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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

TF5

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He Built An Organization From Trash To Restore Human Dignity

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

At 29, Brett Durbin went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to find a cause for his church to support. He’d never imagined how this would change his life. The organization he ultimately founded, Trash Mountain Project, serves the people who make their living—such as it is—by scavenging in the developing world’s trash dumps.

With fires constantly smoldering, burning a mix of toxic and noxious materials, these are literally hellish places, Durbin, now 37, explains. Toddlers, adults and the aged—entire multi-generational families—hunt for food to eat and anything of value to sell crawling and clawing through everything from animal to industrial waste.

After visiting Honduras, Durbin looked for an organization focused on serving the trash dump communities he’d seen. A professor counseled him, “The last thing we need is another nonprofit organization.”

After months of searching, however, he’d found no organization focused on serving them—though some had activities and provided services there—so, with the support of his professor and his wife, he decided to launch Trash Mountain Project.

Today, the 501(c)(3) is working at nine locations in five countries with eight full-time staff members in Kansas and 44 people receiving full-time support from the organization working at one of the sites.

Brett Durbin, Trash Mountain Project

Living in an Actual Dump

“These are individuals rummaging through trash and waste to find plastic or other recoverable waste. They are the poorest of the poor in many cities. Their living conditions, their health, and their future is some of the most precarious you will find on the globe,” echoes James Copple, President of Servant Forge, which is exploring a partnership with Durbin’s organization.

The challenges facing residents of trash dump communities are hard to comprehend for most of living in the developed world. Every year, hundreds of people are killed by trash avalanches. The residents face constant exposure to heavy metals as well as other poisons. The food they eat, picked from the pile, is contaminated. The animals they eat, whether they are fish, chickens or rodents are similarly contaminated.

“We see kids as young as you know two and three years old picking through the trash with their families,” Durbin says.

While Durbin has focused most of his energy on the humanitarian implications of trash dump communities, he is quick to point out that it is also an environmental disaster. The same lack of regulation and waste control that allows a two-year-old to scavenge for dinner in a toxic, burning pile of garbage, also allows for the waste to contaminate the environment. Virtually any contaminant that enters the water system ends up in the oceans we all share.

Simply closing dumps isn’t an optimal solution. It neither addresses the environmental nor the humanitarian crises. The trash dump creates an ecosystem; when you close it, the livelihoods of every person in the community is threatened but the toxic leaching continues.

“I’ve seen one police officer in 54 trash dump communities over nine years. This is it’s not a place where things are safe. Even police don’t really feel safe there in most scenarios,” Durbin explains.

Incremental Actions Bring Long-term Progress

Kevin Conard, owner of Blue Jazz Coffee Roasters, has become a supporter of Trash Mountain Project. For every bag of coffee sold, his company donates enough to buy a meal for a child living in a trash dump community in the Dominican Republic. He reports donating 57,000 meals to date.

Conard explains, “To me, Trash Mountain Project ultimately is in the business of infusing hope where there is none. They go into places where there is corruption, gang violence, social injustices galore, hatred, etc., and in very tangible ways, plant seeds of love, hope, future, systems, education, spiritual health… and over time, those seeds grow and spread through the community, slowly replacing the bad. It’s wonderful to see these growing pockets of good in places so dark.”

Trash Mountain Project is directly providing or partnering with other organizations to provide technical job training, food and nutrition, health care, and elder care. The organization, after eight years of service at the grassroots level, is now seeking to become more of a political force, advocating on behalf of these communities and the environmental devastation.

Durbin points to families who leave the trash dump communities as success stories. The work is, however, tricky. You can’t tell people they should leave. “So that’s something we’re not telling them to do. The last thing you want to do is minimize what they’re doing. I mean this is their livelihood.”

As their kids start to get better nutrition through Trash Mountain Project efforts to get them fed and educated, the families begin to appreciate the value of nutrition and seek out healthier food. When such families reach a point that their dignity is restored to the point that they both want to function and can function outside of the trash dump community, Durbin says that’s a win for him.

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


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

This Social Entrepreneur Built An Organization To Serve The Youth Others Reject

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Fresh out of college, Rob Gitin took a job working in homeless services along with one of his classmates, Mumtaz Mustapha. One day, she said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day someone started a program that was specifically focused on the kids who either got kicked out of our program or who tell us that they’ve known about it for five years before they ever set foot in it?”

Over the months that followed, the conversation turned from someone else doing it to the two of them. One day, twenty years ago, with an Echoing Green Foundation grant deadline coming the next day, the two decided to apply for the funds to launch At The Crossroads, serving the youth no one else could or would in San Francisco.

Twenty years later, Gitin, now 43, is still at it. Mustapha left after four years to go to medical school and has become a financial supporter. Today, the organization has an annual budget of $1.7 million.

