, cities reflect the incredible income, wealth and educational disparities between rich and poor, white and people of color. These disparities not only threaten to hold back the economic prosperity of the nation but threaten our democracy.

Hecht’s colleague, Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation, heads up the Pay for Success program efforts for Living Cities.

Neely says, “We need to blend all types of money–government, philanthropic and private sector capital–together to address growing social disparities and economic inequality in the United States.”

Pay for Success programs focus on paying for results rather than activities and typically are oriented toward prevention rather than remediation. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams has likened it to building guardrails at the top of the cliff rather than operating a hospital at the bottom.

Neely explains further, “While preventative programs that tackle issues like youth recidivism and chronic homelessness can make a real difference, these programs lack the funding needed to reach all the populations that need them. We need to attract private capital to help expand and scale programs that work.”

She adds, “Financing vehicles such as Pay for Success (PFS) can offer competitive rates of return, which is more attractive to private investors, and can help move impact investing into the mainstream.”

Neely explains the basic economics of a PFS deal structure: “In a PFS deal, philanthropic and private investors provide funding for social programs and government only pays them back if the project meets certain agreed-upon outcomes. This means that government resources and taxpayer dollars are only spent on effective programs that measurably improve the lives of community members.”

One of the big challenges with the model is the cost to put a program together. Bringing all of the parties together, organizing metrics for measurement, finding program providers, contracting among the local government, the investors and the program providers and all of the people working on the deal takes time and money.

Living Cities, she says, is “now striving to increase the scalability of the model with our recently announced Pay for Success Construction Loan. The Construction Loan covers the upfront costs necessary for service providers, project managers and evaluators to construct a PFS project, which had traditionally been a grant fund and a barrier preventing the PFS field from growing more rapidly.”

Neely says she would like to see more PFS deals done so that the model can be fine-tuned so it can be applied more efficiently across the country.

Hecht’s vision for cities is nothing short of a complete overhaul of tradition.

This will take overhauling outdated models of citizen engagement and cumbersome bureaucratic structures. I believe that governments will cease investing precious resources and energy into programs that don’t work, and start scaling the programs that are making real impact in the lives of low-income people. Finally, I see experimentation and commitment to harness both philanthropic and private capital to make a material difference in underserved communities and to invest not just in physical infrastructure, but also in human capital.

On Thursday, January 28, 2016 at noon Eastern, Hecht and Neely will join me here for a live discussion about the role that impact investing and Pay for Success can play in addressing the challenges of America’s inner-cities, including especially the concerns of the #blacklivesmatter movement. 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 Living Cities:

Twitter: @Living_Cities

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places.

Hecht’s bio:

Twitter: @benhecht

Ben Hecht was appointed President & CEO of Living Cities in July, 2007. Since that time, the organization has adopted a broad, integrative agenda that harnesses the collective knowledge of its 22 member foundations and financial institutions to benefit low-income people and the cities where they live. Living Cities deploys a unique blend of more than $140 million in grants, loans and influence to re-engineer obsolete public systems and connect low-income people and underinvested places to opportunity.

Prior to joining Living Cities, Mr. Hecht co-founded One Economy Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on connecting low-income people to the economic mainstream through innovative, online content and increased broadband access. Immediately before One Economy, Mr. Hecht was Senior Vice President at the Enterprise Foundation.

Mr. Hecht received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and his CPA from the State of Maryland. For 10 years, he taught at Georgetown University Law Center and built the premier housing and community development clinical program in the country. Ben is currently Chairman of EveryoneOn, a national initiative founded by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity. He also sits on the National Advisory Board for StriveTogether and Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Advisory Council.

Eileen Neely, courtesy of Living Cities

Eileen Neely, courtesy of Living Cities

Neely’s bio:

Twitter: @EileenNeely

Eileen Neely joined Living Cities in December 2012 as the Associate Director of Capital Formation. She was named the Director of Capital Innovation in May 2014. Prior to joining Living Cities, she was the Director of Strategic Planning at the District of Columbia Housing Authority since May 2011. In this position, Eileen oversaw the development, implementation and measurement of the Agency’s Strategic Plan and Moving to Work Plan.

