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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.

When Experts Volunteer, Good Happens

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

“I feel like we’ve stumbled on this incredibly obvious epiphany, when you give what you’re good at, you get better at it. You help others while helping yourself,” says Mark Horoszowski.

His epiphany led him to create Moving Worlds, an match-making site for expert volunteers–experteers.”

Summarizing the value proposition, Horoszowksi says, “Major development organizations have shared that behind access to capital, access to skills is the leading barrier to progress – this is called the ‘talent gap.’ Contributing the right skills at the right time can bridge holes to create short-term impact, and also help local staff develop their own skills to foster long-term sustainability and impact.”

“We’re proving that the right skills can catalyze the impact of social enterprises working in the field – helping them create a positive impact and create jobs in the process,” he adds.

By way of a clear example, Horoszowski offers, “Before applying for growth capital or a grant, and organization needs an accounting system. That’s a skills challenge, not a capital challenge, and an Experteer can help with just that.”

“The most important thing that people have is their brain, time, and passion. By giving all three, not only do people contribute their energy towards solving some of the world’s greatest challenges, but research shows they also return having learned new skills, feeling like they have more time, and feeling even more loved and passionate,” he concludes.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 3:00 Eastern, Horoszowski will join me for a live discussion about Moving Worlds. 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 Moving Worlds:

Twitter : @Experteering

A matching site and global support team TISI NaN% that helps people volunteer their skills–Go Experteering–anytime and for any length of time, on their own or through corporate-sponsored programs.

Our mission is to address the global talent gap by connecting Experteers directly to social change organizations in the world that provide free accommodation and other local benefits in exchange for expertise.

Mark Horoszowski

Mark Horoszowski

Horoszowski’s bio:

Mark is co-founder and CEO of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform that connects people who want to travel and volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations around the globe. Since its launch in 2011, MovingWorlds.org has already helped unleash over 1.2 million dollars worth of professional skills to social enterprises around the world.

In his free time, Mark serves on the American Cancer Society ’s Nationwide Training Team and Co-chairs its Nationwide Volunteer Leadership Advisory Team.

Nurse Seeks End To Infant And Maternal Mortality

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

When Arlene Samen was invited to meet with the Dalai Lama, she couldn’t imagine how it would change her life. Ultimately, she left her position as a nurse as the University of Utah School of Medicine to found One Heart World Wide, an organization that works to end infant and maternal mortality.

One Heart World Wide is making remarkable progress. After a temporary effort with great success in Tibet, Samen moved the organization to Mexico and now Nepal.

Samen says she’s learned a few lessons over the years and summarizes them as follows:

  1. I believe it is “relationships that save lives”, that by working together with others we can serve so many more.
  2. No matter what you face in life, never give up.
  3. The ripple effect knows no boundaries.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Samen will join me for a live discussion about her remarkable work to end maternal deaths. 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 One Heart World Wide:

Twitter : @oneheartww

One Heart World Wide is a non profit organization empowering communities to save the lives of mothers and newborns during childbirth in the most remote areas of the world. We work within existing health infrastructures to prevent maternal and newborn deaths by promoting safe clean deliveries, training community health workers, and upgrading existing health posts to meet national standards of care for birthing centers.Through an elegantly simple approach of training and equipping the right people in the right way, One Heart saves lives efficiently, sustainably, and cost effectively. As the “Network of Safety” is culturally adapted for the people by the people, these systemic changes have a ripple affect, that saves lives now and into future. We deliver scalable solutions, safe pregnancies, and we deliver results.

Arlene Samen

Arlene Samen

Samen’s bio:

