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Are Americans Hardwired to Give?

This is a guest post from Ronn Torossian, CEO and Founder of 5WPR. He is a Public Relations Executive and Author of the Best-Selling PR Book For Immediate Release.

Founder of 5W Public Relations, Ronn Torossian, reveals how American independence leads to increased generosity.

Americans have been recognized for their intense individual generosity for a long time, but the reason for that generosity may not be what people assume. Successful charity organizations understand WHY Americans give, because they study HOW Americans give.

When you ask a group of people why they give, personal altruism and religion are often credited as foundational motivations. But, would you believe that a new theory suggests Americans are more generous on an individual basis because they are more intensely and intrinsically independent?

While science is still out on this theory, the reality is, that sense of personal independence that most Americans hold dear could indeed translate into kind acts of purposed charity. While we are, as individuals, intensely focused on our personal liberties, rights, and inalienable freedoms, when push comes to shove and someone is in need, we rise up en masse to meet that need, and we do so most often with well-administrated individual acts of kindness. Whether it is a neighborhood coming together to organize a food donation to a family in mourning, or a community of civic and church groups joining forces to help victims of a natural disaster, Americans do giving right.

We may be laser focused on preserving our personal liberty, but we drop everything to lend a hand when we can, even if we persist on doing it in our own fiercely independent manner.

Ronn Torossian

More and more people are coming on board with this way of thinking, realizing the merit in this theory and working that reality into their donation campaigns and marketing programs.

Here’s the bottom line for charities interested in tapping into America’s unique brand of charity: Honor its time-tested stubborn independent streak. Ask people to connect on their own terms, and give in ways that suit their perspectives and you will set yourself up for increased success. Fail to do so, and you are artificially limiting your operational budget.

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Corporate Citizenship – An Added Risk to Non-Profits?

This is a guest post from William Brown, SocioEconomic Business Coach, Advocate and “Business Fracker,” helping businesses and business professionals “drill down” to identify and maximize their unique Corporate Citizenship business model.

There is no question as to the growth of cause-branding, social entrepreneurship and Corporate Citizenship (I prefer this to Corporate Social Responsibility) but what is in question is the influence that these social impact initiatives will have on the traditional non-profit organizations and philanthropic ideals.

A recent article in The Atlantic titled Is For-Profit the Future of Non-Profit? presents some thought provoking perspectives from respected leaders in the camps of “pure” philanthropy right through what some people call “consumption” philanthropy. While some valid and insightful positions are taken I can’t see this as an either/or proposition and while none of us have that crystal ball I think that there is a place and need for all manners of impacting social outcomes. Yes, I firmly believe that there will be some adjustments to methods and practices but in reality, are not all of us who wish to influence social impact looking for improved outcomes? While we may not all be on the same page are we not in the same chapter or book or at least in the same section of the library?

I firmly believe that pure philanthropy is a critical component of a giving culture, that humanitarian organizations serve a vital role in society and that there is absolutely a need for Corporate Citizenship. There is a role for a non-profit business community but I also believe that not all non-profits provide the best possible solution to social problems and taking it even further, many should not be non-profits at all (a topic for another time)!

Yes, I am in the Corporate Citizenship camp and am passionate about instilling a “giving back” culture in for-profit entities but I also believe that we (for-profit, non-profit, cause brands, philanthropists, impact investors, …) could do a better job of joining forces and with our respective competencies and passion, have a greater impact on outcomes. After all, aren’t outcomes what are really important?

W.H. Brown
ARC Impact
www.arcforgood.com

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Ebola Crisis: How You Can Help

This post was originally produced for GoodCrowd.info.

The following is taken from a release from Global Giving:

West Africa is in the midst of the most lethal Ebola epidemic in history.

The Ebola virus disease is highly contagious, has no known treatment or cure, and is fatal within days or weeks in most cases. More than 1,200 people have been infected in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and now Nigeria. The World Health Organization reports that 672 people have died so far as a result of this outbreak.

