This category is used to choose the posts that will be added to the headline rotation at the top of the home page.
This category is used to choose the posts that will be added to the headline rotation at the top of the home page.
In the heart of one of the country’s most conservative small towns, just a few miles from the notoriously dry Brigham Young University, ensconced in the safety of a gated community, our host for the evening introduced us to the four felons he’d chosen to run his new nonprofit, The Other Side Academy.
Sitting in the living room of Joseph Grenny’s 10,000 square-foot home with fifty other guests, I struggled to grasp the full message I was being presented. I kept tripping over the irony of the wealthy benefactor who had so successfully protected himself from ever having to think about—let alone fear—a criminal choosing to enter their world in hopes of redeeming them.
Having learned of Mimi Silbert’s Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, Grenny, the bestselling author, who has studied and written about influencers like Silbert, decided Utah needed something like Delancey Street.
The managing director of The Other Side Academy, which will be closely modeled on Delancey Street’s proven approach, is being built with an overarching goal: scale. Grenny, and his partner, Tim Stay, not only hope to create a successful program in Utah, but to roll it out nationwide—and then internationally.
The pair have chosen David Durocher to serve as the managing director for the Utah Center. He’s the perfect choice. Before spending eight years at Delancey Street in Los Angeles, he spent 15 years in prison over four stays with very brief stints on the outside, once lasting only 59 days. His first arrest came at age 13. His last five years at Delancey Street he served as the managing director for a facility with 250 people.
The Delancey Street model has been proven successful over thirty-plus years. The system requires that those who choose to come and stay work hard, typically at low-skilled jobs that teach them how to become constructive members of society. Most participants never have been before. Delancey Street operates several small businesses run by rehabilitated ex-convicts, addicts and others who’ve hit bottom and are willing to do the hard work required to prepare themselves to lead productive lives.
Durocher will be joined by Alan Fahringer, Lola Zagey and Martin Anderson, also alumni of the Delancey Street program.
The Delancey Street program is described on the website as follows:
There is no official staff at Delancey Street. Everyone who comes in works his or her way up into some sort of position in which he/she is learning a new job from the person over them who has held that job before, and teaching the job he/she has now to the newer resident. In this way, everyone at Delancey Street is pulling together toward the same goals. No one is simply a receiver; everyone is a giver as well.
The potential harmony of the Utah Mormon leaders, Grenny and Stay, playing with the ex-cons from Southern California rings with potential. The proven business acumen combined with the necessary track record of the operational directors leads one to conclude that it is possible to relatively quickly scale up a facility in Utah and then grow the model nationally.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
More about Peace and Collaborative Development Network:
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 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).
In the context of one of the country’s most conservative states, Alan Naumann runs a multi-platform publishing company called Green News Utah.
Alan explains, “Utah needs an independent news source for environmental issues. There is a lack of information in some of the most important issues facing Utahns.”
“For instance, there is no severance tax on coal in the state of Utah. All the neighboring states have a 3.3 to 7 percent severance tax on fossil fuels. Utah, has the lowest tax on oil and gas extraction. In a state with the lowest [financial] commitment to education in the country, fossil fuels are an obvious source of revenue,” Alan adds.
Alan’s passion for the environment is exemplified by his argument, “Little is being done to reduce air pollution, in fact the opposite is true. Millions of dollars are being spent to prevent the listing of sage grouse as an endangered species, green building codes are being undermined and the speed limit was raised recently. Permits are being granted to local refineries to grow and subsidized by the state of Utah to convert to Tier III fuels. A bill to spend $20 million to convert the oldest, dirtiest diesel school buses was not funded even though the legislation passed.”
“The facts are not being agreed upon and keep changing. The sources of air pollution were set officially at 25% created by the biggest polluters (stationary sources), several years ago. Now its only 11%, a figure clean air activists dispute,” Alan concludes.
On Thursday, June 18, 2015 at noon Eastern, Alan will join me for a live discussion about his work and his passion for the environment. 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 Green News Utah:
Multi media outlet focused on environmental issues in Utah. We cover activists, regulators, politicians and businesses with divergent perspectives on sustainability and energy issues that matter to Utahns. We cover renewable energy more than any other news source in Utah. Our focus currently is on air quality, consistently one of the most important issues to the state. We have a Facebook group of the same name, GreenNewsUtah.com.