Twitter: @arlenesamen

Arlene Samen, has been a Nurse Practitioner in Maternal Fetal Medicine for over 33 years. In 2004, she left behind her clinical practice at the University of Utah School of Medicine to dedicate her life to serving pregnant women living int he most vulnerable conditions int he most remote places of the world. In her travels she learned about the plight of pregnant women and newborns in Tibet, where one out of ten newborn babies died due to preventable causes. She organized a fact-finding mission to understand the local traditions, religious and cultural beliefs of women giving birth. Arlene spent over ten years in Tibet working and living side by side with the local government to bring a safe motherhood project to women who were poor, uneducated, and living in the most remote areas on the roof of the world. She brought the “Network of Safety” model to women who face death in order to give life. In 2009, One Heart World-Wide brought its life saving model to remote villages in Nepal, the Copper Canyon in Mexico, and deep into the amazon jungle in Ecuador where few dared to go. To date over 60,000 women have been touched by the “Network of Safety”. She has endured political uprisings, being held at gunpoint, the SARS epidemic,and earthquakes to make sure women had a safe clean delivery. No matter what the challenges she faced, she followed the Dalai Lama’s advise to never give up. Arlene has received many awards, including Unsung Heroes for Acts of Compassion in 2001, the Soroptpmist Women Making a Difference Award, CNN Hero, and the Stevie Awards “Women helping Women.” She has been a presenter at TEDxSF, BIF10, and Catalyst Creativ amongst being a guest lecturer at Standford and UCSF.

Artist, Activist Lives Among The World’s Poor To Understand Them First Hand

Artist and activist Phil America focuses his work on social issues like class, gender and race.

“Art is a language everyone can speak,” Phil says about his work.

As an activist, he is philosophical, “The biggest criminal is the one who puts the laws of the land above their own morals.”

Having lived all around the world and having seen all sorts of poverty, Phil says, “Living in poverty does not make you poor. What makes you poor is being complacent and having poor character.”

On Friday, July 10, 2015 at 5:00 Eastern, Phil will join me for a live discussion about his remarkable 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.

Phil America

Phil America

Phil’s‘ bio:

Phil America (b. 1983) is a California-raised artist, writer and activist. He has worked and lived throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Africa, and concentrates on issues with class, gender and race. In his work he uses performance, photography, writing, video and sound installation and sculptures, searching for a better understanding and connection to his subjects. He also helps with the development of DEAR Burma, a free school for migrants with an attendance of over 1200 students per semester and recently gave his second TED Talk as well as having spoke at numerous universities and events. In 2014 he collaborated with United Nations, International Labor Organization, World Vision, United States Department of Labor, and other agencies and organizations to create art projects around the globe and is currently working on his 4th book.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Deloitte’s RightStep Innovation Prize Goes To Social Venture Reasoning Mind

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Deloitte recently announced the winner of its RightStep Innovation Prize, Reasoning Mind, a nonprofit social enterprise that implements an interactive online math curriculum in public school districts.

Reasoning Mind CEO Alex Khachatryan explained, “Our mission is to provide a first-rate math education for every child. Over the last five years, we’ve seen not only tremendous growth but also tremendous impact on student mathematical achievement. With Deloitte’s support, we know that we’ll be able to provide the benefits of our program to more students than ever.”

Co-founder and Senior Vice President George Khachatryan said, “Reasoning Mind studies and reverse-engineers the teaching practices of some of the world’s best mathematics teachers. We design online lessons that reproduce some internationally-successful instructional methods—but you can’t deliver a full educational experience online. That’s why we train and support classroom teachers in these practices, too; so they will be empowered to use the program in the most beneficial way possible.”

On Thursday, July 25, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Alex and George will join me for live discussion about the RightStep award from Deloitte and the work they are doing in schools. 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 Reasoning Mind:

Twitter: @reasoningmind

Reasoning Mind is an educational nonprofit with a mission of providing a first-rate math education for every child. The organization studies and reverse-engineers the instructional practices of some of the world’s most effective math teachers, and then reproduces these practices in online lessons. Reasoning Mind also trains and supports teachers in using these instructional materials in their classrooms. The result is a blended learning program that has increased classroom engagement, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement in mathematics.

Alex Khachatryan’s bio:

Alex began his career as a researcher in artificial intelligence and expert systems, before serving as President of Russian Petroleum Consultants Corporation, a consultancy he founded and managed together with his wife, Julia. Alex, Julia, and their son, George, started the work that would eventually lead to the founding of Reasoning Mind in 1999, and in 2003 they launched the organization’s first pilot project. Twelve years later, Alex runs an organization of over 200 employees that has dramatically improved math achievement—and enjoyment—for teachers and students alike. Alex holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in applied mathematics from the Moscow Oil and Gas Institute, along with a doctorate in physics and mathematics from Moscow State University, Russia’s leading research university. Alex enjoys reading, theater, and long walks in the mountains.

