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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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This AI Tool Could Revolutionize Impact Investing

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

David Shrier left MIT after adopting the school’s mission and applying it to his artificial intelligence startup, Distilled Analytics. He’s hoping to disrupt impact measurement for companies and investors alike with the company’s new product, Distilled Impact.

“MIT’s mission is to solve the world’s biggest problems through technology,” Shrier says. “We spun out of MIT to look at how can we apply the tools of data and analytics and AI to help address the world’s biggest problems.”

“Distilled Analytics is applying data science to critical issues of activating private capital to build a better world,” he says.

“I was inspired to follow this path when I woke up one day and realized I couldn’t explain to my young children Julia and Henry what daddy does for a living,” he says.

He left his prior employer with people he admits not liking to join MIT, where he spent five years. At Distilled Analytics, he’s built a team he likes, including MIT professors Sandy Pentland and Roberto Rigobon along with Alex Lipton, whom he describes as the “legendary Wall Street quant.”

David Shrier

Watch the full interview with Shrier in the video player at the top of this article.

“We want to create structural solutions to society-scale problems by using advanced analytics,” he says.

So, what does Distilled Impact do? In Shrier’s words: “Distilled IMPACT provides investors with objective, quantitative, 3rd-party-sourced (vs self-reported) AI-driven assessments of the non-financial impacts and risks of their investments.”

Using new computational social science from MIT called “social physics,” Distilled Impact analyzes vast amounts of public information to measure environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) data.

“With the advent of things like the Internet of Things and other ubiquitous data networks, we were able to come up with third-party, credible, quantitative data sources and new kinds of analytics that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to measure instead of guess,” Shrier says.

“The methodologies that we use are transparent,” he says. The dashboard provided by the platform gives scoring around the “E.S. and G. factors” that users can drill down on so they can see how the scoring was achieved.

Shrier challenges people to get more comfortable with data. He acknowledges that it feels a bit like eating oatmeal. “But we live in a world immersed in data and where our data is is out there and we need to understand better what our data is how it’s being used and what our rights are with respect to that data.”

The SAAS system is cloud-based. It is designed for institutional investors and family offices that seek both profits and impact.

One key point of distinction, Shrier notes, is that unlike other systems that pull data only on public companies, Distilled Analytics can provide data on 260 million companies, including many private ones.

Shrier notes that the system will save time for both investors and for company executives. The system doesn’t require the company to generate any new reports or data. The evaluation uses publicly available information.

Shrier, says his superpower is synthesis, his ability to take lots of complicated ideas and condense them into a new product or a new opportunity. Impact investors now have an opportunity to judge for themselves using Distilled Impact.

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.


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!

Busy Executive and Entrepreneur Makes Time To Give Back Personally


Michael Dash, founder and CEO of Parallel HR could use any number of excuses for not making time to give back. He doesn’t. Instead, he travels the world doing good.

Interview with Michael Dash, the CEO/President of Parallel HR Solutions, Inc.

The following is the pre-interview with Michael Dash. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

At Parallel I help companies identify, attract and hire niche IT talent from around the country.  Personally, I have started an addiction support group called FATE – From Addict to Entrepreneur bringing addiction and recovery into the spotlight.   I am also a founding member of #Activation group which inspires others to be positive, authentic, passionate, empathetic and resilient people day in and day out.

Dash’s FATE Group on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/425718181199071/

More about Parallel HR Solutions, Inc. :

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

Website: www.parallelhr.com; michaelgdash.com

In the fast moving world we live in, matching top technology, financial and executive talent with companies ever changing needs is no small feat. Understanding organizations specific hiring objectives and company culture is the key to attracting top talent in the market.

This is where Parallel HR’s approach to building strong partnerships with top cutting edge companies differentiates us from other staffing partners out there.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: fee for service

Michael Dash

Michael Dash’s bio:

Twitter: @mgdvip

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelgdash/

Michael Dash brings a heavy dose of motivation embedded in a message of hope for those looking to make a difference in their life’s work and the world. Michael Dash has been there, and done that. Despite dealing with demons that would have derailed the dreams of most, Michael carved out a successful career as a business owner and entrepreneur. Even while building up his businesses, he struggled with a gambling addiction, investments gone wrong, and partners working against him. While most would have thrown in the towel, Michael doubled down on what was working and used it as motivation to make a positive and lasting impact on his businesses, his relationships, and the world around him.

