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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

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

Expert’s Three Keys To Promoting Your Story

Our supporter, Mike Schwager, is a PR pro who specializes in helping people and organizations, especially those doing good in the world, to share their stories for maximum media exposure. He’s sharing his three key for promoting your story with Your Mark on the World readers today.

1. Be Persuasive: Pitching a story to an editor or reporter has some basic tenets for a persuasive publicist. First, always tell the truth. Second, know your outlet before you call or email. Third, have the right attitude: See the journalist as a peer in communications. Believe in your story. Believe in yourself.

2. Be Creative: Creative formatting tips: First, use news to make news. Remember “relevance,” “impact,” “timeliness” and “novelty.” Second, seasonal tie-ins. Once, eight weeks before Christmas, we convinced the manufacturer to designate a Holiday Consumer Affairs Specialist who could talk about “everything you wanted to know about mailing gifts for the holidays.” We booked this specialist on literally dozens of top all-news stations in major markets around the country. Third, products are newsworthy when they Are evolutionary or revolutionary. I’ve booked many products that were a next step up in technology on shows like Today or Good Morning America.

3. Humanize Your On-Air Appearance: First, humanize yourself and your organization. People don’t want to hear cold statistics or facts; make more use of anecdotes. Second, a smile is worth a thousand words, and remember to smile when appropriate. Also, use the first name of your interviewer, or opponent. When you transmit a smile, or use someone’s first name, you’re energizing the empathetic cord between you and your audience. You become more likable.  As you’re talking to an interviewer, think of someone you’ve been close to who you love and care about. The interviewer will feel that positive emotion. (I learned that from Walter Cronkite in the men’s bathroom at CBS).

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Mike will join me for a live discussion about pitching your story to the media. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about Worldlink Media Consultants:

Media Relations and Communications Services: Speech Writing (for CEOs, government officials [US and overseas], and celebrities); Op-Ed page writing; TV interview training (by phone and in-person); Publicity [primarily for non-profit and humanitarian organizations, authors, and leading-edge thinkers]; Video Production; Reputation Repair; Creative Consulting.

Mike Schwager

Mike Schwager

Mike’s bio:

Twitter: @MikeSchwager

Mike Schwager’s communications career began at CBS, for Network Radio News, and as a writer for CBS Audience Services. For the latter, Mike explained CBS policy to viewers and shareholders. From CBS he moved to the large public relations agency, Burson-Marsteller, where he served as a broadcast media specialist, promoting the Fortune 500. From Burson, Mike became partner at Michael Klepper Associates, where he promoted China as PR Director of The Exhibition of the People’s Republic of China; and managed accounts for The Louisiana World’s Fair; Father Flanagan’s Boystown; Kelloggs; The government of Canada; Data General; Polaroid; and Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

At his own agencies, The Media Relations Group, and later, Worldlink Media Consultants, Mike’s client roster included: The United States-Mexican Development Corporation; IBM; Harvey Mackay’s “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” (which he turned into a mega best-seller); Inc. Magazine Publisher Wilson Harrell’s “For Entrepreneurs Only” (Wilson dedicated his chapter on public relations to Mike); John Robbins’ “Diet For A New America;” Cleve Stevens’ “The Best In Us;” Opportunity International; CURE International; World Vision; Darcy O’Brien’s “The Hidden Pope;” The Mentors Channel and The WellBe (digital bracelet that measures stress); Jack Nadel’s “The Evolution of an Entrepreneur”); and Bob Lenz’s “Dignity Revolution: Standing Up For The Value Of Every Person.”

Mike is presently about to launch a publicity campaign with breakthrough information on mental disease for renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Clancy McKenzie, M.D., Founder/Director of The Alternative American Psychiatric Association and author of “Delayed Posttraumatic Stress Disorders From Infancy” and “Babies Need Mothers: How Mothers Can Prevent Mental Illness In Their Children.”

Mike’s public relations websites are at: www.mediamavens.com, and www.TVtraining.tv. He maintains two spiritual/humanitarian sites at: www.Enrichment.com, and www.EnrichOurWorld.net. Mike is also host of a spiritual/humanitarian Internet radio show, The Enrichment Hour, on WSRadio.com.

He can be reached via e-mail at: moschwager@aol.com. He is based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. His phone is: 954-423-4414.

Cucula: Signature Furniture in Favor of Refugees

This article was original produced for Dive In Social and is reprinted here by permission.

