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Procter & Gamble Sponsors UNICEF Effort To Save Babies In 25 Developing Countries

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Every year 58,000 babies die from maternal and neonatal tetanus or MNT, all in the developing world.  UNICEF, with support from Procter and Gamble’s Pampers, is working to eliminate MNT around the world. The battle against MNT in Indonesia is nearing its end.

The partnership between Pampers and UNICEF is an example of growing and powerful trend for corporations to be significantly and actively involved in solving social problems. The tie between Pampers and saving babies is obvious and clearly stands to benefit the brand as well as the babies, but that doesn’t make the financial support less helpful.

UNICEF praises Pampers for its long-term support of the initiative, noting that “sustained financial resources” are required to successfully eliminate the disease and to save lives.

On Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Dr. Rownak Khan, Senior Health Specialist for UNICEF, will join me here for a live discussion about the program. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about UNICEF:

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF

Dr. Khan’s bio:

With over than 17 years of experience in public health in developing countries, Dr. Rownak Khan took the position of Senior Health Specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund, New York Headquarters in 2010.

Previous to this appointment, she worked in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. During her career in public health with UNICEF she has focused on children’s vaccination programmes and has worked closely with national governments to develop policy, strategy and plans to provide vaccines to women and children, especially for vulnerable and difficult to reach population.

In Bangladesh, a country with highest number of neonatal deaths due to neonatal tetanus in the 1980s, Dr. Khan coordinated maternal and neo-natal tetanus elimination efforts in the late 90s and early 2000s which lead to elimination of the disease in 2008.

She also has implemented the MNTE programme in the remote and highly conservative areas of northern Afghanistan. At UNICEF Headquarters, Dr. Khan has worked in various other disease control initiatives such as Polio Eradication and the Yellow Fever control programme, with a specific focus on marginalized and difficult to access populations.

Dr. Khan is also part of the on-going effort in UNICEF to reach the most underserved populations with vaccines and other essential health services – the centre piece of the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination programme strategy.

Dr. Khan has an MD from Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh and an MSC in Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in UK . She also has training in Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

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Real Estate Crowdfunding Builds Communities

AdaPia d’Errico, Chief Marketing Officer of the real estate crowdfunding portal Patch of Land, will be speaking at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference (SECFC14) on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird, Utah. 

On July 3, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, AdaPia will join me for a live discussion about the critical role that real estate plays in a community and how crowdfunding for real estate can have a positive impact on a neighborhood.

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

More about Patch of Land:

Patch of Land is a marketplace lending platform that connects borrowers who require short term funding for their real estate projects with accredited and institutional investors seeking uncorrelated returns from passive income real estate investments.

Patch of Land is a privately owned company based in Los Angeles, CA providing accredited and institutional investors easier access to short-term, asset collateralized, fixed income securities through its proprietary P2RE “Peer-to-Real-Estate” lending marketplace. Patch of Land is the online marketplace solution to inefficient, slow, fragmented and obscure short- term real estate lending, providing a fast, efficient, transparent and consistent service to real estate borrowers and professionals, who may not qualify for traditional financing.

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AdaPia’s bio:

AdaPia d’Errico is an entrepreneur, investor, and mentor with broad experience across retail banking, financial planning, international finance and capital markets, strategic brand and intellectual property development, crowdfunding and online community building. As Chief Marketing Officer at Patch of Land, she leads strategic partnerships, and drives brand awareness while positioning the company at the forefront of P2P real estate lending and debt crowdfinancing. She has co-founded two businesses with women partners, coached female entrepreneurs, taught and mentored business students, and frequently speaks on Women 2.0 topics in crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, and fundraising for start-ups. AdaPia has a BBA from the University of British Columbia.

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Admissions - Short Film for World Peace

This is a guest post from John Viscount, a filmmaker, author, peace strategist and public speaker

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John Viscount

In our modern world of high technology and multi-media grand spectacles, there are many amazing things that capture our attention. But to me, there is nothing as compelling as other’s people’ suffering. It always seems to stop me in my tracks and light a fire under me to try to help, even if just for a moment.

Maybe it’s a meaningful conversation or an understanding nod or a silent hug. Or maybe its time spent focusing internally on a shared sense of unity and goodwill with all living beings. Whatever it takes to reassure struggling souls they’re not alone becomes the goal, because when we connect compassionately with others, we reaffirm our higher nature and contribute deeply to the world’s evolution.

Of course, this kind of evolution has nothing to do with becoming stronger, faster, smarter or fitter individuals. On the contrary, the true evolution of the human species is moving from the pursuit of separate interests to the pursuit of shared interests, because only in oneness can peace, love and a better world for all, without exception, endure.

As a filmmaker, author and peace strategist, my chosen tool for promoting unity is the creation of transformational media content that elevates as it entertains. Currently, I am conducting a screening and Q & A tour where I engage audiences in enlightening discussions about forgiveness and the many healing themes of my film for peace, Admissions.