George Khachatryan’s bio:

George began working for Reasoning Mind as a high school student, assisting in content development, recruiting volunteer editors, and writing informational materials. He continued working for the non-profit throughout college and graduate school, before completing his studies and officially joining the company full-time in 2011. All of George’s degrees are in pure mathematics—a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, a master’s from the University of Cambridge, and a doctorate from Cornell University. George enjoys literature and traveling with his wife, Marcela.

FB Heron Foundation Leads Foundations Toward 100 Percent Impact Investment

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

When people hear about impact investing, a light goes on. People immediately begin to see the potential. Once they do, they often assume that foundations must be doing the bulk of impact investing. In fact, relatively few are actively doing it.

The FB Heron Foundation has made a bold, public commitment to move 100 percent of its assets to impact investments by the end of 2017.

In her President’s letter issued last month, Clara Miller wrote, “In 2014, we continued to push forward on our core operating principle that “all investing is impact investing,” meaning that we believe that all investments (spanning the range of debt, equity, cooperative shares, warrants, and hybrid instruments) have social as well as financial repercussions. These social and financial repercussions can be positive or negative and vary over time. Bidden or not, intentional or unintentional, all of the enterprises that we invest in have impact that goes well beyond a financial return to an individual investor.”

On Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Miller will join me for a live discussion about the Foundation’s remarkable commitment to deploy its investment capital 100 percent toward its mission. 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 FB Heron Foundation:

Twitter: @HeronFdn

The mission of the FB Heron Foundation is to help people & communities help themselves prosper, especially those that are economically disadvantaged. Heron is looking for ways to help rebalance the economy so that it ensures opportunity for all, which is a critical responsibility not only of philanthropy and government, but of business and investors. Heron invests in enterprises as if people matter.

Heron is uniquely investing all its assets for mission. Its funding is tax-status agnostic (for-profits and nonprofits) and utilizes all forms of capital.

clara_miller-1940x1940

Clara Miller, President, FB Heron Foundation

Miller’s bio:

Twitter: @ClaraGMiller

Prior to assuming the FB Heron Foundation’s presidency in 2011, Miller was President and CEO of Nonprofit Finance Fund which she founded and ran from 1984 to 2011. NFF serves as a “philanthropic bank” for both social sector organizations and their funders, and has invested and managed more than $1.5 billion in financing for social sector organizations.

In addition to serving on The F. B. Heron Foundation’s board, Miller is on the boards of Family Independence Initiative, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, StoneCastle Financial Corp., and The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. She is a member of the Social Investment Committee of the Kresge Foundation and the U.S. National Advisory Board to the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force. In 2010 Miller became a member of the first Nonprofit Advisory Committee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Miller was the inaugural laureate of the Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy awarded in 2014 by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Tocqueville Foundation-Institute of France. She was named to The NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50” for the five years from 2006 through 2010 and received a Bellagio Residency in 2010 by The Rockefeller Foundation.

In 1996, Miller was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Treasury’s first Community Development Advisory Board for the then-newly-created Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. She later served as its Chair. She was a member of the Community Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for eight years, and she received the “Shining Star Award” in 2014 from New York City performance space PS122.

Impact Investing Goes Mainstream; Is It Time You Thought About It?

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Recently, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion on impact investing going mainstream at the Los Angeles Sustainatopia conference. The panelists were all new to me; their insights really got me thinking. I’ve followed up with them in an effort to organize their collective thoughts.

Jonathan Storper, a partner at Hanson Bridgett who founded the firm’s sustainable law practice, effectively highlights the changing perception of impact investing, “Traditionally, impact investing was thought of as low profit or even nonprofit work. Increasingly, there has been the realization that there does not need to be any tradeoff between profit and purpose if the business has the right idea and is run in a disciplined manner.”

Paul Herman, inventor of the “HIP = Human Impact + Profit” ratings system and author of The HIP Investor: Make Bigger Profits by Building a Better World, agree, “ Investing to build a better world can be financially attractive. Sustainable products are growing revenue at higher-than-average growth rates.”

Garvin Jabush, cofounder and chief investment officer of Green Alpha Advisors, notes that the latest generation is helping to drive this shift, “There’s a general idea that I think people, particularly millennials, are now getting: the economy of the 19th and 20th centuries got us a long way, but from here, looking forward, it’s clear that this legacy economy is fraught with systemic risks, not the least of which are the worst effects of climate change and global resource scarcity.”