In Berlin, do it yourself culture takes unbelievable proportions for the ones who (like ourselves) can’t assemble even an easel. There is a friend building his own ship (!), another one making boombox out of old suitcases. And there was also the day when we step out of our flat to find a temporary woodwork in our backyard. This is Berlin being Berlin. And the do it yourself lifestyle found its perfect match in Cucula, a brand that sells furniture made by refugees living in the city. The twist: all the pieces are based upon italian designer Enzo Mari’s original work, who developed a line focused on educating the consumer market about design discipline.

cucula

 

“Cucula” means “doing something together” and is a term borrowed from hausa, the original language of a vast area in Africa and the second language in Nigeria. Inspired by Mari’s idea that everyone can make furniture, designer Sebastian Däschle took the italian’s design to a refugee camp in Oranienplatz, Kreuzberg, so that they could build up their own pieces. “But their reaction was that they don’t need furniture, they need work and money, Corinna Sy, co-founder, says.

Corinna joined Sebastian from the starting point of the company, which aims at promoting inclusion and providing education to victims of global disasters. Jessy Medernach and Barbara Meyer complete the founding team. Cucula intends to be an association, a workshop and educational program, altogether. Now, it works as a pilot. “It is complicated to establish a social business around here, I really can get why it is so hard. And even if we are starting a company, we have five refugees working with us. They have completely different needs and have been through diverse experiences, there are so many issues, says Sy.

In order to ensure the Cucula’s mission of including refugees, they try to include in the articles of incorporation the requirement of having immigrants in their staff. Besides being the only firm in the world authorized to sell ready made Enzo Mari items, the designer granted this right only for the cause. In his own conception, design has to do with utopia and the furniture proposed by his “Autoprogettazione” have been planned for a different society.

Sedia Uno chair, produced by refugees as a reward for the supporters of the crowdfunding campaign (photo: Verena Brüning)

Sedia Uno chair, produced by refugees as a reward for the supporters of the crowdfunding campaign (photo: Verena Brüning)

“Tavolo Rettangolare”, table designed by Enzo Mari and made by Cucula (foto: Verena Brüning)

“Tavolo Rettangolare”, table designed by Enzo Mari and made by Cucula (foto: Verena Brüning)

Mari’s idea shocked the design scene and when Cucula had its crowdfunding campaign available online, having a Sedia Uno as a rewards, it was a hit. 70,000€ collected in 6 weeks, enough to ensure scholarships to 5 trainees-refugees. The company-school-organization offers all the structure (home and health) to all five of them.

“We took Mari’s concept and put it in another context. Our goal is to emancipate people. By then, no one could produce and sell his pieces, but they were widely known in design books. Our entrance in the market was good, because we had a very well known designer and a social cause, Sy says.

Work at the workshop, shot before the fire (photo: Verena Brüning)

Work at the workshop, shot before the fire (photo: Verena Brüning)

Malik at the workshop oficina (photo: Verena Brüning)

Malik at the workshop oficina (photo: Verena Brüning)

But the product designer and now entrepreneur highlights the tension of dealing with a social problem that is an open wound in Europe. As if it was not enough, another problem caught everyone unaware: about a month ago, the workshop — that was working full-throttle to deliver the crowdfunding rewards caught fire. They not only lost a massive part of raw material, but had to suspend its operation until they find a new address so that they can resume work.

The workshop, before the fire (photo: Fred Moseley)

The workshop, before the fire (photo: Fred Moseley)

Material in the workshop, before the fire

Material in the workshop, before the fire

Despite the hardship, Sy speaks in a passionate way, and one can see the passion for work and for the cause through it. Without breathing, she tells all about her adventures in conducting the project. “Now we are very busy trying to stabilize our sales structure, since it is a bit different than the usual. We want the project to scale up, but it is not easy. We have to consider political, economic, social aspects, it is not only a matter of selling. Sometimes the refugees want to go back hoe sometimes they want to stay here. We need to listen each and every one of them. Our work is only the tip of the iceberg in their stories”, concludes Sy.

Brothers’ Venture Provides Building Blocks For Prosperity In Honduras

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

In 2009, Two American brothers with exceptional abilities and the brightest futures risked it all to create a social venture specifically designed to help the people of one of the Western Hemisphere’s most challenged countries, Honduras. Their toy block company Tegu is having an impact there and beyond.

Will Haughey, Chief Blockhead of Tegu, the company they founded, says they are working to address “poverty and unemployment in Honduras and Central America,” adding that “unemployment [is] well north of 30% and poverty rates [are] above 65%.”

Haughey notes that they found there really was no entrepreneurial or creative segment in the economy, so they created one.

“[We] started a manufacturing business in Honduras connected to a design business based in the USA. Tegu, short for Tegucigalpa, uses Central American hardwoods in the production of a premium quality magnetic wooden building system. The more blocks we sell, the more people we put to work,” he explains.

“Tegu Blocks are inherently educational and make a wonderful gift. The best thing we can do for Honduras is sell blocks as many places as possible all over the world. Schools are a great fit as well,” he concludes.