Winner of 25 international awards, Admissions stars Academy Award® nominee James Cromwell and tells a life-changing tale about what it takes to find lasting peace, even in the most conflict-ridden regions of our planet. I originally wrote Admissions as a response to the suffering of 9/11 and the film’s theme song as a response to the suffering of the Iraq War.

www.admissionsfilm.com

When I screen Admissions for audiences, I talk about the film’s partnership we created with PeaceNow.com, The Global Alliance for Ministries & Infrastructures for Peace and United Nations Culture of Peace working groups. This partnership resulted in a campaign to gather One Billion signatures to create peace departments in governments worldwide. I was fortunate to play a role in the drafting of the official Global Resolution of this movement.

http://www.peacenow.com/resolution/

We have also created a unique digital platform called The Gift of Peace, which is a free e-book that dramatically explains the need for peace departments in our world. It bestows a free screening of Admissions, offered in 5 languages, to anyone who signs PeaceNow’s global petition. To date, signatures representing 62 countries have been received.

http://m2ebook.com/admissionsgiftofpeace/index.html

Similar to Admissions, my new book, Mind What Matters, A Pep Talk for Humanity also addresses life’s most difficult challenges. It features a collection of philosophical writings and stories that offer healing perspectives on how to remain rooted in our higher mind no matter what the world serves up.

http://www.admissionsfilm.com/mind-what-matters.php

After viewing Admissions, Sharon Stone asked me to write a similar short film for her around bullying which I have now completed and in which she has agreed to play the lead. I also have a full catalog of other transformational projects including short films, features, television shows, public service announcements and musicals. Ultimately, the goal with all my work is to create more unity in the world so people can experience more love, suffer less and enjoy more deeply rewarding lives.

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Young And Old Partner To End Child Slavery

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Ten-year-old Vivienne Harr is working with 79-year-old Olga Murray to end child slavery in Nepal.

As I’ve reported previously, Harr launched her campaign nearly two years ago in response to tragic Lisa Kristine images she’d seen depicting children in slavery.

Murray, an American immigrant from Transylvania, had a successful law career and then launched a second career to help poor children in Nepal who are too often victims of slavery.

Harr and Murray, recently announced their collaboration. Harr’s Make a Stand lemonade, led by her father Eric Harr, has pledged to help Murray’s organization, the Nepal Youth Foundation, raise the money needed to empower young people in Nepal to break free of slavery.

The Freed Kamlari Development Forum, a Nepalese nonprofit, has provided a $30,000 fund to make co-op loans to young people seeking to free themselves from the Kamlari slavery system, but it already faces demand for another $40,000.

On Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Murray and Harr will join me for a live discussion about their work to end child slavery. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about the Nepal Youth Foundation:

Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) is a U.S. based nonprofit that works to provide Nepal’s most impoverished children what should be every child’s birthright: freedom, health, shelter and education. NYF was founded in 1990 by Olga Murray at age 65 after she retired from a career as an attorney for the California Supreme Court. At age 88, Olga continues to serve as Honorary President, spending half the year in Nepal and half in the U.S.

More about Make A Stand Lemonade:

Make a Stand is a social impact brand that supports its 10-year-old founder’s vision of a world where all 18 million children are free and safe.

The company is developing a new mobile technology that allows anyone to “make a stand–wherever they stand” just like Vivienne did.

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Olga Murray marches for freedom

Murray’s bio:

Olga Murray – Founder, Honorary President
Olga Murray is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean slowing down. Born in 1925 in Transylvania, Olga came with her parents and sister to the U.S. when she was six year old. After graduation from Columbia University, she earned a law degree from George Washington University, where she was one of a handful of female students. Olga worked her way through school as a researcher and writer for famed muckraking columnist Drew Pearson . With her law degree in hand, she found that no law firm would hire a woman. So Olga knocked on the door of the California Supreme Court, where she became a research attorney for Chief Justice Phil Gibson. When he retired, Olga joined the law staff of the new Justice Stanley Mosk. During her 37-year tenure at the Court, Olga helped to write important decisions in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental policy. In 1990, at the age of 65, Olga founded the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF). Now, hundreds of NYF kids call her “Olga didi,” meaning older sister. Annually, Olga spends half the year in Sausalito, California, raising funds for NYF, and the other six months in Nepal overseeing NYF projects — redefining just what a didi can do.

Harr’s bio:

After seeing a photo of two boys her age living in slavery, Vivienne Harr, 8, set up her lemonade stand every day for a year and raised $101,320 to fight child slavery. She became the first girl in American history to bottle her lemonade-stand lemonade which is now served across America. Of their 230 million users, Twitter chose her to ring the bell at their IPO. Town & Country Magazine voted her one of the top 50 most influential philanthropists in the country with Laurene Jobs, Leonardo Dicaprio and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now, she is working on a new mobile crowdfunding technology with her friends at Twitter and Square that will allow anyone, anywhere, at any age to “make a stand–wherever they stand.” It launches on August 15th.