This is the first major outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa and communities in the region are struggling to contain the epidemic. We’ve set up the Ebola Epidemic Relief Fund so that local organizations in West Africa have immediate access to the resources they need to stop the spread of Ebola and care for the people already infected.

There are two organizations raising money on Global Giving for ebola relief, Develop Africa and IMANI House.

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Britt Lake of Global Giving, Sylvester Renner of Develop Africa and Bisi Ideraabdullah of IMANI House, will join me here for a live interview to discussion the outbreak and how we can all help to alleviate it. Tune in to watch right here.

More about Global Giving:

GlobalGiving begins with the dedicated, tenacious individuals who are driving change in their communities. From running orphanages and schools, to helping survivors of natural disasters, these people are do-gooders to the core. We connect these “good idea people” with the “generous giver people” and help projects of all sizes receive donations of all sizes.

Britt’s bio:

As Director of Programs, Britt oversees relationships with over 2,000 nonprofits, including managing all of GlobalGiving’s impact measurement, capacity building work, and disaster relief grantmaking. In addition to her six years at GlobalGiving, Britt has worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and with a variety of non-profits in Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Britt holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. 

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New Company Offers ‘No-Skim’ Fundraising Tools To Nonprofits

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Social venture CommitChange has developed a new fundraising platform for nonprofits that doesn’t rely on collecting a percentage of funds raised, potentially netting nonprofits with a higher percentage of total donations.

The venture has garnered investments from power investors Mark Cuban, Tim Draper, Adam Draper and 500 Startups. Chris Sinton, founder of Network for Good and StartOut, has also invested and joined the board.

“We’ve decided to make all of our core technology available for free to help bolster charitable giving in the United States. We are also eliminating donation skimming as a business model and we will never profit by taking a percentage of donations,” said Roderick Campbell, CEO and Co-Founder of CommitChange.

Tim Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said “a non-profit without CommitChange risks becoming a dinosaur.”

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 7:00 Eastern, Sinton and Campbell will join me for a live conversation about serving the nonprofit fundraising community. Tune in here then to watch the live interview.

More about CommitChange:

CommitChange provides nonprofits with a full suite of integrated fundraising tools, which can be managed from a single platform. This tightly integrated solution eliminates the need for data consolidation, significantly reduces labor costs, and can provide an unprecedented level of understanding about a nonprofit’s supporters. CommitChange significantly reduces the time it takes to perform common tasks and eliminates the 2-3 weeks of training required to operate competing systems. CommitChange also requires no setup or customization, and can be deployed in minutes.

More about Network for Good:

Network for Good is an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profit organizations. The company was founded in 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems and Yahoo! and has processed over $1 billion in donations since inception.

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Airline Upcycles Seats To Benefit Kenyan Kids, Environment

Southwest Airlines has launched a sustainability initiative called “LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose” to upcycle leather seat coverings, keeping them out of landfills, so as to create opportunities for people in Kenya.

The pilot project began with 43 acres of leather seating materials and works in partnership with local nonprofits. Readers can comment on Facebook with the hashtag #LUVSeat,

Marilee McInnis, a Southwest Airlines Spokesperson, noted:

In Nairobi, Kenya (the project’s pilot location), SOS Children’s Villages Kenya, the primary non-profit partner that serves orphaned children and families in need, along with Alive & Kicking, Masaai Treads, and Life Beads Kenya, will use the leather to produce goods for distribution to local community groups.

Through the partnership, SOS youth will receive paid apprenticeships and training to make shoes and soccer balls from the leather. When completed, the shoes will be distributed as part of an anti-jigger campaign. The upcycled soccer balls will be donated to support education programs that use sports to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and Malaria prevention.

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at noon Eastern, Marilee, along with Scott Hamlin, CEO of Looptworks; Amanda Eisen, Director of Corporate Partnerships for SOS Children’s Villages; and Silvia Tonui, Programme Director at What’s Good Studios will join me for a live discussion about the impact of their work on people and the environment.