Alan Naumann is an Energy Consultant with American Solar Power in Utah. Naumann changed his profession to renewable energy in 2009 with a solar course at Salt Lake Community College. Naumann is the Founder and Producer of the annual Solar Day Salt Lake event held in the fall. Naumann has a background in construction since a childhood apprenticeship with his grandfather in the granite business. Naumann owned granite businesses in California and Utah, with a bank building façade being his biggest job. Naumann has been a free lance journalist and radio talk show host. His last story that aired nationally for Free Speech Radio News (fsrn.org) was in 2005 on nuclear waste in Utah. Naumann is a member of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable as a representative of the Deeksha Oneness Bleesing community of 1,200 blessing givers in Utah.
More and more, not only in social entrepreneurship circles, but more often there, we hear talk of collaboration. I’ve always had a sense that this is true as a matter of principle, but being here in Mexico working as a volunteer with Rotary this week, I’ve gained a much deeper appreciation for the value of genuine collaboration.
Rotary District 5420, which includes all of the clubs in Utah, has descended upon the small town of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to complete about 50 discrete service projects. One of the biggest projects, or sets of projects, was the construction of homes that will be provided to needy families here.
Rotary didn’t just decide on a whim to pop down to Mexico and build some homes. Rather, a relationship has been in the works between Utah Rotary and a nonprofit based in Utah called Families Helping Families, which began building homes here nearly a decade ago.
The collaboration began when high-school-age young people who are members of Interact, a Rotary-sponsored service organization for youth, began providing funding and manual labor for the construction of homes. As that relationship solidified, it became the primary source of volunteer labor for Families Helping Families.
When Utah Rotary began thinking about bringing its membership down to Puerto Peñasco, the leadership quickly realized that they needed partners on the ground in Mexico. There was no active Rotary Club in Puerto Peñasco, so Utah Rotarians came down several times to recruit members here to form a new club and to provide the needed support for the projects.
Today, we saw the impact of the collaborations. While the Families Helping Families homes that were built this week, won’t be finished for months, other teams worked on homes that were started months ago to get them ready to present to their new residents. We toured the cute little homes today as the families were invited in for the first time. The Rotarians had decorated and furnished the homes and even put in some landscaping.
Elsewhere, we saw that the local Rotary Club, which discovered a previously unknown Rotary Elementary School in need of some Rotary love, got all that it needed, including 65 Apple iMac computers, fresh paint, dozens of broken window panes replaced and new air conditioners in each classroom.
Utah Rotary could not have pulled off these projects without the help of the local Rotary Club, an axiom so plainly true that Utah Rotary was effectively forced to create the local club in order to complete its mission. It also relied upon the expertise and experience of Families Helping Families.
Collaboration isn’t just a buzzword or a good management principle. It is the key to successful impact.
Today, as I was working alongside my Rotary friends volunteering here in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, I realized that volunteers come in all shapes and sizes.
On the one hand, I was not surprised that the woman with the Harley Davidson t-shirt knew her way around power tools. She puts in a full eight hour volunteer shift every day and never slacks off.
On the other hand, I was was somewhat more surprised that the lawyer in the group, Russ Ferricks, was equally comfortable with tools and works just as hard. Today, he took charge of roofing the small piñata factory where our Rotary Club has been leading the project. Despite thinking that I knew his character and desire to serve, I was surprised at the energy and determination he showed for the technical and physically challenging aspects of the work.
As I migrated from project to project, functioning typically as a unskilled labor, I had the opportunity to spend several hours working side-by-side with one of the wealthier members of our club, Floyd Hatch. His $16.8 million ranch is currently up for sale–I suspect he’s looking to upgrade. Now in his sixties, he, too, gets down and dirty in the work. As the President Elect for the Club and the formal head of the project, he hasn’t organized himself as the leader, instead he delegated that responsibility to an experienced contractor and jumps in to help wherever needed.