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Rodney Sampson Using Equity Crowdfunding For Opportunity Hub Coworking Space

Bishop Rodney Sampson, serial entrepreneur, community leader, author of Kingonomics, and a good friend of mine, is using Georgia’s unique crowdfunding exemption to sell financial interests in an entrepreneurial coworking space in downtown Atlanta called the Opportunity Hub. He and his team have plans to roll out the model in other cities in the around the Southeast.

Rodney was also gracious enough to write the foreword to Crowdfunding for Social Good.

Rodney will also be speaking at the upcoming Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference (SECFC14) on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird.

On Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Rodney will join me to talk about the offering. Tune in right here then to watch the interview.

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

Rodney’s bio:

Rodney Sampson is a social innovator, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, published author, and consecrated bishop. Via his Episcopal affiliations with the Old Holy Catholic Church (International Bishops Conference) and Kingdom Manifestation, Sampson shapes innovative economic policy and opportunities throughout society and culture. As a serial entrepreneur, Sampson co-founded Multicast Media Networks (Streamingfaith.com) in 2000 (sold in 2010), a live and on-demand streaming platform that laid the foundation for companies like YouTube and Ustream. Not stopping there, Sampson co-founded Intellectual Currency (an integrated marketing and business development firm) in 2002, Intellect Inspire (a digital publishing imprint of Audible) in 2006, and Legacy Opportunity Fund in 2007 with private equity investments in technology, the social graph and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also serves on the boards of a learning company (a publishing imprint of Pearson Education), a New York-based merchant investment bank, a trucking and logistics company and a community development corporation (CDC).

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Sampson is passionate about reducing our nation’s poverty and wealth gap by advancing the cause of entrepreneurship, investment and Crowdfunding as a way of life for all communities. To advance this definitive cause, he created the diversity and inclusion initiatives at One Three Media, a joint venture between Mark Burnett Productions and Hearst. One Three executive produces The Voice, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, ABC’s Shark Tank, Richard Branson’s “Space Race”, The Bible Series &Son of God. He is also the Founder of opportunity.UP // unleashing private equity, the nation’s leading conference and learning platform learning for minorities and under-served communities to learn, navigate and master the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem. opportunity.UP conferences attract over 1,000 entrepreneurs, 500 teenagers and 100 accredited investors and mentors.  On the ground, he is the co-founder of the opportunity.HUB a coworking space, knowledge repository and accelerator located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. opportunity.HUB is home to opportunity.VENTURES, a new seed and early stage fund focused on making investments in consumer goods, consumer web and technology based companies that impact culture and beyond.

Sampson is also an advocate and respected expert on the JOBS Act (debt and equity based crowdfunding) and State of Georgia’s “Invest Georgia Exemption” legislation. Always meditating, thinking, networking and connecting to disrupt economic culture, Sampson is innovating what he has branded as an  “ecosystem funding platform” designed to integrate the capital markets of the African American owned banks, churches, business associations and historical black colleges and universities. The platform will allow underserved and under-represented communities to learn, engage and invest in the investment ecosystem by providing access to relevant investment opportunities traditionally reserved for accredited and institutional investors. The long-term outcome will result in job creation, wealth creation and a better society for all.

Published Works

Vetted with intuitive and experiential wisdom, Sampson is regularly called upon to advise and speak to nations, businesses, universities, and bishops who employ thousands and lead millions of constituents and communities around the world. Sampson’s published works include Kingonomics: Twelve Innovative “Currencies” for Transforming Your Business and Your Life, Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Your Manifest Destiny: 7.5 Words to Transform Your Future; Yes We Will: Solutions for Realizing Your Personal Power in an Obama Era; and Black Trillions: Introducing Symbiotic Economics. His audio works include Any Day Now: Genesis of Divine Manifestation and Your Manifest Destiny: 15 Audio Meditations to Transform Your Future.

Education

Sampson earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tulane University in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management in 2001. He also studied in the Doctorate of Medicine program at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine from 1995 to 1999. For his dedication and commitment to definitive social causes at such a young age, Sampson received an honorary Doctorate of Ministry from the I.G.F. Theological Seminary in 1998.

Philanthropy 

A strong believer in global reinvestment, Sampson has been a friend of Africa. He has worked closely with the republics of Namibia, Gabon, and Uganda in the areas of trade and development, business development, leadership development, and public affairs. For his contributions to humanity, Sampson was awarded the Phoenix Award—the City of Atlanta’s highest honor—by Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2004. In direct support of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sampson, his wife, and a group of influencers in 2007 donated more than $50,000 to the King Papers Project, a capital campaign established to ensure that Dr. King’s papers would remain in the city of Atlanta at Morehouse College for generations to come.

Family

Sampson and his wife reside in Atlanta, their native home, with their children.