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

More about Looptworks:

Creativity is everywhere. We transform neglected excess into fresh products that outfit your gadgets to take on life, giving you freedom to #CreateWhereYouWant.

Looptworks is an innovative design brand that creates remarkable products, like bags, digital carrying devices and clothing, using premium excess materials. By pioneering progressive design and manufacturing methods, rescuing unused textiles, and by producing quality products, Looptworks has saved over 40 million gallons of water. Paving the path for a more sustainable production industry, Looptworks is committed to using only materials that already exist, and is partnering with major retailers and brands, to transform excess into excellence.

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Scott’s bio:

Scott Hamlin, a passionate conservationist, is the co-founder of LOOPTWORKS, a Portland, Oregon based design brand that creates premium apparel, bags and mobile device accessories from high quality, upcycled materials.
LOOPTWORKS has partnered with Fortune 500 companies, such as Southwest Airlines, to apply forward thinking design to their excess materials and brand marketing tools. Its products are currently being sold into Apple, Apple specialty retailers, Patagonia stores, Colleges and Universities nationwide, with distribution in Japan, Canada and Australia. You can see their full product offering at looptworks.com.
LOOPTWORKS has been featured on Oprah’s O list, the Today Show, NBC National News, The Guardian, Entrepreneur Magazine, Shape magazine, Fast Company Magazine, Real Simple, and many other blogs and websites. LOOPTWORKS has been named one of Entrepreneur Magazines top 100 Brilliant Companies and has won the Innovations in Supply Chain Sustainability by Sustainable Business Oregon.
Recognized as a thought leader in the emerging Circular Economy and sustainable capitalism, Hamlin has joined former Vice President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Al Gore on a panel as a pioneer of sustainable industries. He has served as the key note speaker at Temple University’s Social Entrepreneurship Conference, as well as speaking engagements at Harvard University, The Green Biz Forum, and many other Universities and Business Conferences in the US, Japan, and Brazil.
Hamlin and the Looptworks Team have been working with experts in textile recycling and textile science to work towards Looptworks’ ultimate goal, closed loop manufacturing.
In addition to running a growing company, Scott spends his free time with his wife and two kids enjoying surfing, biking, running, rock climbing, hiking and playing outdoors.

More about Southwest Air:

In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.

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Marilee’s bio:

Marilee McInnis is a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried. In addition to her reputation management and corporate communication duties, Marilee directs the airline’s Green initiatives, leads the “Green Team,” helps the Company put a Green filter on business decisions, and communicates and fosters sustainability for the Company. Marilee developed and spearheads the Company’s annual integrated reporting effort, the Southwest Airlines One Report™, which makes Southwest one of only a handful of U.S. companies publishing an integrated report and the subject of Harvard’s first case study on integrated reporting. Marilee was named by Fortune magazine as one of eight rising green stars at the world’s most admired companies.

Marilee is an honors journalism graduate of the University of North Texas.

More about SOS Children’s Villages:

SOS Children’s Villages creates stable, loving families for orphaned and abandoned children. We provide mothers who give individual attention and guidance to each child until they become an independent adult. We are raising over 82,000 children in over 500 villages across 133 countries, including the US. Through our outreach programs we impact the lives of over 1 million people each year.

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Amanda’s bio:

Amanda Eisen is the Director, Corporate Partnerships for SOS Children’s Villages-USA, where she is responsible for managing mutually beneficial partnerships that support SOS Children’s Villages around the world while helping companies meet their CSR goals. Prior to joining SOS Children’s Villages in 2013, Amanda was Foundation and Corporate Relations Officer at The Wilderness Society, a national organization that worked to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Previously, she served as Director of Foundation and Corporate Giving for the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY. Amanda earned her B.A. in English from Vassar College. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys yoga, cooking, and knitting. Amanda lives in Hyattsville, MD with her husband, six-year-old daughter, and two cats.