On Thursday, September 10 at 2:00 PM, Haughey and his brother Chris, the Head Elf, will join me here for a live discussion about the business and its impact in Honduras. 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 Tegu:

Twitter: @tegu

Founded by two brothers, Chris and Will Haughey, Tegu is a vertically-integrated premium toy company with a manufacturing facility in Honduras and sales and marketing office in Connecticut. Tegu debuted in the fall of 2009 and has sold over 500,000 units of its patented magnetic wooden blocks (“Tegu Blocks”) and has employed and trained more than 200 craftsmen and craftswomen in Honduras. Beyond their online distribution on Tegu.com and Amazon.com, Tegu Blocks are now sold throughout the world in mainstream and specialty retail and educational channels. Tegu has formal distributor relationships outside the USA in Asia and Europe. Founders and co-owners Chris and Will Haughey, the company’s most senior executives, developed and implemented Tegu’s strategy to reduce poverty, develop human capital, and support sustainable forestry in Honduras. Chris conceived the idea of Tegu based on his first-hand experience of Honduras and its social and environmental challenges. He left his career as a management consultant to devote himself full time to the development of the company in early 2007 and relocated with his family to Honduras in 2009 to establish the factory. Today, he is responsible for Tegu’s hiring of low-income Hondurans, the career development and training programs to grow their human capital, and Tegu’s sourcing program that contributes to reforestation and the reduction of illegal logging in Central America. He personally visits each of Tegu’s wood suppliers as part of on-site verification of their forestry practices. Will left behind his career in investment banking and finance in 2008 to lead the effort to raise Tegu’s capital and develop its consumer-facing brand. He has been Tegu’s fundraising champion in the United States, convincing socially-minded strategic investors to bet on a manufacturing firm that would have a major social and environmental impact in Honduras. Now he is the face of Tegu and its social return to the major international brands that support Tegu as its customers. Chris invested the entirety of his life savings – including his modest retirement savings – to provide Tegu with necessary seed capital, and Will invested over half of his life savings to take the company through to a viable product concept when he joined his brother full-time in the business.

Will Haughey’s bio:

Twitter: @willhaughey

Will Haughey is Co-Founder and Chief Blockhead of Tegu. Will oversees Tegu’s commercial activities including global marketing, sales, distribution and product development. Earning a BS in Business Administration from Indiana University, Will concentrated in Finance and International studies. Upon graduation, he joined the Healthcare Investment Banking practice of Goldman, Sachs & Co., in New York. Following two years of mergers and financing work, Will joined Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, managing investments in the public and private markets. Will joined forces in May 2008 with brother, Chris Haughey, to form Tegu. Will is based at Tegu’s US headquarters in Darien, Connecticut.

Chris Haughey’s bio:

Chris Haughey is Co-Founder & Head Elf of Tegu. In preparation for Tegu’s launch in 2009, Chris moved to Honduras in order to establish and grow the Company’s privately owned factory. Chris oversees Tegu’s engineering, sourcing, production and supply chain activities and is deeply involved in Tegu’s innovation initiatives globally. He spent three years with The Boston Consulting Group in their Los Angeles practice and prior to that worked for a year in Mexico City with university students. Chris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Chris operates at Tegu’s Honduras factory.

Acumen Investee Brings Solar Power To Masses In India

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Damian Miller wants to transform emerging market economies from fossil-fuel dependent to self-reliant on clean solar energy.

Miller isn’t just a dreamer; he’s making it happen. As the founder and CEO of Orb Energy he’s quickly scaling up his business in India and recently launched in Kenya. He is also a recent recipient of the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen.

He explains Orb’s mission as follows:

Our company’s mission is to make solar energy affordable, accessible, and hassle-free to millions of customers looking for a better energy alternative. To do this, we first design and manufacture our own products for superior quality and cost. Then to deliver and install them to our customers in the right way, we have set up our own branch network – which is totally unique in the the solar market in India. This network is key to gaining customer trust, and effectively providing after-sales service. Finally we team up with banks for financing, but we are now looking at ways of bring this critical activity in-house to make it more streamlined.

Miller is also looking for help, he notes, “We are looking for investors, who believe in and share our mission for emerging market economies. Emerging markets are where the bulk of future greenhouse gas emissions will come from, and where there is an enormous opportunity – based on the prevailing solar resource and still emerging infrastructure – for solar to gain an early foothold. We hope that others will join us, so that we can strengthen and accelerate our activities.”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at noon Eastern, Miller will join me live from India for a live discussion here about his work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

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

More about Orb Energy:

Orb Energy is a leading provider of solar energy solutions in India. We sell, install, and service solar systems for electricity and hot water, and we are vertically integrated with our own R&D and manufacturing plant in India. We have 140 branches in 8 states of India, of which about 50% are franchised. We have also recently entered Kenya with a new subsidiary there.