Highlights

  • Serial innovator, parallel entrepreneur & angel investor
  • Co-founded Multicast Media (StreamingFaith.com) in 2000, a live and on-demand streaming platform that laid the foundation for companies like YouTube and ustream. Sold in 2010.
  • Recognized as a national expert on the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) ACT a/ka #crowdfunding
  • Served as 1st Executive -in- Charge of Diversity and Inclusion, One Three Media / Mark Burnett Productions (Producer of Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, Richard Branson’s “Space Race”, The Bible Series & Son of God)
  • Co-Founder of Opportunity Hub (OHUB), a co-working space and accelerator located at 200 Peachtree in Downtown Atlanta, http://www.ohub200.com
  • Co-Founder of the opportunity.UP // unleashing private equity conference (formerly known as Kingonomics)
  • Co-Founder of opportunity.VENTURES with Jerry Hicks & Paul Judge
  • Sampson’s Intellectual Currency Agency provided high level advisory, integrated marketing and business development for The Bible Series (Mark Burnett Productions), Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ (Icon Pictures); Walden Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Disney); and Keith Beauchamp’s The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (Think Film).
  • Author of four best selling books, including Kingonomics: Twelve Innovative Currencies For Transforming Your Business & Life: Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Consecrated bishop in The International Bishop’s Conference, the North American branch of The Old Holy Catholic Church
  • Launched Kingdom Manifestation, a marketplace ministry
  • Mentored by Dr. John C. Maxwell from 2004-2006; Trained more than 32,000 leaders in Namibia, Africa
  • Speaks and advises nations, corporations, universities and churches
  • Advised three African Heads of State (Namibia, Gabon, Uganda)
  • Sampson’s definitive purpose is to disrupt poverty and facilitate the reduction of the wealth gap in America and beyond via innovation, entrepreneurship and investment

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Dana Ostomel, CEO Of DepositAGift Explains Crowdfunding For Schools

Deposit a Gift is a crowdfunding site used for personal and organizational objectives that has become popular among school communities, whether raising money for teacher appreciation or building science labs.

CEO and founder, Dana Ostomel, will join me for a live discussion about crowdfunding for schools and other organizations on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM Eastern. Tune in right here then.

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

More about Deposit a Gift:

DepositaGift.com is the most customizable and hassle-free crowdfunding website for organizational and personal fundraising. Their all-in-one platform for donations, sponsorships and ticket sales is built to leverage social networks and viral sharing! For anyone looking to raise money and rally supporters, Deposit a Gift offers the perfect way to showcase exactly what you want money for and incite people to contribute. Launched in 2010, Deposit a Gift serves the growing need to raise money online for anything from charitable organizations and disaster relief, to school fundraising, help with medical bills, memorial funds, pet rescue or crowdfunding a business or personal project. To learn more and start your fundraiser today, visit: http://www.depositagift.com.

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Dana Ostomel

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Curt Bassett Is Leading The Impact Investment Revolution

Curt Bassett has spent the bulk of his career managing money and was among the first to begin using the label “impact investing” to describe the strategy of investing money for both positive social impact and financial returns. Today he runs Impact Investment Leaders and is actively crusading to expand the movement toward impact investing.

Curt is passionate about the lasting effects that investing for impact can have on wealthy families, allowing them keep their money growing and doing good past the third generation.

Curt will also be speaking at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference (SECFC14) on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird.

On June 26, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Curt will join me for a live discussion about his crusade to get wealthy Americans to do more good with their money. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about Impact Investment Leaders:

We help high net worth families, philanthropists and traditional investors achieve their personal, corporate, social and financial goals through impact investing. We help them achieve “triple impact” from their investments in social enterprises both for-profit or nonprofit. Our proprietary leadership and leverage strategies maximize three types of impact for impact investors: 1) Social Impact (their positive impact on their causes and communities), 2) Financial Impact (both market rate and below-market rate returns); and 3) Investor Impact (the non-financial intangible returns experienced by themselves, their families and their employees).

Curt’s bio:

Curt Bassett is an attorney and investment advisor with 30 years of experience as a both a financial services corporate executive and advisor to some of America’s wealthiest families, private foundations, financial services firms and nonprofit organizations. He is CEO and Co-Founder of Impact Investment Leaders with offices in Park City and New York City (formerly Princeton Social Capital out of Princeton New Jersey). Prior to founding IIL, he held 3 positions at Merrill Lynch: Senior Vice-President of Merrill Lynch Trust Company, Director of Merrill Lynch Family Office Group’s offices in New York, New Jersey and Texas; Director of Merrill Lynch Strategic Philanthropy and Family Foundations.

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College Kids, I’m Talking to You

This is a guest post from Tommy who is a rising junior at the University of Notre Dame where he studies Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Education, Schooling and Society (ESS). He is co-founder and co-president of Unleashed, Notre Dame’s impact investing initiative.