More about What’s Good Studios:

What’s Good Studios is a creative hub kicking out innovative content for young, modern, urban Kenyans and for the rest of the world to enjoy. What’s Good Studios is the production partner for the Southwest Leather project: Repurpose with Purpose: Luv Seat

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Silvia’s bio:

Silvia is the Kenyan Programme Co-ordinator on the ground. She is a marketer with over 6 years experience in Consumer and Trade Marketing in both South Africa and Kenya. She is part of the marketing team for What’s Good Studios. She is excited to be part of the Southwest Leather Programme and especially looking forward to transforming the lives of young women and men through the programme.

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New Program For Rooftop Solar Projects

This story was originally produced for GoodCrowd.info.

Mosiac, the leader in crowdfunding solar power projects, recently announced a program that provides homeowners with crowdfunded loans with operations and maintenance service contracts, giving them all the benefits of a lease with a simple to understand loan.

The loans can go for up to 20 years with no prepayment penalty and require no down payment.

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Mosaic CEO Daniel Rosen will join me for a live discussion about the new program. Tune in here then to watch live.

More about Mosaic:

Mosaic is America’s first peer-to-peer solar finance company and is enabling thousands of American people to profit from clean energy. Mosaic provides home solar loans to cover the up-front cost of solar ownership for homeowners and finances these loans by crowdsourcing investments from the public. 

Mosaic has been honored by Fast Company as a top ten most innovative company in energy for two consecutive years, by the Department of Energy as a SunShot Grant recipient, The Sierra Club as the Trailblazer Company of the Year, and Verizon Wireless as the top environmental winner for their Powerful Answers Awards. 

Dan’s bio:

Dan Rosen - Mosaic Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer 
Dan is a serial entrepreneur with 10 years of experience leading clean energy, green building and energy efficiency companies in rural Native American communities and Israel. He is an Unreasonable Institute fellow and Brower Youth Award winner. Dan has been been on Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 Energy List two times in recognition of his leadership on innovative ways of financing clean energy.

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Devin D. Thorpe

New Site Helps Small Businesses Raise Money In Local Communities

This story was originally produced for GoodCrowd.info.

Kevin Hitchen’s left J.P. Morgan to help launch Localstake, a crowdfunding site that facilitates investments in local businesses. The platform has successfully raised over $3 million for entrepreneurs in its first year of operation.

On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Kevin will join me for a live discussion about the company and its focus on local investment crowdfunding. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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More about LocalStake:

Localstake is an online investment crowdfunding platform that enables startup and small businesses to raise up to $1 million in funding from individual investors in the community. Our platform allows business owners to efficiently connect with and raise funding from local investors. Individual investors of all wealth backgrounds are able to access, review, and invest in local businesses with as little as $250,something many have never really been allowed to do before. After a business has achieved funding, they are then able to utilize our Localstake to keep investors updated and engaged with helping them grow and make an impact. Since our official launch in June of 2013, we have helped companies raise over $3MM from investors.

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Kevin’s bio:

Kevin Hitchen is co-founder of the investment crowdfunding platform Localstake. Prior to founding Localstake, Kevin worked in investment management at the Indiana Public Retirement System and at J.P. Morgan It was at J.P. Morgan where he and a colleague first developed the idea for Localstake.
Kevin received his Bachelors of Science in Finance from Butler University. He holds the Series 7, 24, 79, and 66 securities licenses and is a CFA charterholder.

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Lumos Ends Teacher Technology Pain

This story was originally produced for GoodCrowd.info.

Lumos is an EdTech startup that has created a wireless hub to connect disparate classroom technologies of various vintages.

Not only is Lumos funding its launch through crowdfunding on Indiegogo, it has created a model that allows teachers to conduct their own micro-campaigns to raise the money to get a device in their classrooms.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Lumos Founder Shane Cox will join me for a live discussion about the technology and the campaigns. Tune in here then.