Seth Streeter, cofounder and CEO of Mission Wealth, explains the shift to impact investing, “ I believe the rapid rise of impact investing is a reflection of today’s society having an appetite to do ‘good’ per one’s own values.”

Storper points out that recent transactions are proving the validity of investing in social enterprises. He highlights the recent ETSY initial public offering, the sale of Method to Ecover and Plum’s sale to Campbell Soup.

Jonathan Storper

Jonathan Storper

One of the consistent themes developed as we discussed the latest thinking in impact investing is that divesting fossil fuels, for instance, is a prudent financial decision, regardless of your views on the environment or climate change.

“By choosing fund managers who select holdings for their funds (whether branded socially responsible or not), investors can benefit with potentially higher returns, lower risk, or both. Going fossil-free in your portfolio can accomplish this – including for university endowments and pensions — as oil, gas and coal have all dramatically lagged the general market over nearly 3 years,” Herman said.

Jabush notes that some have argued that advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to keep fossil fuels in client portfolios for the sake of diversification. “Nowhere in any fiduciary standard does a phrase like ‘must hold securities of fossil fuels’ come into play.”

“Obviously a part of being a prudent fiduciary is also about managing risk. Fossil fuels have significant embedded risk –beyond denuding our planet of scarce resources. Companies in the sector are debt laden and beholden to government subsidies and to supra national and national oligopolies to set prices and manage supply,” Jabush continued.

“The traditional assumption that divesting from fossil fuels will involve less than competitive returns has now been completely discredited,” he concluded.

Herman points out that risk reduction doesn’t relate only to fossil fuel divestitures, “Wind energy requires no fuel, and avoids volatility of oil and gas prices. Engaging employees encourages high retention, low turnover and thus higher productivity. And being innovative rather than extractive avoids legal lawsuits and penalties. All of these contribute to positive cash flow, profit and shareholder value at lower risk.”

Paul Herman

Paul Herman

Jabush agrees, “Now that there are 7.3 billion of us, our economic activities, for the first time in human history, are having existentially threatening effects. So, to prevent our own self-caused biggest threats coming home to roost, it’s time, or even past time, to change the way the economy works. So, folks are understanding that a way to do that is to change where capital is deployed. As long as we remain invested in the fossil-fuels based legacy economy, we’re going to get increasingly strong storms, acidic, rising seas, diminishing biodiversity, and all manner of risks from an increasingly warm planet. Impact can provide an alternative to investing in that future.”

The regulatory environment is shifting to allow for and even encourage social enterprise, Storper notes. “30 states and the district of Columbia have enacted for profit benefit corporation statutes allowing companies to combine profit plus purpose into the DNA of the corporate structure in a more meaningful and enforceable manner. Benefit corporations require purpose, accountability and transparency in addition to creating shareholder value.”

Furthermore, as the impact community becomes more sophisticated, impact measurement tools are beginning to allow social enterprises and investors to gauge their impact objectively. Storper said, “The “b corp” rating system helps measure what matters. In addition, groups like SASB (the sustainable accounting standards board) are developing industry by industry methods to take into account nonfinancial metrics.”

In addition to impact measurement, Streeter believes that we need to take a more holistic approach to defining wealth:

I have identified eight categories for wealth outside the financial definition. They include: physical health, emotional well-being, career satisfaction, thriving relationships, ample fun, social or environmental impact, spiritual connection and intellectual stimulation. Everyone has their own weighting scale as to which of these categories matters the most, because in the end, abundance is in the eye of the beholder. But by the traditional definition of wealth, a man who can’t climb two flights of stairs without being winded and who goes home emotionally distant from his wife and kids, yet has a huge balance sheet, would be considered wealthy.

Streeter also encourages other wealth advisors to focus on impact in their practices for practical and professional reasons beyond sustainability. “With mainstream investment management becoming more commoditized by the growth of higher tech, lower cost ‘robo-advisor’ platforms, conscious planning and investing is a differentiator in the marketplace, especially for the huge Millennial demographic who gravitate to more purpose-led initiatives.”

“Advisors will find more purpose and meaning in their own career and thus enjoy a ‘reboot’ to loving what they do on a daily basis even more than they did before,” he concludes.