According to Gitin, there are about 4,000 homeless youth in San Francisco. At The Crossroads serves about 1,200 of them—the most difficult ones. They are the more likely to be targeted by law enforcement than by service providers. They struggle with substance use and mental health issues. Many are unstably housed and don’t identify as homeless and so may not seek out programs that serve the homeless. Some don’t trust service providers. Some simply don’t know services are available. Some have given up all hope.

The Power of Unconditional Support to Change Lives

“We believe that unconditional relationships can transform the lives of the people that we work with,” says Gitin.

“Our goal with these young people is to help them build outstanding lives as they define them and the basic model is about eliminating all barriers to access,” Gitin says. Building relationships of trust is key. “They have to know that you’re there for them through thick and thin and that you’re not just saying that but that you will actually live up to that.”

Rashad, Maxine and daughter Serenity (last name withheld) with Rob Gitin

Building trust requires time. “We are out there night after night after night. If it takes 50 times of seeing you before you want to take a pair of socks from me that’s fine.”

As in any other circle of influence, from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to the inner circles of power in Washington, introductions from trusted members of the community can accelerate progress.

“If your best friend is next to you and that person gives me a hug and says, ‘Hey, this is Rob from At The Crossroads. He’s the one who helped me when I was in a real jam with my housing. You should talk to him about what’s going on.’ You may have just saved us years of trust building through the way that you kind of validated our relationship.”

Gitin’s work is complicated by the clients’ drug use. “I would say [drugs] are a very serious problem for about 30 or 40% of our clients. And substance use is a part of almost every client’s life that we work with,” he explains.

Still, asked about his biggest win, Gitin boasts: “ We’ve never kicked a young person out of our program. We can truly say that our support is unconditional. ”

“When you bring that into someone’s lives it can be as if like they have blinders that start to come off and they start to see this much more broad vision of who they can be in the world and what the world can bring to their lives.”

Housing Challenges in San Francisco

With the city sitting near the top of the list of most expensive places in the country, finding a permanent place to live is a challenge for almost anyone in San Francisco. It has become almost impossible for young people without a proper support network. And Gitin says the problem is getting worse.

“They are rarely able to just get a room and a roommate situation in the way that they may have been able to 10 years ago and having that option off the table has made it a lot harder for kids to succeed even when they’re working incredibly hard,” Gitin explains.

Problems with housing don’t just apply to the unemployed youth. “A shockingly high percentage of our clients are already working when we first encountered them. Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of our clients are working and in many cases have full time jobs. But that is not nearly enough to prevent them from being homeless.”

Gitin says that to afford a studio apartment in San Francisco “you need to be working three or four minimum wage jobs—full time.”

Supportive housing options are extremely limited, too. At The Crossroads has relationships with four providers where they can place young people living on the streets but it can take months to get them moved in. “We’ve had clients wait for five months for a slot that was already theirs just because the process was so bureaucratic and challenging,” Gitin says with exasperation.

The Challenge Continues

Once a client is in housing, the problems don’t end. Conditioned by adults who abandoned or abuse them—or at least failed them as they perceive it—the youth have a difficult time in some of the supportive situations they are placed.

Youth on the street have a short-term planning horizon, Gitin says. “I think often the culture of what it takes to be young and survive on the streets can be actually antithetical to the typical structure of a nonprofit program–in particular a housing program. So, when you’re on the streets you are fiercely independent and you’re constantly having to prioritize yourself, your own safety and your own needs above everything else, you don’t think about or at least you don’t prioritize what happens 24 hours from now or 48 hours from now. You prioritize what will help me get through these next 24 minutes.”

This creates a huge gap between a young person’s experience and requirements for moving forward. “If all a young person has experienced with the adults in their life is that they hurt me more than they help me and that I am better off trusting myself. It’s a really tough transition to then be in a program where you’re told if you don’t blindly trust these adults and follow what they want you can’t be here anymore,” Gitin says.

At The Crossroads seeks to keep up with all of their clients forever, to be a resource and a help throughout their lives, in part so they can help them when they stumble.

“Although the process can take many years, ATC sticks with their clients and never gives up on them. What a gift to these young people who have been abandoned again and again during their lives,” says Mary Gregory, senior program officer for five family foundations at Pacific Foundation Services, and one of the founding members of the At The Crossroads board of directors.

Success Stories

The program, at least anecdotally, works. Gitin is proud of the impact the organization has on the individuals it serves. A few examples he mentions, include:

  • A client who now owns his own restaurant in Hayward
  • A client who just bought a home in Marin County by selling artwork, supporting his wife and three kids
  • A client who started his own merchandising business and now employs 20 people most would see as unemployable: formerly homeless, recently incarcerated, and those that have had substance abuse problems.

Wins may not be as frequent as Gitin would hope but he has chosen only to serve those who have been rejected by everyone else. He counts every win.

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


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Attorney, Educator, Social Entrepreneur Shares Insights In Important New Book


Kathleen Kelly Janus, Stanford Lecturer and author of Social Startup Success, began her education in social entrepreneurship as a child, skipping church with her parents to help the homeless. That foundation led her to start a nonprofit called Spark alongside her legal career.