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Interest around impact investing is beginning to percolate from all corners of the world. Fascinated with how to use investment capital to address environmental and social issues, the number of players entering the impact investing space is rapidly increasing. The momentum behind this emerging market is coming at a critical point. Members of the Rockefeller Foundation point out, “In a world where government resources and charitable donations are insufficient to address the world’s social problems, impact investing offers a new alternative for channeling large-scale private capital for social benefit. “ But there remain many obstacles to overcome before impact investing can be institutionalized, allowing common investors to participate in this market. Many parties, including social entrepreneurs, researchers, and politicians, are working through these issues. Most recently, colleges are finding ways to get involved.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan released a study earlier this year showing that impact investors are worried there is too much capital being deployed in this field and not a sufficient number of quality investments. In addition to business plan competitions and grants for budding social enterprises, schools are finding other ways to take promising ideas and turn them into investable products. Harvard recently opened a Social Impact Bond Lab that is working with state governments around the country to find ways to utilize these new innovative financial tools in a way that will tackle issues ranging from homelessness and early childhood education to diabetes and malaria. Social impact bonds (SIBs) are among the most promising developments in this field, garnering the attention of not only social entrepreneurs and impact investors, but also Wall Street banks and politicians. Goldman Sachs, for example, has invested in an SIB each of the last three years. President Obama, for the first time in U.S. history, included $300 million in our 2014 federal budget to incentivize the use of these “bonds” that bring a private sector mentality to public affairs. SIBs encourage investment in cost-saving preventative services and bring experimental creativity to addressing social ills, something governments with increasingly tight budgets are struggling with.

In addition to Harvard, Northwestern is another university that has joined the cause to help supply impact investors with potential investments. Their own Kellogg Business School has partnered with INSEAD Business School and Morgan Stanley to create “The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge,” a pitch competition for graduate students with the goal of developing institutional-quality investment vehicles. Its goal is to “harness the power of capital markets and student creativity to create positive impact in a world of perpetual resource scarcity and continued population growth.” With more impact investors entering the space every day, a sufficient supply of quality investments will be necessary for the success of the field as a whole.

Despite a perceived lack of investment opportunities, social entrepreneurs are claiming that they are being “starved of capital.” Responding to these complaints are colleges entering the market from the buy-side. Columbia, the University of Michigan, and the University of Utah are just a few schools that are experimenting with student-run funds dedicated to impact investing. Thus far, the University of Utah has the biggest student-run fund, measuring up at $15 million. With two full- time fund managers and their partnership with Mission Markets, a NYC-based impact investing platform, undergraduate students volunteer their time to run this for-profit fund. Differences in the way these funds are structured prove there is room for creativity. Whereas the University of Utah runs a for-profit fund that targets market-rates of return, Columbia’s 118 Capital is set up as a non-profit that provides “loans and capital raising support to social enterprises in need of early- stage, risk tolerant capital.” Another varying factor in these different student-run funds is the level of involvement from undergraduates versus that of graduate students. Although graduate students have more real-life experience and knowhow, undergraduates have more free time and less turnover. Involvement from both seems to be the optimal mix.

As more players enter the market, issues and questions that need answering are becoming evident. How to structure deals with social entrepreneurs with novel business structures, how to compensate fund managers of impact investing funds who are pursuing double- and triple-bottom line investments, and how to measure social benefit of these investments are just a few of the major questions that still remain largely unanswered. Other universities are focusing on research to answer some of these questions, most notably, Stanford, Duke, and the University of Pennsylvania. Stanford’s Social Innovation Review has published countless magazines, blog posts, and related content in fields like impact investing and social entrepreneurship. Duke, a long time leader in social entrepreneurship, published their two-year research project in union with InSight at Pacific Community Ventures and ImpactAssets in a report called, Impact Investing 2.0: The Way Forward. In addition to this report, they are continuing to do research, recently looking into how to involve university endowments in impact investing. The University of Pennsylvania is also deeply involved in the space in several ways, recently publishing an article, “De-Risking Impact Investments.” The mitigation of risk for impact investments is crucial for those who hope to involve fund/endowment managers, who have fiduciary duties to provide the greatest return at the lowest risk, in a major way.

Characteristic of any young market, there exists a disconnect between impact investors and the investments they are seeking, evident from arguments over whether there is too much or too little money in the field. Impact investments are currently difficult to find and, when found, difficult to analyze using traditional methods because of their unique structures. An initiative hoping to increase deal flow and capital in the impact investing space was started by undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s impact investing initiative, Unleashed, is partnering with wealth management firms, connecting the increasing numbers of affluent individuals interested in this space with potential investments. To accomplish this objective, Unleashed is hosting an internal case competition to find various impact investments, with each team specializing in different areas. Upon completion, the wealth management firms will be provided with a video of the presentations along with written analyses of the proposed investments and other helpful assistance. Although the group’s ultimate goal is to establish a fund, they are starting by helping to increase deal flow and provide impact investments with exposure to interested parties.