The panel discussion was surprisingly upbeat, reflecting the optimism of the panelists that impact investing presents a key part of the solution to major world problems, including climate change. Jabush’s comments are representative of the mood of the panel:

In the next few years, trillions of dollars will be invested in efficient, innovation-driven tech, in solutions to the systemic risks with the power to disrupt the global economy, and in other mitigations and adaptations to the worst outcomes of climate change. This ‘great transition’ towards a global economy that can thrive side-by-side with its ecological underpinnings is now clearly underway. I believe that investing in solutions to our most dangerous risks is the clearest path to a sustainable economy, and also to competitive returns.”

Not Dead, Not Retired, 91-Year-Old Veteran, Entrepreneur Gives Back

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Jack Nadel has been doing business since the end of World War II. Most people his age, quite frankly, are dead and the rest are retired.

Nadel is passionate about sharing his collected wisdom with veterans and others who are working to start businesses. He has written a book, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur, that features 50 of his best business tips.

Nadel has made the book available to veterans at no charge.

He shared a few of his tips with me.

  1. Find a Need and Fill It: The first deal I made was based on one of the first tips I share in my book: Find a Need and Fill it. In 1946, the Chinese were looking to purchase navy blue woolen material, which did not exist. However, there was post War army olive drab material available, so I bought olive drab at war surplus, dyed it navy blue and sold it to the Chinese.
  2. Never Fear to Negotiate, Never Negotiate Out of Fear: Never fear to negotiate and never negotiate out of fear, an important tip for all entrepreneurs. We sold our company, Jack Nadel International, to a New York Conglomerate in 1968. In 1972, we bought it back on a leveraged buy out. The New York company wanted the property for more stock, while our negotiations had included the property for cash. I explained to them that I did not come to re-negotiate and if I did not get cash for the property, there was no deal. They were astounded that I took that hard of a position that I would walk away from the deal. It was good that I did, because I would have sold it for $90,000 in 1968 and in 2014, after collecting rent for all those years, I sold the property for $4.2 million dollars.
  3. Think Global, Start Local: It is very valuable to prove your concept by actually succeeding at it on a smaller scale, first. If you can test a concept by actually executing it on a local level, you will have proven your point. Financing will be much easier and you will have learned what really works. A perfect example was my years in the writing instrument business. We progressed the company from being a small distributor in Los Angeles, California, to being a worldwide successful manufacturer and distributor. So it pays to think global, and start local.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 4:00 Eastern, Nadel will join me for a live discussion about his remarkable, never-ending career and his new book. 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 Jack Nadel:

Twitter: @jacknadel

Jack Nadel’s mission is to help educate and train entrepreneurs and pass on what he has learned with succeeding generations. Through the creation of written and video learning materials via JNJ Publishing LLC, Nadel pursues his mission by sharing insights from his seven successful decades in business to provide the knowledge people need to start a business with or without a formal education. His materials feature The Nadel Method, a simple five-step process that was developed for entrepreneurs out of proven principles to create new businesses, while dramatically reducing the risk of failure. He is rooted in the belief that by evolving more entrepreneurs and helping them prosper, we will also help to sustain our middle class and the economy.

Nadel’s bio:

Jack Nadel has been an international entrepreneur for nearly seven decades—and has made a healthy profit every single one of those years. He founded, acquired, and operated more than a dozen companies worldwide that produced hundreds of new products, thousands of jobs, and millions of dollars in profits, including Jack Nadel International, a global leader in the specialty advertising and marketing industry. Each one of his business transactions has been an adventure he’s loved.

From this broad and solid foundation of experience, Nadel authored a number of popular books including his latest book, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur, winner of five Global Ebook Awards including three Gold Awards for Best in Business, Leadership and Careers/Employment. All were written with the purpose of assisting entrepreneurs with attaining greater business success.

In addition to his commercial enterprises and writing career, Nadel has lectured at several colleges and universities, developed his own targeted thinking methodology for entrepreneurs called The Nadel Method, and for several years hosted his own television show, Out of the Box with Jack Nadel. Though insisting that he has retired, at age 91 Nadel—a decorated WWII veteran—continues to share his expertise and wisdom mentoring future business leaders and entrepreneurs, including through regular article contributions to The Huffington Post.