The book is about how to scale a nonprofit, with a focus on helping one reach a key milestone of sustainability: a $2 million annual budget. Written from the perspective of 100 nonprofits who did just that, the fresh take on growth in this key sector of the economy, the book is a must-read for nonprofit leaders.

Interview with Kathleen Kelly Janus, the Author of Social Startup Success.

The following is the pre-interview with Kathleen Kelly Janus. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Social Entrepreneurs don’t have the tools they need to make a difference. This book is the playbook I wish I had when I started Spark.

More about Social Startup Success:

Twitter: @kkellyjanus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenKJanus/

Website: www.kathleenjanus.com

What Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus is calling an “important catalyst for training the next generation of social entrepreneurs on how to change the world,” Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference, by Stanford lecturer and Spark Co-Founder Kathleen Kelly Janus, is a guidebook for how to achieve breakthrough impact in the nonprofit sector. For the past five years, Janus has traveled the country visiting the founders, leadership teams, and funders of dozens social entrepreneurs, both newcomers and veterans in the field, including the leaders of Teach for America, City Year, DonorsChoose and charity:water. The book features her findings, detailing best practices for testing ideas, measuring impact, funding experimentation, leading collectively and storytelling with purpose. Social Startup Success is a social entrepreneurship’s essential playbook; the first definitive guide to solving the problem of nonprofit scale.

Kathleen Kelly Janus

Kathleen Kelly Janus’s bio:

Twitter: @kkellyjanus

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenkellyjanus/

Kathleen Kelly Janus is a social entrepreneur, author and lecturer at Stanford University. As an expert on philanthropy, millennial engagement and scaling early stage organizations, her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, TechCrunch and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the co-founder of Spark, the largest network of millennial donors in the world. Based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, her forthcoming book, Social Startup Success, features best practices for early stage nonprofit organizations based on a five-year research project interviewing hundreds of top-performing social entrepreneurs.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

This Bank Not Only Serves B Corps It Is a B Corp


BDC is the only bank in Canada focused entirely on serving entrepreneurs. The bank is so excited about serving social entrepreneurs that it has a wide-ranging program to support them and provide the same banking services they provide to other entrepreneurs.

They don’t stop there. Craig Rayan, Director of Social Entrepreneurship says, the bank became a certified B Corp five years ago.

Interview with Craig Ryan, Director, Social Entrepreneurship of BDC.

The following is the pre-interview with Craig Ryan. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Real economy entrepreneurs often have trouble finding the financial and advisory support they need.  We provide reliable, helpful and sophisticated support to Canadian entrepreneurs.

More about BDC:

Twitter: @bdc_ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BDC.ca/

Website: www.bdc.ca

BDC is the only bank in Canada dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs.  From 100 offices across the country, we offer loans, investments and advisory services.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Revenue is generated by interest on loans and professional fees.

Scale: BDC has 50,000 clients across Canada.  To serve them, it has 2,000 employees and an asset base of $25 billion.

Craig Ryan

Craig Ryan’s bio:

Twitter: None

Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/craigryan1

Craig is Director of Social Entrepreneurship at BDC, the only bank in Canada devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. He leads its efforts to promote social entrepreneurship by growing the B Corp movement, as well as corporate initiatives to support entrepreneurs in underserved parts of the Canadian population.

Craig has more than 20 years’ experience in the public, private and civil society sectors. He has worked in developing countries on poverty reduction and health care, as a senior policy advisor to federal ministers responsible for the environment and foreign aid and as a corporate responsibility advisor to large energy and pharma companies.

He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, is a guest lecturer at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management and in 2017 was named to Canada’s Clean 16, an award celebrating leadership in promoting clean capitalism.


Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Specific Responses to the Question: How Will You Increase Your Impact in 2018?

To kick off the year with some powerful inspiration, I asked some successful social entrepreneurs and others in the impact community, to answer a simple question: “How will you increase your impact in 2018?”

The answers fell naturally into two groups. The first group were broadly relevant answers that almost any social entrepreneur could mimic. The second group were more specific, based on their particular mission. The first list I published on Forbes here. The second cohort of responses, equally inspiring, are listed below in alphabetical order by respondent.

Adlai Wertman, David. C. Bohnett Professor of Social Entrepreneurship of USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab:

“I review our programs each year to ensure full alignment with our mission statement.”

Adlai Wertman

Adlai Wertman

Alan Naumann, sales manager of Rocky Mountain Renewable Energy:

I will increase collaboration with Native Americans.  I want to support Native American voices, political power and Co management of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, in particular!

Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute:

Having proven that optimizing vehicles, buildings, factories, and equipment as whole systems can make very big energy savings very cheap (expanding returns), I aim to figure out how to turn such “integrative design” from rare to common.