The volunteer pool today ranged in age from about 5 to about 65. In fairness, our youngest volunteers were easily distracted and weren’t always on task, but they were fun to have around. The volunteers from the local community, participated as equals. I loved watching two volunteers on the roof carrying on a complete conversation, one speaking English exclusively and the other speaking Spanish exclusively, with some gesticulation thrown in for added clarity.
Today’s lesson: anyone can volunteer and everyone makes a difference!
This week, Gail and I are in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with Rotarians from around Utah doing service. There are several projects underway, including the construction of three homes, in partnership with a small nonprofit called Families Helping Families. Others are working on improvements to a school that is supported by Rotary. A group, led by my club, is working on the expansion of a small piñata factory that only employees special needs people.
It is exciting for me to see the tremendous impact that 700 people can have in just a few days. Homes are rising out of the sand almost by magic. Working on the construction of the piñata factory today, we laughed as the painting crew began painting the exterior within seconds of us putting up the exterior walls to be painted–no exaggeration.
It was also great to learn a bit about the little social enterprise that makes the piñatas and employs the developmentally challenged and otherwise disabled people. By giving their employees an opportunity to be productive and constructive adults they are redefining the lives they might have. By creating a social venture that is funded largely by the sale of their piñatas, they have created a financially sustainable organization that not only serve their employees indefinitely into the future, the organization can continue to grow.
Gail was among the volunteers who worked with the expert piñata crafters to create piles of piñatas that can be sold to the Rotarians–including the ones who made them–as souvenirs as they head back to Utah. The profit from the sales of piñatas this week could fund the organization for two years!
The first big take away from this week, for me, is the recognition that it takes serious organization to pull off something this big. Not just any organization can pull together 700 people to travel 1,000 miles at their own expense to volunteer to help people they’ve never met, may never meet and will likely never see again. Think about the value of belonging to such an organization. Think about the value of the opportunity to lead a club or a district full of clubs like that. You don’t have to start from scratch when the world is already rife with service organizations and faith-based organizations that you can leverage to accomplish your good goals!
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Social Entrepreneur Doron Libshtein, a former Microsoft MSFT -1.2% executive, speaks a language that sounds downright foreign in a business context, but his current crowdfunding campaign has raised over $100,000, suggesting he’s tapping into something real.
Libshtein recently wrote, “My mission is to bring a new consciousness to the world, transforming the world into vitality; to inspire each of you to walk your true path. I’m excited to write about a dream that has come true. Stress and pressure are part of life for all of us, and were part of my life until I discovered the world of meditation. The daily practice helped me relax, breathe properly, take breaks during the day and connect inner parts of me that I was not aware of. In short, I learned to manage stress instead of stress managing me.”
Libshtein created the Mentor’s Channel, a community of 2.6 million people he says, who seek the best mentors for meditation. He notes, “I’m full of gratitude for that opportunity. But there are billions of people who do not meditate. They continue to experience high stress in their life, which creates toxins being released to their internal and external environments.”
In order to address the needs of the billions of stressed out people like me who don’t meditate, Libshtein has created a solution. He explains, “I want to help the world be transformed, reduce stress, increase life’s energy, vitality and inspiration. I believe we have found a solution. It combines a digital bracelet that measures stress levels and helps us recognise when it begins and what affects it, plus an app that provides a customised solution to reduce the stress. The app gives us a playlist of music, breathing and guided imagery that work in sync with the feedback from our body. Together they produce a winning solution.”
Screenshots from the WellBe app.
This isn’t all superstition, Libshtein notes, “Mindfulness and meditation have been proven as highly effective ways to release stress and have many positive effects on sleep, productivity as well as lasting good feeling. A recent study from Harvard University suggests that meditation is influencing the grey matter in the brain and thus allowing better aging of the brain and the body.”
On Friday, May 29, 2015 at noon Eastern, Libshtein will join me for a live discussion about his new device and the attention it is getting on Indiegogo. 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 Wellbe:
The WellBe is a digital bracelet designed to support and promote balanced well being for people in hectic and busy environments. The WellBe is using a heart rate monitor and a mobile app to detect and determine your stress level based on time, location and people you meet and then it offers variety of meditation and other wellbeing exercises to release stress and help you calm down immediately.