Previously Eileen was the Chief Operating Officer of the Fresno Housing Authority in Fresno, California. Eileen assisted the Executive Director in the transformation of the Housing Authority – changing the corporate culture, establishing a broader role within the community, modernizing business practices, tightening financial controls, and expanding their programs to serve more low- and moderate-income families. She was responsible for all the internal operations of the Housing Authority, including Accounting and Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Communications and Public Relations.

Prior to moving to Fresno, Eileen was the Director of Public Entity Lending at Fannie Mae in Washington, DC. At Fannie Mae she provided technical assistance and financing to cities, counties and housing authorities throughout the country to help them address their pressing housing needs. Eileen started at Fannie Mae as the Manager of Economic Forecasting where she developed the company’s forecast for the economy, including interest rates, housing indicators, and other measures of the economy.

Eileen has her Master’s Degree in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Economics from Hiram College in Hiram, OH.

Matt Damon Jokes About ‘Toilet Strike,’ Then Things Get Real With The Co-Founder

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Three years ago, using a fake press conference posted on YouTube, in a humorous effort to raise money and attention for clean water and sanitation, Matt Damon launched a “toilet strike,” promising not to go to the bathroom “until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation.”

As part of the Sundance Film Festival, cofounders Matt Damon and Gary White held a real press conference with Stella Artois executive Todd Allen. This gave me an opportunity to ask Damon why he is so passionate about water issues.

Damon responded, “ I have four daughters. It comes at me emotionally from a lot of different angles. I think when you start having kids it is hard not to see other children as your own. ”

He went on to explain that Bono initially got him interested about ten years ago in by taking him a trip ago to help him with his work, believing that if he simply showed Damon what extreme poverty looks like, Damon would have no choice but to engage. “He rightly assumed that if he stuck me in extreme situations with extreme poverty my life would change and that is exactly what happened,” he says.

“ I saw that I could have an impact. ”

He related the story of a teenage girl in rural Zambia with whom he walked for a mile to the nearest source of water. As he visited with her, he asked about her plans for the future. She said she wanted to leave her village to become a nurse. “I realized it was like when Ben Affleck and I were in high school and we said, ‘We’re going to New York to become actors.’” He began to appreciate that people without access to clean water and sanitation were really living a “less than human existence.”

Finally, he explained, that it comes down to the question of a legacy, “It has always felt like I should always do what I can within my own sphere of influence to effect positive change for people. I’m looking at all these issues and this one is so massive it felt like there is so little awareness about it, it felt like the best place to put my time and energy.”

Damon cofounded with Gary White in 2009. The organization really resulted from the merger of nonprofits that each had created previously. Damon joked that at the time, he went looking for the world’s greatest expert on water and “when that guy wouldn’t take my call, I called Gary.” He went on to say that in fact, White is the world’s leading expert on water issues. White later returned the compliment, first suggesting that he should have called Ben Affleck, but later explaining that Damon has truly become an expert on water as well.


Damon sees access to clean water as a part of what he said that Bono calls “stupid poverty,” referring to the causes and contributors to poverty that we know how to fix, like how to deliver clean water.

At the press conference, Damon plugged the Stella Artois “Buy a Lady a Drink” campaign that suggests people buy a chalice from the brewer with proceeds supporting One chalice purchase, Damon noted, will provide five years of clean drinking water for a woman who lacks access to clean water.

Damon explained how access to clean water is a gender issue, noting that the vast majority of the time required to collect water, which totals hundreds of millions of hours every day, is spent by women and girls. As a result, women are kept from more productive tasks and girls are frequently prevented from attending school simply to make time for collecting water.

Damon’s passion for this effort came through as he explained that “We can be the generation to do this,” referring to providing clean water and sanitation to everyone on the planet. He noted that we know there are solutions and “ Americans, regardless of their politics, want to do what works. ”

One of the solutions Damon highlighted is “water credit,” the innovation developed by White to use microfinance to support people living in poor urban areas who often live atop a functioning clean water supply without access to it. By lending them the money to put taps in their homes, their time is freed to do more productive things than collect water, making it easy for them to repay the loans. Damon notes that 94 percent of the loans are to women and that more than 99 percent of the loans are repaid. I’ve previously visited with White about water credit here and here.

Matt challenged the world to help solve this issue, “What is our mark going to be? What are we here for? What are we going to do with our chance?”

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