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Christian Social Venture Fund Backs Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs

Dave Blanchard and Josh Kwan are unabashed about their faith providing the motivation for their desire to change the world for good. They founded Praxis, a nonprofit entity that works as venture accelerator to groom social entrepreneurs and back them financially, specifically as way to express their faith and help like-minded entrepreneurs succeed.

The Praxis Academy provides entrepreneurial training with a Christ-centered approach to select undergraduates.

On Monday, June 2, 2014 at 2:00 Eastern, Dave and Josh will join me for a live discussion about how their faith shapes their work. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about Praxis:

Praxis is a venture group, structured as a non-profit, that focuses on equipping and resourcing a growing portfolio of faith-motivated entrepreneurs who have committed their lives to cultural and social impact, renewing the spirit of our age one organization at a time. Praxis was conceived in 2010 by Dave Blanchard, then a Principal Designer at IDEO, and Josh Kwan, the Director of International Giving for the David Weekley Family Foundation, and developed in collaboration with Q, a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society.

Each year, Praxis welcomes 12 businesses and 12 nonprofits into our two Accelerator programs, where we provide the top-decision makers in these organizations with the knowledge, network, and personal discipleship necessary to build sustainable, high-impact organizations. In the summer of 2014, we’ll also launch Praxis Academy, a summer program focused on training Christ-following undergraduates at the intersection of faith, startups, and culture. Academy graduates will have a chance to apply for our Future Founders program, where they’ll have an unique opportunity to do a summer apprenticeship with our Accelerator alumni.

Dave’s bio:

Dave is an entrepreneur passionate about bringing new ideas to life to have a positive impact on society. Prior to Praxis, he was a Principal Business Designer at IDEO, an innovation consultancy, where he focused on venture design, startups, and social innovation. Earlier in his career, he co-founded DiscLive, a company working at the intersection of music and technology. He graduated from Babson College with a concentration on entrepreneurship, and also completed graduate work at Northwestern University, earning an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and an MEM in Design from the McCormick School. Dave’s social enterprise experience also includes four years on the Board of Governors of Opportunity International as well as a stint on the One Acre Fund Governing Board. He lives in Manhattan and is part of the Trinity Grace Church community.

Josh’s bio:

Josh is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build companies and nonprofits that shape culture and create virtue in the world. Before starting Praxis, he served as the Director of International Giving for the David Weekley Family Foundation, where he continues to act as an adviser helping provide growth capital to a portfolio of young nonprofits tackling global poverty. His contributions to these organizations include strategic planning, financial assessment, and serving on the Board of Directors. Josh co-founded Carpenters Code, a startup that creates mobile apps that encourage and enliven the practice of spiritual disciplines. Additionally, he is on the executive committee of the Big Bang Philanthropy Group and the board of directors at Village Schools International. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Government, and has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He and his family reside in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Centre Serves Thousands Of Asylum Seekers In Australia

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Australia is working to support a growing number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia.

The ASRC proclaims its vision to be:

That all those seeking asylum in Australia have their human rights upheld and that those seeking asylum in our community receive the support and opportunities they need to live independently.

On Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 6:00 Eastern, Patrick Lawrence, the ASRC’s Director of Aid, will join me for a live discussion about their work.

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes

More about the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre:

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is Australia’s leading asylum seeker organisation. We are a multi-award winning, independent and non-federal government funded human rights organisation. We work at the coalface assisting some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.


Patrick’s bio:

Patrick was born into a musical family and began his professional life as a classical pianist. After returning from several years in the the US and Europe, and whilst continuing his musical endeavours, Patrick began his involvement in the not-for-profit sector in Australia. Patrick began work in 2002 at the First Step Program, a not-for-profit addiction medicine clinic in the area of volunteer coordination, moving into project management and communications.  For the last 8 years Patrick has worked at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, Australia, first in the role of Foodbank Coordinator and more recently as Director of Aid, including stints as acting CEO.

Patrick is still a performing musician and will welcome his fifth child into the world in a few weeks.  He is committed to social justice and has great faith in the community, when informed, empowered and motivated, to care for the most vulnerable and to celebrate our shared humanity.
Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Opportunity Collaboration Convenes Social Entrepreneurs

Topher Wilkins is working to change the world by fostering collaboration among social entrepreneurs. He calls his enterprise Opportunity Collaboration


On May 29, 2014 at 7:00 Eastern, Topher will join me for a live discussion about his work.

Tune in then to watch the live interview.