Historically, “doing well” and “doing good” existed in bifurcated worlds. But things are changing. No longer must we accept the idea that our investments and charitable activities work at cross-purposes. Pope Francis praised these innovative forms of intervention that “acknowledge the ultimate connection between profit and solidarity.” Impact investing is gaining incredible momentum. It is bringing together groups that have historically had minimal overlap. Wall Street bankers and philanthropists are forming partnerships that contradict the perception that they must exist in disparate worlds. We are realizing, increasingly so, how powerful involving the private sector is when markets are put to work in the fight against our world’s most pressing and entrenched social issues. Despite its relative complexity, the aforementioned initiatives show the potential for students to be involved in meaningful and significant ways. We are entering unchartered territories, allowing room for involvement from people with little to no prior experience. What is required is a desire to inspire change in a world that desperately needs it. Instead of watching from the sidelines, I challenge you to join in.

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Venture Capitalist Has Impact Through Investments

Todd Stevens, founder and managing director of Renewable Tech Ventures, who will be speaking at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird in Salt Lake City, has been having impact through his investments for years.

On June 26, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Todd will join me for a live discussion about his work and impact. Tune in here then to watch the live interview.

More about Renewable Tech Ventures:

RenewableTech Ventures is committed to creating exceptional returns for both the entrepreneurs we invest in and our fund investors. These exceptional returns are achieved by investing in early stage and growth stage energy innovations in renewable energy, clean technology, energy conservation, green materials and other clean technologies. Our investment activity is focused in the Rocky Mountain region of Canada and the United States. This region is an area rich in energy and technology resources and is an underserved region for venture capital. While located in the Rocky Mountain region, we welcome the opportunity to talk with entrepreneurs located throughout Canada and the United States. 

Through our 80 years of combined venture capital, clean tech and entrepreneurial experience we have funded and helped dozens of successful companies. Our investment philosophy is centered in helping the entrepreneur succeed and by doing so, our investment and venture fund also succeeds. RenewableTech Ventures provides capital, market intelligence, active board representation and an exceptional international network of industry contacts, technology leaders and co-investors.

Todd’s bio:

Todd Stevens, Managing Director, RenewableTech Ventures. Mr. Stevens is the co-founder of RenewableTech Venture Fund and is a leading energy and clean technology investor in the Rocky Mountain region. RenewableTech Ventures has completed five investments with a focus on renewable energy and clean technology companies in the Rocky Mountain region of the US and Canada. Prior to founding RenewableTech Ventures, Mr. Stevens was Founder and Managing Director of Wasatch Venture Fund, now EPIC Ventures from 1993 to 2009. Mr. Stevens was also Manager of the Zions Bank Venture Capital Department from 1993 to 2009. During his 20 years career as a venture capitalist, Mr. Stevens has raised seven venture funds focused on early stage technology companies with commitments totaling over $250 million. Prior to his venture capital career, Mr. Stevens was a development and finance executive in the independent power/ cogeneration industry from 1988 to 1991. He assisted in developing over 300 MW of cogeneration and renewable energy projects including wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal power plants and has financed over $400 million in energy projects. He also worked as a real estate executive in Chicago, Illinois with Homart Development from 1985 to 1988. Mr. Stevens received his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah, cum laude, in Accounting and Management and received his Master of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business. 

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How Online Forms Can Boost Donor Engagement Rates

This is a guest post from Chris Lucas, the vice president of business development at Formstack (www.formstack.com)

Formstack, an online form building platform, recently released its 2014 Form Conversion Report. This benchmark analysis of over 400,000 online forms reveals how different industries use online forms and what factors help customers complete your form. Nonprofits boast a form conversion rate of 15 percent, which is the second-highest rate by industry. The average conversion rate for all industries is 11 percent.

In contrast to the 15 percent rate is a 2012 Marketing Sherpa study that reported nonprofit websites’ conversion rate was only 2 percent. According to the data in the Form Conversion Report, it appears that nonprofits that use online forms have better conversion rates. Several key data points reveal what nonprofits can do to use forms to collect more information and engage donors.

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Promote in the right place, at the right time
Since technology makes it easy to schedule emails and social media posts, nonprofits can gain an advantage by understanding donor behavior. The Form Conversion Report states that the peak time for donation form submissions is from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Even though people donate at other times of day, the popularity of the early afternoon is worth noting. Increase donor activity by adjusting social media and email campaign timing. Let your marketing materials reach donors at the time they are most likely to click through and make a contribution.

The research also shows that there is not a one-size-fits-all recipe for social media success. Different demographics have different patterns. For example, Facebook sharing spikes on Thursdays and Fridays, while LinkedIn is most popular on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Twitter is best midweek through the weekend. Test which time of day results in highest levels of online engagement.

Change the submit button
When building online forms, people give a lot of attention to the information they need to collect. The lowly submit button doesn’t get as much thought. Formstack states that the most popular submit buttons are “Submit Form” and “Subscribe,” but those are not the highest-converting buttons.

The submit button is the last opportunity to convince a donor or potential contact to give you their money or personal information. It should clearly communicate your value proposition. In the case of donations you could use content like “Help Now” or “Join the Cause.” Test how changes in button wording can impact conversions.