Mentors Channel is a resource for online meditation. We have created a movement with a vision to bring personal growth to the masses through technology. Our web app allows delivery of content to improve your well-being anywhere, anytime and on any device. We provide daily meditations, including tips on how to meditate, mindfulness techniques, healing mantras, meditation music and every other type of meditation you may wish to learn or practice.
Doron Libshtein is a world-leading self-development mentor, author, chairman and strategic entrepreneur in the area of personal growth and Internet.
He is the Chairman and Founder of WellBe ( Insalveo.Inc ) and Mentors Channel, an interactive Website that empowers people to live fuller, richer lives doing what they love—by working interactively with the world’s best mentors worldwide.
As the founder and chairman of WellBe and Mentorschannel, and works with Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie and Robin Sharma via the Interactive Best Sellers Program to help people practice the wisdom from these visionaries’ books in their lives. He also recently became the Chairman of Restart™ – a new venture facilitating solutions to the over-40′s job crisis in Israel. and TheHallcenter in Santa Monica.
Doron’s world leadership extends to entrepreneurial and advanced mobile wireless telecommunications and online technologies. He was a board member of many companies such as Maayan Ventures, a publicly traded (TASE: MAYN) chain of technology incubators, with offices in Tel-Aviv, Shanghai, Omer, Sde Boker and Dimona.
Doron was for six years Chairman of the Board at the IPO Company in Tel Aviv, which owns FLIX and BLOGTV. Before that, he was for 14 years a senior manager at Microsoft, serving as Senior Director EMEA EPG Solution & Marketing and Director EMEA BPSG. Additionally, he served for two years as CEO of MSN Israel.
“Back in 2004 my vision was to bring personal growth to the masses. I felt that 14 years in senior positions at Microsoft prepared me to bring the technology and infrastructure that allows people to improve their wellbeing anywhere, anytime and on any device. I have the privilege to work with the best mentors in the world and I am full of gratitude for that. I also have the privilege of working with an amazing team that works days and nights improving the lives of millions.”I am an Author, Mentor, Chairman and Strategic entrepreneur in the area of personal growth and internet.
I see my vision as bringing as many people as possible closer to growth. my efforts and vision embrace people, wherever they are, offering each one of them various solutions and tools using high-end technology to provide simple and easy to use solutions at affordable prices.
I believe that the way to realize this vision is by establishing cooperation between people all over the world with mentors, coaches and coaching schools around the globe using common unifying objectives. This is an outstanding opportunity for synergic cooperation that will help increase and fulfil the hidden potential of coaching.
My recent mission via WellBe is to reduce the stress in the world with helping people know when and why they are stressed and how they can reduce thier stress.
This week’s announcement from the FTC that it, along with
all 50 states and the District of Columbia, was filing a complaint against four
nonprofits that had reportedly used virtually none of the $187 million raised
for charitable purposes, has sent shudders through the nonprofit community.
Organizations are afraid what this news will do to fundraising.
Here’s why you should continue to give to charity enthusiastically.
When you buy fruit at the grocery store, you know there is a
chance, in fact a near certainty, that some of the fruit you buy will get
thrown out. Some will be bad when you get it home, either because it was
already overripe or under ripe when it left the store or because it was damaged
in transit. Most fruit is sold by the pound, but there is hardly a fruit on the
market that you can eat entirely. Have you ever eaten a banana peel or an apple
core? Then there is the risk that the fruit is prepared for someone who doesn’t
eat it and finally the risk that no one happens to eat it before it goes bad.
How much of the fruit you buy actually ends up in someone’s tummy? You still
buy fruit because it is healthy and delicious.
When smart investors buy stocks, they buy lots of them. Most
mutual funds have many dozens of different stock positions in their portfolios
because they understand that some will go up and others will go down. Some may
even go to zero. In the middle some will be parked money, after decades still
worth only what was paid for them. Some stocks, however, will grow dramatically
and may after just a few years be worth 10 times or more than what was paid for
them. Smart investors buy stocks even though they know with certainty that some
of the money invested in stocks will be lost.