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

More about Opportunity Collaboration:

Opportunity Collaboration is a global network of nonprofit leaders, for-profit social entrepreneurs, grant-makers and impact investors engaged in economic justice enterprises, anchored by an annual four-day problem-solving, strategic retreat. We break down the silos of unproductive competition and go beyond the boundaries of conventional poverty alleviation. The network leverages resources, shares innovations, enlists allies, builds coalitions and creates force multipliers.

Wilkins’ bio:

Topher Wilkins has been hosting people in collaborative environments for the purposes of social change for nearly a decade. Starting with the City Club, which he co-founded, in Boulder, Colorado, to managing Dunton Hot Springs near Telluride, Colorado, and finally with the Opportunity Collaboration and Convening the Conveners, Topher is passionate about creating high-end, high-impact gatherings.

He and his wife, Jorian, live in Santa Cruz, California, where they are raising their family of three young boys ~ Booker, Dunton and Justus.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Social Entrepreneurs Use Indiegogo For Impact

Design that Matters, or DtM, provides product design, development and low-volume manufacturing for products that serve low income people especially in the developing world. DtM recently used crowdfunding on the giant platform Indiegogo to fund the development of its Pelican pulse oximeter for diagnosing newborns with pneumonia.

On May 29, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Elizabeth Johansen, Director of Product Development for DtM and Breanna DiGiammarino, Cause Director for Indiegogo, will join me for a live discussion about their collaboration for social impact.

Tune in then to watch the interview here live.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes

More about Design that Matters:

Design that Matters (DtM) collaborates with leading social entrepreneurs and hundreds of volunteers to solve problems in global health for the poor in developing countries. DtM is an international leader in human-centered design, rapid prototyping and cost-effective low-volume manufacturing. DtM’s track record demonstrates our ability to deliver social change in the face of market failure. As of 2013, products DtM helped to design and launch have reached 100,000 people. Most recently, DtM’s Firefly newborn phototherapy device has been installed in hospitals in Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, East Timor, and Ghana and has already treated over 1,000 newborns. In 2012, DtM was named the winner of the National Design Award in Corporate and Institutional Achievement at a White House luncheon. Other winners in this category include Apple, Google, and Patagonia.


Johansen’s bio:

Elizabeth Johansen, Director of Product Development

Elizabeth leads DtM’s product design process. Using her engineering experience and design thinking background, she leads designers, professional volunteers, students, and contractors to create world-class designs with positive impact for low resource communities in the developing world. Prior to DtM, Elizabeth worked at IDEO for 8 years. Her experience spans strategy to design for manufacture for clients including Eli Lilly, BriteSmile, Reynolds, Target, Becton Dickinson, and 3Com. Elizabeth also speaks and facilitates workshops about design for social impact to audiences ranging from budding social enterprises to the largest bank in the world. She holds a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College.

More about Indiegogo:

Indiegogo is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, empowering people around the world to fund what matters to them.

  • Indiegogo was founded by Slava Rubin, Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell in 2008. Indiegogo is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York.
  • The company has raised $56.5M in funding from prominent investors including Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Insight Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures, MHS Capital, ffVenture Capital and Steve Schoettler.
  • Indiegogo recently announced that tech luminaries including Sir Richard Branson, Max Levchin, Megan Smith and Maynard Webb.
  • Indiegogo has hosted over 200,000 campaigns and distributes millions of dollars every week in 224 countries. About 7,000 campaigns are active on Indiegogo at any given time.
  • Indiegogo is an international platform with campaign owners and contributors in nearly 190 countries.
  • Indiegogo welcomes a diversity of campaigns spanning creative, cause-related and entrepreneurial projects. This gives campaign owners and contributors the chance to fund what they care about most, without restrictions.
  • Indiegogo’s unique payment options of Fixed Funding and Flexible Funding empower campaign owners to decide what works best for them and in turn, increases the number of people who opt to raise funds on the platform.
  • In the past two years, Indiegogo has grown more than 1000%
  • It was announced in January of this year that Indiegogo had raised $40 million in Series B funding – the largest funding round of any crowdfunding platform. The funding is enabling Indiegogo to focus on building out innovations in mobile, new personalization  tools, and its Trust and Security systems – which will allow the company to drastically improve the customer experience at an accelerated pace.


DiGiammarino’s bio:

Bre is the Cause Director at Indiegogo, where she leads a team to bring the value of crowdfunding to the social sector. She has established partnerships with organizations such as the Clinton Global Initiative, Ashoka and Impact Hub, speaks frequently at social sector events and has been published on Forbes and SSIR. Prior to Indiegogo, Bre was the senior associate at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and a consultant at Bridgespan. She holds an MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and a BA from the University of Virginia.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.