Today, with a new book on the horizon, he is sharing his story to inform and inspire entrepreneurs and professionals looking to find a balance while leveling up in business and in life.


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!

Women in Nonprofits Seek Their Due Following #MeToo


With the support of their respective organizations, three women in the nonprofit sector are seeking to shake things up a bit to call attention to inadequate respect, compensation and opportunity.

Heba Mahmoud at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Emily Rose Patz at Donor Perfect (a division of Softerware) and Tycely Williams of the YWCA have joined forces to bring attention to #metoo issues in a sector where at least some of us didn’t expect to find them.

Many philanthropists are powerful, wealthy men who are accustomed to getting their way. Many fundraising professionals in the nonprofit sector are women whose careers depend upon their ability to get philanthropists to open their wallets. This is a situation ripe with potential for abuse.

Futhermore, the three note that while 73 percent of all nonprofit employees are women, only 45 percent of CEOs are women and only 21 percent of CEOs of nonprofits with $25 million plus budgets are women. Women of color make up only 14 percent of board members.

Be sure to watch this powerful discussion with these three women who educate me on women’s issues in the nonprofit sector.

Interview with Heba Mahmoud, the Director, Chapter Engagement  of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The following is the pre-interview with Heba Mahmoud. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

The Women’s Impact Initiative is AFP’s response to a whole series of issues around the role of women in fundraising, including gender inequity, sexual harassment, and implicit bias, to name just a few. The initiative’s goal is to provide resources and tools for the profession to collectively overcome these issues and create a profession that is not only diverse, but inclusive, equitable and more effective.

More about Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP):

Twitter: @afpihq

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

Website: http://afpidea.org/wii

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 30,000 members in over 230 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.  The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501 (c)6 association with a 501 (c)(3) foundation.

Revenue model: AFP is a membership organization that provides products and services that advance the fundraising profession.

Heba Mahmoud
Photo Credit: Meadow and Vine Photography

Heba Mahmoud’s bio:

Twitter: @heba1167

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heba-mahmoud-79233847/

Heba Mahmoud has spent the last thirteen years working with nonprofit membership organizations.   A mission-driven professional, Heba is committed to creating an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible nonprofit sector that welcomes and engages diverse communities.

Since 2010, she has worked at the Association of Fundraising Professionals engaging leaders from more than 240 chapters around the world.  In 2018, she took the lead in launching the Women’s Impact Initiative, a program committed to creating an impact on the daily lives of fundraisers by breaking down workplace barriers.

Heba holds a Bachelors of International Business and Marketing from Howard University and her Masters of Business Management from Strayer University.    She lives in Northern Virginia and she enjoys writing poetry, teaching belly dance classes, and going on road trips with her son.

Interview with Emily Rose Patz, the Senior Copywriter of DonorPerfect (a subsidiary of SofterWare).

The following is the pre-interview with Emily Rose Patz. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Through easy-to-use, affordable technology, DonorPerfect equips nonprofits with tools they need to grow their donor base and revenue. Our donor database helps nonprofits save time, get organized, and excel at employee engagement. Our users are able to raise more money through our software by launching and managing online fundraising campaigns, events, outreach initiatives, and more.

Get the Workbook:  donorperfect.com/nonprofitleadership

More about DonorPerfect (a subsidiary of SofterWare):

Twitter: @donorperfect

Facebook: facebook.com/donorperfect

Website: donorperfect.com

DonorPerfect, a subsidiary of SofterWare Inc., is a technology company dedicated to helping nonprofits grow by developing and supporting innovative, easy-to-use software designed for fundraising and donor engagement.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Our business is a SaaS model. We charge a monthly subscription fee to our users.

Scale: SofterWare has 185 employees and generates approximately $65 million dollars per year in revenue. We have over 16,000 clients across our products.  

Emily Rose Patz
Photo Credit: Meadow and Vine Photography

Emily Rose Patz’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/22344908/

Emily Rose Patz is the lead author of The Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women. As brand storyteller for DonorPerfect, she often writes about fundraising and donor engagement best practices, inspiring growth stories, and trending topics in the nonprofit community. When she’s not writing, Emily enjoys volunteering at local nonprofits, collecting mid-century furniture and fashion, and listening to records with her life partner and adorable pup.

Interview with Tycely Williams , the Vice-President of Development  of YWCA USA .

The following is the pre-interview with Tycely Williams . Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We seek to eliminate racism and empower women through direct service delivery, advocacy and education.