Amy Cortese, Author, founder of Locavesting of Locavesting (also inevstibule):

More collaboration. We’re stronger together. I’m encouraged by the many efforts to join up disparate initiatives in 2018.

Andreas Karelas, executive director of RE-volv:

One person, truly empowered, can make a real difference. RE-volv’s 2018 goal is to empower scores of people with the tools they need to lead the clean energy revolution, starting in their communities.

Arlene Samen, founder of One Heart World Wide:

Our model “The Network of Safety” will be open sourced so others can save the lives of women in childbirth.

Arlene Samen

Billy Starr, founder and executive director of Pan-Mass Challenge:

We will grow every aspect of our cycling weekend which currently has 6,000 cyclists, 12 routes and 315,000 donors to cancer research. Our growth strategy also includes a winter indoor cycle event.

Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org:

We’ll explore ways to strengthen the connection between our teachers and the donors and organizations that give on DonorsChoose.org, in order to grow our community of passionate education supporters.

Dallas Graham, publisher and executive director of Red Fred Project:

Creating a toolkit for local professionals so they can assist in the effort of making more books with more children.

Daryl Hatton, CEO of FundRazr:

We are expanding our suite of digital fundraising power tools to help our professional fundraising customers do an ever-better job of engaging their communities and communicating their impact.

David D’Angelo, marketing director of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden :

We will launch a revenue generating, social impact fellowship program, manage our new permaculture project, and develop a new international festival called “Voyages” to develop tourism in Laos.

Howard Leonhardt , executive chairman of Leonhardt’s Launchpads (with whom I have a business relationship):

Will work to complete development of a whole body organ regeneration chamber designed to regenerate humans to live 30 years longer with high quality of life.

Jack Griffin, founder of FoodFinder:

For issues like poverty and hunger, we may never truly win the war. But in 2018, I will do everything I can to move the needle on food insecurity since helping even a single life is worth it.  

Jack Griffin

Jason S. Trager, Ph.D., managing partner of Sustainabilist:

We’re using data-driven content marketing to reach more clients for our process improvement and quality assurance work in sustainability.

Jenny Kassan, owner of Jenny Kassan Consulting:

I will get more mission-driven female entrepreneurs funded by investors that love and support them.

Jill Vialet, CEO and founder of Playworks:

We’re giving away our secret sauce, enabling partners and educators to make play more safe and healthy in order to reach 1mm kids in 2000 schools this year

Kathryn Pisco, founder and CEO of Unearth the World:

We will increase our impact by planning transformative skills-based volunteer abroad programs for socially-minded companies. We will grow our local volunteer initiatives to catalyze change in the US!

Laura Callanan, founding partner of Upstart Co-Lab:

With a pipeline of more than $1.5 billion in opportunities over the next five years, the time has come to borrow from the lessons of gender lens investing and introduce a Creativity Lens to impact investing.

Laura Callanan, courtesy of Upstart Co-Lab

Laura Lemle, PhD., founder and chairperson of The NVLD Project:

In 2018 we will be increasing our presence on social media by working directly with people who have NVLD to spread awareness about the disability.

Laurie Lane-Zucker, founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur (Center, LLC, Network):

Our global network is active around blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I joined the Impact Token Project as Advisor and am looking at integrating blockchain as an operating system in our projects.

Marisa de Belloy, CEO of Cool Effect:

We’ll be launching a campaign to show people, for the first time ever, carbon emissions. When you can see the problem, you can fight it!

Melody Saunders Brenna, CEO Founder of Reef Life Restoration NanoScience:

Reduce manufacturing impact by inclusion of industrial waste. RLR advanced nano materials bring higher strengths using less cement/sand. Encapsulation of plastic/refuse = dual purpose CLEAN profits.

Nancy Hughes, president and founder of StoveTeam International:

I will be raising awareness of the dangers of open fire cooking

Nissan Bahar, co-founder of Bitwalking:

Build a currency only for the purpose of making life better, believing in the irreducible value of every human being.

Nissan Bahar and Franking Imbesi with a student in Africa, courtesy of Keepod

Pat Walsh, co-founder and chief impact officer of Classy:

Mobilize our employees to make a greater impact through philanthropy, and leverage our product and data to enable nonprofits to be transparent and communicate their impact with the world.

Peter Fusaro, EVP of 41 North Securities:

We are helping companies obtain capital to accelerate solutions in sustainability in clean energy, clean water and sustainable agriculture. That impacts the environment and reduces greenhouse gases.

Rahel, managing director of Afrolehar:

In 2018, we will be producing more multimedia content in addition to implementing our technology solutions to facilitate trade of added–value products between Africa and North America.

Rebecca Firth, community and partnerships manager of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team:

Help anyone, anywhere contribute to development through making really complicated things really simple through apps.

Ryan Scott, CEO and founder of ICO Advisory Group:

Create a pipeline for new cryptocurrency offerings to give back to charity both as donation during their ICOs, and with their ongoing operations.