This video provides a quick overview of Lumos for your reference.

More about Lumos:

At Lumos, we believe that technology can be a key to unlocking the natural curiosity that drives both educators and students, and fuels the desire to learn. A key that should be within reach of every school and district, not just the wealthy. We believe that teachers deserve more than hand-me-downs from the world of consumer electronics. Our team of educators and entrepreneurs are committed to creating simple and cost effective solutions to integrate technology in the classroom; beginning with our SmartHub, the world’s first Android powered wireless presentation system.

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Shane’s bio:

Shane is a principal founder and CEO of LUMOS Technologies. He has established himself as a competent innovator and entrepreneur in the field of wireless technology and has been working in the field of education for over 5 years. Shane has built multiple successful businesses over the past decade. A few of these businesses include a regional wireless internet service, call tracking and marketing analytics software, and a hosted pbx phone system.

Prior to LUMOS, Shane was a principal founder and COO at Skywire Technologies, a technology integration firm servicing the charter school industry. His primary responsibilities were to design and oversee the installation of advanced technology systems in charter schools across the U.S. This technology includes wired and wireless networks, classroom A/V, paging, phone, and surveillance systems. He experienced firsthand the frustrations that educators and school administrators face in implementing technology. This experience is what drove Shane to create LUMOS. He wanted to give schools simple and cost ­effective solutions to incorporate technology in the classroom. As a father of three children with various learning needs, Shane’s passion is in creating tools that give educators the power to engage and interact with each student using the power of technology.

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CHOICE Claims Solution To Ending Poverty

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Dr. James Mayfield has spent much of his life working to end poverty and he thinks he’s got it figured out.

“Go to the people, live among the people, learn from the people, plan with the people, work with the people, start with what the people know, and build on what the people have,” he says.

In 1982, after years as an academic and a consultant, he helped found CHOICE Humanitarian, a nonprofit organization, to work actively to end poverty. CHOICE is working now in Nepal, Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia and Kenya.

The CHOICE model has three distinct phases:

  1. Organizing: All projects are village based and begin by having the village identify leaders and key community resources to build upon; this process can take up to one year.
  2. Mobilizing: The village, over the course of two to three years, develops and completes discrete projects with the help of local government leaders, NGOs and CHOICE resources; the key is what the village learns about completing projects and making change happen.
  3. Institution Building: After three or four years, the village begins to develop a stronger local economy and greater independence with better connections to the national government and national economy, allowing the village to carry on the work of lifting itself out of poverty.

In February 2015, I will be traveling with CHOICE on an expedition to Nepal to further the work of poverty eradication there. I’m excited to get see the work in action and to actually be a part of the solution to poverty.

On July 23, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Dr. Mayfield will join me for a live discussion about ending extreme poverty and the work of CHOICE Humanitarian. Tune in right here then to watch the interview live.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about Choice Humanitarian:

CHOICE Humanitarian believes in the value and dignity of all human beings. We are a nonprofit organization with more than 30 years experience working to end poverty in Bolivia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, and Nepal. We do this by empowering villagers to determine their own path for self-reliance, by building village leadership and by uniquely leveraging local and international investments. Working side-by-side, together we end poverty.

Dr. James Mayfield

Mayfield’s bio:

  • Co-founder, CHOICE Humanitarian
  • Author
  • Professor Emeritus ESC +0.44%, Public Administration & Middle East Studies, University of Utah
  • Consultant to governments in 15 Countries

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Prudential Promises To Build $1B Impact Portfolio

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

At a meeting of the U.S. Advisory Board and G7′s Social Impact Investing Taskforce at the White House last month, Prudential committed to build a $1 billion impact investment portfolio by 2020.