More about YWCA USA :

Twitter: @ywca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ywca.org/

Website: www.ywca.org

YWCA programs serve over 2.2 million women, girls and family members of all ages and backgrounds each year, including the elderly, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, military veterans and low-income and homeless women and their families. Since our inception 160 years ago YWCA USA holds true to supporting the advancement of women and girls by eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We have been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for more than a century — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform, education and STEM readiness. We have a strong history of helping women focus on health, wealth and self.  Today, our 210 YWCA associations in more than 1,200 locations in 46 states and the District of Columbia combine programming and advocacy to generate institutional change in the areas of racial justice and civil rights, education, empowerment and economic advancement as well as health and safety of women and girls.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: YWCA USA generates revenue through membership fees and contributed income.

Scale: YWCA USA advances its mission with the active engagement of 61,812 committed staff and volunteers.  

Tycely Williams

Tycely Williams ’s bio:

Twitter: @tycely

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/tycelywilliams

Tycely Williams, a self-proclaimed matchmaker, has inspired individuals and institutions to invest more than $84 million dollars in charitable causes.  Currently, she serves as vice president of development for YWCA USA and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. A cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University, Williams holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication with distinguished departmental honors and a minor in Journalism. Tycely possesses an Executive Masters in Leadership from The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.  

In her spare time, she chairs the Board of Trustees for Monument Academy Public Charter School and volunteers as President-Elect for the Junior League of Washington. She is a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Washington Metro Chapter, the largest chapter of charitable fundraisers in the United States. A joyful divorcée, Tycely enjoys traveling, crashing charitable fundraising galas, taste-testing fried green tomatoes and conversing with values-driven leaders in preparation for her first book.


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!

Vote Now! Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month – May 2018

Each month, I interview a group of amazing people, profiling them and the work they do to make the world a better place. Now, we’re asking you, our readers, to choose the Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for May 2018. Below, is a simple ballot you can review with links to the articles about and interviews I conducted with each of these people working to make the world a better place.

The winner will receive an autographed copy of my book, Your Mark on the World, along with ten lifetime passes to my GoodCrowd.School (worth $2,500) where I share training on a variety of topics for social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, impact investors and philanthropists.

Be sure to scroll within the frame below to see all of the candidates.

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Engage The Youth You Hope To Serve

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

The youth you hope to help as a social entrepreneur or nonprofit leader may be your most powerful tool for helping them. This message comes from a recent report published by the United Nations University called “Cradled by Conflict.”

The report’s author, Siobhan O’Neil, 39, points out that youth discussed in the report about kids who have been recruited or coerced into joining militant groups are vulnerable but also capable of helping to define and manage their own recovery.

O’Neil, the project lead for children and extreme violence at the U.N.-based think tank, says that studies show that when children are engaged in finding solutions, the solutions can be effective. As an example, she says that students in a high school experiencing violence were asked to help design a program to reduce violence in the schools. The result: violence dropped significantly within a year.

O’Neil says it’s about not seeing youth as “beneficiaries for programs, it’s about seeing them as partners.”

The tragic context for the lesson is the violence going on around the world, but particularly in Syria and Iraq with ISIS and in Nigeria with Boko Haram.

O’Neil visited with me about the report. You can watch our discussion in the video player at the top of the article.

Siobhan O’Neil

The report’s central message for social entrepreneurs and NGO leaders is that youth are as complex as adults and don’t all do things for one single reason. Most particularly, kids aren’t typically joining ISIS or Boko Haram for ideological reasons.

They are often victimized strategically by recruiters who prey on their youthful desire to rebel against their parents and to belong to something. O’Neil says that militant groups often provide “a readymade community, a readymade identity and a readymade sense of purpose.”

Thomas Kontogeorgos, section chief for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) at the U.N., provided some funding and expertise for the report. He says, “DDR aims to contribute to security and to sustainable peace by reintegrating ex-combatants in their communities and to prevent recruitment of new combatants by stabilizing vulnerable communities.”

He worries that states are treating young ex-combatants from extremist groups less favorably from kids involved in other conflicts because they are afraid of the radical indoctrination.

Kontogeorgos says, “The Cradled by Conflict study, however, clearly showed that the ‘exceptionalism’ of violent extremism has no basis in evidence and that groups labeled as violent extremist or terrorist share many features with other armed groups. Particularly, children joining a group deemed violent extremists do so rarely based on ideology but based on a variety of intertwined motivations such as physical and food security, family and peer networks, financial incentives, coercion, status, and identity.”