Jack Nadel is a happy man who leads a robust life, savoring every moment. He lives with his wife Julie in Santa Barbara, CA, and also enjoys actively supporting their ongoing philanthropic efforts through The Nadel Foundation and local community involvement.

Site For Employee Giving Leverages Collective Impact

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Ty Walrod is the visionary behind Bright Funds, a platform designed to allow employers and other leaders to organize giving groups to giving funds.

The fund manager, often an employer, chooses nonprofits to include in a “fund” and then encourages employees and/or other followers to donate to the fund to have focused, strategic impact.

Walrod explains, “We built Bright Funds with a focus on the three key principles: make giving easy — easier than sending a tweet; make giving effective — by helping people give strategically to the best nonprofits in the world; and make giving engaging — by connecting donors to the causes they care about and showing them the impact of their donations.”

“Employees expect more from their employers today than ever before. In partnering with leading companies, Bright Funds has a tremendous opportunity to do good – we align companies with the passions and cares of their employees and empower both to make a positive impact in the world,” Walrod concludes.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at noon Eastern, Walrod will join me for a live discussion about Bright Funds and how you can use them to increase your 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 Bright Funds:

Twitter: @BrightFunds

San Francisco-based Bright Funds helps leading companies and their employees change the world through impactful social good programs, and in doing so, make their businesses more successful. Bright Funds enables employee donors to choose their cause and give to individual non-profits or exclusively available “Funds” comprised of multiple nonprofits. In one platform, Bright Funds brings together the power of research, the reliability of a trusted financial service, and the convenience of centralized contributions and company reporting. Employees, recruits, customers, and investors and worthy causes appreciate companies that use Bright Funds for employee-empowered giving.

Ty Waldrod, CEO Bright Funds

Ty Waldrod, CEO Bright Funds

Walrod’s bio:

Twitter: @tywalrod

Ty is the co-founder and CEO of Bright Funds, the company that enables employee-empowered workplace giving. Prior to Bright Funds, Ty co-founded and built OutServe into a national organization supporting LGBT equality in the US military. He previously worked for Deloitte , with the partnership’s venture capital, private equity and technology clients, followed by his work as the lead business analyst for Coverity.

Ty is also the co-founder and a board member of Startup and Tech Mixer, a bay area professional networking organization, and a board member of Sustainable Silicon Valley, an organization dedicated to a healthy environment, a vibrant economy, and a socially equitable Silicon Valley community. He is an avid runner and mountaineer.

Academic Focuses On Building Peace, International Development

I met Craig Zelizer in the airport in Mexico City where we were both en route to Opportunity Collaboration and was immediately drawn to his good nature. He did his doctoral research on arts and peacebuilding and has made that his career focus at Peace and Collaborative Development Network.

Craig recently shared his favorite quote with me, “A journalist asked Mirsad Puritva, director  of the 1992 International Festival of Film and Theater in Sarajevo how can they have a film fest in the middle of the war? He replied, ‘how can they have a war in the middle of the film festival?'”

Craig summarizes his passion for peace, “Violent conflict is one of the greatest challenges preventing the achievment of the MDGs and more stable, peaceful societies”

Craig also notes, “Higher education in the US is in a period of crisis, given the increasing costs of pursuing graduate education and the mismatch between what many academic programs are providing students and what employers seek in candidates.”

craig_zellizer2

Showing his pragmatic side, Craig adds, “In order to better engage businesses in peacebuilding, it is necessary not only to make the moral case, but to show how peace is good for business in concrete terms.”

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 2:00 Eastern, Craig will join me for a live discussion about is efforts to advance peace and the study of peacebuilding. 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 Peace and Collaborative Development Network:

Twitter: @pcdnetwork

PCDN is the go to hub for the global changemaking community connecting over 35,000 individuals/organizations engaged in social change, peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship, development and related fields. We provide a one-stop shop to inspire, connect, inform and provide the tools and resources to scale social change. The network has over 250,000 hits per month and 75,000 + unique visitors and has helped thousands of individuals and organizations worldwide network, obtain funding, jobs, and be inspired.

Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Craig’s bio:

Twitter: @CraigZelizer

Craig is the Founder and CEO of PCDN. In addition, he is the Associate Director for the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University. Craig has dedicated his life to being an entrepreneur and to creating a more peaceful world.