“Impact investing uses the power of markets to unleash private capital for public good. Done well, it can scale sustainable solutions to some of our toughest social challenges, such as affordable housing, clean energy, quality education, and workforce development,” said Matt Bannick, Co-Chair of the US National Advisory Board and Managing Partner at Omidyar Network, in a statement following the event. “Impact investing has been a part of the fabric of social and community development finance in the US for decades. But we have only begun to see a glimpse of its promise, and smart public policy will help us get where we need to be.”

Following the event, the National Advisory Board made several policy recommendations:

  1. Remove regulatory barriers
  2. Increase the effectiveness of government programs like the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  3. Provide incentives for new impact investments
  4. Support social entrepreneurs
  5. Standardize impact metrics

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM, Ommeed Sathe, Director of Social Investments for Prudential, will join me for a live discussion about impact investing and the firm’s $1 billion commitment. Tune in here then to watch the interview.

[At the time of the interview, I will insert a video player here. Bookmark this page and come back then to watch the interview live. Replays will be available here thereafter.]

More about Prudential:

For more than 135 years, Prudential Financial, Inc., has helped individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. Today, we are one of the world’s largest financial services institutions with operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. We also have one of the most recognized and trusted brand symbols: The Rock ®, an icon of strength, stability, expertise, and innovation.

We strive to create long-term value for our stakeholders through strong business fundamentals, consistent with our mission guided by our vision and directed by our company’s core values. We are committed to keeping our promises and to doing business the right way.

Sathe’s bio:

Ommeed is responsible for underwriting, origination, pipeline development and portfolio management activities. He also is director of the Newark Investment Fund, which provides investment resources to support the Strong Healthy Cities Initiative. Before joining Prudential in June 2011, Ommeed was director of real estate development for the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, a quasi-public entity that alleviates blight, redevelops residential and commercial properties and implements crucial public projects in New Orleans. Previously, he was a real estate and land use attorney with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York City. Ommeed has an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and urban planning from Columbia University; a Masters degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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Educator Brings Innovation To Utah Valley

Luke Peterson returned to his alma mater three years ago, he came to drive social innovation in the community and beyond—not just on campus.

Luke graduated from Utah Valley University before attending Harvard’s Kennedy school and then took a series of jobs working in small town governments, before returning to Utah County. He’s become a driving force for social innovation there and his influence is extending.

He will be speaking at the Social Innovation and Crowdfunding Conference (#GoodCrowd14) on September 26, 2014.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Luke will join me for a live discussion about his work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

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Luke’s bio:

Luke Peterson is an expert in innovation, specializing in cross-sector partnerships and innovation. 
 
After receiving a B.A. in history from Utah Valley University, Luke completed a master’s in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He then worked in local government management and economic development for the City of Davenport, Iowa, the Town of West Warwick, Rhode Island, and Wasatch County, Utah.

Luke returned to UVU in 2011 to direct the formation of cooperative partnerships between UVU and its external partners. Luke works with individual companies, nonprofits, communities, government agencies, and entire sectors to provide engaged learning opportunities for students and faculty while creating deep value for the university’s external partners. His current project is the development of the Innovation Academy at UVU — a center designed to teach the principles of design thinking, and opportunity identification to cross-sector teams of public, social, and private sector entrepreneurs.

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Activist Walks To End Poverty

Author Jordan Phoenix is so serious about saving the world that he’s walking from Canada to Mexico to bring attention to his work and to share his unique message of personal responsibility with everyone he meets.

Jordan created Project Free World to support projects that provide food, rights, education, and work to protect the environment.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Jordan will join me from the road for a live discussion about his one-person crusade. Tune in here then to watch the interview.

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

More about Project Free World:

Project Free World facilitates the creation of collaborative grassroots projects in order to provide the proper food, rights, education, and environment to every person on the planet. It aims to connect local changemakers who have similar passions and complimentary skill sets with the most effective ideas for social change being implemented worldwide.

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Jordan’s bio:

Jordan Phoenix is an author, social entrepreneur, speaker, and scalability consultant. He is the founder of Project Free World, an organization that facilitates the creation of collaborative social innovation projects in order to provide the proper food, rights, education, and environment to every person on the planet.