Shane DeRolf, Founder & CEO of Big Word Club:

Big Word Club is committed to closing the Word Gap in America.  In 2018,  we are seeking to prove the efficacy of BWC in a randomized control trial funded by J-PAL, a leading research center at MIT.

Siddharth Chatterjee, resident coordinator to Kenya of United Nations:

We will partner with private sector, civil society, faith-based organizations to support Government of Kenya’s efforts to leapfrog Universal Health Coverage. #UHC=Defeating poverty =Economic prosperity = #SDG 3 & 1.

Wendy Lipton-Dibner

Wendy Lipton-Dibner, president of Professional Impact, Inc.:

Launching business number 11, dedicated to finding, funding, & fostering hidden difference-makers so they can make the impact they were born to bring the world without giving up their lives to make it happen.

Never miss another feature! Join Devin here!

Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Turning Over an Old Leaf Ends 3-Year Run Without a Car

Its over. Its been more than three years that Gail and I have lived without owning a car. When we sold the car, I wrote about our plans in what became one of my most popular and memorable Forbes articles. When I meet people for the first time, it is the most commonly mentioned article. Last week, we bought a car.

While I still dont have a commute, my mother recently moved across town and visiting her in her new home requires a $25 Uber rideeach wayor a 90-minute public transit trip followed by a mile walk. Not wishing to disappoint her, we determined that this was a bridge too far for our auto-less lifestyle, so we bought one. More about that here in a bit.

green leaf on a white

With the benefit of three more years of experience, let me update you on what worksand what doesntin the world without a car. Ill work from my original list of twelve things that allowed me to live without a car.

  1. com. There is no question that we have become more delightedly dependent on Amazon.com over the past three yearswho hasnt. It made not owning a car easier.
  2. Living downtown, we really have walked routinely to do errands others drive to do, especially shopping. We live a short walk from a shopping mall and just another block from the nearest grocery store. Comfortable walks all-in-all.
  3. Light rail. Weve logged a lot of miles on light rail here in Salt Lake. It generally runs on time, its affordable and not much slower than drivingso long as your destination is a light rail station.
  4. Commuter rail. We have regularly usedand will continue to usethe rail line that runs about 100 miles from Ogden to Provo along the Wasatch Front. Roomy, comfortable, quick and far cheaper than driving an internal combustion engine car, it is hard to beat.
  5. Bike share. I used the bike share for two years but then canceled my membership. I found that walking is better exercise and I seldom used the bikes. Im hoping that the cheaper, rack-free rental bikes will come to Salt Lake City.
  6. Over the past three years, Ive taken a lot of buses. In many ways, I love them. Real people ride the bus. The reality, however, is that buses move through town at a rate just faster than I can run. With their frequent stops, they run at less than half the speed of an automobile. For long trips, that gets frustrating.
  7. I used Lyft often enough to figure out that the app has an algorithm for estimating the arrival time of a ride that seems to average about one-half of the actual time required for a ride to come. Otherwise, the experience is virtually identical to Uber.
  8. Uber (and Lyft) are really what make not owning a car possible. There are so many times and places that public transit wont go where you want when you want that without Uber I would have needed a car.
  9. Apart from out-of-town travel, I havent used a taxi since just before writing the Forbes article more than three years ago.
  10. Car sharing. Enterprise operated a car-share program in Salt Lake City. I subscribed and used the service about once-per month at first. Over time, my experience was disappointing. If the car wasnt where it was supposed to besay because the last user couldnt return it to its proper place because some jerk had parked there illegallyId end up late for a meeting. Ill spare you the story of Christmas 2015, but I only used the service once after that. Enterprise recently closed the program and, to my knowledge, no one else is operating one in Salt Lake.
  11. I have become more dependent on my local Avis. Located right on my block, Ive been renting a car there an average of more than two days per month. I maintain liability insurance and always use a credit card that provides coverage for the rented car. Even before selling my car, Id often rent a car from Avis for road trips. Better to put 1,200 miles on an Avis car than my own! Im sure I will do so in the future, too.
  12. During our three years without a car, we were frequent beneficiaries of kindnesses of all sorts. To all our friends, we love and appreciate your help and support.

So, we broke down and bought a 2012 Nissan Leaf. This is an all-electric car unlike a Toyota Prius that has both an electric motor and a traditional internal combustion engine to share the work.

The car has rather limited utility. The original range of the car was about 80 miles. That has declined to about 50 miles over the years. Ive described it as having a car with a one-gallon gas tank, that needs a rare form of gasoline that takes a long time to fill the little tank.

You see, with a range of 50 miles and a need for cushion, given that you dont always know how quickly you can find a place to plug in, you can only go about 40 miles. Thats 20 miles out and 20 miles back. Thats my new life.

The best news: it takes barely more than $1 of electricity to fill the little tank.

That limited range means public transit, Uber/Lyft and Avis will still be a part of my life. So, too, will explaining to friends why I need to plug my car in at their houses if they ever want me to leave!