Since its founding in 2007, Craig has grown PCDN to over 35,000 members representing more than 180 countries. At the same time, Craig has also assisted in a 300% growth of students and faculty in Georgetown’s conflict resolution program. Before creating PCDN, Craig also helped to found two NG0s – the Alliance for Conflict Transformation and the TEAM foundation in Hungary.

Craig serves on a number of boards and advisory boards including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Inzone Project, Tech Change, Move this World, Amani Institute, and several others. He spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others.

Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University.

He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education. His most recent edited book is Integrated Peacebuilding (2013, Westview Press).

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

Passionate Leader of UNFPA Kenya Battles Violence Against Women, FGM and Child Marriage

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

UNFPA Kenya is working hard with all partners to support the Government of Kenya and the First Lady of Kenya’s clarion call, ‘no woman should die giving life,’” explains UNFPA Representative to Kenya, Siddharth (Sid) Chatterjee.

Chatterjee explains the charge he received when he took on his new role just over a year ago, “The Executive Director of UNFPA Undersecretary General Dr Babatunde Osotimehin’s marching orders to me when taking up my role as UNFPA Kenya was, ‘support the Government to bring to an end the unacceptably high maternal deaths, end FGM and child marraige. Change the game.’”

The context, Chatterjee notes, is sobering. “Sexual and gender based violence [SGBV] continues to be a challenge in Kenya. According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) in 2014, 41% of women have experienced violence. This is unacceptable. The Government of Kenya has made efforts to prevent and respond to violence by adopting policies and enacting legislation such as the sexual offences Act (2007), the FGM Act (2011) and the National Policy on Prevention and Response to GBV. A comprehensive response to SGBV needs to be multi-sectoral. These will include community education/dialogue, media campaign, advocacy forums with policy makers/legislators as well as psychosocial support, clinical, legal and security services.”

In the face of such a daunting challenge, Chatterjee strikes a distinctly optimistic tone, “Our world is home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, and Dr Babatunde Osotimehin the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says, “Never before have there been so many young people. Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress.’”

“Kenya has one of the most youthful populations in the world with about 60 percent of the population aged below 24 years. A demographic dividend and through the countering violent extremism summit Kenya is going to host, she can change the narrative, by putting the spotlight on youth,” Chatterjee adds.

Chatterjee notes that achieving the country’s goals for women will require government leadership and collaboration among all development partners to create an integrated, long-term program that actively involves young people. “Let’s put youth at the center of the narrative. Kenya can serve as a model for transmuting its youth into a demographic dividend which other nations can emulate,” he says.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Chatterjee will join me for a live discussion about the UNFPA efforts to end FGM, child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya. 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 UNFPA:

Twitter: @unfpaken

UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The Executive Director of UNFPA globally is Dr Babatunde Osotimehin. UNFPA works in more than 150 countries and territories that are home to the vast majority of the world’s people.

In Kenya UNFPA is working with the Government of Kenya to:

  1. Reduce the unacceptably high maternal deaths.
  2. End harmful traditional practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
  3. Advance the demographic dividend Kenya is blessed with by helping young people fulfill their potential and specifically invest in adolescent girls. Kenya has around 13.7 million young people out of a population size of nearly 43 million.

Chatterjee’s bio:

Twitter: @sidchat1

Siddharth Chatterjee (Sid) has been the UNFPA Representative to Kenya with effect from 10 April 2014.

Before joining UNFPA, he was the Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilization at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) based in Geneva since June 2011.

Before joining IFRC, he was Regional Director for the Middle East, Europe and Central Asian Republics at the United Nations Office for Project Services. He also served as Chief of Staff to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the UN Mission in Iraq. He has served in leadership positions in UNICEF Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan(Darfur), Indonesia and with the UN Peace Keeping Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Before joining the UN in January 1997, he was a career officer in the Special Forces of the Indian Army.

He has written extensively on a range of humanitarian and social issues in a variety of journals such as CNN, Al Jazeera, Forbes, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Reuters, the
Global Observatory, the Inter Press Service as well as some mainstream Indian journals. He is considered a strong advocate by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to end the scourge of polio was a key note speaker on child soldiers at a TED x event in Spain.

He has a Master in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, USA and a Bachelor of Sciences from the National Defense Academy in India.

Sid is married and they have a son.

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