Choose the right type of form
The most significant benefit of online forms is collecting data to build strong relationships. Contact forms, however, only convert at a 3 percent rate. To capture donor information, consider using contests and surveys, which convert at 28 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Nonprofits also benefit from event registrations, which convert at 11 percent. As an added benefit, event participants tend to be very qualified leads.

Any type of form can be “smart,” or responsive. This feature shows or hides questions based on how a user responds. Forty percent of nonprofit organizations use “smart” forms, resulting in customized forms that are easier for people to fill out.

Online forms and conversions
According to the data in Formstack’s report, organizations that use online forms are likely to see a positive impact on their conversions. Nonprofits can use online forms to increase engagement with advocates and donors. To improve your conversion rates, try making small but strategic changes to your online forms.

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Final Request, Inc.’s Kickstarter Campaign will Completely Redefine how we Honor Each Other, Handle Communication, and Manage Personal Accounts after one’s Passing

This is a guest post from Troy S. Wood, CEO and Founder of Final Request, Inc.

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Final Request, Inc. is looking to revolutionize the way we communicate and handle the necessary demands after one’s passing. With a goal of raising $50,000, we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign offering pre-sales of our much-needed service at a “no-brainer” price point. Not only does our forward thinking Software-as-a-Service provide people with a better legacy after passing, it helps their loved ones to more easily manage the necessary affairs involved. There is currently no other existing service that offers what Final Request is bringing to market; it will completely redefine how we honor each other, handle communication, and manage personal accounts after one’s passing.

There are moments in life when communication is everything, like when a family member or a close friend passes away. In order to contact the right people to notify them, you need to know who to contact and how to contact them:

  • How will those responsible know who to contact and how?
  • How will they gain access to password-protected devices?
  • How will personal accounts get deactivated?

Society desperately needs Final Request to become the new standard in everyone’s life as we all could benefit from this smart innovation that restores the missing link each of us is longing for.

The old way of being notified isn’t working anymore. Much too often, people learn of someone’s passing well after the funeral services have ended. We are often left with not having the choice to say goodbye or pay last respects. With Final Request, there’s finally a better way to handle this broken process.

So what is Final Request?

Final Request is a cloud-based software-as-a-Service (SaaS) B2C Internet application. Use a personal computer, tablet, or a smartphone to simply upload all contacts in your circle of influence and then designate who receives what and how they receive it. With help of a template, you predefine an announcement of passing as well as the invitation to the funeral/burial service. Freedom to create personalized messages for special individuals like a son/daughter, or a sweetheart is also an option. Within minutes of the subscriber’s passing, the one to three designated account executors can release the mass announcements, restricting the unfortunate instances of misinformation or even disinformation.

Final Request’s service helps to prevent real world threats such as identity theft, unauthorized access, or worse, by initiating the deactivation of personal accounts by obtaining the official fact of death documentation from government offices. Then they contact the company of each predefined personal account and requests that the subscriber’s account be deactivated based on each company’s corporate policy. We take the hassle off your hands to ensure account deactivation is handled properly and securely.

Watch the Final Request introductory video here:

Final Request’s Service Offerings - (02:20 min) from Final Request, Inc. on Vimeo.

Our vision is to make everyone’s life and legacy better by updating the way we conduct our lives and prepare for securing our legacy. Final Request’s core values incorporate empathy for the client’s needs and desires, and sympathy towards family and friends of the client.

Final Request is hard-charging out of the gate with existing strategic business relationships. Starting with the launch on June 17th, they will be offering Estate Planning products from LegalZoom.

We couldn’t be more pleased with our strategic business alliance with LegalZoom; which allows us to be well positioned to help consumers get the tools and products they need to be better prepared.

Our crowdfunding campaign is dedicated specifically to our family and friends, and to the service men and women who have been lost along the way. They are honored with prayers, thoughts and actions to improve the way the necessary demands after one passes are handled.

Visit our Kickstarter campaign page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/finalrequestinc/final-request-inc-everyones-life-and-legacy-better.

So what do you think of our service offering? Comment below and let us know! Or bring the conversation to social media using #finalrequestinc.

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Women Partner To Help Women Give Birth In Liberia

Statistically speaking, Liberia is the fifth most dangerous place in the world to be born or give birth. Dee Gordon of Salt Lake City and Marcia Stevens in Liberia have created the Hawa Project to change that morbid statistic.

On June 19, 2014 at noon Eastern, Dee and Marcia will join me for a live discussion to talk about their efforts to save lives in Liberia. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

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

More about the Hawa Project:

The primary goal of The Hawa Project is, through a partnership with SLEMP Medical Clinic, we aim to grow a Women’s Health Initiative whose focus is ongoing education and a clinical site, where women of child bearing age can come for HIV/AIDS education and counseling in prenatal care, family planning and parenting classes.