More about the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship in collaboration with Acumen:

Twitter: @acumen

Acumen and SAP, global business software leader, have collaborated to create the SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship to accelerate the growth of social enterprises serving the poor in East Africa and India. Leveraging Acumen’s 14 years of investing in early-stage social enterprises and SAP’s global business and innovation expertise, this unique collaboration will bring together emerging and established CEOs committed to building sustainable, socially driven businesses, creating a more inclusive global economy, and expanding opportunities for the poor to lead lives of dignity and possibility.

Miller’s bio:

Damian Miller is the CEO of Orb Energy, and a leading expert on solar energy in emerging markets. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College), where he was based at the Judge Business School. His dissertation addressed the role of entrepreneurs in the diffusion of solar photovoltaic technology when solar markets were still in their infancy. After finishing his Ph.D. in 1998, he put his research findings into practice, joining Shell Solar and becoming its Director of Rural Operations. Here he established solar subsidiaries in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Indonesia. He also implemented a large-scale solar project in China, and managed joint ventures in Morocco and South Africa. During this time he worked closely with multilateral and bilateral development agencies and emerging market governments to help grow local solar markets, overseeing the connection of more than 125,000 solar homes. At the end of 2006, he set-up Orb Energy in India with his co-founder NP Ramesh. In 8 years, Orb has become one of India’s leading providers of solar energy solutions, selling, installing, and servicing solar systems across multiple states in India, with ambitious plans for further expansion. He has lived, worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, and currently resides in Bangalore, India.

Ex-Convicts To Run The Other Side Academy To Help Convicts

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Tim Stay, one of Utah’s leading tech entrepreneurs and executives, recently launched a new venture with successful entrepreneur Joseph Grenny. They’ve chosen several ex-convicts to run the new business, The Other Side Academy.

This may not be such an odd choice. You see, the new venture, modeled closely on Delancey Street Foundation, is a nonprofit that will work to really rehabilitate convicts.

Stay explained to me recently that our prisons “provide criminals with a masters degree in criminology” rather than rehabilitating them.”

He elaborates, “The problem is that there is a portion of the criminal population that doesn’t get better by doing time. Many of them are repeat offenders, spending their lives in and out of jail and prison. They usually have substance abuse problems and many times find themselves unable to secure or keep a job and eventually wind up on the streets, being involved in criminal activity, and going back to jail. And this cycle continues at great expense to taxpayers. These people are living lives of increasingly destructive behaviors to themselves, to their families, and to society.”

He says that TOSA, as everyone involved in The Other Side Academy quickly abbreviates, will “provide a two-year live-in educational program for ex-convicts, drug abusers, homeless and others that have hit rock bottom that teaches our participants how to live successful, productive lives free from crime and substance abuse.”

Dave Durocher, TOSA’s managing director, explains further, “Our mission is to address the issues of drug addiction and criminality and improve the dismal record of the rehabilitative community when it comes to addressing the issues of relapse and recitivism. We belive that a long term “theraputic community” approach is what works best. While there are mixed and often conflicting statistics in this regard we know from first hand experience that it can work.”

Durocher and his colleagues Alan Fahringer and Lola Zagey, know first hand, “We know this because [we] have over 25 combined years residing in arguably the most succesful theraputic community in the world, Delancey Street, which is the model we are replicating with a few twists that we believe can make The Other Side Academy even more succesful.”

Having already raised $750,000, Stay has a wish list for the next several months. “In the next 3 months, we are moving into our new facility in Salt Lake City and we will be launching several of our businesses so we can become self-reliant.”

“We need financial contributions to cover the start-up costs of the facility and of the new businesses. We need in-kind contributions of cars, trucks, construction tools, warehouse space, and housing supplies such as beds and dressers. We need volunteer help with things such as business plans, web design, marketing, graphics. We need champions to help spread the message through social media and with their friends,” he concludes.

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Durocher, Fahringer and Zagey will join me here for a live discussion about TOSA and their plans to create a program that will truly change lives. 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 Other Side Academy:

Twitter: @GoToOtherSide

We provide on-the-job vocational training, education, and basic life skills along with long-term residential housing to former drug/alcohol abusers, homeless and others who have hit rock bottom. Our organization is run by graduates of the program and we are a mutual self-help organization. That means that healing occurs when we can have “Each One Teach One” and that when A helps B, A gets better. We run our own businesses so we can be self-reliant and not dependent on Government money and so we can offer the program at no cost to those that join us. Participants obtain a minimum of high school equivalency and gain the job and life skills needed to return to various communities as decent, law abiding individuals.