O’Neil notes that there could be many children involved. One of the researchers asked ex-combatant youth about the number of children engaged with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Some estimates were that as many as 75% of combatants were children.

While not all of the children are necessarily actively engaged in conflict, their proximity to it as cooks, guards or in other support capacities make them vulnerable potential victims and frequent witnesses to violence.

Furthermore, it is difficult to define recruitment practices as being voluntary or involuntary when the recruits wouldn’t legally be allowed to vote, drink alcohol or buy cigarettes in most developed countries.

Consider the case of Anar, not his real name. The Islamic State killed his father when he was 12. He became the primary breadwinner for the family. Five years after his father was killed by ISIS, he was recruited to be a cook for ISIS fighters; he agreed because they offered more money than he could make otherwise. It is difficult in each case to determine to what extent a child has a choice about joining a militant group.

Among all these challenges, social entrepreneurs and others serving at-risk youth can take from these tragic experiences, lessons that can help lead to greater success. First, recognize that the youth you serve can be partners with you in solving the problems you hope to address. Second, remember that youth are motivated by a broad range of facts and circumstances and that it may be unfair or impossible to attribute a choice to them at all.

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.


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 Photographer Discovered Human Beings In A Place We Didn’t Dare Look


Eric Hatch thought photographing volunteers from the community of people addicted to alcohol, meth and heroin would make for an interesting artistic challenge. Once he started meeting them and seeing them as human beings, his artistic project became a crusade.

The impact of being seen as a real, three-dimensional person with value to society changes the subjects in a subtle way as well. Having photographed just 50, he’s already found one that quickly decided to get clean and sober, checking herself into rehab.

Be sure to watch the entire interview in the player above to see a sample of the photos as well as to hear about the human beings Eric photographs.

Interview with Eric K. Hatch, the Founder and president of Faces of Addiction, Inc.

The following is the pre-interview with Eric K. Hatch. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

Everybody knows addiction is a huge problem. However, addicted persons are dehumanized by treating them as statistics, or by labels such as “addicts,” “junkies,” “street trash” and “meth head.”

We seek to change the way we look at addicted persons, so that they are seen as individual human beings.  We do this by creating and displaying a collection of art-quality portraits of 50 addicted persons, along with brief stories of their lives.

More about Faces of Addiction, Inc.:

Twitter: @FOA_info

Facebook: facebook.com/FacesofAddiction

Website: http://facesofaddiction.net

FOA is a non-profit corporation in the State of Ohio. The purpose is to change the conversation around addiction by presenting a living vision of the consequences of being addicted to opioids, alcohol, and methamphetamines. We do this by assembling a collection of gallery-quality portraits and accompanying life stories, and by distributing these as broadly as possible:  gallery / museum shows, a web gallery, a movie showing portraits and sound clips from interviews, an e-book, a physical book, even high school assembly programs.

For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit

Revenue model: We rely on grants and donations during the collection and production phases.  During the dissemination phase, we anticipate sales of images, e-book, and assembly programs to offset costs.  

Scale: We’re a start-up.  The project started about February 1.  Since that time we have created 28 portrait / biographies, with 5 more in the next two weeks.  We have incorporated, and as of this date (4/3) have submitted for 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status.  We have a functioning website, a 3 1/2 minute movie, and support from a number of drug-related organizations in the Cincinnati area.

Photo Credit: Eric Hatch

Eric K. Hatch’s bio:

Twitter: @erichatch

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

Eric K. Hatch, Ph.D., has lived in the Cincinnati area since 1974.  He has had five careers: teaching, writing, communications management, organizational development consulting, and photography. As a fine art and travel photographer, Eric has won numerous awards and competitions.  He has served on the board of the SW Ohio chapter of Professional Photographers of America, and he is currently Editor at Exhibitions Without Walls. His one-person show, “Hard Times for These Times,” has concluded its run at the Middletown Arts Center and is expected to tour several galleries in the coming year.

As a writer, Eric lists over 100 publications, primarily essays, articles, and features.  He has won national awards for essays and for communicating technical information to non-technical people. His books include Business Writing for Professionals, Explorations in Photography, and one play, a stage adaptation of “My Man Godfrey.”  Eric is a trained bass-baritone and is very active in choral music throughout the Cincinnati area.


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!