Of course, I didnt buy this car because it was so utilitarian. I bought it because it is environmentally friendly. Let me answer a key question that may have already come to your mind.

NARA, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 23, 2016: Nissan Leaf electric car charging at a station in Nara, Japan.

“Arent you just moving from oil to coal to power your car?” The simple answer is no. Let me explain.

  1. Even though Rocky Mountain Power still produces most of its power from coal, that mix is changing to include more wind and solar all the time. I participate in Rocky Mountain Powers Blue Sky program, where I pay extra each month to help fund the transition to renewable energy. I also buy carbon credits monthly from CoolEffect.com. (You should, too.)
  2. Electric motors are so much more efficient than internal combustion engines (ICEs) that my car is about three times as efficient as a typical ICE car. Even if much of the power for the car comes from coal, it is about two-thirds less damaging to the environment.
  3. To the extent that coal is powering my car, that coal plant isnt contributing to air pollution in the city where I live. Additionally, the plant can be equipped with more filters and cleaners than a vehicle tailpipe to remove toxic emissions.
  4. By switching from Uber/Lyft to Leaf, given that Ive never had a ride in an all-electric vehicle, I am dramatically decreasing my contribution to pollution and global warming.

So, Im turning over an old Leaf, ending my three-year experiment on life without a car and looking forward to one day owning a Tesla.

Why Diabetics Want Pockets in Their Knickers and Where to Get Them

Type 1 Diabetics, those who typically contract the disease as children and not as a result of a lack of diet or exercise, are entirely dependent upon insulin. Today’s insulin delivery and blood glucose monitoring use devices–insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors–that must be connected to them all the time. Finding a comfortable, invisible, convenient place to hold those devices is a relatively new challenge that Pocket Innerwear is helping to solve.

Interview with Laurel Bloomfield, the Co-Founder VP of Pocket Innerwear.

The following is the pre-interview with Laurel Bloomfield. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We strive to make life with Diabetes easier.  While insulin pump therapy provides greater diabetes control, it also causes complications and questions.  Where do I put this thing? Can I wear my regular clothes? What if I drop it? What if I pull out my site too early? Can I run, jump and play?  What about night time? What is the PumpPocket by Pocket Innerwear?  This patented design was created so people who are insulin dependent would have a clever place to put their insulin pump.  There is an outlet to allow the pump’s tubing to safely be fed through the back and connect to the infusion site.  Your pump remains safe, secure and concealed while preventing your tubing from getting caught or tangled.  All of this in discreet layering undergarments!

More about Pocket Innerwear:

Twitter: @pocketinnerwear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pocketinnerwear.inc/?ref=br_rs

Website: www.pocketinnerwear.com

Pocket Innerwear is a for profit organization on a mission.  We strive to make life with diabetes easier by providing solutions in the form of clothing with specially designed pockets to keep one’s insulin pump safe, secure and discreet.  Pocket Innerwear was founded with the intention to give back from the start gate.  For every Pump Pocket we sell we give one to a child with Type 1 Diabetes.  We have given away thousands of Pump Pockets so far.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We are primarily an e-commerce retail and wholesale apparel business

Scale: 3 Founders working full time on this project, we employ about 5 sub-contractors to help us scale this business.  We are a small start up at our tipping point, we are slated to launch in Wal Mart and are in talks with a few other retail majors.

Laurel Bloomfield

Laurel Bloomfield’s bio:

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/laurel-bloomfield-954a2670/

Laurel is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Pocket Innerwear.  She is a modern Ranch Wife, a Mother and a business woman.  Her husband and her have a beef cattle ranch in the North West U.S. they also have a Heavy Equipment construction company that specializes in Stream Restoration and Environmental projects.  Laurel and her husband have been married for 13 years.  They have 1 son 5 years whom they adopted at birth, he is the light and very purpose of their lives!  Laurel founded Pocket Innerwear with a couple other stay at home mom friends.  Laurel is creative and a serial entrepreneur so when her son was born and she was spending more time inside and less time on “Ranch Work”  she was on the look out for a way to channel her creative energy and latched onto this cause.  Having close friends with children with diabetes it quickly became not just a little business idea but a mission to really serve!


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Hiroshima Survivor Has a Message for Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un: ‘No More Hiroshima’

Toshiharu Kano, 71, was born seven months after the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Pregnant with Kano and living less than 1 kilometer or about half a mile from the center of the blast, his mother Shizzue Neomoto miraculously survived. She took her two children to a nearby military base. His brother, just 18 months old, died within 60 days of the bombing.

As a survivor, Kano endured a variety of physical challenges. His immune system was impaired and got mumps seven times. Labeled by society as defective, Kano and his family were spurned. By age ten, he felt so rejected that he seriously contemplated suicide. He was repeatedly told he was damaged goods.

Ultimately, Kano and his family immigrated to the United States. Here in the U.S., Kano thrived. He says he’s missed only 10 days of work or school in the past 47 years. He attended the University of Utah and earned a BS in mechanical engineering.