Smile Train Marks 1 Millionth Smile Repair

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Smile Train recently celebrated its 1 millionth cleft palate surgery. The remarkable milestone was reached after the organization created a global organization by teaching local doctors to perform the surgery.

Unrepaired cleft palates are not just a cosmetic problem, but often leave children with difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. In the developing world, failure to have the birth defect corrected can have life altering consequences.

On Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 12:00 Eastern, Satish Kalra, Smile Train’s Chief Programs Officer, will join me for a live discussion about the organizations remarkable work. Tune in then to watch live.

More about Smile Train:

Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Millions of children in developing countries with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in 85+ developing countries to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their communities to 340 patients each day and 127,000 each year.


Satish Kalra with patient

Kalra’s bio:

Satish Kalra joined Smile Train in 2000 and is currently the Chief Programs Officer, overseeing all aspects of program development and implementation. Prior to taking on this position in 2011, Satish spent 11 years as Smile Train’s Regional Director for South Asia. Under his leadership, Smile Train’s programs grew to more than 160 partner hospitals in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, performing over 300,000 free cleft reconstructive surgeries on children in South Asia who would otherwise never have been able to afford them. Satish was educated as an engineer, completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in India.


SunFunder Invites The Crowd To Literally Empower People

SunFunder is a crowdfunding platform that is all about bringing solar power to people in the developing world who don’t otherwise have access to electricity.

On May 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM Eastern, Sameer Halai, co-founder and Chief Design Officer of Sunfunder, will join me for a live discussion about the remarkable work the company is doing to bring light to the world.

Tune in then to watch the interview live.

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

More about SunFunder:

SunFunder is a solar investment platform for both accredited and institutional investors and crowd investors. It provides financing to grow solar energy businesses in emerging markets. SunFunder’s portfolio of high-impact solar loans bring sustainable and clean energy access to people that need it most.

Sameer’s bio:

Sameer is the co-founder and chief design officer of SunFunder. He was born and raised in Bombay and leads design, development and research. Prior to this he has worked at the Future Social Experiences lab at Microsoft and most recently was Director of User Experience at Limeade, a health and wellness startup in Seattle. He is the first person in the world with a Masters in Social Computing and is excited about leveraging human connections around the world to create scalable and sustainable solutions.

First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City Crowdfunds Organ Repair

The First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City has the oldest organ in the state and it’s showing its age. The lungs that feed the pipes are no longer able to supply enough air. A decades old “repair” that incorporated “modern” electronic components to fill the gaps leaves the beautiful organ deficient.

The Church has raised over $200,000 from a variety of sources, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is completing its fundraising with a $100,000 crowdfunding campaign on Razoo. So far, the campaign has raised over $75,000.

On Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Church organist Scott Mills will join me for a live discussion about the campaign and the organ. Tune in then to watch the interview live.

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

More about the First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City:

First United Methodist Church of Salt Lake City is home to a true community treasure. Our pipe organ is the oldest organ containing more of its original components in their original location than any other organ in Utah, Idaho and Nevada. The organ, constructed by noted builder George Kilgen and Sons Organ Company of St. Louis, Missouri, was installed in 1906 and originally contained 33 ranks of pipes. Today, 17 of those ranks are in working order. Our vision is to restore the amazing piece of living history to its full capabilities and make our sanctuary a welcoming space for the community to come together. The organ will be restored with pipes and components from another historic organ from the early 1900s, the Austin/Kimball organ that was originally housed in the American Theatre on Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah’s largest silent movie theatre during its time. Bigelow and Co. Organ Builders of American Fork, UT has been contracted to do the organ renovation. The completed organ will have around 3,300 pipes - a vision that gives our campaign its name.


Scott’s bio:

Scott R. Mills is the Coordinator of Music Ministry and Principal Organist at First United Methodist Church in downtown Salt Lake City. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University in Organ Pedagogy. His teachers were J.J. Keeler at BYU and Arnold Bullock at Arizona State University. While attending BYU, Scott performed several recitals on Temple Square as a guest organist. He has taught piano and organ since 1976. He has judged with The National Guild of Piano Teachers and other organizations since 1982. Scott has served as a Dean of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and Chair of the National Guild of Piano Teachers in Utah Valley. He was also the sub-Dean for the Salt Lake Chapter of the AGO from 2009-2011.

Hispanics In Philanthropy Launches Crowdfunding Site

The organization Hispanics in Philanthropy, known as HIP, has launched a crowdfunding site to empower everyone to be a philanthropist.

On Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Diana Campoamor will join me for a live interview about the launch and the other good work that HIP is doing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about Hispanics in Philanthropy:

HIP invests in Latino leaders and communities to build a more prosperous and vibrant America and Latin America. We have a 30-year track record of supporting social entrepreneurs — leaders who find solutions, build communities, and who are the future. By partnering with foundations, corporations, and individuals, HIP addresses the most pressing issues facing Latinos. HIP’s mission is to strengthen Latino communities by increasing resources for the Latino and Latin American civil sector; increasing Latino participation and leadership throughout the field of philanthropy; and fostering policy change to enhance equity and inclusiveness.


Diana’s bio:

For more than 20 years, Diana Campoamor has grown a small network of funders, Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), from a volunteer group of advocates into a transnational philanthropic network. HIP, which now numbers more than 600 funders and 5 regional offices, has awarded over $40 million to build the capacity of Latino-led, Latino-serving nonprofits in 19 sites across the U.S. and Latin America.
During Ms. Campoamor’s tenure, HIP was recognized with the Kellogg Foundation’s National Leadership in Action Award in 2007 and received the prestigious Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking in 2008 for its groundbreaking Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities. Ms. Campoamor has also been a leader in building bridges between the Latino and the African-American communities.

Ms. Campoamor has served on a number of boards, including the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. She currently serves on the board of Futuro Media and the International Planned Parenthood Federation for the Western Hemisphere.

Trained as a journalist, Ms. Campoamor holds a B.A. from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree from the University of Miami. A native of Cuba, Ms. Campoamor now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her young daughter, born in China. She is happy to be surrounded by her close family: her adult son, a talented artist and musician, lives nearby with his wife, a public health expert, and their two beautiful daughters. Ms. Campoamor’s brother and sister-in-law live just next door. When not busy with philanthropy, Ms. Campoamor enjoys painting, foreign films, bicycling and meditation.

SOURCE: Helping Social Entrepreneurs Help Low Income Families

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

SOURCE, that is “Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs” is a partnership among The Hitachi Foundation, Investors’ Circle and Village Capital that links social entrepreneurs and impact investors with a shared interest in addressing the challenges of what they call “low wealth” Americans.

The Hitachi Foundation reports that more than 25 percent of U.S. households are either unbanked or underbanked–while they have bank accounts they rely at least in part on nonbank financial tools like payday lending, with interest rates averaging 391 percent.

The first cohort of entrepreneurs in the SOURCE program are focused on FinTech, financial services and technology to address the needs of this population.

On Thursday, May 22 at 3:00 Barbara Dyer, President and CEO of the Hitachi Foundation will join me for a live discussion about the Foundation’s work to improve the lives of low income people in the U.S. Tune in here to watch the interview then.

More about the Hitachi Foundation:

The Hitachi Foundation is an independent nonprofit philanthropic organization established by Hitachi, Ltd. in 1985. The Hitachi Foundation was founded on the belief that business has an essential role to play in addressing the complex global challenges of our time.

The Hitachi Foundation seek to discover, demonstrate and expand business practices that both measurably improve economic opportunities for low-wealth individuals in the U.S. and enhance long term business value. At its core, the Foundation is committed to investments that enhance what we can learn about socially sustainable business practice and corporate citizenship.


Barbara Dyer

Dyer’s bio:

Barbara Dyer is President & CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, member of the Hitachi Chief Executives group, and Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Ms. Dyer has shaped the Foundation’s focus on the role of business in society with an emphasis at the intersection of people and profit. Under her leadership, the Foundation has been an influential force in the CSR field and has been instrumental in shaping two major national collaborative philanthropic initiatives – Jobs to Careers with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the United States Department of Labor; and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions initially with the Ford and Annie E. Casey foundations.

Ms. Dyer is a trustee of Clark University and has served as a member the American University School of Public Affairs Dean’s Advisory Council. Ms. Dyer also had an extensive career in public policy as co-founder of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Alliance for Redesigning Government, Deputy Executive Director/Director of Research with the National Governors’ Association’s Council of Governors’ Policy Advisors, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, and Deputy Executive Director of the Western Regional Office of the Council of State Governments.


Leading Impact Investor Shares Insights Live From Israel

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Eytan Stibbe, Founding Partner of Vital Capital, is one of the leading impact investors on the global scene, managing a $350 million private equity fund targeting impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. He’ll join me for a live discussion from his office in Tel Aviv to share his insights and updates since we first wrote about his firm a year ago.