Expert Shares Insights for Wise Philanthropy


Richard Marker has been advising philanthropists for 25 years. Today, he took time to share his insights with us! He not only shares some best practices for philanthropy he offers tips for nonprofits who seek money from them (hint: don’t waste your time building relationships with philanthropists who don’t have an interest in your cause!)

Interview with Richard Marker, the Co-principal/founder of Wise Philanthropy / Wise Philanthropy Institute.

The following is the pre-interview with Richard Marker. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

We help philanthropists and foundations make wise and informed decisions about their philanthropy strategy – as educators, advisors, writers, speakers.

More about Wise Philanthropy / Wise Philanthropy Institute:

Twitter: @WisePhilan

Website: www.WisePhilanthropy.com

Wise Philanthropy is a boutique advisory company exclusively for funders, philanthropists, families, and foundations.  Our expertise is strategy, evaluation, and education. Typically our clients are in some transition, or facing questions about what to do next or how to do it better.  Many of our clients are families or family foundations dealing with succession or intra family challenges. We do not manage anyone’s investments or their administration and never accept a fundraising contract.  [The Institute is our educational arm which teaches the same market about core competencies in grantmaking including ethics, best practices, decision making, policies, and evaluation.]

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: Project or Lecture Fee for service +  p.t. academic appointments

Scale: 2 partners in Wise Philanthropy – part of larger academic staff at University of Pennsylvania

Richard Marker’s bio:

Twitter: @rmarker

Linkedin: linkedin.com/m/richardmarker1

Richard Marker teaches philanthropists and foundations from around the world at Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy.  He is also co-principal of Wise Philanthropy, a boutique strategy advisory firm. A long time thought leader and practitioner in the field, he has lectured in 39 countries and throughout the United States.  Recently his writings on “philanthro-ethics” have stimulated new thinking on the intersection of power, equity, and social justice in philanthropy practice.


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!

Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for April 2018: Stephanie Bowers of Jake’s Diapers

Congratulations to Stephanie Bowers of Jake’s Diapers for becoming the reader’s pick for Your Mark on the World Changemaker of the Month for April 2018!

Stephanie joined me for a discussion about her 25 successful crowdfunding campaign on CaringCrowd (a Your Mark on the World sponsor). We originally shared her story on GoodCrowd.info.

Stephanie shared some of the secrets for her crowdfunding success. First, she noted that one key is the need to ask for what you need. No one is likely to give you what you want if you don’t ask. Her second key: persistence.

Her organization, Jake’s Diapers, provides diapers to mothers of babies and to seniors who need them, in the developing world. She notes that buying disposable diapers can require an impossible portion of a family’s income, sometimes forcing mothers to reuse disposable diapers. This practice jeopardizes the health of the babies who wear them. Jake’s Diapers provides diapers to people who are currently forced to choose between diapers and food.

A woman with several babies

Stephanie Bowers, Jake’s Diapers

Stephanie shared her story:

Stephanie Bowers believes no caregiver, near or far, should ever have to choose between food and diapers. In January of 2011, her life was changed forever when she found herself on a mission trip to Pachacutec, Peru. While there, she visited a childcare facility where she saw caregivers who loved the children very much, and were re-using disposable diapers because they had to choose between food & diapers. Inspired to help just those 15 babies, Jake’s Diapers has now impacted more than 7,000 lives in 20 countries.

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

The episode on which we shared her story was sponsored by CaringCrowd, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

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!

Microlending Player Microvest Focuses On Intentionality And Performance


Offering banking services to unbanked, vulnerable populations is a model for lifting people out of poverty. It is also a model for indentured servitude and even modern day slavery.

Microvest Capital Manages has invested over $1 billion in in microlending firms. Candace Smith, the firm’s head of risk, joined me to talk about how the firm ensures that it invests only on microlending companies that improve lives with a sustainable business model.

Interview with Candace Smith, the Managing Director of Risk of Microvest Capital Management.

The following is the pre-interview with Candace Smith. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

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

The money we raise from our investors is then lent to responsible financial institutions in emerging markets that are serving under banked populations. These financial institutions then use this money to provide financial services and products (loans, savings accounts, insurance, etc.) to individuals and small-medium size businesses in their communities. These financial services give individuals and businesses the tools to effectively manage their lives and businesses, and invest in their futures.