The Other Side Academy Directors, David Durocher, Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson.

Durocher’s bio:

Managing Director Dave Durocher was arrested for the first time at the age of 13 years old. By the time he was 38, he had been to prison four times for a total of 15 years. When he was given the option to go to Delancey, he was facing 29 years in prison. Dave pleaded guilty of his crimes and went to Delancey in Los Angeles. Dave was at Delancey Street for 8 years and became the Managing Director of their 250 person Los Angeles facility for 5 of those years. Dave is articulate, humble, tenacious, interpersonally skilled, a good manager and a good public speaker. He was able to double revenues in their Training School businesses while he was there and when he left, he had tripled their earnings from when he had took over the facility. Dave has helped countless others regain their dignity, their families and their lives before he moved on to enjoy his own success as the person he had become. Now Dave is embarking on the next chapter of his new life; to help create a place, much like the one he credits with saving his life, only better. A place people can come to learn about integrity, honesty, hard work and self-respect. All the things that protect those inclined from falling prey to their addictions so as not to become the kind of person Dave was, but rather the kind of person he is today.

Fahringer’s bio:

Alan began using marijuana and other drugs in his early teens. He spent his adult life as a “functioning addict” until he was introduced to methamphetamine. That began a thirteen year downward spiral of multiple arrests, lost marriages, lost careers and eventually homelessness. Alan’s troubles culminated in his being arrested three times in a span of eleven months for manufacturing meth. Facing many years in prison, Alan says he was rescued from himself by an empathetic Judge who allowed him to go to Delancey Street instead of prison. That most fortunate occurrence, as he calls it, saved his life, he says. He stayed two years as required by his plea bargain and another four years voluntarily to help others experience the redemption and renewal he had found. While at Delancey Street Alan worked in Corporate Development, Finance. Retail Sales and eventually found his niche in Community Relations. Alan was responsible for advocating Delancey Street as a sentencing alternative to the Judicial and Legal communities. He was a natural. He is articulate, persuasive and living proof that the process can work. Alan has done speaking engagements throughout New Mexico and southern California enthusiastically advocating for just the type of therapeutic community that he will now help foster in Salt Lake City at The Other Side Academy. “I’m so blessed. I get to help build a place just like the one that saved my life. What could possibly be more gratifying than that?”

Zagey’s bio:

Lola has always dreamed of making a difference in the world. Her progress was stopped dead in its tracks twenty years ago when she developed an all-consuming addiction to heroin. This new path took Lola down to a place where all drug dependent people go… to rehabs, jails, and prisons. She was stuck in hopeless desperation and after being arrested one more time, she knew she had to try something different. Lola had heard about Delancy Street Foundation and wondered if the judge would give her a chance to try this program. The judges quickly agreed to two years in Delancy Street or do five years in prison. He gave Lola a stern warning. He said he would offer this deal to her but he recommended she do the prison time. He has seen addicts like Lola before and at this point, he believed she would fail the program and end up in prison anyway. Lola had a different idea. With gratitude for this opportunity, Lola excelled at Delancy Street. She worked her way up to the finance department where she learned skills in accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping with an emphasis in rehabilitation management. Lola’s two year sentence in Delancy Street turned into a five year life changing stay. Once graduated, Lola quickly found work in the medical field as well as property management and the sky was the limit. The only thing missing was her desire to help other addicts still suffering. Enter The Other Side Academy. Now Lola can live her dream of making a difference in the world.

This Show Is Absolutely Safe For Work

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

It used to be that everyone who saw Jason Hewlett perform asked, “Why isn’t this guy famous?” As his reputation grows, folks simply observe that he may be the funniest person ever to take a stage.

It turns out, however, that the answer to the initial question provides an important insight into who Hewlett really is. Years ago, he was performing in Las Vegas and was offered his own show. The deal was huge for young Hewlett as he’d be headlining in Vegas while his peers were still in college.

When it came time to sign contracts, he says, he found the terms unacceptable. In order to appeal to an adult audience he was to be required to use language and perform material that he personal found objectionable and had never wanted to perform.

Hewlett walked.

Fame and fortune seemed to evaporate before his eyes.

Since then, he’s become one of the most sought after corporate entertainers in the business because his fall-off-your-chair funny material is absolutely safe for work. Check out his YouTube page.

In recent years, Hewlett has sought to incorporate more of a message into his material, working to become as sought after for keynote speaking as entertaining. His message is perfect for mission driven entrepreneurs.

“When we are willing to commit to something, to see it through, there is no greater joy,” he says. “What are you committed to?”