Vital Capital invested in three major projects in Angola, a medical center, a community agribusiness and workforce housing. The medical center will be the most advanced medical facility in the country. The agribusiness serves and supports hundreds of family farmers that collectively produce nearly 10 percent of the country’s eggs. The housing project includes 40,000 affordable housing units.


Chickens laying eggs at Waku Kongo in Angola.

On Thursday, May 20, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern Stibbe will join me for a live video interview to get updates on his projects and insights about impact investing. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about Vital Capital:

Vital Capital Fund is a $350 million private equity fund that invests in opportunities which simultaneously enhance the quality of life of communities in rapidly developing nations, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa, while also delivering attractive financial returns for investors.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth over the past decade has been extensively chronicled. A litany of reports, articles and studies tout the impressive developments enabled by a significantly more stable political and economic landscape and an increasingly successful conversion of natural resources into important national assets and critical infrastructure.

Vital’s seasoned team has over 30 years of successful ‘on-the-ground’ experience in Africa across a wide range of industries.

Having successfully deployed billions of dollars in hundreds of large-scale infrastructure ventures, the Vital team brings a vast network of key relationships to the Fund.

Vital’s primary investment interest is the development of infrastructure. Vital broadens its investment prospects by focusing on urban, large-scale, community-integrated housing concepts and initiating fully integrated agro-industrial solutions, as well as giving particular emphasis to education and healthcare. In addition to these important sectors, the fund also seeks to invest in other large-scale infrastructure projects of national importance.

This intersection of need, opportunity and experience creates enormous potential for Vital to ‘Invest for Impact’: simultaneously providing tangible improvements in the quality of life of local populations while providing investors with attractive financial returns.


Eytan Stibbe at Lossambo, Huambo, Angola

Stibbe’s bio:

Mr. Eytan M. Stibbe, the Founding Director of Vital Capital Fund, has been involved in investment in Africa for the past 26 years.
 Mr. Stibbe studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Bar Ilan University and completed his Masters in Business Administration at the European University in Belgium.

Among his many professional accomplishments, Mr. Stibbe has worked extensively in initiating business and financing ventures worldwide, primarily in developing countries, including many countries in Africa. His vision and leadership have led to the initiation, implementation and successful completion of high-profile projects throughout this region, with a consistent focus on aligning humanitarian objectives with financial and business interests.

Mr. Stibbe’s successes in this regard have become a hallmark of his involvement in any project or investment and have resulted in tangible improvements in the quality of life for tens of thousands of people.

Mr. Stibbe is a founder and board member of the Centre for African Studies at Ben-Gurion University.


Military Families Face Realities of Veterans Returning Home #MilfamMH

This is a guest post from Jack Fischl.

Jack Fischl is a contributing writer for the USC’s Master of Social Work blog and the masculinity columnist at PolicyMic, hoping to propel the conversation on what healthy masculinity means to millennial men. Jack spends his time traveling, trying to help others travel, or writing about social justice. 

Sometimes, the horrors of war follow soldiers home. Two recent studies have found that almost a quarter of American soldiers, and almost a third of their children, suffer from mental health issues, sometimes for many years after deployment. Social workers play a critical role in helping veterans and their families cope with military service-related mental health issues, which is why the MSW@USC, University of Southern California School of Social Work’s innovative online Master in Social Work degree program is hosting the Military Family Mental Health campaign #MilfamMH during the month of May.

Stress and anxiety about military service can begin before deployment, and remain factors during service and after reunification. At the very least, it is emotionally taxing to be a soldier and to be in a soldier’s family. Sometimes this emotional strain can lead to more serious psychological issues.

A series of studies released in JAMA Psychiatry (formerly the Archives of General Psychiatry) in early March found that nearly 25 percent of non-deployed, active duty soldiers have a mental disorder, and 11 percent of that subgroup has more than one mental illness. Many of the issues soldiers face affect them every day, sometimes for their entire lives.

The studies also found that soldiers are five times as likely as civilians to suffer major depression, six times as likely to suffer from intermittent explosive disorder (episodes of extreme anger), and 15 times as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This means that nearly a quarter of our nation’s troops are struggling with serious mental and emotional disorders, while simultaneously trying to balance their duties to their country and,often, their families.

The children of veterans may confront a parent that has been fundamentally changed by his or her military service. They may feel isolated from their returned parents and even scared by some of the manifestations of disorders such as PTSD. After all, watching your parent walk out the door to war, and come back a different person can be a jarring, life-changing experience.

There are around 5 million children who had parents in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 and up to 30 percent of them, or 1.5 million children, suffer from psychological issues. A staggering one out of four military children is likely to attempt suicide.