More about Microvest Capital Management:

Twitter: @microvestfund

Website: http://microvestfund.com/

MicroVest is a global impact asset manager that helps socially-minded investors do good in the world while also earning a financial return.  We do this by offering investors simple investment solutions that provide them with uncorrelated, commercial returns while also supporting financial inclusion globally. The money we raise from our investors is then lent to responsible financial institutions in emerging markets that are serving under-banked populations. These financial institutions then use this money to provide financial services and products (loans, savings accounts, insurance, etc.) to individuals and small-medium size businesses in their communities. These financial services give individuals and businesses the tools to effectively manage their lives and businesses, and invest in their futures.

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Candace Smith

Candace Smith’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/candace-smith-42463928/

Ms. Smith is the Managing Director of Risk (MD Risk) and is responsible for portfolio risk management. Ms. Smith joined MicroVest in 2005 as CFO before transitioning to COO, Chief Compliance Officer, and then to her current role in December 2014. Ms. Smith started her career in 1985 and has extensive experience in development finance and domestic banking. Prior to joining MicroVest in 2005, Ms. Smith advised clients such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Calvert Social Investment Foundation, and Corporacion para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura, among others, on due diligence, credit evaluation and other matters. As Chief Operating Officer for Triodos PV Partners, she oversaw a $50 million joint business development and equity investment program to promote solar electric service enterprises in developing countries. Previously, Ms. Smith served as Senior Credit Officer and Portfolio Officer at the Inter-American Investment Corporation (“IIC”), with responsibility for developing and maintaining corporate credit risk guidelines and oversight of a $400 million portfolio of project loans and equity investments throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ms. Smith began her career in finance as a corporate lending officer with the former Continental Illinois National Bank. She holds a Masters in International Management from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) at Glendale, AZ and a dual major Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Smith is fluent in English and Spanish and conversant in Portuguese. Ms. Smith is an independent trustee of Praxis Mutual Funds, a registered fund complex with faith-based, stewardship investing criteria.


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!

Expert Says Social Entrepreneurs Have Social Media Secret Weapon

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

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

Jay Baer, New York Times bestselling author and founder of Convince and Convert, says that social enterprises and nonprofits have a secret weapon they can use on social media: authentic stories.

“Just tell the story,” Baer says to social entrepreneurs. “Ideally with video because video disproportionately performs in every social network. Just take a video of you working on the water project. Don’t try to sell anybody. Let the story sell for you.”

Expanding on this point, Baer says, optimally, social entrepreneurs will get their fans, supporters and customers to post the video of themselves working on the project rather than post a polished, edited video from the business or organization.

Baer points to Charity: Water as an example of an organization that uses video effectively. The organization funds water projects in the developing world. The projects are typically conducted in partnership with local communities. Donors receive detailed reports indicating the exact location of the project they funded, often accompanies with video.

Jay Baer

People are sometimes intimidated by the idea of producing video content. Baer says there is no need to worry. “What’s interesting in the video space right now is the difference between a video crew and what you can do with a $50 light and an iPhone is getting closer together.”

In fact, he says, “under polished” video actually performs better “because it is believed to be more authentic. It doesn’t need to be Hollywood grade.”

He cautions that it can’t be terrible, either. “There is still something to be said for a video that you can actually see and audio that you can hear.”

To help anyone learn to produce effective video, Baer recommends the book Vlog Like a Boss by Amy Schmidt.

Baer is just finishing his next book, Talk Triggers, that emphasizes the impact of the things our friends say in person as opposed to social media. “If I send you a tweet that recommends something, that has weight. But if you and I have an actual conversation and I recommend something, that has even greater weight.”

This is an important lesson for social entrepreneurs who need to do something that gets people to actually talk about your work. To make his point, Baer shared the story of Skip’s Kitchen, a burger restaurant in Sacramento that was started on a shoestring.

To create an experience that would get people talking, a talk trigger as Baer calls it now, founder Skip Wahl decided to give every customer a chance to pull the Joker from a deck of cards to win their meal for free. Every day, he gives away about three meals.

Every winner is ecstatic, sharing their experience on social media and with their friends. Baer says, their marketing budget has been exactly “zero dollars and zero cents.”

Chris Moody, head of content marketing for Cheetah Digital, got to know Baer via social media. They met in person when both were speaking at a conference. Moody says, Baer is “an amazing person first and an impressive businessman second.”

Moody offers some advice of his own, based on his observations about Baer. “Don’t cut corners. Jay is where he is because of hard work and treating people how they want to be treated. You’ll never see him spamming networks to get followers or engaging in shady practices to appear more influential. Don’t be that guy. Help others.”

If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.


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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!

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