Always humble, Hewlett often reminds his audience, “You have talents I don’t have, and I have talents you don’t want!”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Hewlett will join me for a live discussion about his career and his insights for social entrepreneurs. 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 Jason Hewlett The Entertainer:

Twitter: @jasonhewlett

Jason Hewlett Entertainment’s mission is to provide world-class, family-friendly, G-larious entertainment, inspiration, and joy for major corporate events, youth education and religious forums, and public shows. In partnering with clients on their most important events, JHE provides recommendations of the best of the best in speakers, entertainers, masters of ceremonies, and many more.

David Archuleta, a serviceman, Dan Clark and Jason Hewlett, taken during a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2014.

Hewlett’s bio:

Jason Hewlett The Entertainer has appeared at over 2,000 events and venues in the last decade as one of the country’s premiere corporate event Headliners. In 2014 he was awarded the Certified Speaking Professional by the National Speakers Association, as well as acting as Master of Ceremonies for the largest corporate events in the world. Jason has performed in every major casino in Las Vegas, appeared on the nationally televised Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, and received the “Best of State Entertainment Award” in his home state of Utah multiple times. He began his career with the Las Vegas “Legends in Concert”. His shows, speeches, and presentations are a combination of comedy, music, parody, and over-the-top hilarious impressions, stories, and lessons on commitment, embracing what makes us unique, and spreading JOY, received with standing ovations from audiences worldwide.

Dutch Social Entrepreneur Works To Save Lives In Africa With High Tech Stove

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“ It is a little known fact that cooking is the fourth biggest killer in the world ,” explains Judith Joan Walker, Director and COO of African Clean Energy.

“It’s this huge invisible elephant in the room because, in the western world, we are so used to being able to waltz into the kitchen and whip up a healthy meal. In fact, cooking indoors kills more people than Aids, Malaria and TB combined; over 4.3 million people,” she continues.

Last month, I had the opportunity to meet Walker, along with a dozen other social entrepreneurs, at Santa Clara University, as I reported here.

Walker seems to take this personally, “This fact is sickening enough without considering that the majority of these people are women and children, and that their health is not the only cost. A third of the world cooks in a way that it is slowly killing them and the fact that its very expensive to do so is mind-boggling. For me that’s the real problem, and I haven’t even gotten into the environmental cost.”

So, Walker got after it, creating a radical new cookstove, “We have started manufacturing and distributing a multifunctional cookstove, that doubles as an energy source.”

Anyone in the international development world has been hearing about cookstoves for years now, but many stoves have failed to deliver on their intended results once deployed in the field. For instance, in Sheryl WuDunnand Nicholas Kristoff’s book, A Path Appears, they note that some studies have shown that reducing indoor smoke by 80 percent doesn’t yield an 80% improvement in health. Apparently, even a little smoke is enough to create the health problems stoves are intended to prevent.

Walker’s African Clean Energy stove burns a variety of fuels, including wood and charcoal, but with no emissions. The stove also features a small solar panel that can be placed out a nearby window or on the roof, powering a small fan in the stove as well as a USB device charger and an LED light.

“The price isn’t even a problem when you include micro-financing as an option, especially as the vast majority of our customers are able to save so significantly on their fuel costs due to the significant reduction in fuel consumption of such an efficient stove,” she notes.

“Our main mission now is to scale up our sales teams in a replicable way in order to ensure the success of our future markets,” she adds. “Sharing our story and helping us access a network of new potential partners is really the best way to help, and of course we appreciate advice and stories from those that have experience in these markets.”

While ACE , as Walker calls her African Clean Energy in conversation, is operating as a for-profit business, the company has a genuine social purpose in mind. “We have also started a small project within our home market, in Lesotho, where we try to donate as many stoves as we can to orphaned children and their elderly carers. This is such a huge problem there that we could not turn a blind eye to their need and so far we have been able to donate to almost 200 families! I am very proud that we are able to help those most in need and if anyone wants to help they are able to donate through our website.”

On Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Walker will join me for a live discussion about her efforts. 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 African Clean Energy:

Twitter: @acelesotho

African Clean Energy manufactures and distributes the ACE 1 Solar Biomass Cookstove, a cookstove that has the power to save millions of lives, halt deforestation and help people break the cycle of poverty. All of this can be achieved with one multifunctional and aspirational tool, paid for through microfinancing; allowing all those who need it most to easily afford it. ACE is a family company manufacturing in Lesotho, a LDC, and is an equal opportunities hirer with a 50% gender split.

Walker’s bio:

Twitter: @JudithJoanACE

Judith Joan is no stranger to travel and had lived in an extensive list of major cities before joining ACE full time in Amsterdam in 2014. Her background in film and television gives her a unique perspective on working in teams, and her multi-cultural childhood gives her the distinct advantage of understanding cultural differences and how to best achieve success in a foreign environment. Recently, she has taken the lead on strategy and operations, aiming to prove the ACE distribution and impact models in Lesotho and South Africa in order to secure funding for an East African roll out.