Despite this, of the nearly $500 million the Department of Veterans Affairs spent on PTSD treatment for veterans last year, almost none of that went towards treatment for the children of veterans, leaving families to seek help on their own. This is why social workers can play such a critical role in the lives of military families – the need is great, but the help is hard to come by.

From pre-deployment until reunification, social workers can help military families deal with the stress and anxieties of military life. Among the many forms of support, assistance can include counseling, and connecting military families with the proper resources and community-based agencies.

Get on the front line for military families: join the Military Family Mental Health Blog Roundup to raise your voice for an important cause!

Mental health impacts the entire military community. No matter who you are or what you normally blog about, we want to hear your story, so we can highlight the importance of raising awareness about mental health issues, societal stereotypes and the challenges of transitioning to civilian life.

The Women of Crowdfunding

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

While tech entrepreneurship continues to be dominated by men (see Cheryl Snapp Conner’s piece), women appear to be playing a larger role in the crowdfunding ecosystem.

Note that Sally Outlaw, included in this article, is one of my clients.

There is a growing list of influential women leading the crowdfunding industry. Sara Hanks, CEO of CrowdCheck, Jilliene Helman, CEO of Realty Mogul, Jenny Kassan, CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo, Sally Outlaw, CEO of Peerbackers, Danae Ringelmann, Co-founder of Indiegogo, Joy Schoffler, CEO of Leverage PR, and Joanna Schwartz, CEO of EarlyShares will all join me for a live discussion about the crowdfunding industry.

The live discussion will occur at 2:00 PM Eastern on May 14, 2014. Tune in here then to watch the discussion.


Hanks’ bio:

Sara Hanks, co-founder and CEO of CrowdCheck, is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the corporate and securities field. Sara’s most recent position was General Counsel of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Prior to that, Sara spent many years as a partner of Clifford Chance, one of the world’s largest law firms. Sara began her career in London and later joined the Securities and Exchange Commission and as Chief of the Office of International Corporate Finance led the team drafting regulations that put into place a new generation of rules governing the capital-raising process.

Sara received her law degree from Oxford University and is a member of the New York and DC bars and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Helman’s bio:

Jilliene Helman is the Founder and CEO of Realty Mogul is crowdfunding for real estate, the largest online marketplace for investors to pool money and buy shares of pre-vetted real estate investments.

Jilliene is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and operation of the business.

Previously Jilliene was a Vice President at Union Bank, where the majority of her time was spent in Private Wealth Management working with the broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, real estate lenders and wealth planners. Jilliene is a Certified Wealth Strategist, holds Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses and earned a degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She has been featured in countless publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, NYT and Bloomberg , and is a frequent speaker on the subjects of crowdfunding, real estate finance and entrepreneurship.

Kassan’s bio:

Jenny has over eighteen years of experience as an attorney for and creator of social enterprises. She is the CEO of Cutting Edge Capital, a consulting firm that helps social ventures raise capital in alignment with their goals and values. Jenny is also an attorney at Katovich & Kassan Law Group, a law firm that serves social enterprise. Her legal practice areas include small business start-up and financing, securities regulation, nonprofit law, and cooperatives.

Jenny earned a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School. She worked for eleven years at the Unity Council, a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.

Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities. She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Post Carbon Institute.

Mansford’s bio:

Lesley Mansford is the CEO of Razoo, a leading crowdfunding platform for causes, with over $220M raised for nonprofits. Mansford is a seasoned CEO, marketer and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in interactive entertainment with companies like Electronic Arts. She was co-founder and COO of, the largest online casual games community acquired by EA in 2001. In the same year she received the Superstar award from Ad Age. She speaks regularly on the power of online to democratize philanthropy. She is a powerful advocate around issues like women’s entrepreneurship and child sex trafficking in the US. Her board positions have included The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The Leadership Institute for the Ecology and the Economy and Women’s Initiative for Self Employment.

Outlaw’s bio:

As co-founder and CEO of, Sally has helped thousands of entrepreneurs reach their crowdfunding goals. Sally is a seasoned entrepreneur having run her own businesses for the last twenty five years. Her media and business ventures took her across the globe – including ten years of conducting business in Russia. Sally is a speaker on the topic of small business financing at various universities, business incubators, and entrepreneurial events and has been a repeated source on the topic of crowdfunding for national media outlets. Her book, “Cash from the Crowd” on how to successfully crowdfund, was published fall 2013 by Entrepreneur Press.