Kano married and had one son. His son was born healthy and at 6′ 1″, towers over his father. He recalls seeing an x-ray of his son just hours before he was delivered by cesarian section. He counted all of the fingers and toes and relaxed when he realized that they were all there.

Kano’s sister, never fully recovering from the jeers of her youth, chose never to marry or have children.

The picture was taken by Charles Levy from one of the B-29 Superfortresses used in the attack.

Kano notes that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a mere “toy” compared with modern nuclear weapons. Still, the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed about 100,000 people. The bomb packed the punch of 15 kilotons of TNT.

By comparison, the largest bomb ever detonated was built by the USSR and had the equivalent of 50,000 kilotons or 50 megatons of TNT, about 3,000 times more powerful than Little Boy.

In his book, Passport to Hiroshima, Kano says, “I have a message from God to tell all of the world leaders that we cannot use the nuclear weapons to settle their differences ever again.”

He told me, the message is simple. “No more Hiroshima. No more Nagasaki.”

Kano’s bio:

Toshiharu Kano was not yet born when the blast occurred high above Hiroshima. His sister, brother and mother (who was pregnant, still to give birth to him) were in town and within one half mile from the Hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. As stated in his book, Passport to Hiroshima, “(they) miraculously survived the concussion force of the nuclear winds and the ensuing firestorm.” Toshiharu was born seven months later in March, 1946 at just over 3 lbs. Having survived the early immune deficiencies in childhood, he came to America, graduated from the University of Utah and made a successful career as a Civil Engineer. Tosh retired in 1999, but continues to work as a Civil Engineering Consultant to Holladay City, Taylorsville City and Cottonwood Heights City.

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

Giving State Report Guides Better Philanthropy

Interview with Jacob Allen, the Managing Director of Cicero Social Impact.

For nearly a year, Jacob Allen has been working on a comprehensive report about philanthropy in the State of Utah. While some of the lessons are unique to Utah–the most philanthropically generous state in the nation–most of the insights are generally applicable to charitable giving and the operation of nonprofits anywhere.

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

We help mission-driven individuals and organizations maximize their impact rather than simply providing funding or services. We leverage the best analytic, strategic, measurement, and performance practices from business and apply them to solving social needs.

Download the Giving State Report here: http://www.cicerosocialimpact.org/givingstate/

More about Cicero Social Impact:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CiceroImpact
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialImpactCicero/
Website: www.cicerosocialimpact.org

Cicero Social Impact is an advisor, resource, and thought partner for mission-driven funders and organizations who want to maximize their impact in the world. Like our clients, we are wholly committed to improving the society we share. We combine that passion with a conviction that simply providing services or increasing the number of beneficiaries is not enough. To maximize impact, we help our clients blend data-driven strategies, inspired leadership, and effective implementation to dramatically increase society’s ability to achieve greater, more sustainable performance.

www.cicerosocialimpact.org

For-profit

Revenue model: Our mission-driven clients pay consulting fees for our services.

Scale of the enterprise: Cicero Group will generate approximately $16 million in 2017.

Jacob Allen

Jacob Allen’s bio:

Twitter: @jacob_allen1
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-allen-28268b5

Jacob Allen is a Partner with Cicero Group and Managing Director of the Social Impact practice, partnering with leading foundations, nonprofits, and social enterprises to improve impact through strategy, performance monitoring and impact evaluation (M&E), performance management, and donor and beneficiary analytics.

Over the past 15 years, Jacob has worked with mission-driven organizations, including leading corporate philanthropies, international NGOs, and nonprofit providers. He has led the strategic design, measurement, and implementation of social impact programs run by Presidents Bush and Clinton, United Way, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, YouthBuild International, Junior Achievement, Church World Service, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Nature Conservancy, and many others.

His recent work includes measuring the effectiveness and supporting the design and implementation of a national leadership development program sponsored by former Presidents Bush and Clinton, conducting a program evaluation in Guatemala and Nicaragua (including interviewing 600 program beneficiaries), and designing and managing a robust performance monitoring system for a corporate philanthropy’s multi-year efforts to train thousands of entrepreneurs in 20+ countries.

He co-wrote “The Giving State,” a comprehensive report on philanthropy in Utah, and “Stop Starving Scale: Unlocking the Potential of Global NGOs,” which outlines how funders have fueled the growth of global NGOs in recent years but imposed restrictions that thwart organizations’ ability to truly achieve impact at scale. He serves on the global board of directors for Mary’s Meals, which feeds a daily meal in school to 1.2 million children living in desperate poverty.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

How to Promote Your Cause Without Provoking Your Friends

Recently the Pew Research Center published a report showing that Americans are more politically divided than any time since they started tracking such data in 1994. Our country has survived greater divisions than we now see: abortion, civil rights, slavery, and federalism.