Proof That Good Deeds Can Lead: “Good News Network” Turns 18

This is a guest post from Geri Weis-Corbley, Founder and Editor in Chief of Good News Network.

Who says no news is good news?

There’s plenty of good news in the world—and yes, it “sells.”

I knew that long before other news media outlets had a clue, and created a positive news website, before even the first blog was invented in 1997.

It all started with a single nagging thought I kept hearing in my head while working in TV news in Washington, DC in 1982, two months out of college.

“Where is all the good news?”

Journalism colleagues at companies like CNN kept telling me, “Good news doesn’t sell,” but I refused to believe it. I often cited successful media personalities or properties that made a name for themselves with an optimistic slant: Oprah’s Angel Network, Charles Kuralt, Readers Digest and Parade magazine.

Maybe because of their goading, I eventually made it my #1 goal to PROVE that good news sells.

Geri Weis-Corbley

Geri Weis-Corbley

You see, the idea gnawed at me for years, like sand in an oyster, after I left the media business to raise a family. I remember the moment when our 5-year-old son was sitting in the kitchen while a gruesome Bosnia War expose started running on NPR radio. It was like a light switch flipped on for me.

It was early 1997 and the Internet was blossoming. I thought, ‘I can make a good news program on the Web,’ so I taught myself to code with html and launched a simple yellow website on August 31. Good News Network was born.

During the sad days of 9/11, the scary Wall Street Crash of ’08, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our traffic skyrocketed. People were looking for hope, for good in the world, and I was at home in Virginia delivering it to them.

This week, Good News Network celebrates its 18th anniversary– and the pioneering site for “good news” media aggregation has definitely come of age. In 2015, with hundreds of original stories being filed each month and the means to hire a staff for the first time, we have hit our stride.

Traffic has grown organically, with friends telling friends, and we are now serving more than 2.4 million pages of good news every month.

Although our website is completely free, our loyal and appreciative fans have been contributing financially as Members – some even giving voluntary pledges up to $500, when they get nothing more than a few small gifts in return. This is the Public Broadcasting model at work, which shows, above all else, the brand loyalty of an engaged readership that values our Daily Dose of News to Enthuse.

It is the proof that good news sells.

I feel so much satisfaction when I read the emails describing how my newsfeed has changed people’s lives, eased depression, and provided hope to the near-hopeless.

With more than 16,000 good news stories cataloged so far, we are branching out to podcasting and radio soon, with video on the horizon.

We are always looking for success stories and sweet tales of humanity—so go on, tell us something good!

About Geri Weis-Corbley:

Geri is the founder and Editor in Chief of Good News Network, the # 1 ranked site on Google for Good News. 

Impact Investor Credits ‘Faith In God’ For Success

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Joe Sanberg is an investor in a few of the social I’ve profiled recently (Aspiration and Bright Funds) and so I wanted to learn more about him.

Sanberg told me about the start to his career, “I grew up in a middle class family and by the time I was leaving for college at Harvard, the house I had grown up in was being foreclosed. I’m sobered by the staggering amount of luck and chance that came together in my life. I never could have imagined it.”

This experience guided his philosophy on life and business. “I don’t think we should leave to luck and chance the kinds of opportunities in life that people get to enjoy. I’m determined to build companies and champion public policies that systematically create more opportunity for people because I can’t bear thinking that I didn’t do everything I could to ensure that the kid today who is like I was does not have to rely on luck and chance to have a full life.”

The challenges of his early life helped frame Sanberg’s thinking as well. “Like so many others in my generation, I was raised by my mother. The absence of an active father when I was a kid affected me like it has affected many others. You have to become more self-reliant at a younger age as you figure out how to be a responsible adult. Fortunately, my maternal grandfather was a very active presence in my life and was a great male role model.”

When I asked Sanberg the secret of his success, he responded, “I think success comes from being authentic so my answer involves revealing what constitutes my core as a person. My faith in God is the biggest factor in how I live my life and who I am. Tikkun Olam is a Hebrew phrase that means to heal the world. I think we all have a responsibility to find our part in healing the world. Like all of us, I’ve often fallen short of my responsibility but my aspiration is to do my best to live up to Tikkun Olam.”