Ringelmann’s bio:

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2008 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Today, as Indiegogo’s Chief Development Officer, Danae is focused on driving total customer satisfaction and steering the company’s employee culture and value initiatives.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a securities analyst at Cowen & Co. where she covered publicly traded entertainment companies including Pixar, Lionsgate, Disney and Electronic Arts. Danae also focused on cable network, NFL, newspaper and hedge fund clientele while at JPMorgan’s Investment Bank and Private Bank.

Danae was listed on Fast Company’s “Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology” in 2011 and was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40″ in September 2013. Danae frequently speaks at conferences around the world, including TEDx, Le Web and CeBIT. Danae also testified before the United States House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations on “Financing America’s Small Businesses: Innovative Ideas for Raising Capital” in June 2013.

Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower. She currently resides in San Francisco.

Schoffler’s bio:

Joy Schoffler, Principal of Leverage PR, is a nationally recognized author and speaker, overseeing day-to-day operations and directing strategy for all of Leverage’s public relations accounts.

Prior to launching Leverage PR, Joy consulted and worked with a number of growth-phase firms, including serving as Director of Acquisitions for the two-time Inc. Award-winning investment firm, The PPA Group. Companies Joy has worked with have been acquired, raised large amounts of capital, secured Fortune 500 accounts (from startup phase) and experienced tremendous growth through creative messaging and dynamic media strategies.

Joy has shared her knowledge in several outlets, including:, Social Media Monthly,, The Glass Heel and MarketingProfs. She has also been a featured speaker for a number of events and conferences, such as Crowdfunding BootCamp, Startup America, Kingonomics, SV Crowdfund, Execsense, SXSW and the Crowdfunding Professional Association’s annual conference. She has additionally done behind-the-scenes work for high-profile events: Crowdfund Texas, The Crowdfunding BootCamp and a crowdfunding summit in Washington D.C. titled “The State of Equity-Based Crowdfunding,” which included a press conference held at the National Press Club, a luncheon on Capitol Hill, a White House meeting and a meeting with SEC officials responsible for Titles II & III of the JOBS Act.

In 2014, Joy’s efforts were truly recognized, as she became a Stiletto Woman in Business Awards Finalist, an Austin Under 40 Finalist and won the Women Communicators of Austin Outstanding Austin Communicator Award.

Outside of the private sector, Joy served as a Finance Officer for six years in the U.S. Army Reserves and three years as a Public Relations Officer for the Texas State Guard. Her service included a year on active duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she led a 16-man team of finance soldiers and interned at the Pentagon. Joy sits on the board for Athletes for Change – an organization of NFL players dedicated to helping foster kids –the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) – the main lobbying organization for the crowdfunding industry that works directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), to help establish industry standards and best practices.

Schwartz’s bio:

Joanna Schwartz is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur with 18 years of experience founding and leading financial services, technology, consumer product, and e-commerce businesses. Joanna is CEO of EarlyShares, a leading funding platform that connects smart investors with unique opportunities. By enabling individuals and companies to leverage the opportunities created by the JOBS Act, EarlyShares helps small investments ignite big ideas. Prior to joining EarlyShares, Joanna served as Managing Director of small-balance commercial lender Silver Hill Financial, leading the company from inception to over $1 billion in annual volume.


Gregory Adamson’s 2nd Career Ensures his Live Art Performing Gives Back Like No Other…and He Has FUN

This is a guest post from Julie Du Brow and April Hua.

Julie Du Brow is principal for dubroWORKS PR+Marketing, championing clients in the worlds of sustainability, the arts, architecture + design, and non-profit.

April Hua is a Communications Major at UCLA focusing on the entertainment industry.

How many times have you wondered if your current career was the right choice for you? How many people do you know who have acted on this uncertainty and changed life paths? One such individual who has restarted his life and made giving back the centerpiece of his second career is Gregory Adamson.

by Deborah Dodge

A former 30-year banking executive, Adamson longed for the artist life, even before banking. In a move just a few years ago that would change his life for years to come, he decided to act upon this urge and become a performance artist with a truly unique flair, talent and philosophy. Adamson believes in the art-entertainment experience, creating art not for just art’s sake, but rather, for the sake of doing good for philanthropic endeavors. In line with this perspective, Adamson drives his business by giving back through raising money for charity. After his fast-paced performance art (VIDEO), in which he paints “live” to music with bare hands or brushes, creating huge masterpieces in just minutes, a live auction is held that sends off his painting to the highest bidder. When audiences witness his artwork being created in front of their very eyes, they develop a deeper connection with the artwork that is reflected in the amounts he garners through bidding. In this fashion, Adamson has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities of all ranges and levels, and plans to expand his business further to continue his philanthropic work.