His book, It’s All My Fault: How I Messed Up the World, and Why I Need Your Help to Fix It describes paradigm shifting ideas to address the biggest global challenges we face as a species; such as poverty, homelessness, and underemployment.

He also writes a personal development blog called Uncommon Sense for 21st Century Living to examine the rapidly evolving landscape of life in the modern era. Jordan’s work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Times of India, RT, The Huffington Post, Lifehack, MindBodyGreen, The New York Observer, The Social Journal, GOOD, and The Spark Documentary. He was recognized as a Quora Top Writer in 2013.

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New Platform To Crowdsource Water Conservation

Lisa Gunn Adams, a professor at Kennesaw State University, is working to organize an active, real-time collaboration platform for people working to enhance waterways through crowdsourcing—and she’s crowdfunding the money to do it!

Her new platform, SPLASSH, provides a space where anyone interested in water can learn and share, from those engaged day-to-day in water conservation, to volunteers, researchers and residents of waterways. 

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at noon Eastern, Lisa will join me for a live discussion about her effort. Tune in here then to learn more.

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

More about SPLASSH:

SPLASSH is a socially driven network that crowdsources the condition of our waterways. The mission of SPLASSH is to inspire water conservation through awareness by engaging students, citizen scientists, and researchers to share, discuss, connect, and visually consume information about water. SPLASSH is a framework that collects information about water in real-time, allows dialogue, and most of all fosters the building of communities that share an interest in water. SPLASSH accepts all posts about water from anyone who has an interest in, observation of, or concern about water. In essence, SPLASSH is an education and dissemination tool for anyone that wants to share water projects or learn more about the most important resource we have: water. To join the SPLASSH community, just log onto http://splasshdata.meteor.com and share your water project or news.

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Lisa’s bio:

Adams is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Kennesaw State University. Receiving a Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles, a M.S. from San Diego State University, and a B.S. from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Adams’ research has involved studying fish, marine and freshwater ecosystems, otters, and coyotes. Upon moving to Georgia, Adams focused her research on watershed studies, primarily water monitoring issues. She is passionate about increasing awareness of the importance of healthy waterways with the goal of inspiring water conservation and the protection of aquatic ecosystems. Adams has published several papers in her field and serves on the board for SECOORA (Southeast Coastal Ocean Observation Regional Association).

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World Looks Anxiously To Pakistan, Afghanistan And Nigeria To Eradicate Polio

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Polio, once a global monster, is now a cornered rat, lashing out in hopes of repopulating. Reduced 99.9 percent from an average number of cases around 400,000 thirty years ago, the number of global polio cases has been cut to around 400 annually. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative hopes to see the final case of polio either late this year or early next year. All polio cases, regardless of where they are found, now originate from three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. You can count the number of cases this year in Afghanistan or Nigeria on your fingers; the end of polio there is clearly within reach.

All three countries have been impacted by conflict in recent years, making the battle against polio at this critical stage challenging. The battle is so pitched that the World Health Organization or WHO, declared a “public health emergency” in an effort to garner greater cooperation among countries to prevent the spread of polio, especially from the three endemic countries.

Rotary, one of the partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the CDC, WHO and UNICEF with tremendous financial support from The Gates Foundation, has brought the three national Polio Plus Committee heads from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria to its global headquarters in Evanston, Illinois this week. Forbes has received an exclusive opportunity to visit with them live on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 4:10 PM Eastern. Aziz Memon of Pakistan, Dr. Abdulrahman Olatunji Funsho of Nigeria and Mohammad Ishaq Niazmand of Afghanistan will join us then.

More about Rotary:

Rotary is a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

More about PolioPlus:

Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication, in 1985. Since then, Rotary and its partners have helped reduce the number of annual cases from 350,000 to fewer than 250 and remain committed until every child is safe from the disease. Rotary has contributed more than US$1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute over $9 billion to the effort.