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Sanberg will join me for a live discussion about his work investing in social ventures. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

JoeSanberg-1940x1940

Sandberg’s bio:

Twitter: @josephnsanberg

Joe Sanberg is a public and private-sector entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Advisors of Aspiration — a digital financial services company for everyday Americans. He is also an active venture investor in a variety of fast growing companies that combine profit and purpose, such as Bright Funds and Blue Apron. Joe is a leader with several public sector initiatives, including the Jefferson Awards Foundation (Chair of its Board of Governors), the UC Riverside School of Public Policy (member of its Board of Advisors) and Co-Founder, Economic Innovation Group. Joe s also leading a public affairs campaign around the new California Earned Income Tax Credit to expand economic opportunity among working Californians.

Carnival’s Fathom Sailing Toward Cuba ‘To Make A Social Impact’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Carnival newest cruise line is sailing in a new direction; Fathom’s destination is social impact. Initially sailing with one vessel, the Adonia, Fathom passengers will visit the Dominican Republic and Cuba to work alongside locals as volunteers on water and other projects.

The brains behind Fathom, its President, Tara Russell, explained, “We didn’t want Fathom to be a ‘voluntourism’ company. We wanted Fathom to be so much more than that. So we found a way to leverage the resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company (Carnival Corporation) to create a new kind of cruise that combines the love of travel with the desire to make a difference. Truly nothing like this exists today.”

“We created Fathom to give people an easy, safe and convenient way to make a social impact that is both meaningful to society and personally rewarding, ” she adds.

Russell describes the projects passengers will undertake, “In the Dominican Republic, for example, more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Fathom travelers will work with a local organization there to build water filters using clay and other natural resources to make healthy drinking water available to Dominican families.”

“Fathom will send thousands of travelers a year – more than 700 travelers on every trip – to Caribbean communities in need to work with our local partners and directly alongside local citizens on ongoing social impact programs in each community. This sustained and large-scale impact is what makes Fathom truly unique. Travelers will have the opportunity to make transformative societal contributions that will extend far beyond their individual involvement. It will be incredibly rewarding,” she concluded.

Fathom’s seven-day cruises to the Dominican Republic will start at $974 and those to Cuba will start at $1,800.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Russell will join me for a live discussion about Fathom’s impact. 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 Fathom:

Twitter: @fathomtravel

Fathom is a new kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference. Part of the Carnival Corporation (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) family, Fathom is the pioneer of impact travel, a new category of travel that will offer consumers authentic, meaningful travel experiences to enrich the life of the traveler and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs. Fathom is unique in that it leverages Carnival Corporation’s expertise and scale for a one-of-a-kind business model to create long-term collaboration with its partner countries, allowing for sustained social impact and lasting development. Fathom will serve the sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans – in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide.

Russell’s bio:

Twitter: @taravrussell

Tara Russell is the president of fathom, a social impact company that offers a new category of travel, and global impact lead of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest travel and leisure company. Russell generated the idea for fathom in 2013, and led research, design and development of the brand, business model and experience from January 2014 to launch in June 2015. She now leads the fathom team as it offers a unique experience to purpose-driven travelers who desire authentic, meaningful social impact opportunities. fathom provides the opportunity to immerse in another culture and community, and systematically work alongside that community to make relevant contributions that endure. fathom is the newest addition to Carnival Corporation, which is also the world’s largest cruise company with nine global cruise lines providing extraordinary vacations at exceptional value for nearly 11 million people around the world every year. Russell has responsibility for fathom and the corporation’s global impact programs and reports to Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Prior to Carnival Corporation, Russell was Founder and CEO of Create Common Good (CCG, www.createcommongood.org), a non-profit social enterprise that provides training and employment to refugees and a wide variety of other populations with barriers to employment. Russell created CCG in 2008 in order to use food to change lives by empowering for self-sufficiency through a creative food-production social enterprise production model. CCG has delivered more than 100,000 job training hours, with an average employment success outcome of more than 90 percent, and returned more than $18 million back into the community via graduate earned wages. The organization’s noteworthy work to promote healthy eating habits through snack and grab & go production recently earned grants from Newman’s Own Foundation and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. Russell is currently Chairman of the Board for CCG.

In 2007, Russell was part of the founding team of Jitasa, a for-profit social venture that provides affordable financial services to the non-profit industry and has become a profitable, global enterprise serving hundreds of global social sector enterprises, including Boy Scouts of America and many other large, scalable impact entities. Jitasa is a certified B-Corporation with offices in the US, Thailand and Bosnia.

Prior to this, Russell spent four years in Thailand, where she offered pro bono small business development training to nongovernmental organizations. Russell also co-founded NightLight, an international organization that addresses the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Russell started her career with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including roles in product development with Nike; technical sales and marketing at Intel; and engineering and manufacturing with General Motors. While at Intel, she was selected for the Emerging Leaders program and had the opportunity to work with the executive team. During her four years with GM, she was chosen to represent Saturn Corporation in the Shanghai GM New Vehicle Build & Launch Project in 1999 in China. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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