His next step is to add to his repertoire a positive team-building experience through his art for corporations. As an executive, he sat through many team building exercises and motivational programs that often put him to sleep because they lacked any sense of fun and interactivity. He has created specific exercises that engage the attendees with these things in mind…from creating their own version of a master’s painting through simple collaborative steps to assembling digital collages to tell a particular story.


Adamson has achieved renown throughout Southern California, as well as domestic and international acclaim. He has painted from coast to coast and abroad, performing at concerts with major recording artists, and at regional and national political events. He has entertained for members of Congress and other national leaders, for Olympics officials, the USO, business groups, major charity fundraisers and festivals. He has clients across the spectrum of the music industry, and he has created multiple portraits for the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares events—of Carole King, Neil Diamond, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Young.

His commissioned works are owned or exhibited by celebrities, elected officials, major corporations, public institutions, professional firms, and in the Congressional Offices in Washington, D.C. His work has also been exhibited in New York, Canada, United Kingdom, China and Japan.

Adamson is truly an inspiration, and his success is a constant reminder that it is possible to change paths later in life if you are 150% committed, or “all in”, as he says—and most importantly, it is possible to help make a difference in the world, even if it is one painting at a time.

For more information and pictures of his artwork, please visit

Twitter: @GregoryAdamson
Instagram: @GregoryAdamsonArtist

Solar Roadways Brings The Road To Life

Scott Brusaw and his wife Julie have created a remarkable new solar technology that we can all drive on. Solar Roadways, his company, is developing a new glass road surface that can generate electricity.

On May 14 at 7:00 PM Eastern, Scott will join me for a live discussion about his company and the new technology.

Solar Roadways is presently raising money with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

Tune in here then to watch the interview.

More about Solar Roadways:

Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots. A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole. They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.


More about Scott Brusaw:

Scott is an electrical engineer (MSEE) with over 25 years of industry experience. This includes serving as the Director of Research and Development at a manufacturing facility in Ohio (developing their line of products for over 12 years), a voting member of NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), and developing several networked control systems from the ground up. Scott has multiple patents and his hardware and software have been sold internationally.

A Leader Fighting For Children By Fighting Against Their Diseases

Robert Selliah, PhD, is leading American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation to seek cures for rare childhood diseases.

On May 14, 2014 at 5:00 Eastern, Robert will join me for a live discussion about his work to save children.

Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

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

More about American MedChem:

American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation (AMC) is a social enterprise in the area of pharmaceutical R&D, with a charitable purpose to serve the unmet needs for safe and effective new medicines for children suffering from rare or neglected diseases. Drug discovery research in childhood rare and neglected disease is essentially ignored by the extant commercial pharmaceutical R&D and risk capital for obvious reasons of ROI. But children who are sick need safe and effective medicines, to be healed from their serious diseases, live a good quality of life as they grow up, and contribute positively to society. The fact is that only systematic drug discovery R&D can bring forward drugs to treat any disease or any population size; drug discovery R&D is the only hope for kids and their families afflicted with serious and life-threatening rare or neglected diseases. AMC will serve the needs of this patient population through a collaborative research model aimed to expedite the translational research to discover new drug candidates, and share the success and risks with its collaborators. AMC will carry out drug discovery research in collaboration with leading academic research investigators and institutes, thus synergizing the translation of biological discoveries to drug candidates for testing in the clinical stage and approval by FDA. AMC is an IRS approved 501-c-3 public charitable organization, with research laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah.


More about Robert Selliah:

Robert Selliah, Ph.D., is the Founder, President & CEO of American MedChem Nonprofit Corporation. Dr. Selliah is an experienced pharmaceutical R&D professional who has turned to social entrepreneurship with a vision to provide much needed safe and effective modern medicines for children afflicted with rare or neglected disease. Dr. Selliah has more than 18 years of experience in technology, leadership, and management in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, and preclinical development in the United States and the global pharmaceutical and biotech sector. He was most recently vice president of Medicinal Chemistry at SAI Advantium Pharma in India, where he led a group of over 200 scientists. Dr. Selliah is a co-inventor of two clinical development candidates—PRLX93936 (oncology, Prolexys) and AL12182 (glaucoma, Alcon)—and several preclinical candidates, and he contributed to the discovery and development of Travatan®, a marketed prostaglandin drug for glaucoma. He currently serves as a consultant to early-stage biotech companies in the U.S. Dr. Selliah received his B.S. (Special Honors in chemistry) and Ph.D. (synthetic organic chemistry) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.


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