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Aziz Memom, Polio Plus Chair, Pakistan

Memom’s bio:

Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Pakistan: Aziz has been involved with Rotary for more than 20 years, and has lead Rotary’s polio eradication efforts in Pakistan as Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for the country for the past five years. During his term, he has worked closely with a range of partners and stakeholders to end polio in his country, including WHO, UNICEF, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), government officials and departments, ulemas and religious scholars, celebrities, corporate executives from multinational companies and Rotarians from around the world. The Pakistani government recognized his efforts towards humanitarian and public service by awarding him the “Pride of Performance” award in March 2011, a recognition given by the President of Pakistan. Mr. Memon is also Chairman of the Kings Group, a conglomerate of five companies and one of the leading manufacturing and exporting groups in Pakistan. Aziz is based in Karachi, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Karachi.

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Mohammad Ishaq Niazmand, Polio Plus Chair, Afghanistan

Niazmand’s bio:

Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Afghanistan: Ishaq has been a dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Jalalabad since it was established in 2005, and he has been involved with Rotary for more than 15 years. He started his tenure as Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Afghanistan in 2013. In this role, Ishaq has worked closely with partners such as the National Expanded Immunization Program of the Ministry of Health, USAID, AUAID, CIDA and GPEI partners such as WHO, UNICEF and CDC. Ishaq has a strong professional background working with educational institutions (Nanharhar University; Borlaug Institute of Texas A&M University) and NGOs (UNESCO; International Foundation of Hope).

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Dr. Abdulrahman Olatunji (Tunji) Funsho, Polio Plus Chair, Nigeria

Dr. Funsho’s bio:

Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Nigeria: Tunji, a cardiologist based in Lagos, Nigeria, has been a Rotary member since 1985. Dr. Funsho is a past member of the Rotary Club of Kano, and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Lekki. He has been Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Nigeria since 2013, and in that role, has worked closely with GPEI partner organizations (WHO, UNICEF, CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), as well as the Dangote Foundation, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, the Traditional Leaders Council and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN). As a member of the Presidential Task Force on Polio, he also works with the Minister of State for Health, the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for Polio Eradication, and more.

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Skateboards Used To Foster Young Leaders In Lebanon

This is a guest post from Devon Smiley.

Beneath the bombed out shell that hides the “Paris of the Middle East”, thousands fear that tomorrow won’t come and many believe that the only hope for Lebanon is in the youth.

The Operation Change team saw this need to invest in the future leaders of Lebanon and hoped to provide a place where the youth of this community could build their confidence and escape the stress and danger of their current environment. For many local youths, skateboarding is just that escape. 

Steven Sawalich, the Senior Director of Global Media and Philanthropy of Starkey Hearing Technologies, along with volunteers joined local activists in Lebanon to build a skate park and come to the aid of a community center at risk of being torn down for good.

Tonight’s episode (Monday, July 21) features Maya, a local woman of the community, who fears that there is nothing to be done to save the community she has lived in her whole life. Upon seeing the restored community center, Maya exclaims, “There is still goodness in this world and for that I am grateful. The dream is coming true.”

Operation Change is a 10 part television docu-series airing on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) that provides an intimate view of the challenges people in developing countries across the world face as well as the inspiring efforts being made by volunteers, philanthropists and celebrities to address them. Operation Change is all about empowering people to empower themselves. In each episode, the team does just that. The countries featured include Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Israel & Palestine, Lebanon, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Tune in to OWN every Monday 10/9 Central to see how Operation Change is making in impact in some of the most tumultuous regions of the world. To learn more about Operation Change or view past episodes, please visit the official website here. In addition, viewers can immerse themselves in featured countries while experiencing social good projects and regional culture via the interactive online web platform. Each week, a viewer can also win a trip for two to join the Operation Change team and its partners in the field to help make an impact in a featured country.

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