Increasingly, at least anecdotally, it appears that people are fed up with divisions and conflict. At some level both liberals and conservatives find themselves wanting to check out. My readers challenged me to write this article to find a path forward.

Tempting as it may be to check out, the things that divide Americans are important issues. Gun safety is a critical issue with 35,000 people dying from gun deaths every year. Those on the left would like to reduce the availability of guns. Those on the right see more guns as the key to safety. That’s a pretty big disagreement on a topic that matters.

Climate change threatens to destabilize the planet while some continue to argue that it isn’t anthropogenic or even that it isn’t happening at all. And this issue doesn’t just impact America; what we do here impacts the entire planet. We need a process by which we can talk about this without completely talking past one another.

The social safety net helps millions of Americans avoid death, despair or homelessness each year but millions of others slip through the cracks. One sure way to avoid finding solutions is to not talk about the problems.

To figure out how we can have a productive discussion that respects people more than policies I had to ask experts because I’m not good at this. I’m as prone to getting emotional as anyone else but like my readers, I want to find a way to have these conversations constructively.

Cheryl Snapp Conner, courtesy of Snapp Conner PR

Cheryl Snapp Conner, courtesy of Snapp Conner PR

Cheryl Snapp Conner, CEO of Snapp Conner PR and a regular Forbes contributor approaches communications professionally. She helps businesses formulate messaging in these fraught times with an eye toward building audiences and customers.

She suggests you start by highlighting your common ground and acknowledge them for the things you may admire about them: awareness, passion, civic engagement. Only then does she suggest delving into the areas of disagreement.

Dr. Paul Jenkins, courtesy of Live on Purpose

Dr. Paul Jenkins, courtesy of Live on Purpose

Dr. Paul Jenkins, a professional psychologist and author of Pathological Positivity offers this advice:  “I remind myself to put people before problems and values before valuables.”

He points out that we are all prone to confusing facts and opinions.

In the animated film Inside Out the characters are riding along on the train of thoughts and a stack of boxes containing facts and opinions get jostled and spills out on the floor. One of the characters is concerned about getting them all back into the right boxes, and another character comments that it doesn’t really matter because they all look alike anyway. Your position is an opinion.

Ouch.

Jenkins goes on to say that once we form an opinion, we are subject to confirmation bias, where we look for or even create evidence to support our opinion. I’ve seen this happen in my own life. Having no opinion about the color of the new carpet, asked for one I weakly offered one. Suddenly, I find myself offended by every other color option. Three minutes earlier, I couldn’t have cared less.

It is probably more important to be open than to be right,” he says.

Conner similarly suggests acknowledging the inherent biases we all have.

Even when you’re on your best behavior, others may push your buttons, perhaps making a personal attack. What to do then?

Nancy Hoole Taylor, licensed mental health counselor, says, “Do not internalize what others say. It is usually more of a reflection of who they are and not yourself.”

Or, as Jenkins puts it, “A sure fire way to escalate a situation is to take things personally.”

He spent over a dozen years doing child custody evaluations for the court. “In these nasty divorce situations where people really needed to discuss issues in the interest of the children, their engagement in the personal conflicts commonly derailed the discussions and they spent an enormous amount of time and energy fighting and being offended.”

Jenkins offers four ideas for de-escalation:

  1. Understand that person’s opinion is not about you, even if they say it is. It is about their own position and may include their perception of you. The troubling aspect here is that it sounds like they are describing you because the character in their story has your name, face, and social security number. But think about it, how well does that person really know you at your core? They really don’t, right? That means that the person they are railing against, hating, or disparaging is not you – it is a fictional character they have fabricated in their own mind. Don’t defend that person – you would hate them too.
  2. Use the social gifts of appreciation, connection, enlightenment, and elevation instead of defensiveness or retaliation.
  3. Remember that the person who has offended you is merely supporting their opinion. It is not their job to support your opinion, take care of you emotionally, or make you feel good about yourself – those things are your job.
  4. Use the strategic non-response.

Jenkins’ number four seems especially appropriate when the only response you can conceive involves language your mother wouldn’t approve.

Conner has her own approach. She notes that if someone else was personally attacked she’d come to their defense. “If it were about me, I’d maybe address it with humor–‘I may somewhat have resembled that’–and then move the focus to the issue at hand.”

She suggests making a kind or empathetic remark and then closing the discussion with a note of mutual agreement more positive than simply agreeing to disagree. She also agrees that in some cases, the best strategy is to disengage.

Therapist Judith S. Moore shares her strategy: “I express my love for the one disagreeing with me, letting them know we can still be friends.”

Jenkins offers this important reminder, “People are not wrong about how they feel or their opinions, their position is completely consistent with their current set of beliefs and perceptions. Let them be right about that. It’s also okay to not have an end to a discussion, to remain in the question and remember that opinions (including, and perhaps especially, your own) change.

The best advice of all, I think, was Jenkins’ parting wisdom: “Give up your need to be right.”

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