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Marcia’s bio:

Marcia is a registered Nurse in Liberia, she currently runs 2 health clinics in the greater Monrovia area.
Marcia was born and raised in Liberia and coming to the USA April 19th was her first trip out of her home country. Marcia is passionate about serving the needy and often gives of her services without charge. Marcia is the mother to 3 beautiful daughters and is married to Paul Stevens, the head of the Bible Association in Liberia. They are deeply rooted in their beliefs of following what God has called them to do, and she works tirelessly to provide not only for her family, but also for her neighbors and fellow Liberians. Marcia and Dee Gordon have partnered together for the benefit of the women and children of Liberia to receive better prenatal care and safer delivery practices.

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'No Kill' Activist Explains How We Can 'Save Them All'

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Francis Battista grew up in metropolitan New York and now lives in a rural part of Utah that most Utahns couldn’t find on a map and have never visited. This self-described misfit helped found the Best Friends Animal Society, operating the largest no-kill animal sanctuary for companion animals in the United States and has become a key thought leader in the no-kill movement.

When Best Friends Animal Society was launched, 17 million animals were euthanized in the United States every year. Battista is leading a crusade to “save them all.”

On June 19, 2014 at 6:00 PM Eastern, Battista will join me for a live discussion about his work, how he’s done so much and what is required to save them all. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

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

Battista will also be sharing his insights at the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference, which I am organizing, on September 26, 2014.

More about the Best Friends Animal Society:

Every day, more than 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in America’s shelters simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home.

Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as life-saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to about 4 million. Best Friends has the knowledge, technical expertise and on-the-ground network to end the killing and Save Them All.

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Francis Battista

Battista’s bio:

Francis Battista:

Francis Battista is co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, and today, considered to be one of the foremost thought leaders in animal welfare. Born in 1945 and raised in the New York City metropolitan area, Francis has always been in the company of pets. He studied engineering and physics at NYU and SUNY Albany and started his career working in the family real estate business. In the late 1960’s the calling to discover a more purposeful life led Francis on a journey with a group of friends, some of whom would become the other co-founders of Best Friends Animal Society. Understanding that kindness towards all – animals and humans –is fundamental to a spiritual life, Francis and his friends devoted their energies to healing our collective relationship with animals, beginning with the challenge to end killing companion animals as a method of population control.

Francis used his experience in real estate to help locate and acquire the perfect piece of property in Southern Utah that would become the organization’s headquarters. At the time, they had no idea that perfect piece of property would become the nation’s largest sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals and the flagship of the No-Kill movement.

Over the years, Francis has worn many hats at Best Friends including co-director of animal care at the Sanctuary. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Francis managed the Best Friends rescue shelters in Tylertown, Mississippi and Metairie, LA. Francis was also involved in the negotiations with federal agencies and courts that brought 22 of Michael Vick’s dogs to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In 2012, Francis was instrumental in launching No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA), a Best Friends initiative that has reduced shelter deaths from 23,000 to 14,000 in its first two years and is on track to achieve No-Kill status for the city of Los Angeles by 2017.

Today Francis takes his crusade to the blogosphere and live speaking appearances. He is a prolific blogger for Best Friends and on the Huffington Post, as well as in animal welfare publications. He gave a TED Talk at TEDx Reno in 2014 and was a presenter at the 2014 Innovation Excellence Cities Tour in New York City and Boston. Francis will also be speaking at the Social Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding Conference on September 26.

“Most immediately, our work is helping the animals and ending shelter killing. But on another level, this is about saving people. It’s about saving our relationship to the animals and the planet.” Francis Battista

“Our relationship to the animals begins with an understanding that they are sentient beings. They have their own lives, their own narrative, and their own personal story and being. We should be open and willing to communicate with them, listen to them and respect them.” Francis Battista

Co-founder, Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah

francis@bestfriends.org | bestfriends.org

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IRC In Salt Lake City Helps Refugees Become Entrepreneurs

The International Rescue Committee, a global organization with a chapter in Salt Lake City, is working with local refugees to help them become entrepreneurs.

On June 19, 2014 at 11:00 Eastern, David D’Angelo, the Microenterprise Development Coordinator for the IRC in Salt Lake City, will join me for a live discussion about the remarkable work the IRC is doing to help refugees. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes

More about the IRC:

The International Rescue Committee is a global, nongovernmental, humanitarian organization that responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, the IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home. The IRC has put innovation to practice by starting programs that help refugees start businesses in the United States. In Salt Lake City, the International Rescue Committee provides business training and loans through Spice Kitchen, New Roots, and the Microenterprise Development Program.

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David’s bio:

David D’Angelo is a social entrepreneur with international experience in microenterprise development and public affairs. As a professional, he has advanced the public diplomacy and development efforts of the United Nations, U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security through research and community engagement. He has lived in Ireland and Thailand, spending time abroad to curiously transcend boundaries of difference. Most recently, David has dedicated his efforts to the International Rescue Committee, where he generates economic impact for refugees from around the globe. His passion is using entrepreneurship to engender widespread economic change among refugee communities. David loves to learn and remains eager to innovate. He spends most of his free time reading, hiking, playing volleyball, and golfing.

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