Venture capitalists and angel investors who invest in
startup companies know that it is so hard to predict which companies will
thrive and which will tank that they make sure to diversify their portfolios,
too. They know that when investing in early stage companies, easily a third of
the companies will flame out completely, a few will struggle on endlessly and
only a few will thrive, providing all of the return in their portfolios. Think
about that; early-stage investors give entrepreneurs knowing that there is a
very good chance they will never see a dime in return.
So, here’s the question for you? Is it reasonable for you to
expect that every dollar you give to charity will go directly to a noble
purpose and that none will ever be wasted? The frank answer is simple.
Absolutely not. Some nonprofits will use your money to create fantastic social
impacts. Some will not. How many millions of dollars for cancer research have
yielded only another compound that doesn’t work? Does that mean we shouldn’t
fund cancer research? Of course not! A cure will only come from more funding.
Sometimes I hear people say, “I will only give to this one
nonprofit because…” I have news for you. There isn’t a perfect nonprofit out
there. While some may use volunteers to allow 100% of donations to go directly
to programs, those organizations may not have the same impact as other
organizations using professional staff to do more with the same donation, even
after paying the staff.
Does this mean that you should give
indiscriminately? No, of course not. See my tips for smart giving here. But it
does mean that you should keep giving!
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork, founders of LuminAID, were offered deals from all five of the investors on ABC’s Shark Tank earlier this year; they successfully closed a deal with Mark Cuban.
Perhaps what made them both different and successful on the show, was a focus on social entrepreneurship, a double bottom-line that balances making a profit with having an impact for good. Their solar lights are not only terrific for camping, but perfect for long-term use in areas without power and great for use when power can’t be relied upon for evening studies. One of their largest customers is ShelterBox, featured here a few weeks ago.
Visit their site to buy and/or give a LuminAID.
Sreshta explains, “LuminAID’s core technology–solar lights that pack flat for ease of distribution– was created to address both the need in an emergency and to make it easier for aid workers to distribute supplies on the ground.”
She adds, “We have learned a lot from working with our NGO customers and partners like Shelterbox. They put out our lights into some of the toughest areas and situations in the world, so we like hearing from them about what worked, what worked less well, and how we can continue to support their efforts.”
On Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Sreshta and Stork will join me for a live discussion about their experience on Shark Tank, as well as their success and their impact since. 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 Luminaid:
LuminAID develops innovative, solar-powered products for humanitarian relief aid and outdoor recreation. The company’s first product, the LuminAID light, is a solar-powered, inflatable lamp that packs flat and inflates to create a lightweight, waterproof lantern suitable for outdoor recreation and emergency situations. The LuminAID light has been sold to individuals in more than 30 different countries, and outreach projects with NGO partners have put more than 10,000 donated lights on-the-ground in more than 50 countries countries including Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines. LuminAID has supplied its lights to Shelterbox, Doctors Without Borders, and several organizations in the United Nations for distribution on the ground after disasters and in refugee camps. Earlier this year, LuminAID was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, received offers from all 5 of the Sharks, and made a deal with the billionaire investor Mark Cuban.
Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork
Andrea Sreshta is a second-year student in Chicago Booth’s Full-Time MBA Program and co-founder of LuminAID. The company was awarded the 100k Early Stage Prize in 2013 through the Clean Energy Trust in Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy and was named the winner of Booth’s John Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge in 2012, and awarded a Toyota Mother’s of Invention Grant at the 2014 Women in the World Summit. Andrea previously worked in and studied design and architecture. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University prior to attending Booth.
Anna Stork is co-founder of LuminAID Lab. She was a 2012 Kauffman Global Scholar at the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship. As a Kauffman Fellow, she was an Operations Intern for the retail start-up Warby Parker. Anna has also worked in product development at the Department of Defense with a focus on developing new technologies for military in remote locations. She completed her Masters in Architecture at Columbia University and earned her B.A. in Engineering and Studio Art from Dartmouth College.